Deadlier Than the Male

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Zine
Title: Deadlier Than the Male
Publisher: Maverick Press/Jo Ann McCoy
Editor(s): Pat Jacquerie
Date(s): 1997
Series?:
Medium: print
Genre:
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links: online flyer with story summaries
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
flyer with submission request
Deadlier.jpg

Deadlier Than the Male is a gen and adult het and femslash Blake's 7 fanzine. It is 178 pages long and a "zine about the women of Blake's 7."

Submission Request

From the submission request:
Deadlier Than the Male, as the title implies, will be devoted to chronicling the adventures of the much-neglected female characters of B7: Cally, Jenna, Dayna, Soolin, Servalan, as well as the one-shot distaff roles like Anna Grant, Kasabi, Kerril and the rest.

What DTTM is not is a zine to put down or ignore the men. I don't want stories that make the guys look dumb, or that go on and on about how much smarter the women are. What I'd like are stories than feature both the women and the men—working together—with the proviso that the female character or characters should clearly have the leading role and be the major problem-solvers in the plot. A good example of this kind of story is Lillian Shepherd's "The Quibell Abduction,' which involved both Avon and Cally, but put Cally in the lead role.

Those are the only hard-and-fast guidelines, but I do have two other preferences. I prefer that writers use controlled pov when writing third person (that is, one point of view used per scene). I prefer writers not to use character tags (computer tech, little thief, blonde smuggler, alien telepath, etc.), or at least keep them to a minimum. But these are negotiable points. I try not to be a picky editor, though I do indeed edit.

This will be a genzine and the rating is up to a mild R. What counts as a mild R is up to the editor's discretion.

The tentative deadline for submissions is August 15, 1996, so that should give writers plenty of time to work up good stories. Sooner is obviously better than later, though, and the earliest submissions have the best chance for me to find an artist to illustrate them.

Contents

Descriptions from the Flyer

"Career Counseling" by Brooke Barker -- "'You say you're not afraid.' He slapped her face, the sound shockingly loud. 'Still not?' Understanding the test, she kept her hands at her sides and her head up. He slapped her again, and this time her nose began to bleed."

"Asphodel" by Misha ** -- "Jenna didn't have time to be puzzled. She managed to kick free of Avon's hands. Then she had Tarrant down, her hands wrapped around his throat. I could kill him, she thought. I've crushed windpipes before."

"Beginnings" & "Proving Flight" by P.R. Zvejnieks -- Two linked stories featuring Veron Kasabi. "Veron had been flattered--she was seldom given a solo assignment--but now she was wondering if she'd been utterly daft to accept. She'd spent the last two days hanging around crowded bars, breathing badly filtered air and having absolutely no luck finding this Bek person."

"Nobody Lives Forever" by Susan Riaz -- After the fiasco on Terminal, Servalan has lost her power, her presidency and her safety. In order to regain these, she must take a new identity, but who is to say she never thought of that before...

"Streetcorner Girl" by Loulou Harris -- A story about Soolin's youth on Gauda Prime, narrated by a young observer to the culminating violence. Inspired by one of Jorge Borges's most popular stories of Argentinean gauchos.

"A Candle in the Dark" by Neil Faulkner -- "What are we going to do with you, Cally? We can't keep pulling you back here for the rest of your life." At 16, Cally wasn't a Good Auronar by anyone's reckoning and it looked like her time on her homeworld was about to run out...

"Reminiscences From the Pit" by Vega -- How did Jenna come to meet Largo on Callisto and what was she doing there? Why did she risk one last visit to Mars?

"Vi Et Armis" by Alicia Ann Fox * -- Avon tested his restraints...He was securely attached to the bed..."All right, Dayna, you've won. I'd like a teleport bracelet. And my clothes."

"A Scale of Violence" by Judith Proctor -- After Gauda Prime, Soolin is tortured by a man she eventually realizes is Gan. What has happened to the gentle man whom Vila described as his friend? When Soolin discovers the truth, she has to handle more than just her own desire for revenge.

"Early Days" by Marian Mendez --Doubly plagued with amnesia and an obnoxious computer expert who at least claims to be on her side, Cally attempts to destroy a new Federation weapon and get both herself and her unwanted companion out alive.

"Assessments" by Twisted Sister* -- Soolin is ready for a night on the town. Will a large curly-haired man be the right person for her to celebrate her new job?

"Psychotherapy" by Lexa Reiss -- "She had survived the deaths of her clone-children, she had survived the revolution on earth and Bartolomew's coup attempt. She had always survived, always found a way to win, and that was how it would continue to be. For the first time in her life she didn't quite believe it."

"In the Blood" by anon -- "'No, please! They were right, I am a drunk! My blood's mostly alcohol, ask anyone!' Desperation mangles his speech, distorting it into a tremulous rush. 'You don't want a tipsy mutoid on your hands, do you? She might go mad! No telling what she could do when she's under the influence!'

[a single asterisk] indicates stories with explicit heterosexual adult content. ** Indicates a story with explicit female/female adult content. All other stories are gen.

Reactions and Reviews

[Vi Et Armis]: B7 is a very slashy fandom, but goodness, I'd hate for you to think there was NO HET! And, although the overt content of the show is All Power Play, All the Time, much of the fiction centers around the dominance struggles between or among the male characters.

But that leaves out the relationships between the male and female characters. In this story (the title means "by force and by violence") Dayna and Avon have a forceful but inconclusive discussion about the value (or otherwise) of revenge. Both the force and the inconclusiveness are thrown into relief by the fact that the conversation takes place in a hotel room where Dayna has drugged Avon, hidden his clothes, and chained him to the bed. For one reason or another.

"Dayna sat on the edge of the bed. The mattress yielded ever so slightly to her weight, and he could feel her warmth on his hip. She said, 'You don't really want me to let you go, do you?'" "'Yes,' he said, striving for the tone Blake had commanded so easily. [...]Despite his determination, he felt a growing warmth of arousal. No, he didn't. He refused to. He refused to feel that any more."

Alicia Ann Fox is a major B7 writer, who published extensively in zines--and check out the Hermit Library for a couple of dozen of her stories in addition to the stories at liberated.org.uk. She even wrote "Bulkheads," a terrific story about the least plausible pairing in B7 (Vila/Tarrant) but I don't think it's available online. [1]

I really like Pat Jacquerie, who edited this zine - alas, she didn't write anything for it, though other good writers did. 'Sleer as Folk' mentioned the zine in its editorials as an important step and I think it is - a zine focused on women, rather than Avon. It sticks to that brief pretty well. I was hoping (given the editor and the writers) to love it more than I did, but ultimately I would probably have liked it more if it were a zine about Avon. Sad times. There is definitely some good fic in here, though.

Career Counseling by Brooke Barker (3 pages) (gen): Short, but effective outsider view on Servalan as a child. You get a lot of information about her family life (which isn't over the top) in a very short space of time - I really enjoyed this one.

Asphodel by Misha (21 pages) (femslash): Calling this femslash is both misleading and not misleading - pairings are J/Se (rape - explicit), J/Ta (relationship), previous A/J and A/B. I also both like and dislike this fic strongly - the plot (which loosely involves Jenna and Servalan having to have sex to grow another Zen) is nuts, but on the other hand it has been predicted by a rather well-written Carnell (for whom I am a sucker). There's also some interesting PGP stuff that, like the fic above, seems to have a lot more backstory than we are shown (Avon's dead while most others aren't - I have hardly ever seen this happen.) The final escape is good. Ultimately it's interesting, though crazy. The line they've quoted on the flier has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

Beginnings (9 pages) and Proving Flight (9 pages) by P.R. Zvejnieks: Two linked stories featuring Veron Kasabi (gen) Pairing here is Veron/Bek - bet you never thought you'd read that one! It's quite nice, actually - a good next generation fic (Jenna is the seasoned flight instructor who cares about Veron, while Blake is harried and too busy to talk to anyone. I don't know where Avon is here, either, actually)

Nobody Lives Forever by Susan Riaz (12 pages) (gen): Nice theory regarding Sleer, providing backstory for 'Traitor'. Quite a few coincidences, but then B7 has always been strong on those. This could probably have done with either being longer (more info about how Servalan took over the stage as Sleer and killed loads of people) or a bit shorter.

Streetcorner Girl by Loulou Harris (7 pages) (gen): Very good Soolin story - I have only glanced at Streetcorner Man (the Jorge Luis Borges story this is based on), but that glance was enough to see the style of this is evocative of the original, without feeling like an out-and-out copy; ditto the plot. It's a good Soolin-pre-series-4 as well. Interestingly Dorian omes out of this very well (and it's not the only fic in this zine where he does so).

A Candle In The Dark by Neil Faulkner (39 pages) (gen): This is a very long pre-series Cally fic that focuses on world-building. All very admirable (and I believe it's done well), but I skipped after a while as Cally is only tangentially interesting to me.

Reminiscences From The Pit by Vega (15 pages) (gen): Nicely written explanation (full of irony, alas) of how Jenna got to the prison cell, with a good appearance from the Amagons she must once have run with. (I read Judith Proctor's story Amagon at about the same time as I read this, btw - and I can recommend it).

Vi Et Armis by Alicia Ann Fox (7 pages) (adult het): Avon/Dayna - she chains him up and tries to have her way with him; he tries to resist. It breaks off at a weird point where I don't feel like anything's been resolved. It also strongly reminds me of Twisted Sister's 'A Challenging Experiment' (in Straight Blake's 3), which I liked a lot more - possibly just because it has the same relatively rare pairing and Dayna is trying to rid herself of her troublesome viriginity.

A Scale Of Violence by Judith Proctor (10 pages) (gen): This is 10 pages, not 2 (I've corrected fanlore now) - and although it is about Soolin, I feel it's mostly about Gan - using his limiter as its plot device, though I suppose the agency is all with Soolin. It's not bad, though I like other Judith stories more.

Early Days by Marian Mendez (17 pages): Avon-Cally it may be (well, OK, there's some B-A at the end), but I like this one a lot. Cally's amnesia is a good device for making Avon talk about his motivations and justify the whole enterprise that he only half-believes in so early in series 1. And it's a nice character piece for a version of Cally that is only like this for the first episode, really.

Assessments by Twisted Sister (8 pages) (adult het): Soolin/Gan! (Oh, Twisted Sister - you sure do invest time in this character and making him rightly attractive, and I always enjoy it). Really nice gentle sex that they both enjoy, which (without this overwhelming the fic) helps them get over issues from their past.

Psychotherapy by Lexa Reiss (6 pages) (gen): I enjoy this fic a lot (where Servalan works through 'Rumours of Death' using a machine psychiatrist because all the human ones would be too scared to tell her the truth). It's good fun, and what the machine says to Servalan is quite plausible. The idea (spoilers) of Avon in any way being able to programme a psychoanalyst machine (which one assumes would involve understanding human beings - this man doesn't even understand himself) is highly improbable, but YMMV and it's not like it stopped me enjoying the fic in any way. I just also had a laugh at Avon's expense. Bless.

In The Blood by Anonymous (16 pages) (gen): This is really good - first person story from the POV of Kieyra the mutoid, which does some interesting things with Vila and the treatment he's undergone, and also Travis and his choices. The ending is both triumphant and bleak. Highly recommended.

Summary: Lots of good fics in this zine, which I am glad to have read, but ultimately I'll be selling it on as there's nothing I love (because sadly I like the female characters a lot, but I mostly don't love them) and no artwork. [2]

References

  1. from Crack Van, recced by executrix, March 1, 2004
  2. comments by Aralias at Deadlier than the Male, Powerplay 4 and 5, January 24, 2016