Divide and Conquer
|Title:||Divide and Conquer|
|External Links:||Divide and Conquer|
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The story was originally printed in Fire and Ice #4.
It was the winner of a 1998 STIFfie.
"In the wild escape from Star One, the Liberator crew is rescued - by an Andromedan ship, heading home - a trip which will take approximately 1,485 years. Naturally, the Andromedans are interested in their "specimens" - particularly their reproductive habits…"
Reactions and Reviews
Another AU set just after the Andromedan War, and it couldn't be more different. The crew of the Liberator are captured by an alien ship. The aliens want them to reproduce but have very fuzzy ideas on how humans do this - and it all leads to Blake and a blinded Avon being - er - forced to have sex to save the others (no sacrifice is too great, I guess). Meanwhile, back on the Liberator, Orac is determined to rescue them with the help of a reluctant and very resentful Del Tarrant... I really enjoyed this novella. Willa does not go in for deep-and-would-be-meaningful, or heavy angst, but the story is fun to read, and gives a light but appealing portrayal of all the characters, not just Blake and Avon. Both the sexual and emotional attraction between the two men is well-done, the dialogue a nice blend of passion, humour and the obligatory, but creative, fighting; the Jealous Jenna bits are less jarring than I often find them; there's a good mix of action, humour and a bit (not a large bit) of angst. And the scene of Tarrant being bullied by Orac is enormous fun.
Plan 9 is a very funny, very sweet parody that works equally well read straight (as it were). It's an AU in which the crew, having abandoned the Liberator during battle, are captured by an Andromedan spaceship whose crew are suspicious about the propaganda used to encourage them to fight. They want a sample of humans to take home to testify - but since the trip is going to take several human lifetimes, the crew are expected to provide the next generation. What with one thing and another, this leads to some very hot sex between Avon and Blake. It's all the hotter because the story focuses on both the physical and emotional aspects.
Great smut, an entertaining story, and a worryingly plausible explanation as to why the Andromedans invaded. Plus some very nice characterisation, including a very likable version of Tarrant being bullied unmercifully by Orac...It's a long one, at 59 pages in its original zine publication in Fire & Ice 4, but well worth it. It's now available online in the Hermit Library.
Possibly my favourite of Willa's stories. A lovely long wallow of a novella with some good ensemble characterisation, strong on h/c, sex and humour. It's an 'aliens force the heroes to fuck or die' scenario, but because she's put plenty of thought into creating an interesting (and very alien) set of aliens, it works. It's also got one of the most likeable versions of Tarrant I have ever seen, and I'm not a great Tarrant fan.
(Sex? Yes) Aliens made them do it - in front of the others. And while Avon was blind. This feels a bit like two stories (before and after a very funny rescue by Tarrant, a getting together story and an established relationship story) although the blindness thread carries through both halves. Witty, intensely likeable and feeling-intense dialogue, as always from Willa. This time, she even sells the fact that they both cry: not an easy feat. Katy found the alien-capture part slow going the first time through, but not so much the second time, and the second section, which is an extended attempt to answer 'what happens now we are together/now this has happened to us/now Avon may be blind for life' is unusual, interesting, realistic and utterly lovely. Plot's good too.
For some reason I no longer recall, I didn't get on with this the first time I read it. Now I think it's brilliant. The Liberator crew are trapped on board an alien spaceship after series 2, meanwhile Tarrant is stuck on the Liberator forced to help rescue them against his will by Orac. Lots of great dialogue (for everyone, not just B and A), lots of great feelings, and there's a plot! That is not just about the relationship and is not just about the revolution, but is in fact about both at the same time! It's completely brilliant. I thoroughly recommend. One of my favourite Willa Shakespeare's, which is saying something.
i stand tarrant bias but i generally cannot stand jenna bias (which is why i skipped through ‘divided and conquer’ <...> I read the fanlore reviews, they say it’s not that jarring but I still think it’s not just jarring also silly. I think real Jenna wouldn’t care if BA doing things or Tarrant’s curly hair. Lol 
I didn’t know about Jenna bias in Divide and Conquer and read about the half of it and then was like “oh crap”. D: And it’s a long text, almost 40k words! I usually try to avoid this shit or at least mentally prepare for it first but I got reckless that time. <...> I mean, it’s the kind of scenario where it’s perfectly realistic for her to be upset, but the way she behaves is weird and over-the-top.
- from Sally Morton here, Archived version
- from Crack Van by grumpyoldusenaut, posted May 4, 2004
- 2006 comments by Predatrix
- Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, Archived version, August 5, 2013
- aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth, Archived version
- Comment by hadescavedish in the discussion on Tumblr, 18 April 2020
- Comment by locked-behind-the-walls in the discussion on Tumblr, 18 April 2020