D-Notice

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Zine
Title: D-Notice
Publisher:
Editor(s): Katharine Scarritt & Lezlie Shell
Date(s): 1995
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links: online review
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D-Notice is a 151-page slash Professionals anthology.

Summary

Jaded by the never-ending supply of cheerful tales of domestic bliss? Read one too many alternate-universe stories? Search no more. D-Notice is a collection of slash stories dealing with Bodie and Doyle's struggle to establish and maintain a relationship against some of the grimmer realities of the aired Professionals universe. Writers: Courtney Gray-(gives us whips and chains and...Bodie?); Thomas (tells a tale of paradise lost); Madelein Lee (speaks of love, sex, and murder); Lezlie Shell (writes about more than one kind of blackmail); Pamela Rose (looks through the glass, darkly). Believe it or not, most of our authors even manage to snag happy ending out of all this! [1]

Contents

front cover
back cover

Reactions and Reviews

See reactions and reviews for Object of Desire.
See reactions and reviews for The Greatest Treason.
[zine]: Sell your kids and buy this one - it's fuckin' *brilliant*. Award-winning "Object of Desire" by Courtney Grey kicks it off. One story didn't work for me, but was still good in its own way. [2]
[zine]: Only managed to read two stories (Courtney's and Lezlie's); everything else depressed me too much. Sorry. Good writing, but not the sort of zine for someone with my tastes. Liked Lezlie's the best, though it had some rushed scenes. Courtney's was okay, but didn't do anything special for me. No reaction to page 8, either. Maybe it's just me. [3]
[zine]: I don't normally do reviews of zines, in fact, this is one of the first. However, I had just finished one of the most extraordinary zines it has ever been my pleasure to read and I think it behooves everyone in Pro's to experience this zine.

To begin with, it reunites some of the finest writers from the early days of Pro's fandom in this country - Courtney Gray, Madelein Lee, Lezlie Conch and Pam Rose. It was co-edited by Katharine Scarritt and Lezlie Conch.

The first story, "Object of Desire" by Courtney Gray is a walk in the hot sex world of S/M and Bondage/Domination. It reminded me somewhat of a combination of Night Moves and Kink in tone and action, with a little bit of humor thrown in.

"Chalk & Cheese" by Thomas is a bittersweet character study of two people who care for one another but are afraid to admit the depth of their feelings.

"The Good Morning Soldiers" By Madelein Lee is a powerful study of love, betrayal and retribution. It is, in a word, powerful. It was one of my two favorites, if you could have a favorite in this zine.

But if "Good Morning Soldiers" is powerful, I am not sure what description to place on "Face Value" by Pam Rose. I have been waiting 3 years for this story ever since Pam gave me the plot outline several years ago at Media West. Far too often, a creation will not stand up to the expectations built over the years. In this case, however, not only was the wait worth while, it far exceeded my hopes. For me, it had the same powerful impact as did "End Game." It is not a death story; it is a story of understanding, acceptance and great love. It is also a chronicle of one man's journey from darkness into light. This may be the single finest achievement in Pam's writing lifetime.

Lezlie Conch contributed "The Greatest Treason." It is a story of hot sex and triple think machinations. It isn't one of Lezlie's "fun" stories, but it is certainly one of her best.

The writing is strong, energetic and each of the writers have complete control of their characters and plots. They are tightly written with well thought out plots - no plot holes for these writers. The characters are at times hard, but always believable. They aren't always likeable, but they are very, very real. The sex is hot and always an integral part of the story. Never once did any of the writers throw in a sex scene just to capture the audience's attention. No PWP's allowed here.

One final note - I would not suggest reading this zine in a single evening. I did and it was almost too much, too strong.

To the editors and the writers of D-Notice, my heartfelt thank you for an extraordinary zine. To slash fans, a recommendation that you order and read D-Notice. You won't be sorry. You might not like every story, but I guarantee you will be moved. [4]
[zine]: D-Notice was published in 1995 and is, as far as I know, out of print. I bought it second-hand. It is 156 pages long and contains five stories which total about 87,000 words. Three of the stories have been online for some years; a fourth only arrived online earlier this year. So if you are looking for fiction you can't get on the net, this is not the zine you should put at the top of your list.

D-Notice comes with a khaki green cardboard front cover. On the front is a stylised image of a folder with tabs labelled 4/5 and 3/7 and "D-NOTICE" apparently stamped across it. On the back are stamps of "FILE CLOSED" and "CONFIDENTIAL". There are no graphics inside the zine except for some fancy initial letters at the start of stories and some nice design around the titles (in black/white/grey). The font is clear and readable and there are very few typos.

I had heard or read somewhere that the D in D-Notice could as well be 'dark', but the foreword says the editors originally simply planned to produce a collection that "broke with the established conventions of Professionals fandom while remaining faithful to the aired series". Almost twenty years after the event, obviously it's had to be sure which conventions had been established, but here are things I did not see in this zine: AUs, weeping, the smaller man, or "we have to tell Cowley". I think it managed to remain faithful to the milieu portrayed on the programmes very well. I am not quite sure the aired series would have dared show some of the ideas in these stories, mind you.

So, the stories.

Object of Desire, by Courtney Gray. Online. Hunting a suspect, Bodie and Doyle come across someone's home dungeon, complete with someone tied up in it. Doyle is taken aback both by the situation and by Bodie's easy assumption of the role of the master. He thinks he knows Bodie - especially since they have recently begun sleeping together - and apparently he doesn't. At all. He's also disturbed by the realisation that he and Bodie are taking increasing risks in when and how they come together, to coin a phrase, and that he is getting in very deep, despite Bodie's claims that this "temporary case of the hots" is bound to pass over soon. The first time I read this story, I was too tangled up in the plausibility or otherwise of a side character - Joey - and the chances of stumbling over such a situation and didn't really pay attention to the core of the story: Doyle's perception of what he and Bodie are doing. I still can't find the set-up entirely credible, but I do like the rest of the story built around it. And the scene where they return to that room is a nice bonus.

Chalk and Cheese, by Thomas. Bodie asks Doyle to be his best man. Bodie, marrying? Doyle is stunned and unhappy, and wants Bodie back. The ending is not especially optimistic, but based on what I have read of Thomas's stories, then as Thomas endings go, it's probably quite a high spot. I associate her with very intense emotions and this is no exception. This is quite an unusual take on their relationship, especially with some of Bodie's interpretations at the end, but it's interesting, and I like variation. Some of Thomas's stories are on the Online Circuit Archive and the CD: this one is not but arrived on AO3 earlier this year.

The Good Morning Soldiers, by Madelein Lee. This follows the stories Carnal Interests and The Selling Hours. I don't think you need to have read the previous two, though. It takes place during the final series of Pros, and from a comprehension point of view, it may be more important to remember the outline of the episodes than to have read the prior stories, since references to the programmes can be fairly glancing. But in the gaps between the episodes, Bodie and Doyle are sleeping together. Unknown to Bodie, Cowley knows and is trying to split them up. Doyle has figured this out - and Cowley's motivation - and confronts Cowley. And things spiral, with all of them in danger, with plotting on all sides and resentment and betrayal and some real shocks and I love it. Although not everyone will. (This is what you can call a warning.)

The Greatest Treason, by Lezlie Shell. This is not available online as far as I know, so it was the big unknown when I bought the zine. I loved it. It is a blackmail story, but this time this is not some undercover "draw the blackmailer out by pretending to be gay" plot. Bodie really is being blackmailed. He heads straight to Cowley, and Cowley, faced with the photographic evidence that two of his agents are lovers, is appalled and unforgiving. I like the characterisation of all three here. This is a Cowley I can believe in, and the reaction I'd expect. I like Doyle's rigid resolution, and subsequent volte-face, and his feelings about Cowley. I like the interaction between Bodie and Doyle after Bodie finds out something about Doyle he hadn't known. It's not laugh a minute banter, but there's some nice lines both in dialogue and narrative. I know that I recommended this in a haze of enthusiasm earlier this year and a few people tracked down copies of it. I'll be very interested to know what they thought of it.

Face Value, by Pamela Rose. The longest story in the zine. The first time I read this was not in the zine, though, but on my initial plunge through the CD, and I disliked one particular scene intensely and was in no hurry to read it again. I really should pay more attention when I read off a screen, because I felt differently reading it on paper. Bodie is badly scarred by acid and broods in hospital. Memories from his time in Africa plague him, including things he did and now regrets bitterly. He doesn't know how his accident will affect Doyle, with whom he has been sleeping and whom he regards as a sort of link to sanity and goodness. He certainly doesn't feel he's a particularly admirable character himself. He has to learn to deal with an altered appearance and with memories from Africa and from his childhood and with beliefs about himself. And then he seems to be losing Doyle. There's a lot of emotion in this story, and the way it's expressed can be violent. As with the Madelein Lee story, I can think of lots of reasons why people may not like particular aspects ("my Bodie/Doyle wouldn't...") but once I relaxed into the central thing you need to accept (to do with Bodie's mental state) I enjoyed it - but you do have to go with that aspect for the story to work.

So overall, I really enjoyed this zine. I enjoy taking my time with something on paper instead of having to sit at a screen, so I am sure that is one reason I enjoyed it. I enjoy the occasional ending that is not unadulterated "happy ever after": not only does it make me value the happy ones the more, I think it anchors stories into the real CI5 world. On the bright side, Bodie and Doyle do make it out alive through all the stories in this zine, and they are even together in most of them. There's a real variety of characterisation but there is a central core.

The text was readable, what graphics there were (on the titles, basically) were pleasant, typos were few (but argh, I suppose it was sod's law that one of them would show up on the first page), and although there were occasional lapses in British/American differences, only rarely did they impinge on my awareness. And it was a really nice surprise to find that the one story I didn't know was such a satisfying one for me.

Don't think I'll be selling this one. [5]
[zine]: ...good fun to have zine recs for a change, and because we don't often hear about them, even the people who have read them and love them don't often seem to post about them. So thank you for that!

D-Notice is a zine that was always going to be in my pile of stalwarts, and I think because I had the same general sense of it that you've described above - that there are things missing from it. I wouldn't mind an AU or two in there, but yeay for lads that don't cry, that behave like adults, and like adult men, that aren't "smaller" and "bigger", don't have gemstones for eyes, and relate to Cowley as if he's also an adult man, and not someone who has to be told everything because he's all-knowing! I can take any one of those things now and then, but I can quite see that someone might want to put together a zine where none of those things are involved, because it all gets a bit much when you're reading Prosfic as fast as you can...

I liked all the stories in this zine - though I just had to read Chalk and Cheese again, and you reminded me that I've been meaning to re-read the Goodnight Soldiers stories again for ages... [6]

[zine]: I've been hearing about this legenday publication since I joined Pros fandom! So I was very predisposed to like it. All around, I'd say I was happy with it, but there were some major disapointments for me.

One major problem I had with it was the serious amounts of really bad typos and structural errors. In circuit stuff I guess I'm more forgiving, but when someone's had a couple years to put something together, or at least start putting it together, I have to wonder at all the mistakes. Multiple word usage everywhere, periods floating in the middle of sentences, etc. One glaring error, in Object of Desire, where Anson's Playboy suddenly becomes a Playgirl a few paragraphs later.

I know it's fannish tendency to bring zines to cons literally hot off the presses, but hey, isn't there any time for proofing? I mean, I'd volunteer! I think it stuck out doubly bad becuase I was very impressed with the overall layout here -- *great* cover, wonderful story headings, etc. I usually like a two-column approach but it was a most excellent layout.

By story: Object of Desire by Courtney Gray. A very interesting concept well executed. I enjoyed Doyle being so curious about Bodie and this new particular mystery about him. Good dialog, and well-done sex scenes.

Chalk & Cheese, by Thomas. This story was a total mystery to me. I can't figure out for the life of me what the point of it was. I began thinking Bodie was planning to get married to piss Doyle off. I'm not saying that was the author's intentions, but that's what I was reading into it. Then it veers off into flashback of their first sexual encounter, then drags us back to the present with the comment that them having sex "there had never been a next time." Like what? They *forgot*? I got no sense of a plausible explanation for this. Then the story evolves into what should be the denouement, but which left me feeling like the middle of the story. There is not resolution, no ending. I couldn't hlep feeling like this story was supposed to be an outline or part of a bigger novel.

I love angst-fests so I have no trouble with the whole dark concept of Bodie getting married and destroying their relationship, but this just went nowhere. I really felt annoyed, like I'd read half a story. What's worse is there's some good stuff in there -- good lines, etc. Could have been much better.

The Good Morning Soldiers, by Madelein Lee. Uh, well...I've not read the first two parts of this. They said it could be read alone, but I sure hope the originals did something to build this up. It just went nowhere for me. I have no reason to believe Cowley's become homicidally obsessed with Bodie. It's not that I'm not willing to believe it, but the author's gotta make me believe (sorry Sandy, stealing from you) it or else, yuck. About the time Bodie gives Cowley head just so he can kill him in a few minutes I think I felt like the credbility gap was widening.

The Greatest Treason, by Lezlie Shell. Pretty good story all around, with some weak spots where I wondered if the author weren't rushing to get to the good parts (hey, I do that. I hate exposition writing!). Good dialog, as always from Lezlie. The ending was a bit elliptical for me, but it fits with the styles of endings in much of her other stories

Face Value, by Pamela Rose. Lots of mixed feelings on this. Loved the idea and most of the execution. Good dialog, as always with Pamela. But I can't help it, I hate the slapping around, tormenting sex scenes, they never fail to make a story less in my eyes, no matter how much angst I like -- that's just too far for me. I also had trouble with the Carrie's-mom-like ravings of Bodie's grandmum -- that's one writing cliche (the insane religious nut blathering on and on about the devil) that alwasy sets me off, and the whole scene when Bodie confronts Bethany didn't ring true. People just don't talk like that! But the rest of the story worked fine for me, and I really did love the idea of Bodie struggling against love and feeling he didn't deserve it.

Overall, maybe three and half stars on my five-star list, or three when I come across lotsa typos!! [7]

References

  1. from Media Monitor
  2. comments by Jane Mailander on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (April 22, 1998)
  3. *In 1995, Alexfandra posted a brief review of the zine as part of her ZCon convention report sent to the Virgule-L mailing list (reposted here with permission)
  4. Shortly thereafter the review above, longtime Pros fan Kathy S. sent the following review to the Virgule-L mailing list (reposted here with permission)
  5. from moonlightmead on December 6, 2012 at Discovered in a Livejournal; reference link
  6. from byslantedlight on December 6, 2012 at Discovered in a Livejournal; reference link
  7. comments on Virgule-L, November 17, 1995, quoted anonymously