|Editor(s):||Michael Macomber and Caryn Dunkel|
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It was nominated for a 1994 Fan Q for Best Blake's 7 zine, as was one story in it.
"Who Is This Vila Guy Anyway?"
Coward, hero, hapless victim, shrewd manipulator, master thief, master clown-all these terms could be accurately applied to the character of Vila Restal, and examples could be found in the series to support each description. And that's what I have always found so fascinating about Vila. Like Blake and Avon, he's a complex puzzle.
We are fed little bits of information here and there about the character as the series progresses, beginning with his rather frightening first appearance in a transit cell in The Way Back ("I've had my head adjusted by some ofthe best in the business - it just won't stay adjusted"), through his manipulation of his crewmates in Star Drive, and right on up to his disarming behavior in Blake. While it might be difficult to reconcile all his actions throughout the series, it's a heckuva lot of fun trying.
And that's what this zine is all about getting under Vila Restal's skin, looking behind the facade he projects in order to survive. Yes, you heard that right - I'm one of those fans who believes that Vila was more than just a coward and a layabout. Hey, we all have our vices. I'm a Vila-Phile. What can I say?
And as a Vila-Phile, I had a great time putting together this zine. When I sent out my call for Vila-oriented material, I wasn't sure what to expect - but what I got was just the kind of stuff I love. Humor, drama, character exploration - thanks to all my contributors, for making this experience an enjoyable one. Now, we'll just have to see whether the kind of material I like is the kind anyone else likes!If you have any comments, please write in. Feedback, both positive and negative, is encouraged. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the zine!
- Who Is This Vila Guy Anyway? by Michael J. Macomber (editorial) (5)
- Alison Berkeley, "Rumours & Regrets" ("Kerr Avon returns to Earth with a plan to avenge the death of his Anna -- but Vila Restal has plans of his own.") (6)
- Vila Restal's Top Ten Excuses for Avoiding Landing-Party Duty, humor by Jane Mailander (15)
- Lorna Breshears, "Incriminating Intake" ("Vila Restal is not having a good time. Not only is he on the verge of starvation, he's also being pursued by the Terra Nostra. And this is nothing compared to what he discovers behind the heavily guarded walls of Silverwood Manor -- a feast, a fortune... and a one-way ticket to Cygnus Alpha.") (16)
- Satisfaction, poem by Vickie McManus/Alicia Ann Fox (36)
- Jane Mailander, "Triumph of the Superior Intellect" (37)
- cartoon by Nola Frame-Gray (39)
- Lorna Breshears, "A Handful of Smoke" (nominated for a Fan Q) ("Life on Homeworld was peaceful. Idyllic. And it was slowly but surely driving Vila Restal stark raving mad. But he had a plan of escape -- for himself, and for his family.) (40)
- Jane Mailander, "Kerril" (filk, Edward, by Kathy Mar) (76)
- art by Phoenix (front cover), Marla Fair (back cover),Leigh Moto'oka, Nola Frame-Gray, Sue Williams
Reactions and Reviews
It was interesting doing this zine immediately after the Horizon zines, because the size in terms of content is pretty similar, but the presentation is very different. One can weigh the virtues of smaller physical size (and presumably lower price) versus easy-to- read typeface and more spectacular art.
I'm surprised, actually, that the zine wasn't bigger. Given that Vila is probably the second-favorite character, you'd think a zine devoted to him would have a lot of submissions. But maybe B7 fans in general prefer variety in their zines? I wonder.
My favorite thing in the zine is Lorna's what-if AU, "A Handful of Smoke," in which Vila decides to go with Kerril. Through a complicated chain of circumstances, he eventually rejoins the others and saves the day on GP; but the ending is a tragic one for him. <sniffle!>Strongly recommended for Vila fans. 
I didn't expect to have Blake in it. And it didn't. It's great for a Vila fan, though. A friend wrote several pieces, so I saved those few things out of loyalty, but the rest is landfill somewhere.