Doppelganger (Blake's 7 story)
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"At Avalon's instigation, Avon, shortly after 'Orbit' goes to seek the clone of Blake that was abandoned with Rashel in 'Weapon.'"
This fic was published in The Road to Hell and Other Stories with Lovett's other Blake's 7 fics (listed below). All five fics focus on Avon's relationship with Blake, but they take place at different points in canon and portray different versions of events to each other. They are not intended to be read as a series.
Reactions and Reviews
i love this fic so hard! obviously that means i have less to say about it than the ones i didn't like so much, but by god - it is so lovely and beautiful.
i have said before that some of the blake's clone stuff annoys me. this fic and some others i've read semi-recently (like 'shane', which is also great) make me think that this is not true. what i actually dislike is being told that gaudaprime!blake is the clone, because for me it's the same as saying 'avon shoots blake because he's being controlled by servalan'. if i had to have an emotional reaction to that episode, then i want it to be justified by that being the real blake.
however, that doesn't mean that the idea of the clone is flawed - i was wrong when i railed against that. 'doppleganger' and 'shane' both explore the concept in a way that i adore. mostly it's avon trying to work out how much of his own person the clone is, how much of him is blake, what he feels about any of this and about blake being gone...
there's some fabulous stuff in doppleganger with avon concluding absolutely that the clone is nothing like blake, and then getting instantly proved wrong.
the story is very emotionally driven, it's almost entirely about avon's relationship with the two different blakes, but there are definitely some plot events and they're very involving and interesting. tarrant's role is relatively minor in comparison to the actual protagonists, but is great stuff for him as a character. vila's stuff is also lovely.
my one criticism, perhaps, is that rashel is a non-event for most of it. for a while i thought she wasn't going to speak at all, but it eventually became clear that she just had nothing to say to avon. i do think this is probably fair enough, in many ways, and roj does vaguely imply that although he really likes her, he's also with her because there is no one else on the planet. but i also think that if someone is going to be mrs blake (any mrs blake) they should be allowed to be interesting.the ending absolutely kills me with how perfect and beautifully pitched it is. oh, my lovely ship. when you are good, you are very good indeed.
This fic was also published in 1988 - in a zine that I own (thanks eBay), so I've taken some photographs of the fic in situ and accompanied by various nice illustrations by [Jean C.. The pictures are posted behind the cut with my extract of choice.
Suzan Lovett is one of the B-est BNFs there are (not just in this fandom - others include ST:TOS, Pros, S&H and more recently House MD). Although she's most known for her art, she is also justly celebrated for her fic, which is incredible. 'Road to Hell' and 'Gemini Rising' have already been recced here, which is good because it means I can rec this one, which is my personal favourite and one of my favourite 5 fics in the fandom, but not perhaps as accessible as RtH (which I also strongly recommend and which is more standalone). This isn't one you can leap into without watching the show, because I think to appreciate how gorgeous 'Doppleganger' is you have to know Avon and his weird, intense relationship (of heroism, disbelief and denial) with Blake.This fic is about the absence of Blake, made obvious by the presence of someone who both is and isn't him (i.e. his clone - introduced in episode 2x3), and what that absense forces Avon to do and feel - and it twangs every heartstring I have about a million times over the course of its word count. And yes, I know that is an exceptionally high word count, but the fic's really easy to read, so give it a try. And don't be put off by the epithets. In terms of emotion derived from character, and in terms of character dialogue, there are none finer than Lovett. She needed that word count, and I'm pretty sure I hugged the zine after I finished reading this fic.
Next is "Doppelganger," in which Avon, at Avalon's request, makes contact with Blake's clone. Lovett does a good job with the clone, emphasizing both his similarities and his differences to the "real" Blake, and an equally good job with Avon's ambivalent reactions to both. There are also some bits of post-"Orbit" Avon-Vila interaction which I quite liked, as well. It's not quite as well-paced as "The Road to Hell," and I found the Avon-clone interaction somewhat less compelling than the Avon-Blake interplay in the first story, but still very good stuff.
(Sex? Gen) Suzan Lovett's reputation probably proceeds her, but in case you were wondering - yes, she does deserve it. Her stories are exceptional and the emotional effect is practically second to none. 'Doppleganger' is probably Katy's favourite of Lovett's oeuvre and the one she finds it most difficult to consider as 'gen' rather than 'obvious slash without the kissing' (well, there wouldn't be any kissing. Blake isn't in it). The fic describes Avon's meeting with Blake's clone (here called Roj) slightly before the events of Gauda Prime. Roj is a fully realised character and what is so painful about this story for Avon and the reader is how much he isn't Blake - and then is exactly like Blake. In order to help us examine these traits, there's a meeting with Servalan, which also allows Tarrant and Vila particularly to shine as characters. And the ending is exquisite.
And speaking of B7 (which I like to do, for some reason) for anyone who wants to try somewhere near the very best gen that Blake's 7, The Road to Hell - my own very very favourite - is on the web ... The other four stories on the page - Doppelganger, Gemini Rising, Lightbridge (I love Lightbridge, the imagery is so perfect) and the wonderfully *black*angst Circle of Fire - are all among my favourites, but may be more difficult to get the benefit of if you've never seen the show. The Road to Hell takes one of the lesser Series 2 episodes and turns it into something rich, strange and obliquely intense.
Doppelgänger is quite simply the best story about Blake's clone that I have ever read (and that includes a couple that I wrote myself). There are shades of Blake in the clone's character as you would expect, but he is his own man and deals with Avon on his own terms.
- aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on Dreamwidth, Archived version.
- Aralias' review at Crack Van, posted December 7, 2013
- by Betty Ragan at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
- Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, Archived version, August 5, 2013
- comment at Gen Fic Crit Mailing List, May 2003
- Editorial by Judith Proctor to the 1996 edition of The Road to Hell and Other Stories