Down and Unsafe

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You may be looking for Down and Safe, a Blake's 7 newsletter.

Title: Down and Unsafe
Editor(s): Kathy Hanson
Date(s): 1984-1992
Medium: print
Genre: gen
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
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Down and Unsafe is a gen Blake's 7 anthology published in New Zealand. There are eight issues. It is a sister zine to 7th Sector.

General Reactions and Reviews

Another one with consistent good stories, and the editor does good illustrations rather than stock portraits, so they actually go with the stories. A companion zine, Seventh Sector, contains long stories.[1]
"Blake's 7 can be defined most easily as space opera, a genre that combines hard science fiction and fantasy, as well as a fair proportion of drama, hyperbole, razzle-dazzle, and local color. A good deal of the fan fiction follows this lead with more or less emphasis on fantasy or personalities (that is, local color), which is fair enough. We like B7 as it is, after all. The hard-SF fan fiction is rarer, even though its features are integral to the original B7, However, it does exist, and DOWN AND UNSAFE prints a great deal of it. Th stories tend toward the longish, rigorous, well-plotted adventure based firmly in the physical hardware of the B7 universe, or the known or extrapolated abilities of its societies. The zine has gone into six issues as of the end of 1987. Besides stories, it features cartoon series on Liberated and exScorpiated subjects (all by the inimitable Kathy Hanson, who is artist as well as publisher and writer for the zine); and frequently, interviews with some of the B7 actors, including Brian Croucher and Sally Knyvette as well as the better-known stars of the show. The fiction includes numerous short pieces, from thoughtful to profound to gimmicky, and also longer stories which give the zine its characteristic flavor..... DOWN AND UNSAFE is printed in reduced type in a digest-sized format, clear but small, which is convenient if you have good eyes and not if you don't. It's illustrated almost solely by Kathy Hanson, in a style which be seen to evolve from earlier to later issues. It is accurate, adequate and increasingly skilled, but the art is very much of one look throughout. The zine as a whole is one person's creation, even though the content encompasses considerable variety and quite a number of authors, mostly until #6, from England, Australia, or New Zealand. Nearly all the fiction is remarkable for the density and development of rational (or at least interesting) ideas. This isn't the only avenue of emphasis for a B7 zine, of course, but it's good to see a zine with a strong editorial imprint take this direction. DOWN AND UNSAFE as the name implies, shows more of the suspense and danger of B7's setting, than of happy endings. It isn't necessarily a zine to delight the fluffy-mided, but I can't recommend it too highly for those to whom B7 means something stronger, sharper, and more aware of real political issues, than the bulk of American television.[2]

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Kathy Hanson

Down and Unsafe 1 was published in 1984 and contains 66 pages.

back cover of issue#1


  • Mary Moulden, "The Eternal Game"
  • Kathy Hanson, "In the First Place" (reprinted in Interface #6)
  • Helen Pitt, "The Cache"
  • Karen McCutcheon, "The Goddess"


  • Kathy Hanson, "Down and Unsafe Looks at Roj Blake"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Tricky Trivia-- Quiz"
  • Caroline Hills, Harvey Kong Tin, and Kathy Hanson, "Xmas Through the Seasons with B7"
  • "Meet the Contributors"
  • Helen Pitt, "Wordsearch"
  • Ads for clubs & zines
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial"


  • Helen Pitt, "Reflections"
  • Kathy Hills, "Limericks"
  • Harvey Kong Tin, "The Ultra"


  • Kathy Hanson (front and back cover)
  • Harvey Kong Tin
  • Caroline Hills
  • Dave Bowden

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

The first Down & Unsafe is also the thinnest (57 non-editorial pages) and least interesting of the series, but worth getting if it's a reasonable price. None of the stories really struck my fancy, but no real duds either. The art isn't as good as in the later issues, although there's a nice portrait of Dayna on the back cover that I was taken with.

The Eternal Game - Mary Moulden Brief story about Servalan dreaming of a chess game, as the events of _Terminal_ are set in motion.

In the First Place - Kathy Hanson The crew have stumbled across a crashed Federation scoutship, and Avon, Vila and Tarrant are searching it for information - providing Avon with an opportunity to demonstrate just how cold-blooded he really is. My favourite of the zine.

D&U looks at Roj Blake - cartoons by Kathy Hanson Tongue-in-cheek look at Roj Blake and his devoted crew.

The Cache - Helen Pitt Long story (32 pages, making it over half the zine) set in third season some time after _Children of Auron_. Cally has told the crew of a cache hidden by the Auronar, holding the information on techniques such as telepathy and cloning. Things go wrong during the attempt to retrieve it, and Vila is stranded on the Ice Age planet where the cache is hidden. I'm not that taken with the story, particularly as I don't agree with the author's view of how strained the relationship between Avon and Cally is, and I don't buy the suggestion that Franton Jr was effectively committing suicide, not founding a colony. Others may well like it, though.

Reflection - Helen Pitt One page poem, accompanied by a rather nice Suffering Avon illo.

The Goddess - Karen McCutcheon Short piece about Vila asleep on the flight deck of Scorpio. Does he only dream of Cally, or is it something more?

Xmas through the seasons with B7 - cartoons by Kathy Hanson I do like the one of Servalan waking up on Christmas morning to find a wind-up Avon in her stocking...

Limericks - Kathy Hills Sequence of limericks about the crew.

There's also a trivia quiz, "meet the contributors", and editorial.[3]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Harvey Kong Tin
back cover of issue#2

Down and Unsafe 2 published in 1984 and contains 82 pages.


  • Mary Moulden, "Blackout"
  • Karen McCutcheon, "Only Mistaken" (4 pages)
  • Kathy Hanson, "Sanctuary [Part One]" (35 pages)
  • Susan Clarke, "A Moment out of Time" (5 pages)
  • Helen Pitt, "Under the Weather" (6 pages)
  • Moira Dahlberg, "To Cheat Fate" (reprinted from The Star Change) (2 pages)


  • Kathy Hanson, "Getting to Know Your D.S.V." (6 pages)
  • Kathy Hanson, "Teleporting for Beginners" (6 pages)
  • Kathy Hanson, "The Quiz" (1 page)
  • "Meet the Contributors"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial"


  • Julie Stigter, "Reflections on the Past" (1 page)


  • Harvey Kong Tin (front cover)
  • Kathy Hanson (back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[Sanctuary]: There was a story in the New Zealand zine "Down and Unsafe" by anti-slasher Kathy Hanson and I'm so glad I didn't rule out her work because of her politics. She wrote a novella called "Sanctuary" which I recommend with my highest possible rating. Get it, read it, flip out over it. Mostly Avon but her Blake matches him punch for kick. I hope she's still writing though I haven't seen anything new for a while.[4]

First the good - 'DOWN & UNSAFE 2'. New Zealand's first (or rather, second) B7 zine - format - prof, printed A5 reduced, 84 pages £1.80 (UK), Loads of artwork and some hilarious cartoons (mostly by Kathy Hanson - its editor). The cartoon theme on helpful hints for teleport operators was great. Some really good stories,

particularly a 2 part serial by Kathy Hanson which I really cannot wait to read the end of in D A U 3. This is not a very specific review as I loaned my copy to a friend who has disappeared with it, but I enjoyed the zine so much I wanted you all to know. (Ed - I'd agree with that).[5]

A5 digest zine, readable but not wonderful print quality. Several stories, reasonable to excellent. There's also a fair bit of art, average to good, mostly by the editor Kathy Hanson, including some amusing cartoons. It also has a quiz and one piece of poetry.

Note that the longest story (35 of the 74 non-editorial pages) is part 1 of 2, so you'll need to have Volume 3 to enjoy around half the page count of this volume. I gather from the editorial in volume 3 that letters of complaint persuaded the editor to put novellas in their own stand-alone zine for future issues:-) This is the only story where you'll have to buy more than one volume of this zine series. It's well worth it.

Blackout - Mary Moulden

Nice SF story about Jenna being set adrift by accident during hull repairs, and having to create a way for _Liberator_ to find her under difficult conditions. I liked this a lot, especially as it's rare to see a piece of fanfic that's genuine SF. I have a vague recollection of seeing that solution in a pro SF story, but this sort of thing is a standard hazard for people who read lots'n'lots of SF - it's all been used before...

Only mistaken - Karen McCutcheon

Vignette applying one of Cally's sayings to fourth season Blake.

Getting to know your DSV - Kathy Hanson

Selection of cartoons on the perils of learning to use an unfamiliar spacecraft.

Sanctuary - Kathy Hanson (Part 1 in this issue, part 2 in issue 3.)

Excellent novella with the second series crew having to deal with a group of desperate people who are trying to hide their colony from the Federation - and who are determined to have Avon's help in protecting themselves, regardless of his opinion on the subject. This is a thoughtful story looking at both sides of the dilemma. Lovely characterisation, and the h/c fans will enjoy this one, especially part 2.

Teleporting for beginners - Kathy Hanson

Selection of cartoons on the perils of learning to use an unfamiliar form of transport.

A moment out of time - Susan Clarke

The third season crew find Blake, but life isn't that simple. Doesn't do a lot for me, in part because I don't find Avon's behaviour and Cally and Vila's acquiescence plausible.

Under the weather - Helen Pitt

Vila is complaining about being bored, so Dayna and Cally find something for him to do... Short and amusing.

To cheat fate - Moira Dahlberg

(previously published in "The Star Change and other stories) Vignette set during _Rumours of death_, showing that you can't cheat fate.[6]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Harvey Kong Tin
back cover of issue#3

Down and Unsafe 3 was published in 1985 and is 96 pages long.


  • Helen Pitt, "The Further Adventures of Mary Sue" (5 pages)
  • Sheila Paulson, "Promises"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Sanctuary, Part Two" (48 pages)
  • Helen Pitt, "Intruder" (6 pages)
  • Mary Moulden, "Changeling" - part of a trilogy in "Down and Unsafe": 1: The Changeling (issue #1), 2. Flotsam of War (issue #4), 3. The Last Invader (issue #5) (2 pages)
  •  ?, Trialogue (3 pages)


  • Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 4th Season, Part 1: The Shows" (4 pages)
  • Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 4th Season, Part 2: Behind the Scenes" (6 pages)
  • Kathy Hanson, "The Quiz"
  • Joanne Stone and Kathy Hanson, "The Scorpio Interview" (10 pages)

(interview with Brian Croucher, Paul Darrow, and Michael Keating, at Scorpio 2)

  • "Meet the Contributors"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial"


  • Denise Habel, "Reflections in Starlight"
  • Helen Pitt, "Trialogue"


  • Harvey Kong Tin (front cover)
  • Kathy Hanson (back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[The Further Adventures of Mary Sue]: The all-too-self-aware heroine of this piece of meta-fiction is, as one character points out, "the walking definition of the word 'ordinary.'" Not a genius, not a rebel leader, not over-attractive, she's "useless" to the characters she hopes to attract. But she isn't without her own brand of power: paper and a typewriter, with which she wreaks revenge on those who spurn her.[7]

[zine]: A5 digest zine, readable but not wonderful print quality. The print quality is better than in my copy of issue 2. This one's largely fiction and art/cartoons, but there's also a quiz, a few pages of poetry, and an interview with three of the actors.

Note that the longest story (48 of the 93 non-editorial pages) is part 2 of 2, so you'll need to have Volume 2 to fully enjoy around half the page count of this volume. I gather from the editorial that letters of complaint persuaded the editor to put novellas in their own stand-alone zine for future issues:-) This is the only story where you'll have to buy more than one volume of this zine series. It's well worth it.

The further adventures of Mary Sue - Helen Pitt

I think the author had just read one too many Mary Sue stories... Amusing look at how Avon and Vila might really react to a Mary Sue trying to involve herself with them.

The 4th season - the shows - Kathy Hanson

Cartoons reinterpreting some of the episodes. I particularly liked Dorian's creature getting sniffy about being expected to merge with a bunch of thieves and murderers:-)

Promises - Sheila Paulson

Brief look at Blake immediately after Star One, and why he's decided not to go back to the Liberator.

Sanctuary - Kathy Hanson (Part 2 in this issue, part 1 in issue 2.)

Excellent novella with the second series crew having to deal with a group of desperate people who are trying to hide their colony from the Federation - and who are determined to have Avon's help in protecting themselves, regardless of his opinion on the subject. This is a thoughtful story looking at both sides of the dilemma. Lovely characterisation, and the h/c fans will enjoy this one, especially part 2. The second part includes a half page summary of part 1, but I'd strongly recommend getting both parts together, as some of the impact is lost if you haven't read the first part.

The 4th season - behind the scenes - Kathy Hanson

Selection of cartoons about what Vere Lorrimer had to deal with as producer of series 4. Some nice giggles.

Intruder - Helen Pitt

Third season story in which Vile is woken up by mysterious noises on the flight deck. He very bravely goes to investigate, but finds nothing. The noise he makes wakes up the others, who are cruel to him. The last line of the story tells us what the noise actually is. Interesting idea, tedious and implausible in the execution.

The Scorpio interview - Stone/Hanson

Interview at the Scorpio 2 con, with Brian Croucher, Paul Darrow and Michael Keating. Lots of fun, some interesting titbits, and well worth reading.

Changeling - Mary Moulden

Very short, very well written, piece from the point of view of an Andromedan who survived the battle at Star One and ended up in a life capsule on a planet called Terminal, desperately looking for a local intelligent lifeform it can replace. I don't think you actually need any more explanation for Avon's series 4 behaviour than what we see happening to him on screen, but this is an excellent suggestion as to why his behaviour changed after Terminal. There are more stories in this series in later issues of Down and Out, and the Andromedan changeling is a very sympathetic character.[8]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, Kathy Hanson
back cover of issue #4

Down and Unsafe 4 was published in 1986 and is 149 pages long.

The editorial:

Kia Ora, Yup ... late again folks ... but at least this is a bumper-size edition thanks to lots of contributed stories, those wonderful people at Scorpio who arm-twisted their con guests Into giving the interviews and to Jacqui, Sheelagh and Gareth for submitting graciously and making themselves heard above the sound of my knocking knees. Other much-appreciated interview victims were Sally Knyvette and Brian Croucher. But you'll have to wait for issue 5 to find out what they had to say. If you want a hint in Sally's case, have a look at the cartoons! As for the outrageous Mr Croucher - well, you'll Just have to get the zine and see for yourselves, bare feet, shades, T-shirt and all!

On the subject of cartoons ... well I was on that subject two sentences and one paragraph ago ... I'd best make It clear that the second series in general and 'Star One' in particular, are great personal favourites of mine. All backhanders are therefore done with great affection ... honest! Producing this zine is a labour of love, even if most of the labour is done between midnight and two in the morning amidst a welter of bad language, with the eyelids propped open with matchsticks and a bloodstream that would assay out at 90% caffeine. It's all worth it if you folks out there like at least some of what you are reading and don't think your hard- earned cash/dole money entirely wasted. This build up is an unsubtle plea to get feedback from you fans out there. Good or bad, brickbats or bouquets, we'd like to hear from you so how about it, huh?

A final thanks to all the zine's contributors for their hard work. To Mary for the printing and marketing of 'D&U' in England goes more thanks and more again for all the people who helped the zine reach a wider audience by helping sell it at cons in the USA and the UK.

Until next time ... Aroha!
  • Bryn Lantry, "Ekalb" - fiction (3)
  • Mary Moulden, "Flotsam of War" - fiction - part of a trilogy in "Down and Unsafe": 1: The Changeling (issue #1), 2. Flotsam of War (issue #4), 3. The Last Invader (issue #5) (7)
  • Virginia Turpin, "Diversion" - fiction (15)
  • Sue Bursztynski, "The Hollow Crown" - fiction (20)
  • Kathy Hanson (mostly), "The Scorpio 3 Interviews: Gareth Thomas and Sheelagh Wells" (26)
  • Helen Pitt, "Underdog" - fiction (39)
  • Yvonne Hintz, "Journey into Mystery" - fiction (55)
  • Kathy Hanson (mostly), "The Scorpio 3 Interviews: Jacqueline Pearce" (97)
  • Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 2nd Season, Part 2, * Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 2nd Season, Part 1: The Shows" - cartoons (104)
  • Moira Dahlberg, "A Nice, Secure Planet" - fiction (110)
  • Kathy Hanson, "Ensala" - fiction (129)
  • Graeme Buckley, "The Only Reasonable Alternative" - fiction (140)
  • Lindsay Thomson, "Letters Home" - fiction (144)
  • "Meet the Contributors" (148)
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial" (150)
  • Ads for zines and clubs


  • Kathy Hanson (front and back cover, all inside art)
  • Harvey Kong Tin (Liberators and computer graphics)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

Fat (150 pages) digest zine, fiction plus cast interviews, cartoons, and art. Some very nice stuff in this one. I didn't like everything in it, but I think the zine's well worth getting.

Ekalb - xBryn Lantry (Short, chilling take on what was *really* happening in Gauda Prime.)

Flotsam of War - Mary Moulden (Sequel to "the Changeling" in issue 3. The Andromedan Skaan has killed Avon and taken on his shape and memories in order to survive in a hostile galaxy. To avoid detection, he was forced to take on Avon's identity so thoroughly that he cannot revert to his own form. Now he is finding that he took on more than he bargained for, with Avon's personality controlling his actions more often than he is comfortable with. In this story, Skaan/Avon encounters a small group of refugee Andromedans. There's some nice backstory for the Andromedans, and a very interesting foreshadowing of Gauda Prime. I liked this story very much - an interesting concept, and well-written.)

Diversion - Virginia Turpin (Comedy-mystery set in the fourth season. The crew are raising money by cheating a casino. The casino has its own defences... Lightweight but entertaining.)

The 2nd Season: the shows - Kathy Hanson (A selection of entertaining cartoons about the second season.)

Gareth and Sheelagh Thomas interview - Kathy Hanson (mostly) (An interview with Gareth and Sheelagh during the Scorpio 3 con in 1985. Well worth reading.)

The Hollow Crown - Sue Burztinski (AU vignette in which President Grant is remembering the pile of bodies she had to climb. Short but still manages to pack in some good characterisation for several characters.)

Underdog - Helen Pitt (Poor Vila is being picked on by the others, who are all unpleasant people who are mean to him without reason until he gets a comedy routine partner - and then are mean to him again once he loses his partner. Yes, there's a plot in there as well somewhere, but I got so fed up with the "poor Vila" routine the first time I read this zine that I'm not going to re-read the story to remind myself what the plot actually was. There is only so much character-bashing I can take in one zine-reading session.)

Journey into Mystery - Yvonne Hintz (Mystery novella, with the Liberator crew being double-crossed - and their double-crossers having problems of their own. Some minor flaws in the story, but I enjoyed it.)

Jacqueline Pearce interview - Kathy Hanson (mostly) (Another interview from the Scorpio 3 con, again entertaining and informative.)

The 2nd Season: Star-One-liner revisited - Kathy Hanson (I didn't find these as funny as some of Kathy's cartoons, but I did enjoy the take on the line "Fortunate, really, he'd be difficult to love.")

A Nice, Secure Planet - Moira Dahlberg (A look at the rebellion from the viewpoint of an ordinary Federation citizen - and how her view changes after she experiences firsthand the Federation's ruthless ways. Her accidental involvement with the third season crew leads her to be declared a traitor without trial, leaving her no option but to find sanctuary on a non-Federation world. I liked this one, although the years since the zine was published have made the ending rather less interesting than it would have been before the flood of stories with the same theme.)

Ensala - Kathy Hanson (Late in the fourth season, Avon, Dayna and Tarrant are captured by High Councillor Ensala. Ensala has a political alliance and information to offer Avon, but will Avon have the chance to take it?)

The Only Reasonable Alternative - Graeme Buckley (Avon's last thoughts as he stands over Blake's dead body.)

Letters Home - Lindsey Thomson (Letters from a Federation trooper to his mother. This one does a very nice job of showing how the Federation's troops believe themselves to be the good guys.) [9]

Issue 5

front cover of issue #5, Kathy Hanson
back cover of issue #5, Kathy Hanson

Down and Unsafe 5 was published in 1986 and contains 136 pages.


  • Judith Seaman, "This Ill-wresting World"
  • Yvonne S. Hintz, "Four Pleasures"
  • Mary Moulden, "In Search of Identity" - part of a trilogy in "Down and Unsafe": 1: The Changeling (issue #1), 2. Flotsam of War (issue #4), 3. The Last Invader (issue #5)
  • Sheila Paulson, "Margin for Error" (reprinted from Starlines #3)
  • Sue Bursztynski, "The Price of Silver"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Particularly Merciful"
  • Helen Pitt, "Under the Influenze"
  • Linda Terrell, "The Heart of the Matter" Reprinted in Southern Seven no.1


  • Kathy Hanson, "The Scorpio Interviews: Brian Croucher"
  • Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 3rd Season, Part 1: The Shows"
  • Kathy Hanson, "The Scorpio Interviews: Sally Knyvette"
  • Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 3rd Season, Part 2: The Newcomers"
  • Zine ads
  • "Meet the Contributors"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial"


  • Kathy Hanson (front and back cover)
  • Harvey Kong Tin

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[This Ill-wresting World]: Worst Blake stories very written? How long have you got? Judith Seaman's "This Ill-Wresting World" could easily go on my bonfire.[10]
[This Ill-wresting World]: A much better-written ending to the episode Blake.[11]

[zine]: Another nice fat digest zine from the Down and Unsafe series. This one is fiction, two cast interviews, and cartoons. One dud story, and one well-written one that I personally dislike, but still excellent value for money.

This Ill-wresting World - Judith Seaman

Thirty pages of AU PGP from Judith Seaman in which Blake tells Avon that of course he hasn't betrayed him, it's a cover. Then Soolin is murdered, and Avon is blamed. Eventually Avon realises who the murderer is and what the motive is. Blake intends to kill Avon and his crew and collect the bounty to finance his cause.

Personally, I think it's a complete load of bollocks. I simply can't reconcile this with Blake's behaviour as portrayed on-screen in the first two series. It's also at odds with Chris Boucher's stated intentions. But at least it's competently written bollocks, unlike far too many Blake-bashing stories I've read recently. I dislike the story because I find it utterly implausible, but those who share the author's dislike of Blake will probably enjoy this one.

Four pleasures - Yvonne S Hintz

One-pager with Vila discovering that practical jokes are great fun until he's the one on the receiving end. Very funny, and nice characterisation.

In Search of Identity - Mary Moulden

Third in the Changeling series. This story follows the path of Threha, one of the fugitive Andromedans hiding in human form, as he makes plans for his revenge on Skaan (the Andromedan who found that he took on more than he bargained for when he stole Avon's form and personality). It's an intriguing look at things from the point of view of an Andromedan. There's a suggestion that Threha is about to discover the hard way that he's judged Skaan's irregular behaviour too harshly. Highly recommended. I think there's probably enough backstory worked into this instalment that it would work as a standalone, but ideally you should read the series in order.

Margin for Error - Sheila Paulson (reprinted from Starlines; S2; A-hc) Blake blames Vila for setting off an alarm during a raid, resulting in a nearly fatal injury to Jenna. Blake's fear for Jenna makes him lash out unfairly at Vila, who decides to leave the ship. Then an emergency forces the group to work together... Some nice h/c between Vila and Avon in this one.

The Price of Silver - Sue Bursztynski

Avon persuades Jenna to leave Blake on Cygnus Alpha - and discovers too late that he does have a conscience after all. A short, believable "what if".

Particularly Merciful - Kathy Hanson

After LeGrande is arrested on Atlay, the evidence she and Glynd had put together is be shipped to the President. It goes astray on the way, ending up on a planet hostile to the Federation. There are quite a few interested parties who want to retrieve it...

Well-written story, with some excellent, believable interaction between Jenna and Travis. Recommended.

Under the Influenze - Helen Pitt

Series 3 - Avon sets Vila up as bait in an unnecessarily convoluted plan to blow up a Federation installation by exploiting the religious beliefs of the natives. The plot device is an interesting concept, but implausible and poorly executed. Two of the pages in my copy were interchanged, which didn't help matters. Yet another story which demonises one or more of the rest of the crew in order to make the author's beloved one look better. There aren't actually that many in D&U, but unfortunately this was the third issue in a row with a badly written one for Vila, and it was setting my teeth on edge by this point.

The Heart of the Matter - Linda Terrell

Blake has survived Gauda Prime, but not with his mind intact. He's dealt with the shock of Avon trying to kill him by deciding that he himself is Avon, the man who knows how to cut off emotion. Which means that Avon has to lead him back to reality...

Considered rationally, it's not all that plausible, and the writing could do with some polishing. But I like the story for the way it (deliberately) puts the boot into the "Oh, poor Avon, having to deal with the trauma of nearly killing me" cliche . There's some nice h/c, and the story is remarkably slashy for those as likes that sort of thing. Some flaws, but a lot of fun.

Brian Croucher interview - Kathy Hanson Sally Knyvette interview - Kathy Hanson

Two more interviews from the Scorpio 3 con in 1985, and like the other interviews in D&U, well worth reading.

D & U Looks at the 3rd Season, Part 1: The Shows D & U Looks at the 3rd Season, Part 2: The Newcomers

Cartoons by Kathy Hanson. Nothing outstanding, but generally amusing.[12]

Issue 6

front cover of issue #6, Kathy Hanson
interior of issue#6

Down and Unsafe 6 was published in July 1987 and contains 148 pages.



  • Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 1st Season, Part 1: The Shows"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Interview: Scott Fredericks"
  • Kathy Hanson, "D & U Looks at the 1st Season, Part 2: Enter Kerr Avon"
  • Zine ads
  • "Meet the Contributors"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial"


  • Virginia Turpin, "No Strings"
  • Denise Habel, "A Final Reckoning"


  • Kathy Hanson (front and back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

As usual, a very fat digest zine, packed with fiction and the odd bit of non-fiction - one interview, two sets of cartoons and a couple of pieces of poetry. All of the fiction is at least reasonable, and there are a couple of excellent pieces. Dayna fans should note that there's a long story focusing on her, and there's also one that should please Servalan fans.

Payment in Kind - Jean Graham

Tarrant has been abandoned in port by Avon after a quarrel. He can't return to Xenon base in a hired ship without giving away the position of the base - or risking the base defences. Taking up an offer of a piloting job from an old friend is risky, but seems better than sitting around waiting for Avon to relent and collect him. It's a bad decision...

Nice characterisation, and a suitably grim tone for fourth season, even though Tarrant is safely reunited with the crew.

A Few Minutes More - Rebecca Ann Brothers

Brief conversation between Blake and Avon after the end of Countdown.

Corner of the Circle - Leigh Arnold

Vila is reconciled with Avon post-Orbit, courtesy of a treasure hunt and a mysterious old man. Doesn't quite tie in with canon, where Vila is still not happy with Avon by the time of _Blake_, but nicely written.

In Passing - Virginia Turpin

The thoughts of the crew the morning after on Terminal. I personally don't think that Avon was going mad by then, or that Cally had been propping him up, but it's competently written.

Season 1 - the shows - cartoons by Kathy Hanson

There's a fairly good chance you'll find something that *you've* thought when watching an episode once too often to take it seriously. :-)

Soul and Mind - Terri Black

_Weapon_ from the point of View of the clone. Intriguing and well-written.

Means, Motive, Opportunity - Greame Buckley

After the Andromedan War, the new President has time to attend to her non-military Presidential duties - including the Terra Nostra. A novel explanation of Servalan's driving motivation, but it ties into canon very well. Excellent story for Servalan fans. Recommended.

The Froma - Sheila Paulson

Part 4 of the Jabberwocky stories. I haven't read this version, as I prefer to read the edited collection volumes. 32 pages, but the zine has 146 pages of fiction, etc, so it's not too big a chunk if you already have another copy of this story.

Scott Fredericks interview - Kathy Hanson

The creator of the delectable Carnell was interviewed at the Scorpio 4 con in 1986.

Season 1 - Enter Kerr Avon - cartoons by Kathy Hanson

A less than romantic look at our favourite embezzler >grin<.

Art of Persuasion - Jean Graham

One of the scenes we didn't see on screen - just how did Blake persuade Avon to hold the gap against the Andromedans?

The Sounds of Earth - Vanessa Kelly

The crew encounter an ancient space probe, which turns out to be more familiar than they expected. A nice look at how people from a post-Apocalypse culture might react on encountering the recordings of a vanished environment from the NASA space probes.

Debt of Dishonour - Kathy Hanson

Action-adventure focusing on Dayna. Dayna is impatient to try out a new weapon she's designed, and ignores Avon's orders to wait before testing it. The resulting accident leaves Vila recovering from a potentially lethal radiation dose, and a burnt-out component vital to the full functioning of the Star Drive. The quest for a replacement part takes them to a Federation base, where a guilt-stricken Dayna surrenders herself to the base commander in exchange for the part. Only there's a little more to it than that.

Nice to see a story focusing on Dayna, and there's an excellent original character in the form of the base commander. It also provides some backstory for Hal Mellanby and Servalan. Some minor flaws in the execuation, but recommended.[13]

Issue 7

Down and Unsafe 7 was published in August 1988 and contains 148 pages.

In the editorial, Kathy Hanson mentions that she is "organizing NZ's first SF media con (pending)." This con was ConFederation.

front cover of issue #7
back cover of issue #7
From the editorial:

Kia Ora,

It's taken a whole year to get this 7th issue into print. And I said it would be out faster than the last one? You must have misheard! It's issue #8 that will be out faster than this one.[14] That's okay, you're forgiven.


On the credit side it's also been a year in which "Down and Unsafe" was nominated at "Best B7 zine" three times in the USA. I'll pass lightly over the fact that it didn't exactly win anything, but, considering the competition -- zines that are the size of telephone directories, colour covered, offset printed (sigh!) etc this says a lot for the quality of the work contributors have entrusted to me. Keep those stories coming in folks! No "slash," no explicit sex, no everybody-is-dead "Blake' stories (too depressing) but other than that go for it."


  • Mary Moulden, "The Last Invader"
  • Jean Graham, "Phantoms"
  • Karen Vernon and Samantha Hayman, "A Simple Duty"
  • Leigh Arnold, "Backwards to the Future"
  • Jeanne DeVore, "A Rock and a Hard Place"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Edge of Betrayal"
  • Sophia R. Mulvey, "Bad for the Pitcher"


  • Kathy Hanson, "Interview: Janet Lees Price"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Blake II: The Wrath of Klyn"
  • Mary Christine Mars, "Interview: Paul Darrow"
  • Ads for zines and clubs
  • "Meet the Contributors"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial"


  • Rebecca Ann Brothers, "Smuggler's Blues"


  • Kathy Hanson (front and back cover)
  • Samantha Hayman

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

[Edge of Betrayal]: Tarrant is discovered to have been originally an agent from Central Security sent to infiltrate the crew. Now the others must decide if he has stayed true to his original mission or has really defected and is therefore worthy of their trust. A series 3 story with good characterisations.[15]


And then there is DOWN & UNSAFE 7 - which is a VERY annoying zine for me, because none of the writers of all these brilliant tales sent their stories to Horizon!! Seriously, I think this may be the best D&U yet - and with 145 pages, great value for money. Tricky to specify highlights, as literally EVERYTHING is excellent, so one has to mention stories that were extra excellent... such as Kathy Hanson's own story 'Edge of Betrayal' It's about Avon & Tarrant & Del Grant and I can't say more without giving away the plot, but lots of twists and it's brilliant. Also in No. 7 is Clary Houlden's final episode in her Avon/Andromedans saga - excellent. 2 good interviews - Paul D & Janet L P, Kathy's amazing cartoons -this batch entitled 'Blake - the Wrath of Klyn'. A lovely time warp type story 'Backwards to the Future', a Jenna/Avon adventure, a Blake and his past catching up with him (or is it?) story, and a nicely done 'spoof type' story - all very good. The only one I wasn't keen on was the last story, but as it's only 3 pages long, and it wasn't bad anyway, we won't worry about it. My advice - order a copy... as soon as you've bought all of ours, of course!!! [16]

[zine]: Continuing in a fine tradition of fat zines with fiction plus interviews. Excellent value for money, even by the standards of this series.

The Last Invader - Mary Moulden Fourth and final part of the Changling series. Wonderful story, although I think you'd need to have read the previous stories to enjoy it. The series premise is that the Andromedan Skann killed Avon on Terminal and took his place, using a permanent change that allowed it to take on Avon's body, memories, and rather more of his personality than it had bargained for. By the start of this story Skann is tormented by loneliness - he's a member of a highly social species, but Avon's persona, and surviving personality, deny him the social contact he needs. Vena has survived the attack by the Muller android, and Skann takes her to a safe planet. Vena discovers his true nature, but offers him comfort and understanding - and a possible solution to his dilemma. But Skann has no idea what, or who, is really waiting for him on Gauda Prime...

Phantoms - Jean Graham Blake encounters one of the children used to convict him, and discovers that the children were sent to penal colonies to make sure that nobody could check their stories. He resolves to rescue the others, but find complications on the way. A reasonable story in general, but the basic premise - that the children were sent to penal colonies - requires major suspension of disbelief on my part. That's the sort of thing that would only cause people to start asking questions.

A Simple Duty - Karen Vernon and Samantha Hayman Meta-fic which merrily sends up a lot of staple cliches from fanfiction, and one or two from canon as well. Almost but not quite too long to sustain the joke, and if you like that sort of humour it's very, very funny.

Backwards to the Future - Leigh Arnold Post-Warlord Avon finds himself back in time, around the time of Seek-Locate-Destroy - and as he discovers, in a subtly different universe where he, not Cally, was captured by Travis on Centero. He fears he's going mad, but as the reader soon discovers, his consciousness has swapped with the Avon of that time - who now has to deal with missing years, a missing Liberator, and a missing Blake. The story explores how one's foreknowledge and the other's lack of three years of pressure and paranoia might change their respective futures, and does it very well.

A Rock and a Hard Place - Jeanne de Vore Standard "trapped in a cave with only each other for company" with Avon and Jenna having to get themselves out of a nasty situation, but nicely done, and good characterisation for Jenna. Worth reading.

Edge of Betrayal - Kathy Hanson What should have been a relatively simple parts-finding mission for Tarrant goes horribly wrong when he runs into people who recognise him from his previous career. And gets even worse when they recognise the teleport bracelet. As a result the Liberator crew link up with Del Grant's group, but when the joint mission goes wrong Tarrant is accused of being a Federation agent. Is he or isn't he? The story stretches the boundary of plausibility on occasion, but it's well written and will keep you reading.

Bad for the Pitcher - Sophia R Mulvey Nice short in which we get a glimpse of what Gan thinks of Avon.

Smuggler's Blues - Rebecca Anne Brothers Poem from Jenna's POV, which wasn't really to my taste but has some good Jenna characterisation.

Interviews - this issue it's one with Janet Lees Price, and another with Paul Darrow. Lots of interesting stuff and worth reading

Cartoons - this issue's are about Klyn [17]

Issue 8

Down and Unsafe 8 was published in April 1992 and contains 117 pages. All of the art is by Kathy Hanson.

front cover of issue #8, Kathy Hanson
back cover of issue #8, Kathy Hanson
from issue #8, Kathy Hanson


  • Jenny Gallagher, "Monologue for Two" (reprinted from Centero)
  • Heather Cosh, "Flesh and Blood"
  • Jenny Gallagher, "A Noble Gesture" (reprinted from Centero)
  • Jeanne DeVore, "Time"
  • Kathy Hanson, "The Fate That Falls"
  • Sue Bursztynski, "Causes"
  • Margaret Lambert, "Hiatus on Gold"
  • Jenny Gallagher, "Nightmare Dreaming"
  • Sheila Paulson, "Legends Never Die"


  • Kathy Hanson, "Oh, Poor Jenna!"
  • Kathy Hanson, "1990 Calendar Cartoons"
  • "Meet the Contributors"
  • Kathy Hanson, "Enditorial"


  • Lyn de Montalk, "A Love Song"

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

It's a good zine all round, but I choose it for 'The Fate that Falls' by Kathy Hanson. A superb alternarive universe story in which they fail to board Liberator as the life support systems start failing and are forced to return to the London and become prisoners on Cygnus Alpha. Brilliant characterisation, especially of Avon and Blake. Sharp, devious and intelligent, both of them. Vila has an unexpected edge too.[18]
The last of the Down & Unsafe zines, and another good one. 117 pages of fiction and cartoons - no interviews in this issue. One very long story at 59 pages, taking half the page count, but plenty of variety in the other stories even if that one's not to your taste.

Monologue for two - Jenny Gallagher

Short in which Vila's been dumped in a prison cell with a man called Avon, prior to being shipped out to Cygnus Alpha. Avon's not much for talking...

Flesh and blood - Heather Cosh

Avon interferes with a woman's plan to assassinate Servalan because it puts him at risk. He agrees to help her try again when she tells him what her motive is - she's Servalan's sister... Nice story for Servalan fans.

A noble gesture - Jenny Gallagher

After Gauda Prime, Jenna discovers that Avon has been brain-damaged by interrogation.

Time - Jeanne de Vore

A man lying in a minefield can think about a surprising number of things in eight seconds...

The fate that falls - Kathy Hanson

Long AU that starts with Jenna, Avon and Blake unable to control the life support systems on Liberator, and having to return to the London. The London has its own problems, because Avon left a surprise package in the computers which in combination with the damage from the debris around Liberator has left the ship crippled. Betrayal and counter-betrayal follow, and when the convicts are finally dumped on Cygnus Alpha, Avon only survives because Leylan has asked Blake to protect him - and because Vargas has decided to take Blake on as his second-in-command. Through twists and turns, most of the people who canonically get off Cygnus Alpha onto the Liberator have done so by the end of this story.

It's a refreshingly unsentimental look at the crew, and is particularly notable for making early first Avon as self-centred as he's shown in canon, without turning him into a monster. Another nice touch is the way Blake is made a good deal harder by his experiences, as he himself points out during the escape from Cygnus Alpha. The story also picks up a lot of details from the relevant episodes, weaving them into the story. And there's a good role for Gan.

Causes - Sue Bursztynski

Bran Foster is planning a rescue of his protégé, but discovers that it's already too late.

Hiatus on Gold - Margaret Lambert

Orac has lied to Avon about the Zerok currency being worthless - but he does have a very good reason for doing so.

Nightmare dreaming - Jenny Gallagher

News coverage of Blake's supposed crime gives Avon nightmares. It's up to Cally to keep him sane. Some nice characterisation.

Legends never die - Sheila Paulson

After Gauda Prime, Avon has managed to find himself a comfortable, reasonably safe bolthole on a Federation-controlled world. But he can't keep himself from interfering when he sees another idealistic youjng rebel about to make a mess of things.

A love song - Lyn de Montalk

One page poem - an unnamed crew member thinking about Avon after they've made love.

There's also a selecton of cartoons, and some nice art, all by Kathy Hanson.[19]


  1. Katspace
  2. Pressure Point no.5
  3. from Helen Patrick/WebCite
  4. from Rallying Call #16 (January 1996)
  5. from a fan in Horizon Newsletter #13 (January 1985)
  6. from Helen Patrick/WebCite
  7. from THE MARYSUES], addendum to 150 Years of Mary Sue, posted around 1998, accessed 4 June 2012
  8. from Helen Patrick/WebCite
  9. from Helen Patrick/WebCite
  10. from a fan in Rallying Call #14 (1995)
  11. from Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  12. from Helen Patrick/WebCite
  13. from Helen Patrick/WebCite
  14. Actually, it ended up being almost four years. This may be in part due to the role that Hanson played in The Blake's 7 Wars, and the rapid decline of that fandom.
  15. from Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  16. from Horizon Newsletter #21 (December 1988)
  17. from Helen Patrick/WebCite
  18. Lysator, 1996
  19. from Helen Patrick/WebCite