Gambit (Blake's 7 anthology published in the US)

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See also Gambit (disambiguation).

Zine
Title: Gambit
Publisher: Peacock Press
Editor(s): Jean Graham
Date(s): 1987-1996
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links:
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Gambit is a gen Blake's 7 anthology published in the US.

flyer for the first issue: "We've got 300 (whew!) pages, or thereabouts, of fun-filled (wallow-filled, art-filled, filk-filled, you-name-it-we-got-it) fanzine. Material from the famous and the infamous (er...unfamous?), including Wortham & Rosenthal, Leigh Arnold, Bryn Lantry, Carol Wyke, Deb Walsh, Denise League and a veritable cast of thousands. Well, dozens anyhow. Order your copy now and see: take advantage of our no-fault, money-back guarantee. (There are no faults in this zine [all typos are merely figments of your overactive imagination]; your money is backed by A) the gold standard B) the crown jewels or C) None of the above; and we guarantee 300 pages (or thereabouts), makes an absolutely incomparable doorstop.) So, what are you doing reading this nonsense when you could be ordering a zine full of all that good stuff?????"
the 1987 Gambit t-shirt! -- art by Leah Rosenthal

General Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

The earlier issues weren't so good, but it has improved greatly over the years (for one thing, the editor has found someone who can write poetry). A good, decent read, and you may be tempted to go and get back-issues to catch up on the occasional serial.[1]

1993

The first two Gambits were lovely. I've been impressed by the quality and variety of stories, art and poetry, as well as the various odds and ends like

puzzles and filks. The quite logical way the stories are arranged allows the reader to pick a season at will, which is pleasant. I like the cover for the first issue, Rosenthal's "Decadence." I should have the rest (of the issues) before #10 is out. Getting a package from you is usually enough to make me put aside any chores or homework for several hours. I zip through the whole zine when I first get it, then, a few days later, go through and re-read without that frenzy. You can pick up a lot more on second or third readings that adds to the story. [2]

A mention of Elaine Lucas, whose letter in the LOG section of Gambit 9 has simply forced me to buy Gambits 1, 2 and 3. Thanks a bunch, Elaine! Haring read all of them in a fairly short space of time, I have to confess that my personal overall favourite is #8.1 wonder if this is because it was the first one I read or does it just come down to its rather wonderful front cover?!

Honestly finally this time, thanks also to you, Jean, not only for such lovely work as Mirage, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but also for the effort that you put into furthering the concept of fandom. How you find the time and energy amazes me. I hope you realize that there are a lot of very grateful people out here. [3]

1994

I never read the recently-criticized issue #3, but I have read every issue since #5 and own all but one of them. (I've also contributed to every issue beginning with #9, which obviously I wouldn't do if I didn't consider the zine a high quality product.)

The stories are always nicely laid out by season, the value in terms of cost is possibly the best in the fandom--ditto the reliability and speed with which orders for the zine are filled. The artwork ranges from gorgeous to mediocre (but it's easy to overlook the mediocre when you have the gorgeous). The only thing I've pretty consistently disliked in GAMBIT is the poetry. (But I may eventually take action to partially remedy that by submitting some of my own to a future issue. Jean Graham, take notice: you have been warned :-).)[4]
Since I enjoy discussing fanfic, I thought I'd put my two bars of gold press latinum (oops, wrong universe) into the discussion of zine/story likes and dislikes. In most cases, I'll talk about stories rather than zines (except for zines devoted to a single novel), because I find with few exceptions that I'll like some stories in a zine and dislike others. That's certainly true of GAMBIT, which has come under discussion here. I don't have GAMBIT #3 (I was out of fandom for awhile and picked up with GAMBIT #9), but the GAMBITs I've seen have the usual mix of stories I do enjoy and stories I don't enjoy. As is the case with many zines, Jean could use a couple more good artists, though her cover artist is one of fandom's talents. In recent issues of GAMBIT, I've particularly liked Alice Aldridge's Travis/Jenna stories. I'm not a Travis fan, by any means, but Alice's stories are superior in construction, with lots of plot, action and characterization. If I have to name a story I don't like in the most recent issue, it would be Judith Seaman's. Not that it's the worst written, but her attitude toward Blake dampened my enjoyment. IMHO, if you don't like a given character, you should simply refrain from writing about him or her, instead of distorting the characterization seen on screen. Obviously, YMMV. Another positive thing I have to say about GAMBIT. Jean does a fantastic job of keeping her prices down. This issue was nearly 300 pages and cost only $13 before postage. You don't often see a zine that size for that price and I appreciate Jean's work in keeping her prices down...she must have a incredibly reasonable printer. I've been looking at production prices, since I'm thinking of doing another zine myself and I don't really see how she does it. Share your secrets, Jean? [5]

Issue 1

Gambit 1 was published in October 1987 and contains 292 pages.

front cover of issue #1, Leah Rosenthal: "Decadence"
back cover of issue #1, Rita Terrell: "Vila Bear" -- possibly a hoka
from the first issue, a mini-glossary of fan terms and how this fan defined them at this point in time

The art is by Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Michael Williams, Denise Loague, Mel Henshaw, Heather M. Saavedra, April Giordano, Mary Gerstner, S. Molnar, Carol Wyke, and Rita Terrell (back cover).

From the editorial:

BLAKE'S 7 fandom is growing in the U.S. of A. Rapidly. If my mail and the borrowing rate on my tape and zine collection are any indication, 'new souls for the faith' are signing on daily, and not since STAR TREK mania struck in the early 70s have I seen this much enthusiasm for a science fiction series. It's not surprising in one respect: B7 is the first show I can honestly say I like even more than STAR TREK, and Mr. Spock will have to pardon such sacrilege from a first-generation Trekkie, but it's true. Lack of convincing special effects notwithstanding, B7 is by far the more believable, well-written, consistent and addictive of the two.

The chemistry that makes BLAKE'S 7 special is not unlike that of STAR TREK, though the shows themselves are vastly different. ST's crew was very much a family, and there-in lies the secret to its enduring popularity. Blake's crew, though they'd never have admitted it, constituted a family too, and we armchair psychologists can have all sorts of fun with father/mother/sister/brother symbols and just who represented what — but maybe that should wait for another column!
  • A Word from Ye Editor, editorial by Jean Graham (3)
  • Prelude, fiction by Kim Wigmore (Pre-Series A) (4)
  • A Place to Start, fiction by Sophia R. Mulvey & K. Rae Travers (Series A) (7)
  • Ode to Cygnus Alpha, fiction by Kindya, Wigmore, Hutchison, and MacManus (Series A) (23)
  • The Gates of Paradise, fiction by Katherine A. Ring (Series A) (24)
  • Keeper of the Trust, fiction by Jean Graham (Series B) (37)
  • poem by Mary Pat Cheney (Series B) (60)
  • untitled poem by Michael Williams (Series B) (61)
  • Do Not Forsake Me, filk by Vickie McManus, to the tune of "MTA" by the Kingston Trio (Series B) (61)
  • Hi-Ho, Liberator Away!, fiction by Mary Gerstner & April Giordano (Series B) (62)
  • Carey, fiction by Pearl Stickler (Series B) (68)
  • Vacation, fiction by Jill Grundfest (Series B) (83)
  • Diara, fiction by Kathy Kipper (Series B) (105)
  • Assume a Virtue, fiction by Jo Mulvey (Series B) (120)
  • B7 Trivia by Jean Graham (Series B) (137)
  • Seems Like Old Times, fiction by Leah Rosenthal & Ann Wortham (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #4) (Series C) (139)
  • The Avons, fiction by Wolf Klauschie (Series C) (152)
  • Revenge of the Thaarn, fiction by Mary Gerstner & April Giordano (Series C) (153)
  • The Fool and the Cynic, poem by H. Saavedra (Series C) (163)
  • Through His Eyes, poem by H. Saavedra (Series C) (163)
  • The Box, fiction by Debra Bruce (Series C) (164)
  • Bravery is for Fools, fiction by Nancy Klauschie (Series C) (165)
  • Nothing Rhymed, fiction by Carol Bede (Series C) (180)
  • This Tainted Universe, poem by H. Saavedra (Series C) (207)
  • Might Have Beens, poem by xBryn Lantry (Series C) (reprinted from Lodestar #3) (208)
  • Let Me Put You Down, filk (sung by Avon) by Dree Nagel, to the tune of "Let Me Love You Down" by Ready for the World (Series C) (209)
  • Avon and the Widow, fiction by Susan Murrie Eoff (Series D) (210)
  • Of Mice and Men, fiction by Carol Wyke & Sue Christian (Series D) (225)
  • When You Forget Your Lines, Ad Lib, fiction by Leigh Arnold (Series D) (229)
  • A Lie, poem by xBryn Lantry (Series D) (reprinted from Lodestar #2) (244)
  • Nowhere Else to Go, fiction by Jean Graham (Series D) (245)
  • Post Orbit Reflections, filk by Holly Hutchison , to the tune of "Heaven on Their Minds" from "Jesus Christ Superstar" (Series D) (258)
  • A Change of Mind, fiction by Alicia Ann Fox (Series D) (259)
  • I Am a Rock (lyrics to the Simon and Garfunkel tune) (Series D) (260)
  • Sanctum, fiction by Alana McShane (Series D) (261)
  • Nightmare's End, poem by H. Saavedra (Series D) (263)
  • Confessions of a Lonely Man, fiction by Dree Nagel (Series D) (264)
  • Heroic Youths, fiction by H. Saavedra (Series D) (265)
  • untitled poem by Michael Williams (Series D) (266)
  • Kriss Koss Puzzle by Sandy Lyons (Series D) (267)
  • Auntie Sleer, fiction by Susan Murrie Eoff (Series D) (268)
  • Memory, fiction by Melissa Honig (Post-GP/Other Dimensions) (269)
  • Chiaroscuro, fiction by Carol Wyke (Post-GP/Other Dimensions) (275)
  • Call the Dead, fiction by Dee Beetem (Post-GP/Other Dimensions) (278)
  • B7 Bloopers by Jean Graham (284)
  • You Are Receiving This Zine Because (292)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

I didn't expect such a hefty zine and I was very good about rationing the stories, a few a night. It was pleasing to see the quite high quality of the work you published. Of course, I had my favourites such as VACATION, BRAVERY IS FOR FOOLS and KEEPER OF THE TRUST, oh, and that wonderful spoof in the restaurant. However, to my surprise, I found myself moved the most by a poem, THE LIE by Bryn Lantry. It is so evocative I can almost see Avon sitting there trying to rationalise what he'd done. [6]

I like how the stories are published in a chronological sequence. That way I don't have to try to remember which season the story. I'm reading is set in.

HI-HO LIBERATOR AWAY! I like a good humorous B7 story and this sure is one. Something to turn to after all those angst-filled post Gauda Prime stories, it was fun seeing Cally "get her way" at the end.

CARY was a haunting little story. I had half-guessed the ending but it was still a stunner.

OF MICE AND MEN was another welcome story, especially being set in the 4th season. It was a rather grim time for our heroes. Nice to see them relaxing for once.

I liked the listing of bloopers in the back. Now I have to find time to look back through my tapes so I can see them first hand. [7]
I loved the chronological order because I have just started watching B7 and I haven't seen the entire series yet. I read the series A and B parts of GAMBIT and thoroughly enjoyed them. I liked the heavy psychological emphasis of the stories. I liked the idea of Avon being a telepath in A PLACE TO START, and I would like to see more stories with this idea. I loved CAREY, it was a strong emotional story, and I liked the way the Avon-Vila relationship was shown. I also liked the dark tension, reminiscent of the series itself in ASSUME A VIRTUE. REVENGE OF THE THAARN was an excellent continuation of DAWN OF THE GODS. I like stories that highlight Cally and other less-seen, less-explored characters. [8]
In the way of praise: I would like to single out NOTHING RHYMED by Carole Bede and CAREY by Pearl Stickler. I loved your trivia feature and the article on the show's bloopers. You had a few I hadn't noticed before. On the negative side, I would have to say that I didn't care much for either DIARA or VACATION. Both of these seemed to miss the feel of the show altogether. I would also like to see longer length stories, though I'm sure that they are hard to come by. [9]

Your KEEPER OF THE TRUST had an absolutely marvelous beginning, one of the most fascinating I've seen. The idea of Blake having Avon involuntarily committed, so to speak. I was wondering if this dream treatment would be a precursor of GP. How would Avon feel toward Blake after it was all over? How would Blake feel about it all, since it was obvious he was already having second thoughts there on the planet? Alas, I never found out, because you sort of changed plots on mid in mid-story! Dirty pool!! The next thing I know is Avon is happily dreaming about Anna, and Blake is standing around getting rained on, and then it shifts into a standard "escape the trap" story. You never did really resolve that wonderful conflict... I suppose it would be difficult to impossible now that it's been published, but I still wish I could ask you to go back and finish the story you started. [See RECONTRE in this issue. -- ED]. I was overall under-whelmed with most of the art. There were a couple of good ones, but on the whole I wasn't impressed. I do remember a picture of Servalen on page 123 in which she appears with her left hand on the top of her right arm.

I was especially taken with MEMORY by Melissa Honig. It was an original idea, an interesting point of view, and very well done.

One thing I was pleased to note in your submission guidelines for GAMBIT is no cross-universe. BLESS YOU!! I have only ever seen one cross-universe story that I thought was worth reading... but that one had all characters pretty well in character, and also had an honest-to-gosh story to tell. I told Deb Walsh in a a LOC on B7 Complex 12, with the B7/Robin Hood cross, that neither side really did anything. It was just a case of the author saying and "here they are meeting." [10]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Mary Gerstner
back cover of issue #2, Michael Williams
inside front cover of issue #2, Mary Gerstner
flyer for issue #2, Michael Williams , also printed in Trust, Like the Soul

Gambit 2 was published in April 1988 and contains 294 pages.

The art is by Mary Gerstner (front and inside front covers), Michael Williams (back cover), Denise Loague, S. Molnar, Judith Boguslaski, Craig Kozeluh, Cynthia Case, and Lynne Alisse Witten.

From the editorial:

Welcome to GAMBIT 2. We had high hopes of laser printing this issue, but alas, until our computer experts unravel the continuing mystery of how to make this computer (an AMSTRAD PCW8256 transfer an ASCII file to one that will speak to the laser printer's computer, (Avon, where are you when we need you???) it will simply have to wait until issue #3. We have tried to make this one a little more consistent in typeface and style: hopefully it won't look quite as 'ragtag' as GAMBIT 1 did.

[snipped]

There's a niggling question I've always wanted to ask fanzine readers and writers at large: why do so many zines consistently capitalize all the letters in Orac? It wasn't an an abbreviation, and the scripts I have print it as Ora, not ORAC, so why? Hardly of world-shattering importance, I know, but I've always wondered...
  • The Man Who Went Outside, poem by Cheryl Beresford (2)
  • From Ye Editor by Jean Graham (3)
  • A Fine Bargain, fiction by Debra Bruce (pre-series) (4)
  • Imago, fiction by Carol Wyke (pre-series) (9)
  • Mss Found in a Bottle (Labeled Soma), fiction by J.S. Mulvey (series A) (22)
  • Mss Found in a Bottle (Labeled Soma) II, fiction by J.S. Mulvey (series A) (26)
  • Seeing Red, fiction by April Giordano & Mary Gerstner (series A) (31)
  • Summer Vacation, fiction by April Giordano & Mary Gerstner (series A) (35)
  • The Chains of Freedom, fiction by Jeanne DeVore (series A) (40)
  • Blind Luck, fiction by Nancy Klauschie (series A) (73)
  • art "from our younger readers" (by Craig Kozeluh) (85)
  • Logic Problem: The Vogon Bar and Grill, puzzle by Sandy Lyons (86)
  • Explosion, fiction by Leigh Arnold (series A) (87)
  • Point of View, poem by Teresa Ward (119)
  • The Adventures of Jake's 7, fiction by Mike & Leslie Williams (series B) (120)
  • Jailbreak, fiction by Susan Murrie Eoff (series B) (124)
  • Cash on Deliverance, fiction by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, with thanks to Marc Thorner (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #4) (130)
  • Dance of Death, filk by Alicia Ann Fox, to the tune "Clementine or Marine Hymn" (135)
  • Rencontre, fiction by Jean Graham, (sequel to "Keeper of the Trust" in Gambit #1) (series B) (137)
  • When You Rise to the Occasion, fiction by Rebecca Reeves (series B) (142)
  • Lord of the Dance, filk by Sharyn Sobel (151)
  • That Which Evades, fiction by Kathy Coy (series B) (152)
  • Quote Puzzle, puzzle by Sandy Lyons (163)
  • Yesterday: Memories of Today, fiction by Linda Knights (series C) (164)
  • Casual Observer-- Soolin, poem by Teresa Ward (192)
  • Word Search: The Enemies of Blake's 7, puzzle by Sandy Lyons (195)
  • The Night Wind, fiction by Sheila Paulson (series C) (196)
  • Alone: I Hope!, fiction by K. Rae Travers (series D) (203)
  • Where Have All the Rebels Gone?, filk by Sharyn Sobel, to the tune "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (211)
  • Force of Attraction, fiction by fiction by Meg Garrett (series D) (212)
  • Avon, filk by Val Restal, to the tune of "Laura" by B. Joel (213)
  • A State of Mind, fiction by Pearl Stickler (series E, post GP) (214)
  • Renewal, fiction by Alinda Alain and CarolMel Ambassador (from the Vengeance series) (series E, post GP) (220)
  • A Matter of Trust, fiction by Cindy Rancourt (series E, post GP) (222)
  • Phantasm Projection, fiction by Michael Wiliams (series E, post GP) (234)
  • Shadoas with No Substance, fiction by Sophia R. Mulvey (series E, post GP) (236)
  • Exile, poem by Alyns Lawchilde (237)
  • Aftereffects of a Dream, fiction by Alana McShane (series E, post GP) (238)
  • Outside Impression, fiction by Peggy Hartsook (series E, post GP) (241)
  • Before the Crash, poem by Teresa Ward (245)
  • The Wall, fiction by Mary Gerstner (series E, post GP) (247)
  • To Tear Down the Wall, fiction by Mary Gerstner (series E, post GP) (267)
  • Figure Puzzle, puzzle by Sandy Lyons (287)
  • Zine Page (285)
  • Letter Column (289)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

It contains poems, filks, puzzles and drawings, and a great editorial which lists some prime examples of spell checker substitutes for personal names - I particularly enjoyed Avon / Avoid and Teleport / Teapot (What a pity there are no B7 characters called Marion and Angus because I know from experience they turn into Moron and Anus)

In "A Fine Bargain" a teenage, poverty stricken Vila is hired by Avon to pick locks. Vila proves he knows what he's doing, Avon educates him on the value of access codes. They tentatively initiate their familiar (to us) relationship.

"Imago" is an intelligent account of Servalan's affair with Don Keller during her time as a cadet under Kasabi. Servalan shows her ruthlessness and also gets hurt. Excellent story, making good use of the episodes from which it arises.

"MMS in a Bottle (Labelled Soma)" is not as you might think a Vila story. It is told in the first person by an unknown who has been marooned on a planet and gets an unexpected visitor in Avon. The Sequel gives Avon's side of the encounter.

"Seeing Red" is a comic short and has Zen showing Avon who is boss.

"Summer Vacation" is a lot of fun. The crew have a great time at Space City and Jenna gets to keep the Harley Davidson.

"Chains of Freedom" is a longer story. Avon finds himself unexpectedly involved with a woman and her local politics when Blake goes politicking. Quite good, though the ending is predictable.

The central idea behind "Blind Luck" is simple but unusual and I can't say much more without giving it away. A beguiling Avon/Vila story.

Avon's past is explored in "Explosion". The crew get involved with a rebel computer set up, and the story turns into a whodunnit with Cally as the detective.

"Jailbreak" begins with Blake and Avon in a detention cell, getting rescue from an unexpected quarter. Not very convincing.

In "Cash on Deliverance" Vila is mesmerised by the delectable wares offered by the Galactic Dome Shopping centre. However his shopping habits save Liberator from attack. An inventive Bizarro 7 story.

"Rencontre" is an epilogue to Keeper of the Trust in Gambit 1. Blake confronts an elusive Avon after a mission has gone wrong. They have a revealing and antagonistic exchange that ends with ominous words. A very, very good short story.

"When You Rise to the Occasion" has Vila having to support Avon and rescue everyone else. Quite good, but the ending is a bit of a cop-out.

"That which Evades" is a Travis story. Servalan is having the original Travis re-conditioned , and has a series of encounters with the doctor in charge about the way Travis is developing.

"Yesterday: Memories of Today" starts from the premise that Avon and Dayna are especially close. They teleport down to rescue a psychologically disturbed Blake, and the remaining crew have a hard time locating them. Finally, and ironically with Vila's help, Blake comes to a decision. Quite a believable story, if you buy the initial Avon/Dayna angle and go for log cabin by the lake scenarios.

"Night Wind" is a brilliant Avon/Tarrant story set some time after the Teal Vandor Convention, wonderfully acute is its descriptions of Tarrant's feelings and attitudes towards his crewmates. He goes to see Avon late at night and they talk warily. This is probably the best story in the zine.

"Alone; I Hope!"; while the rest of the crew are away, Avon and Vila get a message from Blake, but is it genuine? Avon meets an old acquaintance and so does Vila. The plot could have done with a bit more development, especially over motivation.

"Force of Attraction" is a one pager whose point I missed.

"A State of Mind" is a PGP where everyone seems to have survived. However there is a sting in the tail.

"Renewal" is a brief excerpt from the "Renewal" series which starts with Avon's killing Servalan. It proceeds at a bewildering gallop, but then I've not read any others from this series.

"A Matter of Trust" is an emotional PGP. Avon has collapsed mentally and physically, Blake tries to help him readjust. Quite good

The next three stories are all brief PGPs. "Phantasm Projection" is a macabre one-pager where Servalan gets more than she expected. "Shadows with no Substance" gives an alternative version of what was happening to Avon. In "Aftereffects of a Dream" Avon and Vila are rescued by one of Blake's people.

"Outside Impression" is told by the child in a rebel family which works with the Scorpio crew. Straightforward with no surprises.

In "The Wall" Avon and Soolin survive, plot with other rebels and get enmeshed in one of Servalan's plots. Next comes "To Tear Down the Wall"; to discuss the plot would be to give away the surprises of the first story.[11]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Judith Boguslawski. A fan in 2016 said: "#I like how the artist has caught Avon's non-comitted expression #and yet with that *teeeny* hint of a raised eyebrow #to suggest he is quite amused after all #JENNA STANNIS #Roj Blake #cally #VILA RESTAL #Kerr Avon #vintage b7 art #fanzines #fanfiction #other people's lovely art." [12]
back cover of #3, Adrian Morgan

Gambit 3 was published in 1988 and is 294 pages long. On the front cover: "Holiday Snaps- Freedom City."

Fiction:

  • Tom Beck, "Keep Your Eyes on the Ball" (5 pages)
  • Teresa Ward, "Reflection" (2 pages)
  • Mary Gerstner & April Giordano, "Oh, Gee!" (10 pages)
  • Barbara Adams, "Blake's Boots" (21 pages)
  • Teri Sarick, "Avon's Angles" (2 pages)
  • J.S. Mulvey, "Hall of Mirrors" (10 pages)
  • Meg Garrett, "Up to Scratch" (5 pages)
  • Vina, "Alien Mysticism" (5 pages)
  • Michelle Moyer, "The Big Gamble" (4 pages)
  • Maureen Tornes, "The Genetics of a Joke" (13 pages)
  • Teresa Ward, "Star One Revisited" (1 page)
  • Jean B. Hubb, "By My Own Recklessness" (12 pages)
  • Nancy Klauschie, "Stealing's Quicker" (7 pages)
  • Maureen Torens, "No Man Is an Island" (4 pages)
  • Mary Gerstner, "To See the Fool" (20 pages)
  • Diane Rabuano, "Where's Blake?" (3 pages)
  • Diane Rabuano, "Hairy Aliens" (sequel to "Where's Blake?") (2 pages)
  • Cindy Rancourt, "Farewells" (3 pages)
  • Julie Shook, "Professional Courtesy" (15 pages)
  • Jeanne DeVore, "The Search" (14 pages)
  • J.L. Walker & K.D. Swan, "Vilagan's Island" (4 pages)
  • Rebecca Reeves, "Shuttle" (6 pages)
  • Patricia Dunn, "Spirits Past & Future" (8 pages)
  • Ann Wortham & Leah Rosenthal, "Shortcut to Somewhere" (28 pages)
  • Steve Oualline, "A Better Man" (5 pages)
  • Sheila Paulson, "Limbo" (After Gauda Prime, Avon escaped temporarily to the 20th century.) (27 pages)
  • Sophia Mulvey, "Wayward Son" (24 pages)
  • April Giordano & Mary Gerstner, "Embers" (3 pages)
  • Carol Mel Ambassador, "Contract" (3 pages)
  • Adrian C. Morgan & Brendan O'Cuillane, "Experiment" (4 pages) (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Dee Beetem, "Double-Take" (3pages)
  • Sandy Lyons, "Full Circle" (9 pages)
  • Debra Reynolds & Peggy Hartsock, "Specters of the Past" (9 pages)

Nonfiction:

  • Jean Graham, "Editor's Nattering"
  • Amee, "The Episodes" (puzzle)
  • Sandy Lyons, "Quotation Puzzles" (puzzle)
  • Amee, "Word Search" (puzzle)
  • Amee, "Hodge-Podge" (puzzle)
  • Letters of Comment
  • Puzzle answers
  • Zine ads

Poetry:

  • Teresa Ward, "The Final Act"
  • Paulie Kay, "The Plan"
  • Amee, "Soliloquy of the Aging Idealist"
  • Sharyn M. Sobel, "I, Roj Blake"
  • Sharyn Sobel & Maurine Torrens, "Bonnie Hi Ho Rebel"
  • Amee, "Images"
  • Paulie Kay, "Freedom"
  • Sue Ann Sarick, "Gan"
  • Paulie Kay, "A.W.A.T.A.L."
  • Paulie Kay, "Alone"
  • Mary Gerstner & Maureen Torrens, "Death's Song" (filk)
  • Sue Ann Sarick, "Vila"
  • Sharyn M. Sobel, "Where Have All the Rebels Gone?" (filk)
  • Jennifer Tifft, "Negative Space"
  • Sue Ann Sarick, "Avon II"
  • Teresa Sarick, untitled
  • Paulie Kay, "The Leader, the Expert, & the Fool"
  • Teri Sarick, "Courier"
  • Teri Sarick, "Liberator Avon"
  • Alyns Lawchilde, "Silent Plea"
  • Sharyn Sobel, "Filksong" (filk)

Art:

  • Mary Gerstner, Leah Rosenthal, Judith Boguslawski (front cover), Kathryn Anderson, Michael Williams, Adrian Morgan (back cover), Suzie Molnar, Elizabeth Gagliano, Denise Loague, Lynne Alisse Witten, Jean Graham & Pearl Stickler.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for Limbo.
[Shortcut to Somewhere]: The difficulty with AUs is that once you get into a no-holds-barred situation, where you can make *anything* happen, rather than sticking to the known constraints, people can indulge themselves at the expense of the story. Thus you get the many AUs where one decision is changed and *poof* - instant utopia. I prefer subtlety, the working out of the consequences of changing one variable and seeing what happens next. I suppose, then, that my criteria for good AU's is similar to that for good crossover stories (or perhaps it is just that my enjoyment is similar) - seeing what Our Heros would do when faced by a different situation (or by different characters, as in the case of crossovers) but trying to keep them as close to the normal characters as you can. That's why I liked "Shortcut to Nowhere" [sic] by Leah and Annie (the only good story in Gambit #3...) because they were still the same bunch with the same problems, and they *didn't* know how much better off they were in this universe than in the original one. It wasn't an instant utopia.[13]
[zine]:

GAMBIT 3 is attractive and a “good read.” I am impressed by the number of imaginative fan writers contributing to these zines. It hardly seems fair to single out a few stories, but it is also impossible to mention all. Having gotten myself off the hook (I hope): “Keep Your Eye on the Ball” is clever and enjoyable; “Villagan’s Island” a scream; “Farewells” a touching vignette; stories by the Mulveys (one person or two?) [Two, and not related so far as we can tell. —Ed.] imaginative and well-written; “Experiment” clever, ‘To See the Fool” a well- done rewrite of the series; and on and on. I do like the way you divide the stories by series and the fact that you keep to your publishing schedule.

Concerning Steve Oualline’s editorial, I wholeheartedly agree. How anyone can become so proprietary about work involving characters which they have ’stolen* is beyond me. I do have one reservation; if someone’s story is being sold for profit under another name, then the author has a right to complain. Of course, the author has no legal rights, certainly not worth the expense of fighting for, so he/she might as well say, “that’s the breaks.” Let’s keep the fun in fan writing, as Steve so eloquently said. (I have read some stories, though, over which I thought Terry Nation should sue for defamation of characters!) [14]
[zine]: I really enjoyed GAMBIT 3. It’s rare that my favorite thing in a zine is the poetry, but it was wonderful — particularly Paulie Kay’s “Alone” and Jennifer Tifft’s “Negative Space,” both of which aren’t just good B7, but damn good poetry. More, please! [15]
[zine]: I think issue 3 of GAMBIT is the best yet The new look is quite wonderful. Nice printing. There were so many good stories in #3, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I believe Sheila Paulson’s “Limbo” is it. I really came to care for her character, Meredith. I’m glad the ending was a hopeful one for her and the Scorpio crew as well. My other favorite stories were “Wayward Son” (I like the way Avon came to grips with his family situation and the rebellion), “Shortcut to Somewhere” (a strong Vila story is always a treat, especially from Wortham and Rosenthal), “Professional Courtesy” (it’s nice to have Cally and Vila in the spodight for a change), “The Search” (the relationship between Avon, Cally and Vila is handled believably — this could have been an aired episode), “Blake’s Boots” (inspired madness), and “Up to Scratch” ("You broke Travis!" — oh giggle). I also enjoyed the artwork from Leah Rosenthal (the “Phil Collins bounty hunter” illo struck me as perversely funny), Kathryn Anderson and Judith Boguslawski (her illos for “Limbo” were great and I loved the “holiday snaps” cover). Being a frustrated artist, I enjoy seeing some well-done artwork. Hope Rosenthal, Anderson and Boguslawski continue to contribute to GAMBIT. [16]
[zine]:

Snapshot effect of the front cover by Judith Boguslawski and her illos for “Limbo” and “Wayward Son.” Adrian Morgan’s Travis on the back cover is excellent Kathryn Anderson’s Gan (p 13) is the best I’ve ever seen of the man. Also liked her Cally (p 40), Soolin (p 279) and Dayna (p 298). Her drawings of the women are very, very good. Other faves are Michael Williams* Vila (p 137), Elizabeth Gagliano’s Blake (p 20) and Avon (p 284) and Suzie Molnar’s “That Was Then, This is Now (p 290-291). Mary Gerstner’s work has a nice, surrealistic feel to some of it (p 73 & 75) and I always love Leah Rosenthal’s work, with the Phil Collins look-alike bounty hunter (p 187) a special favorite. Sandy Lyons’ puzzle on p 262 was great fun. Finally figured it out on the first try! Stretches the old grey matter a bit Thought Steve Oualline’s tongue-in-cheek letter was funny. And where can I get a copy of the Avon photo used on p 178? That is a nice shot of him. [Write to Pearl Stickler, c/o our address.— Ed.]

The humor seemed a little forced this time but there still were some hilarious stories. “Double Take,” where everyone is someone else except for poor Avon, still brings a smile to the lips. “Blake’s Boots” was good too. I can see the rebel leader padding around in stocking feet Doesn’t everyone?

Others that I enjoyed were: “Up to Scratch,” “Hall of Mirrors” (nice idea of historical ancestors), “Farewells,” “Professional Courtesy,” “The Search,” “A Better Man,” and “Embers” (disturbing to think Avon would be as mad as Dorian to use the cave).

The reason I felt “The Genetics of a Joke” was good is because this is how I think Avon would try to handle a drug addiction: on his own and not too wisely. “Limbo” is not your average post-Gauda Prime story. Nor is it in any way Mary-Sueish (thank god). In fact, the heroine is one of the more level-headed women I’ve read. It’s written by Shelia Paulson, whose body of work has been so consistently fine that I would buy a zine just on the strength of her name. There are only a few other writers I can say the same for. “Wayward Son” had an interesting concept... that Avon had been mindwiped as a child. The returning memories could have caused some of the instability we witnessed in the fourth season. The character of the half-sister didn’t seem necessary for the story. And what about Avon seeing his brother as a grown man when Zen activated the ship’s defense mechanism? Supposedly, his brother, though much older than 6-year-old Avon, still died while in his teens. Is there a conflict there or am I missing something? The two stories placing emphasis on Orac were properly disturbing. What payment will Orac extract from Avon for freeing him in “Contract’*? A chilling idea. And the little computer better hope Avon never finds out how Orac has been manipulating the crew in “Experiment” I don’t think Avon will take it very well, especially after both the Blake and the Malodaar incidents. Hmmm. In “Full Circle,” Avon claims he didn’t kill Blake because the Blake they all knew was already dead — changed into something less admirable or noble perhaps. Well, the same could be said of Avon. Everyone changes... good or bad. To stay the same is to stagnate. But I’m glad his crew stole a ship and followed him. In keeping with the zine’s release during the holiday season, there was “Spirits Past and Future.” Didn’t the original story show the character what the world would be like if he’d never been bom? (Or am I confusing that with another story?) [You’re confusing it with another story — that’s the 1946 Frank Capra film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” — Ed.] In that case, there would have been no future for Blake and the others. There were too many times when Avon’s fix-it abilities with the computers and Liberator were the only things that saved them.

One of the most interesting types of stories are the alternate universes. Change one event and see what happens from there. In GAMBIT #3, there were four, I believe. In “Shuttle,” Avon succeeds in killing Vila over Malodaar. Then he goes after Servalan in anger, hurt and revenge, only to be told the Vila he killed was a clone. (Made when? He seemed to have the memories of the original up to that moment. I would think it would take longer than a few hours to make one and when were they separated? Did he know he was a clone?) Avon is given a second chance when he saves the real Vila and therefore we have a happy ending. But there are a lot of questions left over. ‘To See the Fool” was another alternate tale. Avon loses an eye during the torture by Shrinker, finds Sula/Anna Grant is still alive, Blake with Del Grant, and himself unable unable to kill the woman he loved. Talk about hell. “Was it worth it, Avon? Did it change anything?” Possibly not, but I would like to read a sequel. What happens next?

My two all-time favorites were also alternate universes. “Shortcut to Somewhere” has Vila fleeing Avon only to find Blake wasn’t the haven he’d hoped for. The events on Gauda Prime nearly repeat themselves, making one. wonder if history doesn’t try to ’correct’ changes. Annie and Leah have given us another strong portrayal of Vila. “Stealing’s Quicker” is how I wished the series had progressed. After the alien invasion, Avon talks Vila into ’taking over’ as the leader of Liberator’s crew, thus avoiding most of the conflict and presures between Tarrant and Avon. Vila takes to the responsibilities of leadership quite well and everything seems to function a lot smoother. Again, another universe asking for a sequel. [It’s in this issue. —Ed.] Would Vila with Avon backing him give up control if they found Blake? Would the disasters of Auron’s destruction and Anna’s death still happen?

That’s why science fiction is my favorite reading/watching/writing genre. It’s not always predictable; there are infinite ways a story can go from any point and you have an entirely new culture or alien(s) that is completely different to the human way of thinking. Diversity![17]
[zine]:

Have thumbed through GAMBIT 3 and see you have received some really outstanding artwork (love the cover “snapshots!” Judith Boguslawski does capture the B7 characters very well!) as well as work by some new writers. New to me, anyway.

On GAMBIT 2: Your Editor’s Column was a real hoot! All the people who have looked through the zine have had to read your “Entertainment” page! Artwork—I like Ms.

Molnar’s style and Judith Boguslawski’s artwork is very professional. I have a gripe about some zine editors who send me contributor’s guidelines requesting only “the best artwork” be sent to their zine! That really turns me off because some artists might not be the “best” but they might have a very unique style.

Favorite stories in GAMBIT 2 so far have been “Force of Attraction,” “A State of Mind,” “Shadows Without Substance,” “Outside Impression” (the first B7 fan fic I’ve read in which one of the main characters from B7 wasn’t telling the story. I’d like to read more stories that are done in that style), and “The Night Wind” (a very touching story which proves that Tarrant and Avon can get along — contrary to what some people believe. I’m not a devout Tarrant fan but I think there has been too much “Tarrant bashing” and writing Tarrant “out of character” in fan fic! [18]
[zine]:

I read “Limbo” last. It seemed at first glance a real Mary Sue. But Sheila Paulson wrote it, so I figured she could pull it off. And she did! Merry was just as vulnerable, and Avon ended up helping her as much as she helped him. The whole thing was very believable. So it wasn’t a Mary Sue at all.

You’ve been too busy: missed seeing anything you’d written. [I was working on MIRAGE, blatant plugs for which are liberally sprinkled below. — Ed.]

I love how the covers always manage to tie into the episode “Gambit.” This one was gorgeous. [19]
[zine]:

I loved GAMBIT 3. It really looks sharp! There's so much crammed into it, yet all is neat and readable. If I ever decide to do a zine. I'm using your layout service... (and having my head examined! I know editing a zine is lots of hard work—better you than me!) Love that cover! How about a portfolio next time, with more snapshots from the Liberator/Scorpio family album? Wow, lots of alternates and PGP this time. And a lot of it is fairly upbeat. My favorite kinds of story. (I have to admit that “The Wail," etc. were well-written stories, but way too depressing! I think of GP as just another cliffhanger ending, not The End!)

“Stealing’s Quicker" — Interesting idea, very well-done. But I can’t see Vila being happy in this role for the long term. ‘To See the Fool"—Neatly-plotted story, with excellent dialogue. Rather unfair to Tarrant, though. He could be thoughtless at times, but he didn’t have an ounce of real malice in his body. Tarrant is more in character in “The Search" and “Shuttle." He liked to talk tough, but when push came to shove he never abandoned a crewmate. “Spirits Past and Future"—Loved this one. Avon as Scrooge — priceless! “Shortcut to Somewhere"— Wonderful, as expected from Ann & Leah. Those two have a good grasp of 4th series crew dynamics. A happy ending — Blake and Avon both put in their places. Lovely illos, too — it's always special to see a story illoed by its author. “Limbo" — A tired old plot, but Sheila makes it all work out, adroitly avoiding the usual Mary Sue traps. Very cute, picturing Avon watching TREK on the VCR! “Wayward Son"—Nice. A genuine happy ending. The Federation may not be overthrown, but Avon has what he really wants: safety and wealth! “Embers"—Oh, yes. If it all has to end on GP, this is the way to do it -- Servalan gets hers. “Experiment"—Innovative. Would like to see a sequel to this. I’m fond of artificial intelligences; it's nice to see Orac given sympathetic treatment for a change. ‘Tull Circle"—Possibly my favorite in the zine. Characterizations were perfect. I love the way Dayna and Soolin made their own escape, while the men needed to be rescued—by Avalon! And they all end up back together. I like Scorpio's crew, so it's great seeing them all survive and go on having adventures together. I like the LOC section; it's always nice to see what others think. I would like to comment on Steve's letter, though. I like having the protective messages in zines. I am fairly new to fandom. Not too long ago, I was paying S30-S40 for $10 zines at Creation cons. Okay, so I was wet behind the ears and greener than Vim—when those messages started appearing, I got a clue! I view them as valuable caveat emptor warnings, especially for neos. [20]
[zine]:

298 well-printed pages of fanfic, indexed by series. I’ve yet to find an issue that was a dud. One of the interesting things with Gambit in general is that there’s always at least one UA fic. (Universe Alternation - something happened differently from canon and the story veers off into new directions.) As this is a type of fanfic I adore, Gambit is one of my favorite zine series. #3 has “Stealing’s Quicker” by Nancy Klauschie. At the end of Powerplay, when Vila wakes up, Avon talks with him privately with a proposal: Vila should be in charge of the crew. Avon wants the ship, but he doesn’t want to lead Blake’s Crusade, and he certainly doesn’t think he’s the person to keep all the crazies in line. He knocks down Vila’s “stupid delta” facade, pointing out all the ways the thief is the best person for the job. And Vila rises to the occasion admirably.

There’s quite a lot worth reading in this; definitely a must-buy if you come across it.[21]
[zine]: GAMBIT 3 arrived last month and kept me up all night. There were such a lot of interesting stories, poetry and artwork. I liked the cover, 'Snapshots From Freedom City.' The story that sticks out most in my mind is The Experiment by Morgan and O'Cullane. I liked it, but am still uncertain of what it means. Is it an indictment against Avon—he seems the least likely person to choose as a model for human friendship-or, in the story, a rebuke to Avon when Orac eventually tells him why it saved him (he was 'useful') as a definition of friendship. A very provocative story. [22]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, Adrian Morgan
back cover of issue#4, Kathy Hanson
flyer printed in Fire and Ice #1

Gambit 4 was published in May 1989 and is 275 pages long.

The art is by Adrian Morgan (front cover), Sonja Van den Ende, A. Hamilton, Bruce Mitchell, Suzie Molnar, Michael Williams, Jean B. Hubb, Denise Loague, Mary Gerstner, Kathy Hanson (back cover), Judith Boguslawski, and Jennifer Tifft.

From the editorial:

Those of you with word processors, please send us your material on disk with applicable system specs (Your type of computer and word processor.) We also appreciate ASCII files, if possible. We can read from many formats, either 5 1/4 or 3 1/2". If for any reason we cannot read your disk, we’ll ask for hard copy, but the less re-typing we have to do, the better for all concerned, and the fewer typos you’re likely to find in the final version of your story!

Typewriter-generated contributions are still more than welcome. We realize not everyone out there has an Orac or a Zen or a Slave...

We frequently get asked how we can produce a zine this ’fat’ for such a comparatively low cost, and it’s come to our attention, in fact, that some fans have used GAMBIT as a price-measuring rod in order to criticize editors whose zines cost considerably more. Having conducted several ’market tests’ of our own, we can tell you first-hand that there is a considerable disparity between printing/copying prices on the east and west coasts. California is an extremely competitive graphics market: 2.5 cents per page is not at all uncommon. This same price quote, however, has literally evoked laughter in east coast printshops everywhere from Boston to Miami, where prices per page were two and sometimes three times that amount.

Please don’t be too quick to judge our fellow zine-publish- ers. GAMBIT is printed under near-ideal conditions, using an employee discount well below 2.5 cents per page and produced on a high-quality Xerox 8200 auto-collating ’monster’ copier. Ye Editor works for the printing company and is thus her own printer as well as ’quality control supervisor,' cover-collator, bindery, and mailing service. We’ve managed several ’inside’ methods of saving money that aren’t necessarily available to other editors in other areas. So by all means enjoy these advantages along with us, but do keep in mind that they’re the exception rather than the rule.

the staff of GAMBIT would like to make doubly clear that two of the stories found in the ’Other Dimensions’ section of this issue are parody, and, as the admittedly tongue-in-cheek prefaces were meant to convey, should by no means be construed as personal attacks against anyone, in whole or in part As a unit, our staff avows fan-pacifism. We do this for fun. And if we can’t laugh a little at ourselves in the process, well, what’s the point in bothering to do this at all?
  • Editor's Forum, editorial by Jean Graham
  • Brothers, fiction by Paulie Kay (Series A) (4)
  • The Gambler's Bane, fiction by Mary Gerstner (Series A) (10)
  • Vila's Song, filk by Teresa Ward (20)
  • Carleen, fiction by Susan Murrie Eoff (Series A) (22)
  • The Rules, fiction by J.S. Mulvey (Series A) (25)
  • A Man of His Word, fiction by Pamela London & Holly Hutchison (Series A) (28)
  • Hammer Into Anvil, fiction by Alicia Ann Fox (Series A) (29)
  • Seven Days to Karma, fiction by Juli Cleveland (Series A) (30)
  • Roj Blake, filk, Pamela V. London (42)
  • A Fate Than Worse than Death, fiction by Cyndi Hubb (Series B) (44)
  • Soliloquy, poem by Margaret Scroggs (50)
  • Relations, fiction by Jeanne DeVore (Series B) (51)
  • The Sounds of Screaming, filk by Rosanna Filipello (63)
  • Slash?, fiction by Wolf Klauschie (Series B) (63)
  • A Question of Priorities, fiction by Sheila Paulson (Series B) (64)
  • Star Struck, fiction by Michelle Moyer (Series B) (79)
  • untitled, fiction by Steve Oualline (Series B) (85)
  • In Memorium, poem by Cindy Rancourt (91)
  • The Inmates and the Asylum, fiction by Tom Beck (Series B) (92)
  • Things that Go Bang, fiction by Nancy Klauschie (Series C) (109)
  • The Clarity of Darkness, fiction by April Giordano (Series C)(121)
  • Snips 'N' Snails 'N' Puppy Dogs' Tails, fiction by K.D. Swan (Series C) (147)
  • Realm of Darkness, fiction by Jean B. Hubb (Series C) (161)
  • Purpose, poem by Alicia Ann Fox (175)
  • Pairing Off on the Quiet, fiction Aya Katzby (Series C) (176)
  • The 12 Days of Christmas -- Sung by Servalan, filk by Rosanna Filipello (182)
  • A Light in the Dark, fiction by Mary Pat Cheney (Series C) (183)
  • Dreams Lost, poem by Teri Sarick (198)
  • Xiaodan, fiction by Catherine Kendall (Series C) (199)
  • Love Granted, poem by Teri Sarick (207)
  • Arrival, fiction Alicia Ann Foxby (Series C) (208)
  • The Knife, poem by Jennifer Tifft (210)
  • Legacies, fiction by Roxie Ray (Series C) (211)
  • Freedom's Son, filk by Sharyn Sobel & Leah Rosenthal (217)
  • Duck, Duck, Goose, fiction by K. Rae Travers (Series C) (218)
  • Unrelenting, poem by Teri Sarick (227)
  • Blake & Crew, filk by Rosanna Filipello (228)
  • Where the Shadows Are, fiction by Ana Dorfstad (Series D) (229)
  • A New Beginning, fiction by Steve Oualline (Series D) (236)
  • A Chance for Life, fiction by Kimberly Wigmore (Series D) (238)
  • Second Thoughts, poem by Teresa Ward (239)
  • Taken by Chance, fiction by Sophia R. Mulvey (Series D) (240)
  • After, poem by Teri Sarick (251)
  • 73 Kilos of Ballast, fiction by Adrian Morgan & Brendan O'Cullane (Series D) (reprinted in Double Vision) (Series D) (253)
  • Suffer Thee, poem by Alana McShane (255)
  • Rest Ye Merry, fiction by Dee Beetum (Series E) (256)
  • Crew, filk by Rosanna Filipello (257)
  • Tenth Annual Blake's 7/Marysue Convention, fiction by Teresa Ward (Other Dimensions) (258)
  • Blake's Christmas, filk by Teri Sarick (259)
  • Federation, filk by Sharyn Sobel & Jean Stevenson (260)
  • News Break, fiction by Janet Walker (Other Dimensions) (261)
  • At My Will, filk by Pamela V. London (262)
  • Conventional Warfare, fiction by Steve Oualline & Sandra Lyons (Other Dimensions) (263)
  • O'Servalan, filk by Rosanna Filipello (272)
  • Letters of Comment (273)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

[Seven Days to Karma]: Set in Series 1, this could easily have been one of the episodes of the show. Accidentally stranded in the wilderness, while the Liberator is away delivering medical supplies, Avon and Vila must trek for 7 days to reach the nearest inhabited city. The characterisations of Avon and Vila are perfect, the banter clever and the plot exciting.[23]
[zine]:

This genzine has six pre-series stories (pp 4-29) one series A (pp30-42) seven series B (pp44-107) ten series C (pp109-227) five series D (pp229-255) and one PGP (pp 256-7); a further three are listed under "Other Dimensions", and there are twenty poems.

"Brothers?" by Paulie Kay is an Avon-and-Vila-as-brothers story starting with their childhood and ending when they/'ve spent a year on Liberator. Its basic premise is that Avon is Vila's older brother but doesn't remember him because he has been mindwiped following their parents involvement with rebels; Vila escaped and became a delta. The basic idea is reasonable but the writing is a bit stilted and the action moves too quickly to let their relationship develop beyond a rudimentary level.

"The Gambler's Bane" has a young Cally involved in drug dealing and motherhood. The violent story heavily involves her father, sister and son, and ends just before she goes to Saurian Major. This is a well constructed story but I couldn't really see the Cally we know in the series. There is a sequel in Gambit 6.

"Carleen" is a short account of the death of Gan's woman. "The Rules" by J.S.Mulvey is a well above average Avon and Vila as boys encounter, in which Avon is rescued by Vila; the second half of the story involves Orbit. I don't usually get much from childhood stories but this one is written with real insight and neatly relates to the situation in which the adult characters find themselves.

"Hammer into Anvil" by Alicia Ann Fox is a one-pager describing Tarrant's thoughts as a cadet.

"Seven days to Karma" by Juli Cleveland is the only series A story. It covers familiar ground, a seven day slog through inhospitable country for Avon and Vila, with the usual unspoken camaraderie underneath the sniping. Quite enjoyable, but it didn't tell me anything new.

"A Fate Worse Than Death" by Cyndi Hubb starts with Blake getting a request for help from an old acquaintance; is it or is it not a trap? Avon and Vila are stranded separately on an inhospitable planet; will Vila help Avon and if so, why? This is not the standard view of the two as loyal friends. I found this story believable, except for the ease with which the bracelets were retrieved. Avon actually says at one point "The first thing I will do when we get back is to fix these bracelets, they fall off far too easily". Hallelujah! I wonder what stopped him?

"Relations" by Jan DeVore is about Jenna. Blake persuades her to meet her estranged father, a Federation governor whom Blake thinks may be sympathetic to the Cause. The story expresses well the tentative relationships between Blake, Jenna and Avon and the problems all the Liberator crew have in understanding and trusting one another.

My favourite story was Sheila Paulson's "A Question of Priorities" which takes place immediately after Avon and Grant have disabled the solium radiation device on Albion. Blake's high handed refusal to allow Vila and himself to be transported until the very last minute so infuriates Vila that he contemplates jumping ship. In the course of the story Blake sees the error of his ways, in part courtesy of Avon, and Vila gets to be the hero. This is a satisfyingly good read, and not just for Vila fans.

"Star Struck" by Michelle Moyer is a humorous story in which Avon - does he really wear R2D2 pyjamas - meets his idol and is disappointed. Zen gets all the best lines here.

"Untitled" by Steve Oualline is another light-hearted story, this time featuring a dragon from another dimension. "The Inmates and the Asylum" by Tom Beck is told entirely in the present tense, an interesting idea but after a page or two I began to irritated by it, a pity because the basic story line is amusing enough. Avon and Vila attempt to rescue someone from a high security asylum and have an unusual personality problem.

The first of the Series C stories "Things that Go Bang!" by Nancy Klauschie is a sequel to "Stealing's Quicker" in Gambit 3. In the earlier story Vila became leader of Liberator following Star One, with Avon's support. Here he continues to establish his new persona and leadership style, not just with the new crew but with Jenna; nice story, happy endings are in sight.

"The Clarity of Darkness" by April Giordano is an alternative Cally story featuring the Thaarn. The dead Cally is locked into a mental struggle with him; meanwhile Liberator answers a distress call from Auron. Servalan and Anna also make an appearance, as does Terminal. This one absolutely does not have a happy ending.

"Snips 'n Snails n' Puppy Dogs' Tails" by K.D Swan is an enjoyable Vila story which puts his childhood experience into a Liberator context. It includes some amusing moments, especially between Tarrant and maple syrup.

"Realm of Darkness" by Jean B. Hubb tells what Blake is doing these days. He helps a group of miners and an alien entity against Servalan, during which he contacts the Liberator incognito via Orac; the ending is inconclusive, suggesting that Avon knew his identity, but giving little hint about anyone's motivations.

"Pairing off on the Quiet" by Aya Katz is a convoluted Cally and Avon story whose themes would have been more at home in an adult zine. I didn't think it rang true of either of them.

"A Light in the Dark" follows Anna's death. Vila takes Avon for an enforced rest in Avalon's safe house, where they meet a rather unconvincingly drawn young female rebel to whom Avon is attracted. Back massage comes into it, but not much else.

"Xiaodan" by Catherine Kendall introduces Avon's brother Paatrov on a plague planet. Avon and Dayna contract the plague, and Avon's differences with his brother are resolved.

"Legacies" by Roxie Ray starts with Zelda's death and Cally's collapse. It revolves around Franton's proposal that the Liberator crew provide each provide a genetic sample to help start building a new Auron race. There is an appealing Cally/Vila conversation on the topic.

In "Duck, Duck, Goose" Vila becomes seriously ill after being got at by the Federation in a way that I cannot describe without giving away the plot. He then does the noble thing (twice in one zine - is this a record?) by his comrades and survives to enjoy his cure.

"Where the Shadows Are" by Ana Dorfstad takes place on Terminal after the loss of Liberator and explains why Cally called out Blake's name. "A Chance for Life" is a macabre one-page alternative to what happened immediately following Dorian's death.

In the post-Malodaar "Taken by Chance" by Sophia F. Mulvey, Vila decides to leave but encounters trouble from an old acquaintance. Subsequently he has to rescue his crewmates, and ends up back on board. I liked this story, which had some deft plot twists, except for the final reconciliation between Vila and Avon which was much too easily brought about.

"73 Kilos of Ballast" - I wonder what this one's about? A short, adroit and ironic Orbit alternative by Adrian Morgan and Brendan O'Cullane.

"Rest Ye Merry" by Dee Beetem has them all settled down with their kids for Xmas; as a comic story, this didn't work for me.

Listed under Other Dimensions is an amusing story by Teresa Ward "10th Annual Blake's7 - Mary Sue Convention", "News Break" by Janet Walker, and "Conventional Warfare" an entertaining account of what might happen at American conventions.

Overall this edition of Gambit should appeal particularly to fans of Vila, Avon and Cally. The others have their moments, but they are not strongly featured.[24]

[zine]:

I received my contributor's copy of GAMBIT 4 and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it! The zine looked beautiful and had a terrific cross-section of stories and other material. I particularly loved Susan Landerman's 'cat characters' on pages 21 and 160. Ha! You'll have to tie her down and make her do some more for future issues! [25]
[zine]: Needless to say, I was delighted with GAMBIT 4. A LIGHT IN THE DARK made the biggest impression here. But I seriously doubt that Avon would EVER use catsup'. [26]
[zine]: I must say that you put out one of the most professional looking zines I've ever seen. I can appreciate the fact that working in a print shop helps; I work in one too. My absolute favorite story in GAMBIT 4 is CONVENTIONAL WAR- FARE! Wonderful, and right on the mark. It sounded a lot like my first con experience, especially the allotted time for autographs and the pay-for- privileges concerning the guest. I've only ever been able to observe that, being too poor to afford such luxuries myself. I just hope none of your zines are booby-trapped! Thanks for a great series of zines. [27]
[zine]: I personally thought that THE CLARITY OF DARKNESS was a wonderful idea, skillfully drawn out. The thoughtfully- executed poetry, particularly THE KNIFE, was very stirring and sensitive. I'm looking forward to seeing more. [28]
[zine]: ut my favorites from this issue all seem to feature Cally; i.e. GAMBLER'S BANE, PAIRING OFF ON THE QUIET and THE CLARITY OF DARKNESS, the latter being an absolute killer of a story. It affected me the same way that the end of "Blake" did. I was left stunned. [29]
[zine]: While I was writing, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed GAMBIT IV. My favorite story was THINGS THAT GO BANG and I hope Nancy Klauschie writes more tales in that universe. Vila is delightful! I also especially liked XIAODAN and LEGACIES. 73 KILOS OF BALLAST and the accom- panying illustrations were chilling, definitely not bedtime reading. The OTHER DIMENSIONS section was an unexpected delight. I hope I get to attend Teresa Ward's TENTH ANNUAL CONVENTION to be one of the handful of fans hovering about Tarrant. And, at last, a sensible approach to the fan wars, CONVENTIONAL WARFARE. Hopefully, laughing over the dirty business will help ameliorate the hostilities. I guess the only complaint I can think of, and it is probably beyond your control, is the scarcity of PGP stories - I love reading all the fan-generated fifth seasons. As usual, a great zine and a great buy (and how considerate of you to explain your bargain pricing). Thanks for all of your hard work producing it. [30]
[zine]: I am working my way through GAMBIT 4, and I think it is the best one yet. The quality of the stories is high throughout, and I was delighted to find CONVENTIONAL WARFARE in there-what a great skit. [For those who may not know, CON- VENTIONAL WARFARE was performed in a masquerade skit version at UNICON in Concord, CA in June of 1989, with Paul Darrow, Michael Keating and Terry Nation judging. Paul Dar- row spent the rest of the evening telling the players how 'true to life it was, and the performance won "Most Authentic" in the contest. -- ED]. [31]
[zine]: This issue was the nicest looking yet. The artwork by A. Hamilton, Bruce Mitchell and Judith Boguslawski was first rate. Mary Gerstner's work for THE CLARITY OF DARKNESS fit the overall feeling of the piece. (Brr! Interesting story, but I'd hate to think of Cally ending up like that.) And I was delighted by Adrian Morgan' s illo accompanying my story, LEGACIES. He did a really nice job on Cally. Please pass along my compliments. As for the stories: Sheila Paulson's story was wonderful, but then she's always wonderful, as are K. Rae Travers and Sophia Mulvey. All these are strong Vila stories. Do I detect a patter here? CONVENTIONAL WARFARE was inspired madness. This is good satire; it's funny yet it makes a point. We should be working together, not trying to tear each other apart (oops, sorry, that's the Southern Baptist in my escaping.) THE GAMBLER'S BANE was a good story, but I found Cally's character a little hard to swal- low. Good writing, though. STAR STRUCK was a stitch, I hope Michelle Moyer will continue to write 'silly' stories. Everyone needs a good laugh now and again. She provides quite nicely. Nancy Klauschie's THINGS THAT GO BANG was a good follow-up to STEALING'S QUICKER. More please. All in all, an enjoyable read. You do great work. It's appreciated.[32]
[zine]:

Congratulations on producing another terrific zine. GAM- BIT 4 is awesome. Rabid 4th series fanatic that I am, I'm delighted to see the other Gambit on the cover. And the info in the editorial about the economics of zine printing is fas cinating. r a zinc-ed! // Un- usual that there's more pre-series A than PGP this time. I espe- cially liked CARLEEN and HAMMER INTO ANVIL. It's always nice to read about the 'lesser' characters; I find them just as interesting as Avon and Vila. (Yes, even Gan.) // THINGS THAT GO BANG was utterly absorbing. Nancy Sounds like you're in an ideal situation for a zine-ed!//Unusual that there's more pre-series A than PGP this time. I especially liked CARLEEN and HAMMER INTO ANVIL. It's always nice to read about the "lesser" characters; I find them just as interesting as Avon and Vila. (Yes, even Gan.)

THINGS THAT GO BANG was utterly absorbing. Nancy keeps getting better and better with each issue. Vila putting Tarrant, Avon and Jenna in their places-- totally trippy! Now, what happens when they find Blake? // Some very somber stories this time around. The Cally of THE CLARITY OF DARKNESS and the Avon of PAIRING OFF ON THE QUIET deserve each other. (It wasn't nice of the crew to be so willing to abandon Cally to the Thaarn, but still, yech.,) // XIAODAN illuminated both Avon's and Tarrant's back- grounds. I liked Paatrov, as well as the idea that Tarrant once served under Servalan. (That would explain how she knew so much about him in 'Harvest of Kairos.') I hope to see lots more of Catherine's writing. // 73 KILOS OF BALLAST - Adrian & Brendan have a knack for the short and blood- cur- dling. // The OTHER DIMENSIONS sections was exceedingly entertaining. MARY SUE CONVENTION Teresa sure doesn't have to worry about much competition, with Travis and Tarrant as her favorites! NEWS BREAK was delightfully droll. However, I must protest CONVENTIONAL WARFARE. What do you mean, "the 'Chicago Mob' sounds a heck of a lot better than the 'Pokeepsie Mob???!! [Well, the spelling was changed to protect the guilty...er...innocent! - Ed.] You'll be sorry, Steve and Sandy, when we put a hit on you... Seriously, the story was hilarious. This must be what cons are like on Beta lotia. [We's tried ta set one up dere, but dey wouldn' give us a piece o' the action!--Ed.]//Poetry and filks lots of excellent stuff. Particularly liked SECOND THOUGHTS (touching yet under- stated) and BLAKE'S CHRISTMAS (sick, but funny as hell!) II Ant - I liked the diversity of your artists' styles. Mary Gerster's pieces are pleasantly distinctive. I also liked A. Hamilton's delicate Cally on pg. 231, and Adrian's lively Vila and Cally on pg. 216. Jennifer Tifft's liule fillers are cute, too. // LOCs: I didn't expect you to print my LOC on MIRAGE. I'm afraid I leaked practically every one of your plot twists! Hope I didn't ruin the story for anyone. You really shouldn't print letters like that without some kind of warning to the readers. (And I really should learn to be more discreet.)[33]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5, Mary Gerstner
1989 flyer for issue #5

Gambit 5 was published in December 1989 and is 310 pages long.

The art is by Mary Gerstner (front cover), Maria Letters, Kate Knepper, Kathleen Coy, Leah Rosenthal, Annie Hamilton, Denise Loague, Suzie Molnar, Wilma Douglas, Michael Williams, Jennifer Tift, Jean B. Hubb, Adrian Morgan, and Kathy Hanson.

From the editorial:
by Jean Graham]:

Well, if the budget held out, you are now thumbing through the first full-color-cover issue of GAMBIT. If it didn't, then you have the first one-color-cover issue (meaning it's in one color ink as opposed to several, or simply black, as were our previous issues), and our full color efforts will be making their debut next time, with GAMBIT 6. We're trying, in essence, to make our outside as pretty as our inside-so all you color artists out there please take note. We'll be looking for color covers! Art in theme with 'Gambit' (either the episode or the computer in 'Gold,') is preferable, but not essential. We do have to work from your original, so please be prepared to part with it for a time. We can't guarantee that we'll be able to use every piece of color art, so to be fair, please send us a black & white copy for consideration first. Then we can twist your arm for the original later on.

The color covers have become possible because GAMBIT has a new printer with a far larger facility than the old one, and the capacity to handle our burgeoning print runs. Frankly, we had outgrown the previous company, and though Ye Editor was employed there and could obtain nice discounts, it had become all too painfully obvious that GAMBIT was seriously straining the capacity of the limited (and outdated) machinery. Our new printer has offered us the same discounts (he wants our business) and color printing besides, so, old loyalties notwithstanding, we gleefully tergiversated.

Color is, however, an expensive addition to our already stretched budget. So, readers, please send us your 'input' on whether or not you think an additional $1.00 (bringing our first class price to S16.00) is manageable. The price increase would be effective with issue #6. Alternatives to a price increase would be a slightly smaller zine (we'd have to turn down some submissions), or a smaller typeface and/or the removal of the 'air' between the paragraphs in stories. Some of these may already have been implemented with this issue. Let us hear from you--we'd like your opinions on this.

[snipped]

Now it's time to unplug the phone, disconnect the doorbell, crank up the stereo and sit back to enjoy GAMBIT 5. As al- ways, we welcome your letters of comment on this or any of our previous zines.
[from Kelly & Karen Turner ("your other editors)]:

Well, our computer must hate this 'zine. Last issue when we recieved stories from Jeannie, our hard disk died within the week. This time, Jeannie sends stories, our 2nd hard-disk dies! Sorry this 'zine is late, but several items have intervened. The San Francisco earthquake, the holidays, and late hours at work (to name but a few).

We hope you like the "look" of the 'zine. It takes many, many weeks work to do just the layout alone. This usually includes printing out all 300 pages 3 times for proofreading and making sure everything looks "just right." I'm sure there are still a few errors, but with this much text, it's expected.

For those of you interested in techie things, this 'zines layout was done on a 25 Mhz 80386 1BM PC clone, the page layout software was Xerox Ventura Publisher, and it was printed on an Apple Laserwriter.
  • Editor's Column by Jean Graham (3)
  • Homecoming, fiction by Teresa Ward (Pre-Series A) (4)
  • I Need a Crew, poem by Michael Macomber (5)
  • Never Practical, fiction by Cami (Pre-Series A) (6)
  • Travis and Tarrant, poem by Teresa Ward (15)
  • Life Sentence, fiction by Jean Graham (Pre-Series A) (17)
  • Grand Illusions, fiction by Alicia Ann Fox (Series A) (20)
  • The Beginning, poem by C.T. Cap (22)
  • It's Worth the Trip, fiction by Mary Gerstner & April Giordano (Series A) (23)
  • Captain Leylan's Report, fiction by Irene Stubbs (Series A) (28)
  • Pirates of Pezants, fiction by Leigh Arnold (Series A) (28)
  • Mutability, fiction by Irene Stubbs (Series A) (37)
  • Acceptance", fiction by Lee Vibber (Series A) (39)
  • Psychology, fiction by Paulie Kay (Series A) (43)
  • One Day More, poem by Michael Driver (48)
  • A Little Night Music, fiction by April Giordano & Mary Gerstner (Series A) (49)
  • Liberator, fiction by Sophia R. Mulvey (Series A) (53)
  • A Short Catalogue, filk by Michael Driver to the tune of "Frere Jacques" (55)
  • Sweet Sixteen, fiction by Aya Katz (Series B) (56)
  • Someone to Watch Over, fiction by Jennifer Smallwood (Series B) (60)
  • The Girl with the Light, fiction by Juli Cleveland (Series B) (64)
  • Chenie: Gambit, poem by C.T. Cap (70)
  • Moira, fiction by T.L. Condon (Series B) (71)
  • Galactic Drive, fiction by Irene Stubbs (Series B) (80)
  • The Entertainer, poem by Michael Driver (82)
  • Tarnished Gold, fiction by Jacqui Topp (Series B) (83)
  • Santa Claus Was a Delta, fiction by Michelle Christian (Series B) (84)
  • In the Past Lies the Future, fiction by Michelle Christian (Series B) (89)
  • Trials and Tribbleations, fiction by Roxie Ray (Star Trek: TOS crossover) (Series B) (91)
  • Palace Games, fiction by Nancy Klauschie (Series C) (95)
  • Lost & Found, fiction by Teresa Ward (Series C) (107)
  • Lonely, poem by Michael Macomber (113)
  • To Recognize the Fool, fiction by Mary Gerstner (Series C) (115)
  • To Kill the Fool, fiction by Mary Gerstner (Series C) (124)
  • Alien Eyes, fiction by Irene Stubbs (Series C) (126)
  • Comfort, fiction by Lee Vibber (Series C) (130)
  • It Wasn't All Lies, poem by Jacqui Topp (132)
  • Collapse, fiction by Lorna Breshears (Series C) (133)
  • Memorial on the Planet Kaarn, poem by Jacqui Topp (134)
  • Naked Eye, fiction by Catherine Kendall (Series C) (135)
  • Reflections of the Soul-- Servalan, poem by Jacqui Topp (148)
  • Covenant of Faith, fiction by Dee Beetem & Sue Wells (Series C) (149)
  • Unexpected Encounter, fiction by Jean B. Hubb (Series C) (153)
  • A Forest in the Firelight, poem by A. Hamilton (158)
  • The Stream of Life, fiction by Virginia Waldron (Series D) (160)
  • A Keepsake, poem by Michael Macomber (172)
  • Blood, fiction by Irene Stubbs (Series D) (173)
  • Trust, poem by Jacqui Topp (176)
  • Obviated Orbit, fiction by Anne Collins Smith (Series D) (177)
  • I Was with Blake, poem by Michael Macomber (178)
  • Gauda Secunda, fiction by Anne Collins Smith (Series D) (178)
  • Lightening the Load, fiction by Lorna Breshears (Series D) (179)
  • Requiem, poem by C.T. Cap (179)
  • The Formula for Failure Is Sure Success, fiction by Cyndi Hubb (Series D) (181)
  • Silence: For Kerr Avon, poem by Michael Macomber (187)
  • Living the Lie, fiction by Rachel Dutcher (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (188)
  • Through the Fire, fiction by Steve Zwanger (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (202)
  • Return to Freedom City, fiction by Michael Williams (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (216)
  • ... if I was right..., poem by Mich (220)
  • Legends, fiction by Janet Walker (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (221)
  • Jenna, fiction by Adrian Morgan & Brendan O'Cullane (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (222)
  • Flower, poem by Michael Macomber (226)
  • Choices, fiction by Sheila Paulson (Jabberwocky universe; reprinted in Jabberwocky Collected, and Jabberwocky #3) (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (228)
  • No Useless Gesture, fiction by Irene Stubbs (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (225)
  • These Foolish Things, poem by Jacqui Topp (253)
  • Kriss-Kross-- The Bad Guys," puzzle by Rachel Dutcher (261)
  • Roll Call, fiction by CarolMel Ambassador (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (262)
  • Cold as a Dragon's Heart, poem by Michael Macomber (264)
  • Recollections, fiction by Bobbie Stankiewicz (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (265)
  • Blake's 7 Crossovers" (humor) by Teri Sarick (288)
  • Letters of Comment (288)
  • Legacy (For Vila), poem by Michael Macomber (290)
  • News Item, fiction by Teresa Ward (291)
  • Conversation, poem by C.T. Cap (292)
  • Zines and Organizations and ads (295)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

See reactions and reviews for Choices.

Issue 6

cover of issue #6, Leah Rosenthal

Gambit 6 was published in August 1990 and contains 296 pages.

Fiction:

  • Teresa Ward, "Decisions"
  • Aya Katz, "Intercepted Transmission"
  • Ruth Berman, "A Game of Pyramids"
  • Leigh Arnold, "Reckoning"
  • Paulie Kay, "Rosetta"
  • Ann Wortham and Leah Rosenthal, "Night of the Living Ice Cream"
  • Lorna Breshears, "Jumble Sale"
  • Cami, "Forgotten Truths"
  • Michelle Christian, "Things Shared"
  • Margaret Walsh, "Nightmare in Paradise"
  • Beth Nachison, "Justice"
  • Mary Gerstner, "The Guilt That Never Sleeps"
  • Jean Graham, "Mourning"
  • Catherine Kendall, "After the Fire"
  • Margaret Walsh, "The Last Entry"
  • Jean B. Hubb, "The Setup"
  • Sophia R. Mulvey, "Escape from Darkness"
  • April Giordano-Grisalfi, "Feel the Reaper"
  • Irene Stubbs, "Regency"
  • Lorna Breshears, "The Way Out"
  • Robert Collins, "Rebel Reunion"
  • Lorna Breshears, "Refraction"
  • Sheila Paulson, "Program" (Jabberwocky universe; reprinted in Jabberwocky Collected and Jabberwocky #3.)
  • Pat Dunn and Diana Smith, "New Beginnings"
  • Pat Dunn and Diana Smith, "Memories"

Nonfiction:

  • Jean Graham, "Editor's Elocution"
  • Sandy Van Densen, "Computer Writer's Guidelines from the Assistant Editor"
  • Teri Sarick, "From the Home Office on Star One: Top Ten Blake's Seven Lines"
  • Teri Sarick, "The Blake's 7 Routine"
  • Letters of Comment
  • Zine ads

Puzzles:

  • Paulie Kay, "Word Searches One and Two"
  • Katherine S. Cremona, "Quotation Puzzle"
  • Paulie Kay, "Kriss Kross One"
  • Katherine S. Cremona, "Blake's 7 Word Jumble"
  • Paulie Kay, "Kriss Kross Two"

Poetry:

  • Melissa Mastoris, "Anna"
  • Roxie Ray, "Rooms on Fire" (filk)
  • Michael J. Macomber, "Breakdown"
  • Michael J. Macomber, "The Beast Within"
  • Teresa Ward, "For Maryatt"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Change of Heart"
  • Teri Sarick, "A Midnight Visit"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Servalan" (filk, Jessica by Rick Springfield)
  • Jean Stroud, "Don't Cry for Me, Freedom" (filk, Don't Cry for Me, Argentina)
  • Michael J. Macomber, "Recollection"
  • Roxie Ray, "What I Had to Do" (filk, Just a Job to Do by Genesis)
  • Michael J. Macomber, "A Glance: For Cally"
  • Michael Williams, "Space Fatigue"
  • Teri Sarick, "Obsessions"
  • Teri Sarick, "Silver Light"
  • Roxie Ray, "Soolin" (filk, Sussudio by Phil Collins)
  • Lorna Breshears, "Camoflage"
  • Anne Collins Smith, "Cally Recalled"
  • Lorna Breshears, "Writers' Clay"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Chains"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "The Waiting"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Deva"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "A Final Scream"
  • Teresa Sarick, "Rebel Heart" (filk, Hungry Heart)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "No Danger Without Pleasure"
  • Michael J. Macomber, "Weapon"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Kiss of Death"
  • Roxie Ray, "Simply Reprehensible" (filk, Simply Irresistible by Robert Palmer)

Art:

  • Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Michael William, Tanje, Diana English, Denise Loague, Katherine Cremona, Mary Gerstner, Suzie Molnar

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

[Regency]: Normally I dislike PGPs where everyone improbably survives. But this story has such a clever angle that I found it plausible and fun to read.[34]
[Night of the Living Ice Cream]: A Bizarro 7 story and the only one you'll find posted here on our website. All of our other Bizarro 7 stories are still to be found available in the reprinted The Bizarro Zine 1-4. We're going to have a Bizarro website up and running soon (similar to the Hellhound website), so be sure to check it out when you see it announced. In the meantime, here's the last Bizarro 7 story Leah and I ever wrote. We had plans for many more and some of them even have notes written up but, alas, we've never returned to the land of wacky, duck-loving rebels.[35]
[Mourning]: ... though I'm usually an admirer of Jean Graham's writing she lost me in Mourning when Vila thought resentfully about Orac's part in the Malodaar incident—and they hadn't even left Terminal yet; Let's do the Time Warp.[36]

[zine]: American genzine with stories, printed in series order, poetry, puzzles, filks, letters of comment and drawings. There are three each from series A & B, five from C, four from D and nine PGP, so Blake, Jenna and Gan fans may go short. Front cover is a colour drawing by Leah Rosenthal of Avon, Vila and a rather virulent ice-cream sundae. There are far too many items contained in Gambit 6's closely typed pages to discuss each one, but the overall standard is pretty high.

Many of the shorter stories are especially good. "Intercepted transmission" by Aya Katz is a succinct interpretation of Avon and Cally's attitudes to one another early on which manages to say a good deal in just over two pages. Only slightly longer is "A game of pyramids" by Ruth Berman which is a very nicely observed conversation between Blake, Jenna and Vila on the niceties of crime and ethics, and the advantages of being a Delta. "Rosetta" by Paulie Kay also uses the "there's more to Vila than meets the eye" angle. My favourite however was "Mourning" by Jean Graham, a way above average post-Terminal encounter between Vila and Avon.

Humorous stories are often the most difficult to sustain and "Jumble sale" by Lorna Breshears rather outstays its welcome. The reverse is true of "Night of the living ice-cream" By Ann Wortham and Leah Rosenthal, a self-explanatory Bizzarro 7 story with a really great ending.

Among the longer pieces, "Justice" is a thoughtful story in which the sister of a Federation trooper killed in one of Blake's attacks looks to revenge him.

In "Forgotten truths" by Teresa Ward and Cami Tarrant's amnesia is used by the Federation against his Liberator colleagues.

"Escape from darkness" is an enjoyable alternative PGP in which everyone survives and Avon suffers and gets forgiven in what may be a relatively happy ending, no less....

In contrast "Refraction" by Lorna Breshears is a chilling PGP tale about Blake and Vila which is the reverse of happy, though Vila gets to do the decent thing.

Three of the longer stories are part of a series, which may or may not concern you. I was a bit disappointed to have so much of the zine occupied by them, but that's personal to me, not a comment on their quality.

"The guilt that never sleeps" arises from Cally's early life and follows a story published in an earlier Gambit (3?). Although the writing is good, especially in the opening and closing scenes between Avon and Cally, I felt the portrayal both of her and of Vila was too much at variance with their series' characters.

"After the fire" is a sequel to "Naked eye " in Gambit 5 by Catherine Kendall; there is at least one more episode in a later Gambit. This story centres on Dayna, Tarrant and Vila. As I've read the later episode first and haven't yet found the first one, I can't really judge how good this is overall.

"Program" is a Jabberwocky story by Sheila Paulson featuring Dayna in a manner of speaking. The Jabberwocky stories represent a coherent universe and are all undeniably well-written, but as I personally find it difficult to get really involved in them I similarly wouldn't want to venture an opinion on how this one rates. Jabberwocky and where to find it

Of the remaining stories, I thought "New beginnings" and "Memories", both Avon and Vila stories by Diana Smith and Pat Dunn had more than a touch of the Mary Sues. "Reckoning" by Leigh Arnold involves Avon's brother, and doesn't say much that is new.[37]

[zine]: 'There are plenty of things that can be done badly in a fanzine. Bad presentation, bad art, bad concept bad writing. In fact, so many things can go wrong it seems amazing that any zines make it to the market much less any good ones. I'm pleased to add Jean Graham's Gambit 6 to my list of the ones that beat the odds.

Gambit 6 is a slick, professionally-presented publication. The sheer size of it is daunting, or—if you're a glutton for Blake's 7 literature like me—absolutely intoxicating. There are a total of 25 short stories, drawn from every series. Naturally, they can't all be great, but the vast majority are, at least, competently executed I counted up my votes for favorites after I'd read the zine cover-to-cover twice, and was mildly surprised to find seven I felt were deserving of specific praise.

Intercepted Transmissions, a very nice story by Aya Katz, did an interesting turn on the issue of Cally's telepathy. I found Lorna Brashears' Jumble Sale a wonderful slice of the lighter side of the Liberator; I've always suspected Jenna of collecting revealing underwear. Jean Graham gave us a darkly effective vision of Terminal in Mourning. Irene Stubbs' Regency is a unique work, noteworthy especially for her use of Zen and Orac as main characters.

Refraction by Lorna Brashears is a beautifully realized piece on Vila's last confrontation with Blake. Program, a Jabberwocky story by Sheila Paulson, was my first introduction to the series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Saving the best for last, I have to count Justice by Beth Nachison as an outstanding piece of fiction. Not fan fiction. Fiction, period. This work didn't strike any false notes for me either in concept or execution, and it drives home the inevitable gap between justice and revenge. Beth is a fine writer. I look forward to reading more of her in the future.

My approval is not quite unreserved for this collection. I felt that Mary Gerstner's The Guilt That Never Sleeps was an experiment that got out of hand, a story that seemed barely in control of its premise for most of its length. It was especially tragic that the work contained several nicely realized scenes—scenes that were lost in the failure of the premise in total. Paradoxically, the artwork was outstanding.

I had serious reservations about the two collaborations between Pat Dunn and Diana Smith, New Beginnings and Memories, and no moments of pleasure. I never bought into the character of Anthea Marden, and I couldn't see Avon doing it either—even after Gauda Prime The uncomfortable placement of these two weak stories at the end of the zine left me feeling disappointed, especially after liking the earlier works so much.

In spite of my reservations on those particular stories, I felt the quality of Gambit 6 was impressive. I haven't even mentioned the outstanding poetry by Michael J. Macomber, Teri Sarick, Anne Collins Smith, Lorna Brashears, Melissa Mastoris—or the vivid artwork by Mary Gerstner and Tanje. I haven't even had time to try the puzzles yet. Suffice to say that although I can't say I loved every story in the zine (and indeed actively disliked at least three) I wasn't in the least sorry to have spent money on this one. And I won't hesitate to spend more on the next issue.[38]

[zine]: "The Good, the Bad, and the Unique" (A blatantly prejudicial, biased non-review of some recent zines.) Before going on, please read this disclaimer. I admit that this considers zine stories for only three things: if they are fair in characterizing Tarrant (The Good) if they greatly misunderstand, malign, or ignore Tarrant (The Bad), if they have some refreshing premise or twist (The Unique). I will not comment on quality of good writing and will ignore or pan stories that are better written than some of "The Good" ones. All ratings are based on my own personal impressions, tastes, and interpretations.

  • [The Good]: Decisions by Ward - Deeta tells De1 that he will be leaving Earth.
  • [The Good]: Tarrant art by Michael Williams
  • [The Good]: Forgotten Truths by Ward & McCoy - amnesia causes Tarrant to forget his desertion from the Federation.
  • [The Good]: Nightmare in Paradise by Margaret Walsh - Someone wants Tarrant.
  • [The Bad]: The Guilt That Never Sleeps by Mary Gerstner - Cally is in trouble and Tarrant's reactions include, "We could just leave her..." and "She's only an alien." (Wasn't Tarrant the one who never deserted a shipmate or did we watch different third seasons?)
  • [The Good]: After the Fire by Catherine Kendall - Tarrant and Dayna begin a relationship after Zeeona's death.
  • [The Good]: Escape from Eertaiess by Mulvey - Just as the crew are about to be berated for not helping Avon during fourth season, it is realized that they had pressures of their own. (What a welcome, and far too often overlooked, admission.)
  • [The Good]: Regency by Irene Stubbs - What happened to Zen after Terminal!
  • [The Good]: Program by Paulson - A Program becomes self aware and it will have ramifications on the Jabberwocky crew with most focus on Avon. (I'd line to see a future story considering more of Tarrant's reactions.)
  • [The Bad]: New Beginnings by Diana Smith and Pat Dunn - Vila and Avon survive GP again, and find some new female shipmates.[39]

Issue 7

front cover of issue #7, Lucia C. Moore -- "The Rivals"
back cover of issue #7, Lucia C. Moore -- "Astonishment"

Gambit 7 was published in June 1991 and contains 288 pages.

Fiction:

  • C.K. Smith, "Blue Skin, Tough Skin"
  • Aya Katz, "One Day in the Life of Anna Grant"
  • .L. Condon, "By Grief Consumed"
  • Margaret Walsh, "By Honour Bound"
  • Sophia R. Mulvey, "A Fool's Trust"
  • Sandy Van Densen, "A Walk in the Shadows"
  • CarolMel Ambassador, "Kindred"
  • Paulie Kay, "Max"
  • Linda Knights, "A Box Made of Glass"
  • Jean Stroud, "Interlude in a Bar"
  • Mary Gerstner, "Like a Corpse in a Tomb"
  • C.K. Smith, "Woman to Woman"
  • Jean Stroud, "Smuggler's Blues"
  • Virginia Turpin, "Catalyst"
  • Margaret Walsh, "The Queen's Fool"
  • Teresa Ward, "The Treasure"
  • Lorna Breshears, "The Bewitching Hour"
  • Leigh Moto'oka, "Moments"
  • Cyndi Hubb and Jean B. Hubb, "The Lost Episode"
  • Irene Stubbs, "Double Blind"
  • Ruth Berman, "Garden Comfort"
  • Ruth Berman, "Avon and the Oracle"
  • Michelle Christian, "If There Is But One Man Left"
  • Leigh Moto'oka, "His Brother's Keeper"
  • Roxie Ray, "Improbable Orbit" (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe crossover; reprinted from The Laughing Mutoid #4)
  • Maureen Torrens, "The Lords of Order"
  • Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, "Prone to Disaster"
  • Sheila Paulson, "Overload" (Jabberwocky universe; reprinted in Jabberwocky Collected and Jabberwocky #3)
  • Roxanne Longstreet, "Liberation"
  • Catherine Kendall, "The Sea Refuses No River"
  • Jean Graham, "Fugitive"
  • Rebecca Ann Brothers, Pat Dunn, and Diana Smith, "Hold Back the Rain"
  • Brendan O'Cullane, "Waiting for Blake [with apologies to Samuel Beckett...]" (reprinted in Double Vision)

Nonfiction:

  • Jean Graham, "From the Editor"
  • Sandy Van Densen, "Computer Stuff and Such"
  • Letters of Comment
  • Zine ads

Puzzles:

  • Jacquie Topp, "Wordsearch Puzzle"
  • Katherine S. Cremona, "Go Fish"
  • Katherine S. Cremona, "Mixed-up Quotation"
  • Katherine S. Cremona, "Misquotes"

Poetry:

  • Jacqui Topp, "Losing Hand"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Sentenced to Life"
  • Jacqui Topp, "The Paths to Death"
  • Michael Williams, "Aftermath"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Breaking Point"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Puppeteer"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Battle Hymn of the Seven" (filk, "Battle Hymn of the Republic")
  • Teri Sarick, "Care, Avon" (corrected version in Gambit 8)
  • Patricia Blasi, "Kemp Avon and the Queen of Death" (filk, Thomas Rymer)
  • Jacqui Topp, "Blood Money" (filk, Blood Money by Bon Jovi)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Keezarn: Vila"
  • Teresa Ward, "Duel"
  • Teri Sarick, "Control"
  • Roxie Ray, "I Don't Know Whewre I'm a Gonna Go When the Scorpio Blow" (filk, Volcano, by Jimmy Buffett, Keith Sykes, and Harry Dailey)
  • Nancy Dziergowski, "Poetry: Avon, Vila, Blake, Cally, Dayna, Gan, Jenna, Soolin, Tarrant, Travis, Servalan"
  • Teri Sarick, "Chance"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Mutoid"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "One Final Wish"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Avenger"
  • Roxie Ray, "Something Happened on the Way to Star One" (filk, Something Happened on the Way to Heaven, by Phil Collins and Daryl Stuermer)
  • Teri Sarick, "I'm Going Back for Cally" (filk, Cally's, by LL Cool J)
  • Teresa Ward, "Little Brother"
  • Teri Sarick, "Avon Sings: Blake Needs Me" (filk, As Long As He Needs Me)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Meegat's Deliverance"
  • Teri Sarick, "Gimme Avon After Midnight" (filk, Gimme A Man After Midnight, by Erasure)
  • Teri Sarick, "Winds of Avon" (filk, Windy, by Ruthann Friedman/Association)
  • Teri Sarick, "The Unknown Filk"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Mistress of Darkness"

Art:

  • Lucia C. Moore (front and cover), Denise Loague, T.L. Condon, Michael Williams, Katherine Cremona, Sophia R. Mulvey, Suzie Molnar, Leah Rosenthal, Mary Gerstner, Fliss Davies, Leigh Moto'oka, Teresa Ward, Jacqui Topp

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

I feel special credit should go to Sheila Paulson for Overload, (I've enjoyed all the Jabberwocky stories that I've managed to get hold of.

I just love the ship itself and the glorious 'coming together' of all the characters. [40]

Issue 8

cover of issue #8, Lucia C. Moore
back cover of issue #8, Linda Garlick

Gambit 8 was published in February 1992 and contains 284 pages.

Fiction:

  • Nancy Dziergowski, "And Miles to Go Before I Sleep"
  • Jean B. Hubb, "The Observer"
  • April Giordano & Mary Gerstner, "Ghost"
  • Tom Beck, "Gypsy"
  • Sandra Basham, "Retreat and Reconciliation"
  • Jennifer Smallwood, "The Surreal Path"
  • Lorna Breshears, "Fool's Gambit Declined"
  • Brendan O'Cullane & Adrian Morgan, "Remembrance" (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Open Season"
  • Summer Jackson, "Computer Chat"
  • Paulie Kay, "Trang" (reprinted from Destiny)
  • Ruth Berman, "Blake Free"
  • Teresa Ward & Cami, "Revenge"
  • Margaret Walsh, "An Uneasy Alliance"
  • Summer Jackson, "The Takeover"
  • Patricia Blasi, "A Cornered Rat... May Snap a Thread"
  • Roxie Ray, "Impasse"
  • C.K. Smith, "And Then..."
  • Rebecca Ann Brothers, Pat Dunn, & Diana Smith, "Christmas on Skarth"
  • Sophia R. Mulvey, "Consider Me Gone"
  • Catherine Kendall, "Sparks"
  • Margaret Walsh, "Nine Day Galaxy Explorer"
  • Sheila Paulson, "The End of Entropy" won a 1993 FanQ (reprinted in The End of Entropy Trilogy)
  • Cheufell Doshier, "The Drunk"
  • Jean B. Hubb, "The Participant"
  • Nancy Dziergowski, "Avon... Who?"

Nonfiction:

  • Jean Graham, "Editorial Musings"
  • Sandy Van Densen, "Co-editor's Page"
  • Teri Sarick, "Blake's 7 Knocks 'Em Dead"
  • Letters of Comment
  • Zine ads

Puzzles:

  • Katherine S. Cremona, "Word Jumble"
  • Teri Sarick, "Sci-Fi Word Search"
  • Teri Sarick, "Blake's 7-Eleven"
  • Katherine S. Cremona, "MisQuotes"

Poetry:

  • Jackie Black, "Friends"
  • Michael Williams, "Vila"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Heart of Stone" (filk, Heart of Stone, by Cher)
  • Jacqui Topp, "Just a Dream"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Deadlier Than the Male"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Homeward Bound-- The Trooper's Song" (filk, Homeward Bound, by Simon & Garfunkel)
  • Michael Williams, "Beginnings"
  • Michael Williams, "Cosmos Run"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "A Daughter's Duty"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Gauda Prime: Avon"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Vindication"
  • Michael Williams, "An Avon Lament"
  • Michael Williams, "Ode to Anna"
  • Michael Williams, "An Avon Lament #2"
  • Michael Williams, "Avon: Post-Anna Grant"
  • Teri Sarick, "Care, Avon" (correct version of poem from Gambit #7)
  • Teri Sarick, "Justice"
  • Jackie Black, "Final Storm"
  • Michelle Christian, "Safety"
  • Jackie Black, "Castles of Sand"
  • Jackie Black, (Untitled)
  • Teri Sarick, "One Rebel Gone: Avon Sings" (filk, And When I Die, by Laura Nyro)
  • Teri Sarick, "Simple Answers"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Gan"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Blake's Cause"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Partners in Crime"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Where Are You?"
  • Michelle Christian, "Last Thoughts"
  • Michelle Christian, "Half Sick of Shadows"
  • Jackie Black, "The Price"
  • Jackie Black, (Untitled)

Art:

  • Lucia C. Moore (front cover), Linda Garlick (back cover), Michael Williams, Denise Loague, Fliss Davies, Cindy Brink, Katherine Cremona, Jacqui Topp, Suzie Molnar, Leigh Moto'oka, Derrin

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

[Gypsy]: I helped put together a few fan panels for the alternative programming track. One of them was reading B7 fanfic by authors. However, I was the only person to volunteer. I was surprised by how many people showed up for the panel. I expected only a handful, or possibly non at all, but there were almost twenty people there! And all to hear little old me!

I read from two of my stories, "Impractical Joke" which was published in Threads Through Infinity and "Gypsy".... I'm very proud of both stories, and think they are among my best work. [snipped] "Gypsy" is a serious story, with a strong adventure component, in which Blake and Travis encounter each other on a frontier world populated mostly by nomadic, gypsy-like tribes living on an enormous harsh, bleak plain, Blake meets a member of the tribe and convinces her to join him and his Rebellion, but things don't work out as he plans...

"Gypsy" was partially experimental, in that it was written in the present tense (yes, I know that's practically a cliche for me, but I can't stop doing it), along with a very stylized dialect for the gypsies, trying to indicate that in the last several hundred years since they lost contact with the rest of humanity, their language has drifted away from that spoken by Blake and others. Some people have told me that they either had trouble reading it or didn't bother because they found the dialect too difficult. I happen to think that it becomes easier to understand as you get used to it, but that's not an argument you can easily make to someone who's already decided not to try. I'm very pleased with the story, and the panel seemed to like it... It was very good for my ego, which has taken something of a battering recently. And that's all I'm going to say about it, except that I wish others had volunteered to read their work.[41]

[zine]: Massive amount of zine for the price, densely packed pages but a nice clear print. Contents include a splendid PGP from Sheila Paulson, and particularly good stuff from O'Cullane/Morgan, Ward/McCoy and Ruth Berman.

"And Miles to Go before I sleep" draws from Paul Darrow's book, starting before Avon's birth and ends with his entering the Federation Academy. The writing is somewhat stilted and character development cursory, telling the reader what happens rather than demonstrating it, so it's difficult for the reader to feel involved.

"The Observer" has Avon contemplating existence in a holding cell before leaving for Cygnus Alpha, and watching Vila, Jenna and Blake. Typically Avon and nicely observed.

Gan's ghost haunts Liberator among lots of in-jokes in the playful "Ghost". "Gypsy" is a thirty page story written in a very stylised manner. Blake and co. are pursued by Travis, who with Blake becomes involved with a gypsy-like tribe while the rest of the crew on Liberator try to avoid pursuit ships. The plot and characterisation are okay, but the mannered prose and constant use of the present tense quickly becomes irritating, as does the gypsies' dialect and the overt mysticism.

The twenty-page "Retreat and Reconciliation" starts with Blake and a surly Avon holding talks with a group of rebels, and then develops into a n investigation of Avon's past. I t has some sensitively written scenes, especially between Avon and Vila, but I didn't really buy the ending.

"The Surreal Path" is another mystical story, this time of the witches and warlocks variety, in which Avon is transformed. If you like fantasy of this type, this is a good example, and not without a sense of humour.

"Fool's Gambit Declined" is an ingenious light hearted alternative Gambit. "Remembrance" starts after the Shivon debacle. Blake decides he needs to undergo therapy to restore his damaged memory, and Avon must help. Excellent story with some interesting twists.

In "Open Season" Cally and an injured - not too seriously - Avon are trapped in a monitor station. Blake has a characteristic last word. A simple but discerning story which gets across their companionship rather than going for angst.

"Trang" has Vila and Avon unconvincingly declaring their undying glove, caring, friendship etc in an embarrassingly contrived plot.

Avon ponders on the past and future at the start of series 3 in "Blake Free". Very believable characterisation and acute observation.

"Revenge" is an alternative continuation of Terminal in which Tarrant has apparently been abandoned until found by Servalan. Convincingly written.

"An Uneasy Alliance" sees Dayna and Servalan forming a temporary alliance to escape from a harem. This one I could not believe.

A morose, post-Malodaar Vila teleports down to a colony on business with Soolin in "The Takeover" and ends up in trouble. Has he been abandoned? Does he care?

"A Cornered Rat...May Snap a Thread" is an unusually savage story which starts with Vila's intentions towards Orac and gets bleaker by the minute.

"Impasse" is a two-pager which takes place after Dayna and Tarrant return from Virn. Dayna is confused and Tarrant is surprised.

"And Then" is PGP. Avon and Vila have survived, but who else? Del Grant and Avalon also feature, and Avon winds up in an unexpected and incongruous role.

"Christmas on Skarth" is a fifty-page episode ion a continuing series. It's very cosy in tone, revolving around the love lives of Avon, Blake and Vila and an awful long way from science fiction. As I find this series relentlessly soap-operaish and overly sentimental I didn't enjoy this one, but it's a matter of personal taste. The writing is competent, and the pace well-judged. If you want to luxuriate in the possibilities of domestic bliss for all of them, you should enjoy this.

"Consider Me Gone" is another PGP where Avon and Blake play tricks on one another. Moderately dark in tone.

"Sparks" is a another episode in the convoluted "Xiaodan" saga. Unlike some ongoing series it does give a detailed summary of previous episodes, without which the grateful reader would be truly lost. This series has many different threads, too many for its own good IMHO. It covers various resistance machinations, clones, surgical alterations, slavery, prostitution, personal revelations of every kind, drug addiction, characters who reveal themselves to be really someone else (usually related to Servalan, Avon or whatever) family feuds, imperial liaiaisons lots of new characters, and that's just for starters. You have to admire the writer's breadth of imagination but it's all too much. Individually each thread would make a good story but put together the whole is hard to take.

"Nine Day Galaxy Explorer" is welcome light relief - a brochure advertising the Heroes of the Rebellion tour. If it's Day Three it must be Exbar.

"The End of Entropy" is yet another skilful and subtle story from Sheila Paulson. Avon and a sullen Vila are unexpectedly free after Gaude Prime and go off together with the ultimate aim of hunting down Servalan. This is a brilliant story, so I won't say anything more about it.

If you can take Vila as president, surrounded by prattling grandchildren and Supreme Commander Tarrant, you might conceivably like "The Drunk".

The last two stories cone under the heading of Other Dimensions. In "The Participant" a fan gets to be part of the series videotape and takes more of a part than was expected. "Avon... Who" covers similar ground to "Cheeseboard".[42]

[zine]: Gambit #8 is, as expected, slick, impressive, and an awful lot of zine for the money. Not as much Tarrant as one might hope, but he is featured in a few stories. "Revenge," by Teresa Ward and Carol McCoy, postulates that it's Tarrant instead of Cally who's caught in the explosion on Terminal. Rescued by Servalan, he survives— hardened and bitter. Those of you who like a tough Tarrant should love this one.

"An Uneasy Alliance," by Margaret Walsh, has Dayna and Servalan captured and imprisoned in a harem together. They need each other to escape—but I'm not sure that Dayna wouldn't throttle Servalan any way, to hell with the consequences. Still, a story postulating that Dayna and Servalan can be allies, even for a short while, is refreshingly different and worth reading.

And speaking of Dayna, there's "Impasse," by Roxie Ray. a brief piece which deals with how Dayna reconciles with Tarrant after Vim.

"And Then...."" by C.K. Smith, is a strange story. Somehow. I can't imagine Avon being happy, retired on Kaarn with 5.000 Auron babies (even with Orac for company)! Still, there is a nice scene between Avon and Tarrant (even if Tarrant's not conscious for it). And it's hinted that there's a sequel or two planned.

"Sparks" is another installment of Catherine Kendall's Xiaodan saga. Great Tarrant, needless to say, including some hints about his childhood. (Avon hasn't got dibs on miserable childhoods!)

"The End of Entropy," by Sheila Paulson, also has some delicious Tarrant. It's a PGP, in which poor Tarrant gets brainwashed into forgetting Avon and Co. I'd like to see how he recovers from this. Blake might prove helpful, as he's been through a similar experience. Sheila's hinted that there'll be a sequel; I can hardly wait.

The LoC column in Gambit is always one of the high points of the zine. There's quite a bit of commentary on Tarrant this time, as the previous issue, Gambit #7, had an excellent Tarrant quotient.

Gambit #8 is almost 300 pages, reduced. Despite the small print, it's very readable,being computer type set and laser-printed. Graphically, the zine is gorgeous, with a color cover and lots of well-reproduced interior art. (Minor nit-pick: I'd like to see more actual illustrations. The art leans heavily toward generic portraits, and seems to be placed almost randomly at times. For example, why was Fliss Davies' Tarrant portrait used to illustrate Paulie Kay's "Trang," a Vila story?) [43]
[zine]:

I am new to B7 fandom. A friend allowed me to read several of the Gambits and I found all of them very entertaining. I love the color covers. The art cover is exquisite, especially the one on Gambit 8. I would like to give my opinion on the type of binding used for the zines. Gambit 8 has the [book] binding that doesn't interfere with the cover, whidi makes the whole zine more aesthetically pleasing to look at. However, I have found that while the spiral binding is bulkier, it is much easier to read. I can simply lay the book out, touching it only to turn the pages. This is especially practical while eating. I don't like to choose between eating and reading. I will be happy in any decision you make for further issues.

[Editor's reply]: We agree that spiral-bound zines are easier to read: they also hold onto pages more efficiently (the book binding tends to come unglued and start losing pages after a few readings). We can't return to spirals, however, because GAMBIT now has too large a print run to punch all those pages by hand, and because carpal tunnel syndrome severely inhibits our hole-punching abilities. *Sigh*
Please communicate my deepest appreciation for the artwork by Lucia Casarella Moore in Gambit 8. The cover was outstanding and the inside pieces were amazing. [44]
[zine]:

#8 arrived and I was 'hooked' from the moment I saw the front cover. What a wonderful picture. Congratulations to such a talented artist.

[...]

Re: The End Entropy in #8. Sheila Paulson is obviously one very talented lady. As, indeed, is Linda Knights, whose A Box Made of Glass provided a good long read that left me feeling quietly hopeful. I liked Double Blind by Irene Stubbs - it's refreshing when writers make an effort to introduce new and different life forms that aren't just there to take over Cally's mind! I was highly intrigued by Maureen Torrens' The Lords of Order. Like it - more please!

Goodies in Gambit 8: Ghost by April Giordano-Gresalfi and Mary Gerstner. Loved it. I laughed a lot; it's super when someone remembers that B7 wasn't always serious and this talented twosome managed to extract a huge amount of fun out of our hero's various foibles. I adore Avon's increasing panic, Vila's growing terror and Blake's escalating confusion. Have they written any more and, if so, where can I buy them? Another unusual offering. The Surreal Path by Jennifer Smallwood - nice one. Consider Me Gone - please, Sophia R. Mulvey, you're not going to leave it there, are you? You mustn't - I'm just longing to see Blake's face when he finds out who Avon was with, and Avon's face when he finds what Blake has done to him! [45]
[zine]:

I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas on Skarth. I remember the "prequel" in another GAMBIT and liked that, too. Is there more to this series? I am a sucker for Blake and Avon stories.

The End of Entropy is a great Sheila Paulson (one of my favorite writers) story. These two post GF stories are the highlights of G8 for me. Remembrance was, also, an outstanding story. Quite unusual. Humor is hard to do, but in general I like your Bizarro stories and the ones by Giordano & friend. Bizauro wasn't in G8, but Giordtmo's really z£my story Ghost had some absolutely priceless bits of dialogue. Blake Free was good, too. As you can tell, I really only like stories with Blake in them or Blake's "presence." (As a result, I don't read about 1/2 to 1/3 of the GAMBITs. I thought I should explain this.) Fliss Davies' Blake on p. 173 is my favorite interior art. It's a simple piece, but it clearly captures Blake. The color cover by Lucia Casarella Moore was good. I wouldn't even mind having a print of it. Dayna looks particularly nice. [46]

Issue 9

front cover of issue #9, Lucia Casarella Moore
back cover of issue #9

Gambit 9 was published in October 1992 and contains 270 pages.

Fiction:

  • Jean B. Hubb, "Useful Functions"
  • Summer Jackson, "Subliminal Messages"
  • Sandra Basham, "Revelations and Resolutions" (sequel to "Retreat and Reconciliation" in #8) (From issue #10: "Due to a computer error, 2 paragraphs were omitted from the end of Sandra Basham's story Revelations and Resolutions in the first printing of GAMBIT 9. If you would like the missing paragraphs (and your copy doesn't end with the line "He would await her arrival in the corridor"), send us a SASE.")
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Unreal City"
  • Ginevra Syn, "Hot Fudge & Candy Kisses"
  • Paulie Kay, "The Decision"
  • Nancy Dziergowski, "What Vila Knows"
  • Alan Moravian, "Master of All He Surveys"
  • Irene Stubbs, "Liberation"
  • Jean Graham, "Hecate Waits" (reprinted from Powerplay 4)
  • Cheufell Doshier, "Curiousities Killed the Cat"
  • Lorna Breshears, "Letting Go"
  • Jean Graham, "Sacrifice and Betrayal"
  • Teresa Ward and Cami, "Bitter Recoil" (sequel to "Revenge" in #8)
  • Sondra Sweigman, "Appearances Can Be Deceiving"
  • Alisha Lyons, "Refractivity"
  • Helen Parkinson, "Opening the Door"
  • Catherine Kendall, "Dreams of Youth"
  • Patti E. McClellan, "No Absolution"
  • CarolMel Ambassador, "Charade" (from "The Trophy Series")f
  • S.R. Mowatt, "Dead Men Tell No Tales"
  • Summer Jackson, "A Final Act of Mercy"
  • Maggie Alexander, "Turning Point"
  • Jacqui Topp, "The Dead Travis Sketch"
  • Pearl Stickler, "Mary Sue"

Nonfiction:

  • Jean Graham, "Editor's 2-Cents Worth"
  • Jean Graham, "Superscore" (puzzle)
  • Ruth Berman, "Blake's Gambit" (explanation of the speed chess games in "Gambit")
  • ORmAC, "Bounties" (puzzle)
  • ORmAC, "Good vs. Evil" (puzzle)
  • ORmAC, "B7 Cryptogram" (puzzle)
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Quotes, etc." (puzzle)
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Mixed Up/The Episodes" (puzzle)
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Mixed Names" (puzzle)
  • Letters of Comment
  • Puzzle Answers
  • Zine ads

Poetry:

  • Shirley de Meyer, "Rebel Scum" (filk, Devil's Gun)
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Hold On, Avon"
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Servalan"
  • Teri Sarick, "Burnt Roses"
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Little Avon" (filk, Little David)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Friends"
  • Michael Williams, "An Unfitting End"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Victim of Obsession"
  • Teri Sarick, "Black on Black Forever"
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Anna"
  • Teri Sarick, "Snow"
  • Paulie Kay, "Well Well"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Dearest Traitor"
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Rebel Avon"
  • Nancy Dziergowski, "Klyn"
  • Michael Williams, "An Avon Lament"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Memories of Kerril"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Vila's Vow"
  • Dreams, poem originally attributed to Shirley de Meyer; the editorial in issue #11 says that this is actually song lyrics to a Stevie Nicks song
  • Jacqui Topp, "Brothers"
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Disguise"
  • Shirley de Meyer, "Walls"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Ice Maiden"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Dayna"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Auronae Woman"
  • Shirley de Meyer, "I Know You"
  • Paulie Kay, "Friends or Enemies"
  • Teri Sarick, "Dark Impressions"
  • Michael Williams, "An Avon Lament-- II"

Art:

  • Lucia Casarella Moore (front cover), Michael Williams, Jean B. Hubb, Cindy Brink, Jacqui Topp, Pam Whitelark, Shirley de Meyer, S.R. Mowatt, Ruth Berman, Cheufell Doshier, Todd Parrish, Derrin, Denise Loague, D. Corley

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

Gambit has shown fairly steady improvement as the years have gone by and the number of issues has increased. Physically, it's nice to have the perfect"perfect binding", which both mails and stacks much easier than spiral binding. The color covers lately have been pretty nice, too, though the interior art doesn't always match up.

Issue 9 was a fairly good read, not quite as exceptional as issue 8 but having several stories that deviated from the plots everyone occasionally feels the need to use. For example, "Hot Fudge and Candy Kisses" was definitely the WEIRDEST trash-Avon story I have ever seen in my life, and I've read a lot of zines. It was even weirder than the one where he (or was it Blake?) was made pregnant in a weird Federation experiment (the title had something to do with seahorses)-- sorry for that brief run off track, but I haven't thought about that story in years... anyway. Back to Gambit. "Hot Fudge..." was not only weird but very funny, a good combination. I won't spoil the story though.

My other favorite was a (just barely) fifth series called "A Final Act of Mercy"-- it takes place immediately after the end of "Blake", and gave a choice for one of the characters that I don't think I've seen before-- high rankings for originality. I wish I could trek my copy of the zine on the subway so I could make more detailed comments...

Oh, yes, there was one entitled, appropriately, "Mary Sue", which was kind of fun. The idea of a "Mary Sue" character is so stigmatized that people don't seem to play with it very much, even in this kind of self-aware way. The fan in the story is snatched from her home and dumped in some inter-dimensional wasteland, where she meets Avon. [47]

As a rule, I don't "do" LOCs to fanzines, but all rules need to be broken from time to time...

First, I loved the color cover of Avon in the cellar. Not only can we tell which episode and scene is being depicted, but the artist captures Avon's expression so perfectly that we can even tell which line is being spoken at that moment. Stories: I usually prefer serious to humorous, but The Dead Travis Sketch had me in stitches, and Pearl Stickler's Mary Sue was a lot better than I expected it to be, given its premise. On the serious side, I found both of our honorable editor's stories to be among the most maturely-written pieces in the zine. In the pgp section, I thought the two stories in which Vila kills Avon out of kindness were equally well-written, yet I hated Opening the Door and loved A Final Act of Mercy because the former was totally depressing and the latter surprisingly uplifting. Irene Stubbs' Liberation disappointed me. I've usually enjoyed her stories m the past (No Useless Gesture in a former issue of GAMBIT is one of my all-time favorites, in fact), but this time I thought her characterization was way off. Indeed, I couldn't shake the feeling that her Blake and Avon had paid a quick visit to Ultraworld when no one was looking and underwent a reciprocal personality transplant...

Actually, I take exception to how Blake was depicted in most of the stories: either out of character, fleetingly, or not at all! (Of course, I do realize one can only publish the stories people write and submit.) Serials and multi-parters: Missed the Skarth saga this time around. Hope it's back in GAMBIT 10.

Not really crazy about Catherine Kendall's Xiaodan ~ too much like a long-running soap opera for my taste.

Charade from CarolMel Ambassador's Trophy series gets high marks for managing to offer some of the best characterization of Blake in the zine even though Blake himself wasn't in the story! I keep running into these Trophy excerpts all over the place, but I've no sense of their sequence or even how many I'm missing. Any chance of printing a comprehensive guide like the one printed in GAMBIT 5 for Sheila Paulson's Jabberwocky series?

Oh, and I must express appreciation to Carol McCoy and Teresa Ward for Bitter Recoil. It really held my interest despite its heavy focus on Tarrant. (As a rule, I don't care for Tarrant stories but all rules need to be broken from time to time. (As a rule, I don't care for Vila stories either, but a Vila story in an earlier GAMBIT~ The Stream of Life by Virginia Waldron was absolutely marvelous.) At the end of Recoil I was left with the feeling that there's going to be a third installment in which the Scorpio crew goes to GP and meets up with Blake. Hope I'm right.

Poems and filks: Nothing much here that I liked, I'm afraid. Jacqui Topp's two poems were technically good (her stuff always is), but that's about it. This has been generally true in past issues of GAMBIT as well, leading me to suspect that the editor and I simply have irreconcilably different preferences where poetry is concerned. One thing hardly ever mentioned are the puzzles. I find that odd because most zines don't bother to include such items, and I, for one, am pleased that GAMBIT does. Admittedly some are almost insultingly easy, but others offer a respectable mental workout. The cryptograms, for example, and that wonderfully unusual Bounties puzzle. (I'd forgotten how much I used to enjoy school algebra. Thank you, ORmAC, for reminding me.)

Last but not least, kudos to Jean for the consistently professional layout of all the GAMBITs, for the convenient chronological sequencing of the stories in each issue, and for the speed and efficiency with which orders for the zine are processed. (The importance of the latter should not be underestimated and Peacock Press's track record in that department, compared to the fandom norm, is nothing short of outstanding.)[48]

I'm just going to touch on the standouts, since Gambit always has such a huge offering of stories, poems, and art. "Unreal City" by McManus was a fun and sometimes insightful piece, with some nice humorous bits. Vickie's hint at Avon's relationship with his father certainly explains the man's reaction to Blake. Your own "Sacrifice and Betrayal" was a wonderful story, worthy of much praise. I greatly admire the way you managed to rewrite "Rumours of Death" and make it so believable. I almost like it better than the original episode! Of course, having Vila save the day is always a plus for me. The end was very touching, and crew reactions were utterly believable. A real gem of a tale.

"Refractivity" by Lyons was chilling and surprising. I had no idea how this vignette was going to turn out, and went back to reread it several times after I'd finished. Very good, compact, and well-written. Dare I beg for a sequel? I want to know if either of the characters is ever going to be "all right" again. (Or does either one of them really exist? Hmm.) "Opening the Door" by Parkinson was also an interesting post-GP. A bit more wallowy than I prefer, but I quite liked it. Vila's ending statement really made the story, for me anyway.

Other stories I enjoyed were "Dead Men Tell No Tales" by Mowatt, "A Final Act of Mercy" by Jackson, and "Turning Point" by Alexander. Topp's "Dead Travis Sketch" had me laughing aloud ("...it's pining for its lost hand.")

"Mary Sue" by Stickler was also fun, and definitely notches above the average Mary Sue story.

As for art, I'm going to be prejudiced and say I liked and appreciated Mowatt's Cally gracefully gracing my prose submission on p. 107. Derrin's maimed Tarrant on p.l29 looks quite debonair with a cane! (Puttin' on the Riiiiitz!") I also liked Moffatt's Avon on p. 219 and Topp's Soolin (she writes poetry AND draws-no fair) on p.232. Who is the mystery artist for the Vila on p. 266? Or is it a scanned-in photograph?

[Editor's reply]: Neither it's just a pasted-in photograph.]
It wasn't credited to an artist, anyway. I quite like the pose, and would love to get the photo. Moore's color front cover, again, was lovely. So much suffering portrayed in one 8 1/2 x 11 space! [49]
It's always a treat to find GAMBIT on the doorstep. As well as being a good read, it has a very professional look. The editor and all her helpers can pat themselves on the back. Several stories appealed to me. Bitter Recoil was a welcome conclusion to Revenge, an interesting plot, a good Tarrant story. Dead Men Tell No Tales, A Final Act of Mercy, No Absolution, Appearances Can Be Deceiving, What Vila Knows, and Sacrifice and Betrayal were all affecting and well done. Mary Sue was fun and The Dead Travis Sketch was a good parody. Nancy Dziergowski's limerick for Klyn was neatly done. Even though I know little about chess, I found Ruth Berman's article interesting. Ruth and all other chess aficionados might be interested to know that a book, "The 64-Square Looking Glass," edited by Burt Hochburg, was due out in the fall of '92. I understand that it contains "a mind-bending collection of excerpts involving chess from a wide range of world literature." [50]
Favourite stories this time around have to be Sacrifice and Betrayal, No Absolution and Turning Point On the poetry side, I loved Auronae Woman by Melissa Mastoris. The Avon & Cally relationship is one of my favourite aspects of B7 and this captured the essence of it beautifully. Art-wise, the colour cover was gorgeous (probbly my favourite one so far), and I was both intrigued and pleased to see a couple members of my favourite rock band making an appearance in Dreams of Youth. The drawing of Jarosl as Travis is especially good. [51]

What can I say about Gambit 9? As soon as you take it out of the envelope, you're sledgehammered by the cover. Mrs. Moore certainly delights in wringing every last bit of emotion out of her subject. How does she manage to get such power & drama into her paintings while using so few colors? I don't see how she can top "An Old Wall," but I hope she tries. Overall, the stories in this issue are a bit more serious than in Gambit 8. My favourite stories: Useful Functions: the difference between a foolish idealist and an idealistic fool. Liked Jean's simple artwork (p. 10), makes you use your imagination; Hot Fudge & Candy Kisses: a besmudged Avon. A definite weaken for someone (me!) with a sweet tooth. Master of All He Surveys: excellent study of the irony that plagues Avon; Curiosities Killed the Cat: no one ever listens to Vila, do they? And 'mustard' is Tarrant's color. Letting Go: I always thought of the Avon character as a 'pressure cooker.' this story gently bleeds off some of that pressure; Opening the Door, did anyone doubt Vila would be a friend to the end and beyond? Dead Men Tell No Tales: most post-GP stories depict Avon as an emotional & physical beanbag. For once, Avon wins in the end.

I would like to respond to a LOC in Gambit 8. Lorna Breshears asked if the discarded teleport bracelet in my Avon...Who? found its way into the hands of Vincent or Mouse. Good question. I can just hear Vila screaming about "hairy aliens" now. If you would like to discuss this, Jean can give you my address. I enjoyed every page of Gambit 9 and am looking forward to your milestone issue 10. [52]
Issue 9... really floored me. It's one of the best zines I've come across in my short career as a B7 fan. The cover!! Beautiful! Lucia Moore is obviously a talented artist. She does like Avon a bit, doesn't she? There was so much artwork, and such a lot of it good. Derrin's piece on p. 129, and Moore's scattered throughout. Denise Loague had some nice work, and I really liked S.R. Mowatt's. The stories were just as varied and enjoyable. Jean Hubb I've read before, and always like her stories. Catherine Kendall's Xiaodan story was very interesting. Unreal City by McManus was also good Your own Hecate Waits I found enjoyable, too; I haven't come across too many stories exploring the relationships between Jenna and the others. Sacrifice and Betrayal remains as absorbing in later readings as in the first. Ward and McCoy's story intrigued me. I'll have to find the prequels to their (and others') 'part of a series' stories. Refractivity by Lyons was very good, great. McClellan's No Absolution gave a nice treatment of post-"Orbit" behavior for Avon and Vila. Charade, part of CaroLMel Ambassador's Trophy series, seems to be a most fascinating excerpt from the whole, which I'd like to get my hands on. All of the stories were good, basically. The two oddlings. The Dead Travis Sketch and Mary Sue, really were funny. The various poetry and filks and puzzles added a lot of interest to the straight stories, and the chess analysis by Ruth Berman (which, since I have absolutely no understanding of the game, made no sense to me) still was a nice non-fiction piece. All in all, a great zine. High-quality layout, etc. [53]
I've finally managed to finish Gambit 91... Here are my belated comments: Hot Fudge and Candy Kisses: the weirdest story in the whole issue. Totally unexpected. Refractivity: I wish I hadn't been alone when I read thh one. Sad and horrible, but very real. Dreams of Youth: Upon first flipping thru the zine, I spotted Brian May on p. 166. A good likeness ~ art credit says Denise Loague. Is Catherine Kendall a Queen fan or was it just a coincidence of curly hair? No Absolution: I liked the characterizations very much; this was a little different from the usual gift- wrapped post-"Orbit" story. A Final Act of Mercy: Ah, Vila's POV, done well. At the moment I'm kind of tired of 5th series, but I liked this one.[54]
Thank you for the copy of Gambit 9. I was very pleased with the way the chess article came out. Reducing the diagrams to fit into the columns worked nicely. Your Sacrifice and Betrayal and Lorna Breshears' Letting Go made an interesting contrast in treatments of Anna Grant, both enjoyable. It occurs to me that it might be a nice idea sometime to have a cover drawing or painting of Anna Grant. (Possibly as a companion-piece to the handsome cover on #9 by Lucia Casarella Moore of Avon titled in the toe "An Old Wall," but it looks like the wall in Servalan's basement just after Avon has kiUed Anna Grant?) [Same wall. The title comes from Servalan's line, "It's an old wall, Avon, it waits."-JG] The characters other-than-Avon tend to get shortchanged sometimes, and the non-regular characters even more so. Another kind of portrait that it would be nice to see might be compare or contrast pieces of people who played more than one role on the show (the Admiral at Travis' court martial was also the mad scientist on Malodaar was also the blind man; or Cally & Zelda; or, ringing in another show, Bayban the Butcher vs. the Doctor, or Servalan vs. Chesene). [55]
Gambit 9:1 liked both No Absolution by Patti E. McClellan and Dead Men Tell No Tales by S.R. Mowatt. Turning Point by Maggie Alexander gave me a pleasant, hopeful feeling. Another good laugh in The Dead Travis Sketch by Jacqui Topp. However, I feel that pride of place for all these zines must go to quite a short story - Vickie McManus' Open Season. This one has everything. The working relationship between Gaily and Avon is beautifully portrayed, the action is fast, the contemplative moments sincere and thoughtful and the end, though satisfactorily resolved, leaves the reader wanting more. Did Avon punch Blake? (All right, I know he wouldn't, but his temptation and Cully's reaction would have made alluring reading.) Did Cally bring him his tea with honey? (I do hope so!) Most important of all, did they get the memory chip anyway? The v^ole story was, in my opinion, an outstanding piece of B7 writing. [56]

I've only just begun to look at #9... let me just give you my impressions so far. It certainly is a beautiful book. I never cease to be amazed by the development in the physical appearance of each issue of Gambit, how by altering and rearranging such things as binding, placement of the title, and color schemes, you constantly change and update the look. This is not to say that each one is an improvement, because the outside of each issue has always been lovely in itself. Rather, you make each cover distinct, a sort of statement of the continuous evolution in viewer contemplation of B7. S.R. Mowatt's Servalan of "Gambit" is a treat.

Lucia Casarella's work has delighted me since day one. She is an exceptionally good draughtsman, but beyond that she has a way of getting to the quick of the ulcer as far as inner feelings go. Her cover shows how valuable color printing is to her effect, but her portfolio inside is also very fine, showing as it does such a flow of imagination in its mixture of "reality" and character analysis. God, the front cover of this issue is Avon in the dungeon -1 know, I know, it's "Rumours of Death," but it might as well be for my Liberation! What an exhilarating serendipity.

No question that your scanner works fine. Liberation looks as good as if it had been taken from disc. I noticed with considerable satisfaction that you transfigured all the underscored words to italics. That must have made for extra work, but still, it does demonstrate that the entire system you have for putting the zine together is wonderfully capable and efficient. Must be efficient; my story was so late, yet you were able to fold it in seamlessly. I liked S.R.M.'s young, handsome, rather cheerful and innocent-looking Avon towards the beginning of my story. Her Orac, and Michael Williams' combative and mutually frozen Avon and Blake, and his vexed Vila, all fit in as if they had been created to illustrate Liberation. Don't ever let anyone say you don't have a really delicate touch as an editor!

S.R.M.'s Dead Men Tell No Tales wouldn't jibe with my concept of the characters involved, but it still is a very well-written and poignant story. Sondra Sweigman's Appearances Can Be Deceiving is a marvelously acute analysis of "Blake"; and in itself is a cunningly constructed piece of writing, and finally heartbreaking. I was glad to see your Hecate Waits again; it's a good story, really blood-curdling, in a way. Sacrifice and Betrayal is a fresh find. It's a more believable recoimting of the events of "Rumours" than Boucher's episode itself is. I think the prolonging of Avon's reunion with Anna is what does it. More satisfying to see the tragedy played out fully, instead of simply as the passions of a few moments. And that's all I've been able to peruse so far. It's fascinating that you have no dearth of submissions and that they can be seen to fall into a distinct pattern: interest now is mainly in Series B (high summer) and PGP (starting all over again, the writer's ideas in the fore), in almost equal measure. Series C (with the exception of "Terminal," very good and mostly fun-and-games) makes out in third place. No one is too wrapped up in Series A or D, and zip concern with the characters before they became what the original scriptwriters made them.

It's always such a pleasure to get a new B7 zine. It is a revival of the sensation of being in the shared universe of B7; something which is hard to attain now that B7 is no longer on TV in my area. [57]

Issue 10

Gambit 10 was published in June 1993 and contains 291 pages. It won a 1994 FanQ for best Blake's 7 zine.

front cover of issue #10, Lucia Casarella Moore -- "Frankly Blake, I Don't Give a Damn"
back cover of issue #10, Lucia Casarella Moore -- "Brat"

The art is by Lucia Casarella Moore, Cynthia Brink, Jean B. Hubb, Whitby27, Michael Williams, S.R. Mowatt, Shirley de Meyer, Suzie Molnar, Jacqui Topp, Cheufell Doshier, and Denise Loague.

From the editorial:

Gambit is now six years and ten issues old! Hard to believe (until we start counting the grey hairs, anyway). As always, we have you, the fans, to thank for our longevity. You've kept sending us all the wonderful stories and illustrations, you've kept reading us, and best of all, you've supported us with much-appreciated words of encouragement in your letters and phone calls. You've also nominated us again this year for best B7 zine and best editor on the ballots for MediaWest con's 1993 Fan Quality Awards. Thanks to all of you for your participation and support over the years. It means more than you can know.

Will there be a Gambit 11? (Do ducks quack?) We already have stories for it, so yes there will definitely be another one. Our particular brand of insanity is certifiably incurable, /see, so we just keep on putting out issues as long as people keep sending us material. So (hint, hint), please keep sending us material.
From the editorial:

We can now accept disk submissions on either 3V6" or SVi" floppies, in WordPerfect, WordStar, Microsoft Word or ASCII text, and we can convert Macintosh disks as well. Please include a hard copy of your story so that we can double check for errors (our computer's on a strict diet and has been known to gobble text on the sly). And if you don't meet the above specifications, no problem. Send us a dean print-out (letter-quality rather than draft/dot-matrix, please) or a clearly-typed copy of your story, single-spaced, and we'll scan it into the computer with our technical wizard's assistance. (He just bought a scanner of his very own, and it's even better than the one we were using at his place of employment, so as long as we're very very nice to Jim and keep him regularly plied with 6-packs of Pepsi..) As a last resort, of course, we'll simply fall back on the terribly primitive method of retyping your material. Fortunately for the inept-fanzine-typist's-error-count index, however, this is now a seldom-utilized contingency. (!)

Since her liberation from the necessity to retype 300+ pages of manuscript every issue, ye editor gets to spend most of her time editing. (What a concept.) She enjoys this much more than retyping, but admits to one small grumbling frustration: she seems to correct the same grammatical and punctuation errors over and over (and over) again, in manuscripts submitted by numerous contributors from many and varied comers of the world. (She refrains, therefore, from solely faulting the sad state of affairs in U.S. education^ systems.) Though we've addressed this in previous editor's columns, hope springs eternal that our contributors might (please?) take pity on us and save the editor a lot of time next issue by correcting some of the most common mistakes before dropping the story in the mail. For example:

[many examples snipped].

OK, OK. If you're intimidated, frightened or just plain utterly mystified by the above, ignore it and send us your story anyway. We don't expect everyone to aspire to a college degree in English, and we'd rather have stories that need editing than no stories at all. Honest. Keep on writing...
  • A Word from the Editor by Jean Graham (5)
  • Small World/Large Project, fiction by Helen Parkinson (Pre Series A) (6)
  • Avon, filk by Sheila Paulson, Vincent, by Don McLean (15)
  • Death Blow, poem by Teri Sarick (15)
  • Memories, fiction by Jean B. Hubb (Pre Series A) (16)
  • Lost Trust, poem by Melissa Mastoris (24)
  • Alien Welcome, fiction by Ruth Berman (Series A) (25)
  • Epitaphs, poem by Jacqui Topp (28)
  • Detour, fiction by Nancy Dziergowski (Series A) (29)
  • All for a Cup, poem by Michael Williams (38)
  • Linked Lives, puzzle by ORmAC (39)
  • Changing the Guard, fiction by Ruth Berman (Series A) (40)
  • Tribute, fiction by Sheila Paulson (Series B) (43)
  • The Rebel, poem by Jacqui Topp (47)
  • A Healing Touch, fiction by Judith Seaman (Series B) (49)
  • Blake, poem by Shirley de Meyer (66)
  • B7 Crossword, puzzle by S.R. Mowatt (67)
  • Aftermath: Blake's Story, fiction by Sondra Sweigman (Series C) (69)
  • The Tale of the Black Knight, poem by Jacqui Topp (82)
  • Fail Safe, fiction by Alan Moravian (Series C) (83)
  • Kerr Avon's Lament, filk by Jacqui Topp, Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus (85)
  • Rumours of Death (A What-If Version), fiction by Sharon Ann Campbell (Series C) (86)
  • Only Human After All, fiction by Helen Parkinson (Series C) (89)
  • Faithful Black, fiction by E (partially reprinted from Input #2) (Series C) (95)
  • Powerplay Twice, fiction by Betsy R. Miller (Series C) (112)
  • Desperation, poem by Teri Sarick (122)
  • Lost Causes, poem by Teri Sarick (122)
  • The Best Revenge, fiction by Alice Aldridge (Series C) (123)
  • Misapprehension, poem by Patti E. McClellan (also in Rallying Call #11) (176)
  • Opposing Sides, poem by ORmAC (177)
  • The Stone's Throw, fiction by Lorna Breshears (Series D) (178)
  • Vila's Tall Tale: Servalan Gets Hers, fiction by Cheufell Doshier (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (182)
  • Deliver Us From Heroes, fiction by Patti E. McClellan (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (192)
  • State of the Art, fiction by CarolMel Ambassador (from "The Trophy Series") (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (197)
  • Queenmaker, fiction by Rebecca Donahue (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (208)
  • A Day in the Life, fiction by Rebecca Donahue (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (213)
  • Truth and Consequences, fiction by Rebecca Donahue (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (216)
  • Day of the Bounty Hunter, fiction by S.R. Mowatt (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (223)
  • Playing the Game, poem by Melissa Mastoris (245)
  • Serious Doubts, poem by Melissa Mastoris (245)
  • Pretending, fiction by Catherine Kendall (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (246)
  • Kasabi, poem by Melissa Mastoris (269)
  • Pretty Lady, poem by Melissa Mastoris (269)
  • Only Mistaken, fiction by Melanie Chinen (won a 1994 FanQ) (Series E: Post Gaude Prime) (270)
  • And There Was, poem by Shirley de Meyer (277)
  • B7 Word Search, puzzle by S.R. Mowatt (278)
  • Limits, fiction by Marian Mendez (real world crossover) (Other Dimenensions( (279)
  • From the Log of the H@!!hound: The Final Entry, fiction by S.R. Mowatt (Hellhound parody) (Other Dimenensions( (282)
  • Puzzle Answers (284)
  • Letters of Comment (286)
  • Zine Ads (292)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 10

[Aftermath: Blake's Story]: ...I'll reference a couple of fan stories by members of this APA as examples of where Blake remains strong. [snipped] Sondra Sweigman's much welcomed Aftermath: Blake's story (in Gambit 10). This is one of the most explicit examples of a very strong Blake. Though he is the one grievously injured (the shooting on Star One), he is also the one who has to be strong when he and Jenna remain on Liberator in this alternate version of Aftermath. He provides comfort and assurance, and attempts to get her into a spacesuit when life support is waning. [58]
[Aftermath: Blake's Story]: Sondra: I don't think I've told you that I very much liked Aftermath: Blake's Story. I was particularly delighted to learn that it was the beginning of a series that will explore Blake's activities between Star One and Blake. I've long wanted to read stories that filled in that gap. Also, a comment on one specific element in your story. I enjoyed that Tarrant made such a difference in Avon's chances for successfully retaking Liberator. Without Tarrant, Avon only had a 13.2% chance of success. With Tarrant's help, that increased to 86.3%. I always knew Tarrant was a clever, resourceful young fellow. I appreciate having you to confirm that. [59]
[zine]: I can't say I've read any outstanding zines lately, though "Gambit 10" has a higher than average Blake quotient several above-average stories, including one novel-length one, a sequel to Alice Aldridge's Necessary Sacrifices, which appeared in Roads Not Taken. [60]
[zine]:

Back again with another zine under my belt, so to speak. This time I will only mention my favorites as this zine always has way too many offerings to consider.

SMALL WORLD, LARGE PROJECT by Helen Parkinson. Blake meets Avon on the Aquitar project when Avon is injured. Interesting view of both men, especially a Blake that is compassionate yet not perfect.

CHANGING THE GUARD by Ruth Berman. Blake (with Jenna) goes back to Ensor's planet to help the injured Travis. Blake appears as realistic, displaying compassion and practicality while Servalan gets in her digs about his enjoyment of sex.

TRIBUTE by Sheila Paulson. Christmas on the Liberator after Gan's death with a guilty Blake. Avon gives Blake a special present (no Sue, not that present!).

AFTERMATH:BLAKE'S STORY by Sondra Sweigman. Blake and Jenna meet up with Deva and Klyn after Star One. Nice treatment of both their characters and the reasons behind Blake's decision not to return.

THE STONE'S THROW by Lorna Breshears. I liked it but I'm not sure why. Usually I hate stories where Blake dies, and here it is at the hands of his "huddled masses". I guess the tragedy of it appeals to me as does Blake's innocence. Sometimes he really does seem too good to survive. It also reminded me of the Blake as messiah theme but I'm not sure why.

DAY OF THE BOUNTY HUNTER by S.R. Mowatt. Interesting, I want to read more. Who is calling himself Ensor? Could it be Blake? Where is ORAC? Fascinating! Who is Nikki?

FILKS - AVON by Sheila Paulson. Terrific, as usual.

POEMS - THE TALE OF THE BLACK KNIGHT by Jacqui Topp. Loved it, it gave me the shivers.

The cover was fab too. By Lucia Casarella Moore "Frankly Blake, I don't give a damn. The boys at their best."[61]
[zine]:

Gambit #10 is, as always, a great value for your dollar. It's perfect bound, with a full-color cover and almost 300 pages of reduced but beautifully readable type. Out of that total, less than 70 pages are devoted to pre-"Star One" stories; as might be expected, the Tarrant quotient is pretty darned decent. He's even on the back cover!

A sampling... Alan Moravian's "Fail Safe" depicts Tarrant favorably, though Avon fens may not be pleased. In Helen Parkinson's "Only Human After All," Avon is bitten by a poisonous lizard while trying to protect Tarrant. Betsy Miller's "Powerplay Twice" is an interesting view ofthe early 3rd series, when Tarrant was not yet fully accepted by the others. Betsy avoids the common trap of making Tarrant the one always in the wrong; in this story, it's Avon who's wrong, and Cally's not shy about saying so. Yes!

Alice Aldridge's "The Best Revenge" is a tad disappointing; it's very, very long, but most of it is concerned with Jenna, Travis, and a bunch of original characters. The rest of the gang do show up at the very end, though, and Tarrant gets to be a hero (and gets brained for his trouble). Then there's an odd trilogy by Rebecca Donahue, about the next generation of rebels. Servalan has a son, not by Avon but by Tarrant! I wasn't too keen on these stories, since the crew all get killed off early on, but the kids are interesting in their own right.

The most frustrating story in the zine was "Day of the Bounty Hunter" by S.R. Mowatt. It ends right at the most interesting part, when a reprogrammed Tarrant boards our heroes' ship in order to take them prisoner. Arrgh! There better be a sequel! There's also "Pretending," a long Xiaodan story by Catherine Kendall, and "Never Mistaken," a PGP starring Tarrant by Melanie Chinen.

Jean always prints her LoCs; they are the part of the zine I read first. This time, fans are clamoring for more stories in Carol McCoy and Teresa Ward's "Revenge"/"Bitter Recoil" universe—even fens who don't usually like Tarrant stories! Joan Wakeman, a British fen, makes an observation that I've often made myself: that American zines "seem inclined toward the intense and soul-searching, far more that the UK zines which make more mileage out of the "gung-ho aspects of the programme." And Irene Stubbs" letter got me thinking; she commented that most of the stories were either Series B or PGPs. Series C came in third, with little interest evident in Series A or D. She implies that this is a persistent pattern, so I checked it out. Nope, it was just a fluke. It's true that there are always more PGPs than anything else, and that there are always relatively few pre-Series A or Series A stories. The rest varies considerably. In past issues. Series B. C. and D have all had their share of attention. Series C comes out well ahead of B overall, while D lags slightly. I hadn't realized that Series D was neglected: I wonder why more people don't write 4th series stories? Have to keep this in mind for future issues...[62]
[zine]:

.. the quick-and-dirty LOC for Gambit 10. I'll just do a run through of the ones that kept my attention the most.

Jean Hubb's "Memories" was an interesting pre-Bank Fraud interlude, and I am envious of her clever use of Avon's and Anna's differing viewpoints. I also appreciated the care Jean used in building up some background for Anna, both the public facade and the private undercover persona.

"Alien Welcome" by Ruth Berman was very pleasant. Cally's first few hours aboard Liberator is not a subject many have people have tackled. The early first-season crew characterizations and interactions seemed spot on to me. And I quite enjoyed Vila's and Cally's attempts to figure one another out.

I also liked Berman's "Changing the Guard." One of the better attempts to explain the obviously different 2nd Series Travis that I have read. I can see the first Travis enjoying the irony of the situation.

"A Healing Touch" by Judith Seaman was a compelling read, and I enjoyed following the mystery to its completely reasonable end. The Outremer society was quite well thought out, but I do wonder whether such an anti- technology culture would allow outsiders to reside on the planet, even though they were within an enclave.

Betsy Miller's "Powerplay Twice" showed us good crew dynamics and characterization (loved Dayna's reaction to their helping Servalan, and Madam President herself was well done). But how is it going to end? Surely there will be a continuing story.

"The Best Revenge" by Alice Aldridge was a gripping continuation of her Jenna-Travis epic. The crew of the Nighthawk were very much after the style of C.J. Cherryh, and I liked them. Travis's trials and tests were also nicely done. I have to admit, though, that my favorite part of the story was the banquet near the end, when the crew of Liberator appeared right in the thick of things, as usual. I'll be looking forward to reading the conclusion.

S.R. Mowatt's "Day of the Bounty Hunter" could also have been called "Rebel Scavenger Hunt"! It held and piqued my interest (though I must admit that Vila's rescue was the part I liked best). This looks like another "to be continued" story, so I hope it is concluded in the next issue. (I also liked her artistic rendition of Blake on p. 271.)

"Limits" by Marian Mendez was delightful. It's not always easy to approach B7 from a different angle, but she seems to manage it -- and make it entertaining - almost every time. I sincerely hope Gan doesn't decide to pay me a visit, though...

Could I echo Ruth Berman's plea in the LOC column? I also would love to see a cover drawing or painting of Anna Grant. She is so lovely and so neglected I've had in mind for years a drawing of Anna and Avon together before the Bank Fraud fizzled: Avon looking confident and happy - well, as happy as Avon can look - whilst Anna has a rather sad but determined expression. If I could draw, I'd do it myself. [63]
[zine]:

Compliments to Lucia Casarella Moore for another pair of magnificent covers. (Her artwork inside the zine is nothing to sneeze at either.) Delighted to see that Blake made it to the front this time. Is that scene, like those of her previous covers, from a specific moment in the series? It looks like it could be, but I can't place it.

And compliments to Jean for her skillful use of reduced type in three of the longer stories. Not only does that pack added value into a zine already worth its price, but it was amazingly easy to read. The very longest story was my favorite this time around: Alice Aldridge's "The Best Revenge," a complex, absorbing sequel to "Necessary Sacrifices" (which ~ for anyone who doesn't know- appeared in Roads Not Taken). Alice is the only writer I've come across who's managed to depict a convincingly sympathetic Travis. In the earlier story she came up with a truly ingenious - and exonerating - explanation for his "mad obsession" with destroying Blake. This story too is well-plotted, expertly-crafted, equally strong on adventure and characterization. Even the "negative" portrayal of Blake is handled with enough sophistication that I can live with it (and coming from me, that's conceding a lot!).

Also particularly enjoyed "State of the Art" by CarolMel Ambassador. Will the next installment be in Gambit 11? More importantly, will it be the next installment? I sure do hope the author read my request for a comprehensive list of "Trophy" stories and Jean's offer to publish that list.

I'm dying to get back to the plot line involving Servalan's programming her mutoid Blake to require Avon's blood type specifically... "Day of the Bounty Hunter" by S.R. Mowet. I think I like it. (I also think I know who "Ensor" is - and it isn't Blake!) But didn't it end rather abruptly? Surely that was only the first installment of a two-parter? Surely the remainder will appear in a future issue of Gambit? And surely it was an oversight (not deliberate sadism) that prevented the words "To Be Continued" from appearing at the end of said story?

I'm afraid that Ruth Berman pushed the boundaries of coincidence beyond my capacity to accept in "Changing the Guard." (Does anyone buy two identical Travises wounded by Blake in precisely the same manner in the same incident? Were we really supposed to?) On the other hand, in "Alien Welcome," she didn't push them far enough - she missed the perfect made-to-order sequitur for her little tete-a-tete between Vila and Cally, the ending should have been Cally and Avon in that scene from "The Web" with Cally saying to him "I'm interested in your work..."

Speaking of should-have-beens, I noticed two misclassifications of the stories in this zine, (Okay, so I'm nitpicking, but at least it proves I've read everything carefully!): "Detour" is not a 1st season story - it's an early 2nd season story-because it has Gan in it, but it also has Orac and an allusion to the events of the episode "Deliverance". And "A Stone's Throw" is 3rd season, not 4th-since it has to have taken place before the episode 'Terminal." In fact, there were no 4th season stories in Gambit 10.

And now since I was so negative in my last LOC about the filks and poems in issue #9, I feel it only fair to say that I thought that this issue contained an outstanding example of each: Sheila Paulson's filk to the tune of "Vincent" (the third such B7 filk I've encountered, including one I've written - the song seems to lend itself to the subject and from a variety of equally legitimate viewpoints) and Patti E. McClellan's "Misapprehension", a most penetrating glimpse into the darker side of Avon's soul-and the darker side of his feelings for Blake. (Many fan writers tackle that subject, but very few get it so chillingly correct.)

On the lighter side, "Limits" by Marian Mendez was cute and clever. I wonder if it was inspired by the previous issue's "Mary Sue"-and if we're now in for a spate of "author-meets-one of-the-characters" stories. Actually, I have met one of the characters—I've met Blake in my dreams. I've never met Avon, though. I am Avon in my dreams. (Uh oh, I think that's my cue to quit while I'm still one step ahead of the blokes with the butterfly nets.) [64]
[zine]: I'm happy to see that Lucia Casarella Moore did your cover to GAMBIT again. Her pictures are beautiful. I always look forward to your issues. I believe GAMBIT is one of the best BLAKE'S 7 fanzines I have read.[65]
[zine]:

I loved GAMBIT 10--here's more money! Send more!

Your Word From the Editor was wonderful--as someone who teaches Freshman Composition and also winces loudly and often at bad editing/typing in zines, I throw roses at your feet. Your zine has a great mix of stories, looks wonderful, and nary a wince the whole time I was reading! I loved the art by Lucia Casarella Moore on the covers (color suits her art better,, it seems, than black and white), and by S.R. Mowatt.

The very best story was The Best Revenge by Alice Aldridge. Once I started, I literally couldn't stop reading it. I've always felt Jenna's been shortchanged in a lot of B7 stories, so it was sheer pleasure to see her front and center. The story wasn't just a short "what if," but built a world that was entirely plausible and (and this is the important part) didn't leave me hanging~for instance, saying to myself, this is what's happening with Jenna, what happened with Blake and Avon and Vila and Cally, then? I found out. I also found out what happened when Jenna saw Blake again, what was happening not only with the Rebellion but the rest of the galaxy and what kind of trust Jenna and Travis had built for themselves and what it could withstand. And Travis--! I never thought I'd feel the way I do now about him. I really can't see him in the same way again. Kudos to Alice!

I also enjoyed Day of the Bounty Hunter by S.R. Mowatt. I liked the character Nikki Kohanek, and the rescue of Soolin was particularly well done. Fart 1, hm? I hope she'll continue it in another issue of GAMBIT? Rebecca Donahue's trilogy of Queenmaker, A Day in the Life and Truth and Consequences was an excellent look at post-GP where everyone indeed dies, yet the characters live on. Very clever idea, and well written. One thing that bothered me was the feeling I needed a secret decoder ring for some of the stories. While reading CarolMel Ambassador's State of the Art, my response was "interesting; I can follow it, but I wonder what went on before this"; my response to Catherine Kendall's Pretending was "I really wonder what went on before this because I don't know who some of these people are at all"; and S.R. Mowatt's jFrom the Log of the H@llhound: The Final Entry made me wonder what universe I'd stepped into~it made no sense to me at all. [H@llhound was a parody of 'Log of the Hellhound,' a series appearing in SOUTHERN SEVEN.-JG] It'd be nice if the author/editor supplied a short little "the story so far" summary when a story is part of a series, for us folks who aren't as widely read and/ or are just starting out (like me!).

Most of all, thanks for the great reading. I look forward eagerly to more![66]
[zine]:

Memories by Jean B. Hubb was one of the better stories I've read from Anna Grant's point of view. Often she appears only rapacious or conniving, but this story gives her some depth. The dialogue was excellent, and I adore the final, matter-of-fact line, "There was a reception afterwards."

Changing the Guard by Ruth Herman: different, definitely. Powerplay Twice by Betsy R. Miller: Draconians!?! What happens next? Will the Doctor show

up? The Best Revenge by Alice Aldridge pleased me no end, as its prequel was one of my favorite stories in ROADS NOT TAKEN. Nice to see Travis presented, for once, as a hot babe rather than a monster. Pretending by Catherine Kendall: I caught that! Bulsara, indeed.[67]
[zine]:

On GAMBIT 10: Enjoyed as usual. Beautiful covers, but that's no surprise, considering the source. Also the dark Blake on p. 42-nice! Small World, Large Project- How very Blakean to concern himself with someone he's never even met. And I like stories where the characters have met or brushed by one another before the series. Other favorites: Tribute by the ever-popular (and talented) Paulson, Ruth Herman's Alien Welcome, Judith Seaman's A Healing Touch, and of course. The Stone's Throw. Lorna, your subconscious must be as murky as mine own. CarolMel Ambassador's Trophy series is fascinating, even though it makes me very uncomfortable for some reason. Is there anywhere a list of where all the stories to date are located?

Day of the Bounty Hunter — nice story-thanks, S.R. Mowatt. Catherine Kendall-I just love Jaroslav Travis! But then, I'm pretty sick, according to my co-workers. Thanks for another great story. Only Mistaken was very nice. I did not enjoy The Best Revenge, but I think it's because I just don't especially care for Jeima and Travis as main characters. Or maybe it was just the small type. Well written, but not my cup of tea.

Another magnificent effort, Jean, for which much thanks from we mere mortals. Up the rebellion! [68]
[zine]:

Enjoyed GAMBIT 10. Lucia Casarella Moore's covers continue to be impressive for the way they catch the subtleties of expression-as-they-reflect-emotion. The b&w interior illos by here, though, look as if the repro is losing a good deal of the subtlety in shadings, and so don't work as well. Are the originals B&w, or is this a problem of using color originals for b&w repro? [The latter. Wish we could afford to do them all in color, but... *sigh. *-JG]

Sheila Paulson's Tribute is fun. Vila's manipulation of the others both for his own needs and for theirs is amusingly plausible, and the gifts they wind up giving each other are touchingly believable. While it's unfair to describe Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as a "remarkably maudlin book" (taking the remark as the expression of the narrator - actually, of course, the phrase reflects Avon's feelings), it's true that it's difficult to write Christmas stories without being maudlin. But this one manages it.

I enjoyed Sondra Sweigman's Aftermath; Blake's Story, as an ingenious and plausible way of linking up several details (the conflicting reports of Jenna's whereabouts, the absence of information about how Blake hooked up with Deva and Klyn, possible repercussions of Anna Grant's double agentry, etc.), and also because of its sympathy for Blake's sympathy for others (obvious enough, but not always picked up) and for Jeima's (not obvious, but there).

S.R. Mowatt's Day of the Bounty Hunter starts out enjoyable. I assume that Ensor's identity will be revealed in he next installment, but I'm taking it for granted that it's Orac ~ and I like the idea that the Orac is making the one choice of persona that effectively disguises it (well, reasonably effectively) without requiring a change in its own speech patterns, since Orac's speech patterns are Ensor's in the first place. I'm also curious to see what's going to be done with the hints that Blake is alive and wasn't the one on Gauda Prime.[69]
[zine]: I just finished GAMBIT 10. It was great! Beautiful cover and some wonderful writing. I particularly enjoyed Sondra's Aftermath: Blake's Story and Only Mistaken by Melaine Chinen. The poem The Tale of the Black Knight by Jacqui Topp was also outstanding. It just felt right.[70]
[zine]:

I've read earlier issues of the zine, but because of my particular bias toward Travis, there weren't too many stories that caught my attention. GAMBIT 7 was one of the better ones for me, with Margaret Walsh's By Honour Bound and Jean Stroud's Interlude in a Bar. Both stories portrayed Travis as a human being with other motivations besides his obsession with Blake's destruction. Margaret's was particularly satisfying because of the honor and compassion he demonstrated without losing the ruthless edge that was his only means of survival in Space Command. Of course, the dialogue with Servalan characterized their relationship of mutual distrust. Jean's I liked because it seemed to imply Travis would take another path than the one he did in "Gambit," find a different, possibly even better, future for himself, without the mterference of Blake or the Federation.

But I want you to know that GAMBIT 10 definitely earns a perfect ten on my scorecard. I really appreciated the abundance of Travis stories in all his manifestations. Classic Travis - Ruth Berman's Changing of the Guard was interesting for its insight into the characters of Blake, Travis, and Servalan, while giving one explanation for the Travis I - Travis 2 discrepancy. Reformed Travis — In my own Best Revenge, I was thrilled with the illos, especially S.R. Mowatt's Jenna on p.l28, whose expression seems to reflect the doubt and indecision that Jenna was feeling there. Of course, Val Westall's grim, menacing Avon on p.l58 would definitely give even Travis second thoughts about manhandling Vila. I'm also curious about which episode the picture of Travis on p.l32 is from? I don't recognize the scene or the pose....Then there is Ridiculous Travis m Cheufell Doshier's hysterical Vila's Tall Tale, which also had a wonderful portrayal of Tarrant as Servalan's much-harassed "boy toy." And let's not forget Rebecca Donahue's superb B7: The Next Generation trilogy of stories, Queenmaker, A Day in the Life and Truth and Consequences. A set of stories that cries out for continuation.

I even found many of the non-Travis stories intriguing, with some very interesting insights. Lorna Breshears' The Stone's Throw was a chilling parable on the fate of "messiahs" who don't consider the consequences of their actions. Helen Parkinson's Small World/Large Project was an intriguing speculation about Blake and Avon encountering one another on the Aquitar Project and a very perceptive observation that all, the rebels under his command did not necessarily share in Blake's idealism. Last of all, Marian Mendez's Limits was a charming comment on characters that sometimes take on a life of their own. (Would someone kindly exorcise that bad-tempered, black-clad ex-Space Commander from my computer files, please!)

I'm not much of a poetry fan, so I can't really comment, except to say that I liked Jacqui Topp's Tale of the Black Knight and Teri Sarick's offerings for the vivid if somewhat grim images that they imparted.

I want to thank you again for including The Best Revenge in this issue of GAMBIT. Fm afraid that because of its length and focus on Travis, some people will comment very unfavorably on its inclusion. However, I'm hoping that my sympathetic and somewhat realistic portrayal might generate a little more interest in my favorite character. I would love to read other writers' stories about Travis that portray him in a somewhat better, or at least more human light.

Keep up the superlative work (if you can, without having a physical or mental breakdown.) I always look forward to receiving my copies of GAMBIT, because I know that I've got hours, if not days, of enjoyable reading ahead of me. [71]
[zine]: I enjoyed GAMBIT 10 very much. Forgive me for not thanking you for my copy sooner but it arrived at a bad time and things seem to have only just settled down. I loved the cover and backpiece-I wish I could draw like that-and especially enjoyed A Healing Touch and Deliver Us from Heroes.[72]
[zine]:

Cover style - I have to say that I've become used to a full page picture for GAMBIT's cover. Even if Mrs. Moore's painting ('Frankly Blake, I Don't Give a Damn') is reproduced actual size, it doesn't fit! (No pun intended.) But her model's faces certainly tell a story. Just look at Vila's eyes. And the set of Avon's mouth. Is Blake showing his true face here? Mrs. Moore's back cover painting would have made a better front cover. And just whom is the title "Brat" referring to? (Think about it!) I know I'm always mentioning Mrs. Moore's work because it never fails to strike a chord in me. But the other artists, such as Jean Hubb, Val Westall, Suzie Molnar, S.R. Mowatt and Jacqui Topp, help to tie this issue together.

Favorite stories: Tribute by Sheila Paulson - OK, so I'm a marshmallow! I revert to that same 6-year-old as Vila does at Christmas time. Even 'stubborn, foolhardy, bullheaded rebels' (not to mention 'sourpuss techs') need a break!

Small World/Large Project by Helen Parkinson. Very believable plot; almost mundane in its day-in-the-life style. I fell right into the mood of this one. Blake got what he needed in the end. A holiday, off Earth!

Memories by Jean Hubb. Enjoyed the He Said She Said approach to the story.

Aftermath: Blake's Story by Sondra Sweigman. I'm an AVON LADY and tend to enjoy stories where he is center stage. This was one of the few Avon-less stories I've enjoyed. And I always thought that Deva and Klyn were too good to be used as throwaway characters. Wouldn't it have been interesting if the TV series had followed both major characters on parallel courses that intersected at times and collided at the end!

Only Human After All by Helen Parkinson. I would have liked to see this one as a TV B7 episode.

Vila's Tall Tale or Servalan Gets Hers by Cheufell Doshier. Nice change of pace. Yes... I did laugh. Singing Mutoids indeed! Would like to hear more of Vila's Tales.

Epitaphs by Jacqui Topp. I don't usually comment on poems because I don't consider myself knowledgeable in that area. Jacqui's poem put a smile on my face. But all things considered, I think the Seven 'would rather be here than in Philadelphia!' (W.C. Fields).

Well Jean, thanks again for another good read! Looking forward to GAMBIT 11, 12, 13, 14, 15... How does the year 2626 sound to you?[73]
[zine]:

As usual, Lucia C. Moore's artwork on the covers and inside was great. Though I must admit that I'm rather partial to "Brat," which was on the back cover. I also quite liked Val Westall's loose, dark style. It fits the characters of the B7 universe very well. I especially like the illos of Avon on 283 and 287.1 was also intrigued by the computer illos on 177 by ORmAC. From experience I know that doing detailed computer illustration can be time-consuming and it takes a great deal of patience and skill. I'm impressed. They don't look like they were scanned in. (Actually, I may be wrong about that.)

As to stories, I was surprised and delighted by A Healing Touch by Judith Seaman. I was expecting it to be another story where someone in the crew (most often Avon) is endowed with magical or superhuman powers (or worse, turns into a maniac). Stories like those tend to ignore the more fascinating human qualities and relationships between the characters. I'm glad A Healing Touch was not one of those. I was also pleased that it was set against a rich cultural backdrop. Well done!

I also liked The Best Revenge by Alice Aldridge. Travis and Jenna make an interesting combination. If I hadn't read the first story. Necessary Sacrifices, in ROADS NOT TAKEN, I would have been lost in The Best Revenge. The overall quality of the GAMBIT zines is excellent and #10 is no exception. Many thanks to Jean and her crew for putting it all together so well! (Despite our scribbly drawings, poor grammar and bad spelling!) [74]

Issue 11

Gambit 11 was published in March 1994 and contains 280 pages.

cover of issue #11, Lucia Casarella Moore: "The Thorn in My Side"
back cover of issue #11, S.R. Mowatt
flyer for issue #11

The art is by Lucia Casarella Moore, Shari L. Kay, Whitby27, Michael Williams, S.R. Mowatt, Jacqui Topp, Catherine Kendall, Jean B. Hubb, Denise Loague, and Cheufell Doshier. Also included are some black and white screencaps.

From the editorial, which starts out with many corrections regarding some spelling errors and attributions in issues #9 and #10:

We apologize also to those of you who had difficulty with our tiny 8-point type, which had to be utilized again this issue. This is the only way we can accommodate some of the long stories without significant increases in page count and zine price. It does, however, present a problem for the visually impaired and for those of us of... er... sufficient 'maturity' to make most fine print much too fine to read. One possible solution, though it would work only for those with IBM-compatible computers, might be to make these stories available on disk (with the authors' permission). Send us a DOS formatted disk (any size or density - one disk per story) plus return postage and we'll copy the story you request so you can print it out in nice LARGE type. A slightly more expensive option for those without computers (or DOS) might be to send us $3.00 and a large envelope with $2.90 postage (or $1.48 for book rate); we'll return a larger-type print-out of the story or stories you'd like to read without a magnifying glass. Does this sound workable? Anyone have other possible solutions? Let us hear from you.

Sooooooo, here's GAMBIT 11. We made it. We actually squashed it all in here! Thanks to all of our writers, poets, artists and helpers. Please come back next issue and do it all again - we need you.

[snipped]

That's about it. Find a comfy chair and enjoy the zine.
  • Editorial Stuff by Jean Graham (5)
  • Foolish Things, fiction by Jean B. Hubb (Series A) (6)
  • Open Leter to an Idealist, poem by Jacqui Topp (12)
  • The Tell-Tale Heart, fiction by Lorna Breshears (reprinted from The Liberator’s Log, newsletter of the Cygnus Alphans) (Series A) (13)
  • The Cause, poem by Jackie Black (14)
  • Softly Comes the End, fiction by Maddog (Series B) (15)
  • The First Dance After Freedom, fiction by Judith Seaman (Series B) (18)
  • Vila, poem by Jackie Black (32)
  • Idealist, poem by Catherine Salmon (33)
  • Gambit Revisited, fiction by Nancy Dziergowski (Series B) (34)
  • B7 Word Search, puzzle by S.R. Mowatt (39)
  • Of Renegades and Kings, fiction by Jean Graham (Series B) (40)
  • Par for the Curse, fiction by Sondra Sweigman (Series C) (50)
  • The Power of Suggestion, fiction by Leslie Boucher (Series C) (64)
  • Lost Child, poem by Jackie Black (71)
  • Factions, fiction by Alicia Ann Fox (Series C) (72)
  • Regret, fiction by Lee Vibber (Series C) (77)
  • The Ties that Bind, poem by (91)
  • Queen's Gambit, fiction by Alice Aldridge (Series C) (92)
  • Rest in Peace, fiction by Alan Moravian (Series C) (136)
  • Trust, poem by Catherine Salmon (137)
  • Sacrifices of War, poem by Catherine Salmon (137)
  • First Catch Your Torturer, fiction by Helen Parkinson (Series C) (138)
  • The Promise (Star One), poem by Jacqui Topp (141)
  • B7 Quotes Crossword, puzzle by S.R. Mowatt (142)
  • Promises Kept, fiction by Rebecca Ann Brothers (Series C) (144)
  • Farewell, poem by Jacqui Topp (163)
  • Adversaries, poem by Jackie Black (163)
  • Blood Ties, fiction by Melanie Chinen (Series C) (164)
  • The Bait in the Trap, fiction by Helen Parkinson (Series C) (168)
  • Servalan's Demise, fiction by Dayle F. Palmer (Series D) (173)
  • Understudy, fiction by Lorna Breshears (Series D) (175)
  • Return to Darkness, poem by Jacqui Topp (177)
  • La Danse Macabre, poem by Jackie Black (177)
  • Better to Reign in Hell, fiction by Alan Moravian (Series D) (178)
  • Orbital Decay, fiction by Patti E. McClellan (Series D) (180)
  • Return to Action, fiction by Kelson Vibber (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (182)
  • Annihilation, poem by Catherine Salmon (204)
  • Not Entirely Human, fiction by Patti E. McClellan (A sequel to "Deliver Us From Heroes") (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (205)
  • Inheritor, fiction by CarolMel Ambassador (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (215)
  • Too Much Love Can Kill You, fiction by Catherine Kendall (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (216b)
  • Lament for a Lost Love, poem by Jackie Black (238)
  • Destiny, poem by Catherine Salmon (238)
  • Full Circle, fiction by Rebecca Donahue (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (239)
  • Vila's Tall Tale II: Snow White and the Seven Blakes, fiction by Cheufell Doshier (Other Dimensions) (256)
  • Haunted Eyes, poem by Jackie Black (263)
  • Comparisons, non-fiction by Nancy Dziergowski (264)
  • Puzzle Answers (273)
  • Letters of Comment (275)
  • Zine Ads (281)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 11

I very much enjoyed Lorna Breshears' two pieces (as usual), especially the way she took the cherished fannish belief that Avon is equivalent to the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz to its logical conclusion.

However, the story that most drives me to comment is Lee Vibber's "Regret", which I thought was excellently done: it was a serious, fairly realistic approach to rape, involving Cally, a Federation guard, and Avon's unwilling witnessing of the event. My comments revolve around the "This story is rated R" warning placed by Jean Graham I assume at the beginning of the story. I am puzzled by this b/c another story in the zine which I only skimmed by Catherine Kendall also had rape, this time of Dayna, as a plot(?) feature, not to mention someone stabbing himself until stopped by another Plot Complication. Yet there was no "R for Rape" warning on this story. Not has Jean ever put a warning on any story in which characters have sex (admittedly there are few of these in Gambit). Any speculations as to why this may have been done? Was it because "Regret" was less of a fantasy because of its serious intent? Was the warning intended for younger readers who might be upset by the R-word? If so, why no warning for the Kendall story with its rape, torture, and near-suicide? [75]

One of the enjoyments of GAMBIT is the variety of stories, chuckles as well as sniffles. And it's a pleasure to have the authors of continuing stories sending their sequels to GAMBIT, to not have to search from zine to zine. S.R. Mowatt has created an interesting character in her bounty hunter, Nikki. I'm looking forward to more stories from her and the others. There are some very interesting ideas in this issue: Pat Nussman's version of Call/s death on Terminal, Judith Proctor's Justice, April Giordano- Gresalfi's Avon as vampire, Helen Parkinson's Experimental Data.

To answer Nancy Dziergowski's question concerning Blake's behavior in my story Foolish Things from issue U: "....would [Blake] tumble into bed....with a woman he has only known for a few hours??" 'Tumble into bed" was not the phrase I had in mind. I was thinking in terms of "comfort and joy" or "rest and relaxation" neither of which the poor man ever gets. In any case he knew he was being foolish to be so trusting and said so. Don't we write to stretch the characters just a little? Anyway, thanks, Nancy, for the compliments. [76]

Issue 12

Gambit 12 was published in November 1994 and contains 275 pages. It won a 1995 FanQ.

cover of issue #12
flyer for issue #12, plus back issues

Fiction:

  • Judith M. Seaman, "Mirror of Gestures"
  • C.K. Smith, "Plans for a Stormy Night"
  • Alan Moravian, "Wanted: An Enemy"
  • Lorna Breshears , "Heavy Petting"
  • Leslie Boucher, "The Mines of Wymar"
  • Judith M. Seaman, "Liability for Harm"
  • C.K. Smith, "Parable"
  • Patti E. McClellan, "Alien Philosophy"
  • Pat Jacquerie, "What Rough Beast?" ("Author's Note: Amazingly enough, I'd actually dated this manuscript, so I know I completed it in September 1994, after which it was published in Gambit 12. It's archived here with the editor's permission. I don't think this story is altogether bad, but the fact is that I got almost no comments on it when it was published…just one male Cally fan said he liked it. So I can't help but think it's missing something, and in retyping it for the archive it strikes me there is too much concept for such a relatively short story.. But I had fun with it and am using a variation on the genetic manipulation theme in another, adult story, involving Cally and Auron.")
  • Rebecca Ann Brothers, "Riders on the Storm"
  • Jean B. Hubb, "A Charitable Man"
  • Michelle R. Moyer, "The Night Hunter"
  • Alice Aldridge, "Picking Up the Pieces"
  • Sondra Sweigman, "After the First Death"
  • Patricia Blasi, "Intervention"
  • CarolMel Ambassador, "Back Fire"
  • Curtiss Hoffman, "Exaggerated Rumors"
  • S.R. Mowatt, "Day of the Bounty Hunter (Part 2)"
  • Judith Proctor, "Justice"
  • April Giordano-Gresalfi, "What the Night Can Do"
  • Helen Parkinson, "Experimental Data"
  • Catherine Kendall, "The Wind Must Blow"
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Dissolution"
  • Cheufell Doshier, "Vila's Tall Tale: The Vacation"
  • Cheufell Doshier, "Vila's Tall Tale: The Pot Gets Even"

Nonfiction:

  • Jean Graham, "Editor's Bit"
  • ORmAC, "Transformations" (puzzle)
  • Nancy Dziergowski, "Who Said?" (puzzle)
  • ORmAC, "Blake's World" (puzzle)
  • ORmAC & Mark II, "Flight Path" (puzzle)
  • Letters of Comment
  • Puzzle answers
  • Zine ads

Poetry:

  • Anonymous, "My Bird"
  • Nancy Dziergowski, "Liberator"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "The Last Auron"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Cally's Thoughts on Avon"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Opposite Sides"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Echo"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "The Great Illusion"
  • Judith Proctor, "One in Ten Thousand" (filk)
  • Judith Proctor, "The Spirit of the Seven" (filk)
  • Judith Proctor, "Avon's Love Life" (filk)
  • Judith Proctor, "Fearless Leader" (filk)
  • Judith Proctor, "Final Thoughts" (filk)
  • Judith Proctor, "Seeking Cygnus Alpha" (filk)
  • Judith Proctor, "The Bitter Taste of Ashes"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Jenna's Lament"
  • Jacqui Topp, "A Damn Fool Way to Die"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Strategies"
  • Jacqui Topp, "Broken Ice"
  • Michael Williams, "A New-Spawned Earth"
  • Michael Williams, "A Torture of Vila"
  • Michael Williams, "An Avon Lament"
  • Michael Williams, "The Dream Weaver Hold"

Art:

  • Lucia Casarella Moore (front cover), Cheufell Doshier, Mary Gerstner, Jean B. Hubb, Denise Loague, S.R. Molnar, Leah Rosenthal, Jacqui Topp, Whitby27 (back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 12

I must start by applauding the respectable "Blake quotient" in this issue. The man appears in no less than 50% of all the stories, and since he also appeared in about 50% of the episodes, one couldn't really fairly ask for more. That's not to say I liked all the portrayals of Blake (or even most of them), but in a fandom where it's possible to publish whole zines without the aforementioned character appearing in any of the stories, I won't complain too loudly. (Except about Judith Seaman, who insists on continuing to pepper otherwise perfectly fine stories with unjustified jabs at Blake. "Mirror of Gestures," for example, is clever and absorbing, but was ultimately marred for me by Judith's explanation of Blake's ability to see through Zen's defense mechanism in Spacefall. Seems it was a mental defect that allowed him to save Avon and Jenna that way, a consequence of Federation-induced brain damage. And all this time I thought it was a mental strength...) One depiction of Blake that I did like was Rebecca Ann Brother's in "Riders on the Storm." As in "Promises Kept," to which this story is a sequel, Rebecca offers good writing, good plotting and easily the most authentic Blake-Avon interplay of any story in the zine.

Alas, none of the other 3 stories I liked best have Blake in them-though one, Jean Hubb's "A Charitable Man," has the Blake clone... I very much enjoyed "What the Night Can Do," April Giordano-Gresalfi's pgp examination of 4th season from the premise that Avon became a vampire at Terminal. (Not a mutoid, mind you, but the genuine article.) At first I feared the story would be very out-at-the-fringes, but the author manages to keep Avon's character recognizable throughout, while offering her ingenious alternative explanation of events. There's a neat little "bonus" at the end, too, which anyone who's perverse enough to peek ahead fully deserves to have ruined for them!... Last but not least on my "A" list for this issue is Patricia Blasi's exquisitely crafted "Intervention": Marve lous portrait of late 4th season Vila on a prolonged, destructive drinking binge while the rest of the crew tries to persuade Avon to have him committed to a psychiatric hospital. But needless to say, all is not as it seems, the ending's a shocker, and I hadn't a clue. (In retrospect I realize that there was a clue, but it's an exceedingly subtle one.)

Glad to see that CarolMel Ambassador pulled another one of her Trophy stories out of limbo for us, but let's face it: I won't really be satisfied on that score until she gives us the one all true Blake-Avon fans have been waiting for: Servalan's mutoid Blake turned loose on the man whose blood he's been programmed to crave. (Since the "programming" has already proved defective in other respects, it's not a foregone conclusion what will happen.) Also glad to see another installment of SR Mowatt's "Day of the Bounty Hunter." (I was right abut who "Ensor" was. Of course it could still turn out to be Blake who's pulling the strings~or should I say, inserting the activator key?) One follow-up story I found a little disappointing was Alice Aldridge's "Picking Up the Pieces." It's perfectly good writing, but I think she's already gotten all the mileage out of that Travis-Jenna saga that it was realistically possible to get, and she's now trying to push it past its natural conclusion. I'd love to see more Travis stories by Alice (she writes the only sympathetic ones I can believe!), but in a new vein (which will probably necessitate uncoupling him from Jenna). Of course Lucia Moore's artwork was lovely as always. (Since last time I've purchased several prints from her, including one of the piece that appeared on p.265 of GAMBIT 11. Apart from the cover art, the reproductions really don't do any of her work justice. No way they can, I suppose.) As for R-rated stories and occasional four-letter words: They don't bother me in the slightest. (To be honest, I'm not sure which stories in the last issue were "R-rated," and I don't remember any four-letter words. Couldn't have made much of an impression.)

On a lighter note: Any chance of reprinting that nifty Carnell cartoon from the December issue of "Revel Times" for the benefit of GAMBIT readers who might have missed it? [77]

On GAMBIT 12: You mentioned R stories. I hope you continue to allow some. Perhaps you should label them, as I do assume some younger people read GAMBIT? Actual ly there was nothing R, IMHO, in the 2dne. Maybe PG- 13?? I adored, loved and laughed out loud through "Heavy Petting" by Lorna Breshears. It's as funny as any of the best "Bizarro" stories. Really, really cute. (Perhaps since my two kids have a menagerie of pythons, snakes, rats, mice, rabbits and one cat, I could see some of the humor better???) I liked these stories: "Justice" by Judith Proctor; "Experimental Data" by Helen Parkinson; and "Riders on the Storm" by Rebecca Ann Brothers. (I hate serials -- or is it series? ~ I really do. "Jabberwocky" has been a horror story for me. I read it out of order and am still missing three parts. I have all of "Hellhound" except the pre-HH and the HH to come later. I refuse to even start it until I get the pre stuff.) Somewhere between liking and loving were these: "Back Fire" by CarolMel Ambassador (CarolMel, write the damn novel!!! and quit teasing us with bits and pieces. By the way, I liked "Back Fire" very much. I'll pay 20in 1996 for the TROPHY novel if you think you can get it done by then. I'd much rather do that than be tortured by this serial business which is actually a plague in B7. There are tons of them)

"Alien Philosophy by Patti McClellan; "Mirror of Gestures" by Judith Seaman; "Mines of Wyman" by Leslie Boucher; "After the First Death" by Sondra Sweigman. (Sondra's stories really aren't a serial in one way, but in another way they are. With just a few more parts, she'd have a novella. I haven't liked Brothers' serial too much, but this one was pretty good.[78]

Though this cover is not my favorite (GAMBIT 8 still holds that spot), this one is strong, dark and brooding. I couldn't find its title in the credits, but if I had my way, I'd dub it "Betrayal." Mrs. Moore appears to have combined three strong B7 episodes. The hard, tired (sunken eyes, hollow cheeks) expression on Avon's face, and the coveralls surest "Warlord," while what appears to be unshed tears in Vila's eyes and the uncharacteristic (for Vila) stem facial expressions screams "Orbit." But Tarrant, the prominent point of the triangle, wears that 'smug' (yet not terribly happy) look he did in the episode "Blake," after telling Avon that Blake had sold them... "even you, Avon." Yes, all three wear the face of betrayal. Tarrant by Avon, who let Zeeona return to Xenon knowing that repairs couldn't be made wearing a protective suit; Vila by Avon, his trust shattered because he wasn't safe with Avon; and Avon... betrayed by life. Even his paranoid suspicions (which were geared for survival) turned against him in the end.

Stories: "Mirror of Gestures" by Judith Seaman: I've always felt that there was not enough made of the fact the Liberator was an alien ship. Coping with it should have taken up the whole first series! Two points, Judith: didn't all the rooms/ cabins on board Liberator have sliding or no doors at sdl? And I don't remember any stairways or elevators going from one deck level to another. And none of the doors had any handles (?), only wall-mounted computer locks.

"Wanted: an Enemy" by Alan Moravian: Most B7 fans have pondered, at one time or another, which incompetent in the Federation managed to put all the correct elements aboard the London for a successful escape and rebellion. Now I know! But didn't she realize? Rabbits (and rebels) multiply!

"Heavy Petting" by Lorna Breshears: Owning two Viridian Spotting Whoopers, I know the thrill of victory and the agony of the beak! B7 is such a dark and dramatic series that any kind of humor stands out like a match in a dark room. It flared, flamed and was gone. Lorna has written a solid, well-paced story. With her tongue planted firmly in cheek. Family publication or not, Loma, a few of us are familiar with British slang! But how did you manage not to refer to Avon-in-disguise as "the elephant man"?! The "black pudding with mold" had me rolling!

"A Charitable Man" by Jean Hubb: One question, Jean. Why didn't Avon ask Jenna to rejoin Liberator's crew? Because we know that she wouldn't? Not as a second pilot, not without Blake. Have i answered by own question? "The Night Hunter" by Michelle Moyers: This story had an excellent beginning. Michelle does a good job of building the tension. She led me to the edge of a cliff... then failed to push me off! Guess I read too much Steven King.

"Picking Up the Pieces" by Alice Aldridge: This one had a real gut punch. The surviving colonies of Met III (Travis' people) are shipped to Zircaster, the planet on which, years later, Travis commits... Nasty, very nasty!

"Intervention" by Patricia Blasi: Very, very nicely done. You completely faked me out, Patricia! But three questions; Does Tarrant's tone of concern towards the faking Vila mean that he cares about Avon, or the safety of the group? What was it that Avon objected to, but couldn't verbalize? And what if Avon escapes?

"Experimental Data" by Helen Parkinson: This one ran both hot and cold for me. It started off well, building nicely, especially in the scene where Avon awakes in a confused panic and tries to claw his way out of the room. But then to find out that it's all going to end under a vivisecting knife! The story had a good plot. It was well written and had an ending that would do the BBC proud! Two out of three, Helen.

"What the Night Can Do" by April Giordano-Gresalfi: Wonderful! Made me feel as if I were seated across from Avon, his eyes glowing as he relates his tale to me. Beautifully written. Makes you forget, as you read, just where and who you are. Next patient!

Back Cover by [Whitby27]: Don't walk into a semi-darkened room where the only light source falls across the eyes of this portrait. Very unnerving! I'm beginning to appreciate Val's companion pieces to the stories in GAMBIT more and more. The action is depicted (and matched up) just right.

Well, that's it for GAMBIT 12. Did you know, Jean, that you are providing a public service? Whenever I need to get away from the reality of the world, I pick up the latest issue of GAMBIT! It's cheaper than seeing a shrink![79]

GAMBIT just seems to get better with each new issue!

Judith Seaman's stories, "Mirror of Gestures" and "Liability for Harm" were both well done. I liked "Mirror" because it brought up the interesting problem of the crew's having to adapt to the alien technology of Liberator. The 'debate' between Avon and Zen was also quite interesting. In "Liability," the idea that the Federation was actually trying to do the right thing was a good angle. It shows that the entire Federation isn't completely monstrous. Leslie Boucher's "The Mines of Wymar" was a nice season 2 piece. The relationships between Blake, Avon and Vila were well done. Blake isn't a complete fanatic, Vila isn't written as a snivelling idiot. It's a shame that Avon has to be sick before he'll be pleasant, though. Patti McClellan's "Alien Philosophy" was also very well written. Avon's "those who are about to die" crack to Blake was so in character, as was his conversation with Vila afterwards. Michelle Moyer has the Avon/Vila relationship down well in her story, "Night Hunter." Also, Avon's determination to find out just exactly what is out there reminds me of his line about not liking an unsolved mystery. A special word of congratulations goes to Alice Aldridge for "Picking Up the Pieces." I never thought I could feel sorry for Travis. I hope this series continues. The last story I wish to comment on, though hardly the least, is SR Mowatt's "Day of the Bounty Hunter." Bravo! This is a nice series, and I can't wait for part 3. Nikki is an interesting character emd her personality is developing well. I can't wait to find out who is behind Orac.

As for puzzles, poems and filks, my favorites are: Melissa Mastoris' "Cally's Thoughts on Avon" and "Echo"; Judith Proctor's "One in Ten Thousand" and "Seeking Cygnus Alpha"; and Nancy Dziergowski's quote puzzle. I consider myself somewhat of a quote expert, but since I only got (some of these), it proves that she found some real obscure quotes. As for the artwork, I particularly enjoyed Fliss Davies' Vila (p. 113). I always love [Whitby27's] pieces about Avon and my favorites this issue are pages 47, 60, 160 and 210.[80]
GAMBIT 12 has arrived safely and looks great. Thank you very much! I haven't had a chance to read the stories yet, although as a fan of Queen & Brian May, I couldn't help but notice and enjoy Catherine Kendall's little quote at the start of "The Wind Must Blow." Jacqui Topp's poetry is brilliant, especially "Strategies" and "Broken Ice," and Judith Proctor's "The Bitter Taste of Ashes" struck sad chords. Val's artwork looks great. And... the back cover - - a very worthy Avon. It's good to note in the LOCs that people appreciate the effort she goes to to do specific illustrations of scenes from stories.[81]

The main thing this issue made me think about was the 5th series/alternate series phenomenon. After a certain point, and a certain minimum number of original characters, is it necessary to use B7 characters at all? Why not just write an original story? I suppose too much originality is a silly thing to complain about, but I confess I have, in general, less interest in stories that don't explore relationships among the 'core' characters. Other readers seem to enjoy series with a lot of original characters, however. Maybe I'm just too picky.

This issue was a good one for Cally stories, of which my favorite was "What Rough Beast" by Pat Nussman. Unlike Frank Herbert, it didn't take her about 10 pages to dig the backpack out of the sand... and finally, an acceptable, necessary-to-the-plot reason for using that ancient chestnut of a scene, Avon-finds-Cally's-body-on-Terminal. I almost always enjoy stories of early days on Liberator, because there's so much time to play with; nothing seemed as rushed as in second series. "Mirror of Gestures" (Judith M. Seaman) was a good example of this type of story, as was "Plans for a Stormy Night" (C.K.Smith). Other stories worthy of mention are "Intervention" (Patricia Blasi) and ""Experimental Data" (Helen Parkinson). I would put them into the Twilight Zone category.

Last, I loved ""Heavy Petting"" (Lorna Breshears), far and away my favorite of this issue. The Mountain Dew and moon pies scenes were masterpieces of realism, and the

scene in which Avon croons to his snake almost killed me.[82]

...I enjoyed GAMBIT 12. I'm sorry that Jean Hubb misunderstood Cally's remarks at the end of "Queen's Gambit." I just wanted to convey that while Cally had her doubts about some of Blake's actions, particularly those involving life or death decisions affecting other people's lives, she still believed in the rightness of his cause, no matter what the cost. I'm sorry I made a muddle of it. But back to the smorgasbord of delights within GAMBIT 12. Rebecca Brothers' "Riders on the Storm" is filled with wonderful characterization, plots and counterplots, and intriguing conflicts within the rebel leadership itself. I'm looking forward to more stories in this series. SR Mowatt's "Day of the Bounty Hunter" was very gripping, too. Although most of its conflict was internal, on a psychic rather than physical battleground, the story was very concrete and down to earth, without the emotional fuzziness that plagues many telepathic deprogramming scenarios. Judith Seaman's "Liability for Harm" presented a cautionary tale of the humanitarian reason behind a supposedly tyrannical act by the Federation. A technically engrossing story with an even-handed portrayal of both sides of the argument. Jean Hubb's "A Charitable Man," a grim tale of divided loyalties and desperation in the aftermath of the harrowing effects of Star One's destruction on one world, was another story I enjoyed; even though it painted a rather harsh picture of Jenna. Sondra Sweigman's "After the First Death" continues its snowballing sense of karmic inevitability. I keep hoping she'll relent and offer some way to escape the predestined bloody showdown on Gauda Prime.

Though there wasn't as much humor as usual, Lorna's "Heavy Petting" was enough in itself to keep me chuckling for days at some of its more outrageous images; Avon at the mercy of the lockjawed Anna, a rapturous Vila amid the half-clad beauties in the House of DeVille, the sugar- buzzed Cally pleading with Jenna for another caffeine fix, and of course, Blake wandering in bemusement through the Mall-Mart. Though Alan Moravian's "Wanted: An Enemy" wasn't side-splittingly funny, its view of the twisted logic behind certain bureaucratic boondoggles definitely qualified as black humor.

Of course, you know my favorite illustration was Fliss Davies' broodingly introspective Travis on page 127. It showed a vulnerable side of a man usually driven by rage and obsession. And though I usually just skim through the poetry, I found Judith Proctor's "The Bitter Taste of Ashes" very thought-provoking. I'm relatively new to B7

fandom, but I've heard rumors of disputes and rancor between various factions, and this poem showed the particular tragedy of that kind of infighting.[83]

I enjoyed Judith M. Seaman's well-considered "Liability for Harm" and the look it gave me at the consequences of what Blake's very existence, his legend, could lead some people to do. I've always enjoyed puzzling over Cally's bits of Auron wisdom, and Patti E. McClellan's "Alien Philosophy" gave me another, "When someone cares about you, you have an obligation to that person." Part of me says, "Right, I understand that" and the other part of me says, "Huh?," the same reaction I had to "He who trusts can never be betrayed, only mistaken."

Pat Nussman's "What Rough Beast?" was intriguing - is it "to be continued"? The trouble, of course, with an homage is that you sometimes find yourself tied to the original inspiration when you want to take it in another direction. If it is continued, I look forward to seeing Pat work with the idea of a "savior for Auron" that goes where she sees it going, and not necessarily where Frank Herbert (endlessly) took it. I had a lot of fun with Rebecca Ann Brothers' "Riders on the Storm," imagining the actors she'd "cast" playing the characters of her story. What I enjoyed most about the story, though, the best part to me, was the whole scene between Blake and Avalon. That rang so emotionally true, for them as well as for Avon and Cally; it was very powerful, and could have stood on its own.

I love Jean B. Hubb's thoughtful, closely-plotted stories, and "A Charitable Man" was no exception, showing a new side to Avon and Jenna and a look at the "Blake" who could have been, had circumstances been different. I so enjoyed Alice Aldridge's trilogy of stories about Jenna and Travis, and was prepared for another absorbing read with "Picking Up the Pieces' -but it was too short! (Is that a valid criticism?) I guess 1 had come to expect her multi-layered, time-crossing style of writing that pulls me thoroughly into a world by taking me into not just the thoughts but the psyches of several different characters, and this story was Travis's story, with Jenna and the others only sketchily realized in contrast to how she's handled characters before. So, Alice - more! And the same to S.R. Mowatt - more! I enjoyed "Day of the Bounty Hunter" part 2 very much, and look forward to part 3!

I appreciated the headnotes and endnotes to some of the stories: "The story so far" and "Part 1 can be found in" - I guess it's up to the author to provide that sort of information. Since I came in the middle of some of these stories, and others are bound to as well, I encourage all authors working on a series of stories to do some sort of capsule summary or point out where the reader can find the other stories in the series.

Thanks for the vast amounts of time and effort you put in to editing Gambit To me, it's well worth it, and Gambit is one of the most consistently delightful publications I read. [84]

Issue 13

Gambit 13 was published in August 1995 and contains 286 pages.

front cover of issue #13, Lucia Casarella Moore -- "Twins and Gemini"
back cover of issue #13

The art is by Lucia Casarella Moore, S.R. Mowatt, Whitby27, K.A. Marshall, and Cheufell Doshier.

"Volume; The content GAMBIT 13 in bytes is approximately 2,040,000."

From the editorial:

Welcome to our thirteenth issue. (And we hope none of you is triscadecaphobic!) We hope you enjoy our offerings this time around as much as we enjoyed putting them together.

If you think you've seen Lucia Casarelia Moore's lovely cover somewhere before, you're not imagining things: a small black & white version of it appeared in GAMBIT 12. We just thought the color version deserved some exposure, too.
  • Editor's Column by Jean Graham (5)
  • Blake's Crime, fiction by Debra Jacobson (Pre-Series A) (6)
  • Parting Assessments, poem by Sondra Sweigman (7)
  • Thoughts of a Thief, fiction by CarolMel Ambassador (Series A) (8)
  • The One Who Trusts, fiction by Michelle R. Moyer (Series A) (10)
  • The Value of a Memory, fiction by Debra Jacobson (Series A) (17)
  • Mind over Machine, fiction by Debra Jacobson (Series A) (19)
  • Shattered Reflections, fiction by Alice Aldridge (Series B) (23)
  • We're Looking for a Rebel, filk by Judith Proctor to the tune of "We're Looking for a Piano" by Salad Days (32)
  • The Butterfly Effect, fiction by Kathryn Andersen (Series C) (33)
  • The Thousandth Man, fiction by Helen Parkinson (Series C) (38)
  • Preservation, fiction by CarolMel Ambassador (Series C) (67)
  • Stageplay, poem by Sondra Sweigman (68)
  • (____)'s Blake's 7 Adventure, puzzle, by ORmAC (69)
  • Defense, fiction by Alicia Ann Fox (Series C) (70)
  • The Real Me, fiction by Catherine Kendall (Series C) (74)
  • Conversation Over Horizon, filk by Michelle Moyer to the tune of "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman (98)
  • The Chess Match, fiction by Mark W. Johnson (Series C) (99)
  • Epiphany Too Late, poem by Sondra Sweigman (103)
  • Deja Vu, fiction by Jean B. Hubb (Series C) (104)
  • Draw Our Fearless Leader, puzzle, by ORmAC (110)
  • A Snowball's Chance in Hell, fiction by Ginevra Syn (Series D) (111)
  • Such a Long Way Down, filk by Michelle Moyer to the tune of "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan (116)
  • Before, fiction by B.M. Cunningham (Series D) (117)
  • Fanatic, poem by Sondra Sweigman (120)
  • While I Was Bathing, fiction by Nancy Dziergowski (Series D) (121)
  • Jenna's Regrets, filk by Michelle Moyer to "Jennie" to the tune by Fairport Convention (124)
  • Day of the Bounty Hunter, Part 3: The Art of Deception, fiction by S.R. Mowatt (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (125)
  • The Price of Justice, fiction by Judith Proctor (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (143)
  • Justice Will Be Served, fiction by Melissa Mastoris (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (148)
  • The Pilot's Tale, filk by Michelle Moyer to the tune of "Those Were the Days" (156)
  • Second Chances, fiction by Patti E. McClellan (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (157)
  • Academy Test, puzzle, by ORmAC (170)
  • Lifeblood, fiction by Sheila Paulson (Jabberwocky series 12; reprinted in Jabberwocky Collected and Jabberwocky #3) (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (171)
  • Revenant Revenant, fiction by Sheila Paulson (Jabberwocky series 13; reprinted in Jabberwocky Collected and Jabberwocky #3) (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (199)
  • Vila's Tall Tale: The Dream, fiction by Cheufell Doshier (Other Dimensions) (230)
  • The Mini Stop, fiction by Cheufell Doshier (Other Dimensions) (235)
  • Vila's Tall Tale: The Little Old Wine Maker's Them, fiction by Cheufell Doshier (Other Dimensions) (240)
  • Art Portfolio by Whitby27: A Study in Avons (246)
  • Limited Option, fiction by Susan Barrett (Pre-Series A) (255)
  • Puzzle Answers (263)
  • Letters of Comment (264)
  • Cartoon by Moench (268)
  • Zine Ads (269)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 13

[Fanatic]: ...the poem is an amalgamation of bits from 2 prior poems I'd written and never intended to share with fandom (too personal) plus a an extra verse at the end. To be totally honest, I wrote it because I was 23 lines short of enough lines to earn a tribber's copy of the zine! (But I'm glad I did--I rather enjoyed putting it together.) [85]
[zine]:

Front Cover, "Twins & Gemini" by Lucia Moore-not one of my favrites, but an interesting study. I may be wrong, but this one doesn't appear to be one of Mrs. Moore's oils. Looks (to me) to be rendered in either colored pencils or chalks? And there's a definite contra diction here. The planet the moon discs were cultivated on was very hot, while the colors Mrs. Moore is using are cold colors. But I'm also amazed at the depth and strength she gets by using basically three or four colors. (How's she do that?!) 1 couldn't help noticing the surprised expression on Avon's face. Could he be hearing "frying eyeballs?" Back Cover, "Tarrant" by [Whitby27] — very fresh, very brooding, very young and very good!

Artwork — This has been one of the best issues for artwork I've seen. All the contributing artists deserve mention. I found no less than 38 different pictures that I really liked and found interesting for one reason or another. But there are 3 that 1 have to single out: S.R. Mowatt's Cally on pg. 13, and her excellent Gan on pg. 202. My favorite in the whole issue is Val's Avon and Teddy on pg. 37.

Poetry - I'm not good with poetry. It tends to intimidate me. I know what I like, and I liked Michelle Moyer's filk, "The Pilot's Tale." It held true with the rhythm of the song.

Stories — "The One Who Trusts" by Michelle R. Moyer: this story depicts Cally in her best warrior mode-calm, logical, cold and ruthless when need be, the way the character was supposed to function without overshadowing her human side to be kind, caring and compassionate. Yet when er conscience dictated, she wasn't afraid to stand toe to toe with any of the crew to argue a point of morality. This one should have been a TV episode.

"The Butterfly Effect" by Kathryn Anderson: I enjoy this type of narrative style. And reducing Avon's speech patterns to resemble that of a 5-year-old enhanced the whole piece. The indignation Avon felt at discovering "Teddy" had squealed to Sondra was stated in just four sentences, yet it was as vivid and startlingly shocking (for Avon) as if it had been depicted on the largest public vis-screen in Federated space! Kathryn's story is compact, visual, well-written and enjoyable.

"The Thousandth Man" by Helen Parkinson: excellent story. Harrowing, stark, exceptionally well-written. The escape down the body disposal chute and the incinerator world of Aric and Seth is a pure nightmare! (Why is it that when Avon is not looking for Blake, he finds him?! And who is pulling whom out of this fire?!) (And Helen, are you sure you're not related to Stephen King??) My father wonders why I suddenly developed an aversion to throwing garbage down the chute in our apartment building. ("Look out. Arid")

"Deja Vu" by Jean Hubb: this story proved how alike Blake and Tarrant (Blake-in-training) really are. Only Tarrant has youth and inexperience as an excuse! What's Blake's? The irony of the tale was convincing. (Anyone who is not looking for Blake finds him!) But again we disagree, Jean. Would Tarrant, even in his most reckless and petulant moods, air the "family's dirty linen" that way? To a perfect stranger, I mean? [86]
[zine]:

I enjoyed "The One Who Trusts" (Michelle Moyer), except for the depressing epilogue. Cally in charge, blowing away troopers, was a welcome sight. Alice Aldridge continued her innovative extrapolations of Travis' character in "Shattered Reflections." I loved her explanation of the physical differences between Travis I and Travis II. Bravo. Carnell and Travis as brothers stretched it a bit, for me, but I do believe that Travis would try to help Maryatt's family-in "Deliverance" he seemed truly disturbed by Maryatt's death and disgrace.

"The Butterfly Effect" (Kathryn Anderson) was utterly creepy ~ yet really, really good. For once, I didn't mind the old chestnut idea, Avon- is-a-barriered-telepath. Was Avon's perceived failure, which drove him inward, meant to be "Ultraworld?" Or something else?

"The Thousandth Man" by Helen Parkinson was one of my favorites in this issue, though the ending fell a little flat to me. I wanted Sula's revolt to have more impact. And I was sad when she killed off Del Grant. But otherwise, I enjoyed the look inside Blake's head, as he made a decision and stuck to it, suffering through the consequences.

"Preservation" (CarolMel Ambassador) was an interesting idea. I'd like to know how Servalan's clone turned out.

"The Chess Match" (Mark W. Johnson) had a good concept, very original. Avon was done well, the dialogue was terrific. I especially liked the line, "Vila, why don't you go look for Avon's body? See if he left it lying around somewhere."

Was Jean B. Hubb's "Deja Vu" meant to be a companion piece to her Dayna-meets-Blake story in a previous issue of Gambit? I liked this story better, because it was more tense and exciting. My favorite bit of dialogue was Tarrant: "What do you do?" Blake: "Demolition."

"A Snowball's Chance in Hell" (Ginevra Syn): why does Vila talk like that, when he never did on the show?

"Before" (B.M. Cunningham): a good, scary Avon-is-nuts story. Nancy Dziergowski's "While I Was Bathing" amused me, especially as she portrayed everyone's bathing habits so endearingly. The phrase "computer maestro" also made me chuckle.

Part 3 of "Day of the Bounty Hunter" (S.R. Mowatt) was my favorite of this series so far. It had more action! Less hurt comfort! Blake! And Del Grant was perfect. I've always liked him. She had a good question-how were black people treated in the Federation? "Lifeblood" (Sheila Paulson): who you gonna call?

"Revenant," the second Jabberwocky story, was one of the most original of her series. That was very clever about the limiter's role in Gan's 'death,' and his reappearance isn't something that many people do. But then, his talents aren't so obvious as Cally's, the number one resurrection victim. If one resurrects Gan, what does one do with him afterwards? Sheila Paulson came up with a few ideas for this story. I was surprised it took this long to get a Soolin Hugh relationship - it was hinted at in the original novel. "Limited Options" by Susan Barrett was totally cool. This is the best Vila prequel I've ever read. All in all, a good issue.

I'll be looking forward to a new issue after the hiatus. [87]
[zine]:

Usually I write these LOCs within a day or two after finishing the zine, but this time circumstances conspired to delay me for several weeks, so only those stories which really stand out in my mind are going to get commented on (but that shouldn't necessarily be taken to mean that they're the only ones I enjoyed at the time).

First and foremost, "Shattered Reflections" by Alice Aldridge: As a prequel story to her magnificent trilogy, this one worked far better for me than the sequel to that trilogy which appeared in Gambit #12 ~ both because it skillfully brought in canonical events (mostly from "Weapon") and because I knew what was coming next (Travis's romance with Jenna, etc.). I'm not sure why that foreknowledge added so strongly to the story's appeal, but it did.

Then there was Helen Parkinson's alternate "Rumours" story, "The Thousandth Man," which had Blake a prisoner of the Federation at the same time as Avon and being forced by Servalan to watch Avon's torture in the hope of getting him to reveal the plans for Sula's impending coup. I thought the story had some weak points, most notably poor plotting (it's never made clear why the coup fails in this universe) and some not-very-credible exchanges be tween Blake and Avon in their climactic "reconciliation" scene, but the torture sequences were powerfully moving, Blake's inner turmoil and actual choices entirely believable and the part of the "reconciliation" that had to do with Blake's behavior in that circumstance (as opposed to the part which had to do with Avon's supposed bitterness over Blake's "abandoning" him after Star One) was satisfyingly in character.

I was pleased to see another chapter of "Day of the Bounty Hunter" by S.R. Mowatt, pleased to see Blake in it (that goes without saying), pleased that I could recognize the story's Blake as Blake (unfortunately, that never goes without saying!)-and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next installment. I think the inclusion of Parts 12 and 13 of Sheila Paul son's Jabberwocky saga was a good decision which a good ly number of fans will appreciate because the only other place one can find "Lifeblood" and "Revenant" is in a huge volume containing all the Jabberocky stories, which many will be reluctant to buy if those are the only two they haven't read (and which I did buy but, due to tendinitis, can no longer physically lift - so I appreciate it too).

I'd like to close by thanking all those who've offered feedback on my Blake-after-Star-One trilogy and respond to Alice's comment about hoping I'll "relent," and slow down the karmic snowball. While I share her desire to see "the inevitable" avoided (that's why I wrote 2 PGP novels where it was avoided), the challenge I set myself in writing this particular series of stories was to create a scenario for Blake between Star One and GP which fit the canon. And obviously "After the First Death" brings that scenario to an end, leaving off as it does where the last aired episode begins. In fact, one might say that the final (if unwritten) line of that story is: "Now go away and watch 'Blake.'" [88]
[zine]:

...Gambit 13 was a very intense issue. I probably should have realized that when almost half of the zine was PGP that this was not one of your more light-hearted issues.

Helen Parkinson's different take on "Rumours of Death," "The Thousandth Man" was even more harrowing and knuckle-gnawing than the original, e.specially at the end, when Avon accused Blake of betraying him.

CarolMel Ambassador's "Preservation" leaves me curious about the outcome of Franton's experiment in "nature vs. nurture" and Catherine Kendall's "The Real Me" was an interesting tale of Tarrant as a vampire.

S.R. Mowatt's "Day of the Bounty Hunter - Part 3" continues to pick up speed as Dayna, Blake, Avon, and even Del Grant all make appearances, though Dayna's rescue seems leave Nikki somewhat the worse for the experience. "The Price of Justice" and "Justice Will Be Served" continue the bleak sorrowful aftermath of Gauda Prime, but Patti McCiellan's "Second Chances," despite its grimly vindictive Blake at the beginning, offers genuine reconciliation and a new begin ning to its emotionally battered characters.

All things considered, Cheufell Doshier's three "Vila's Tall Tales" were about the only comic relief, though Ginevra Syn did have a few wonderfully outrageous images, like Avon in black suede loincloth and silver me.sh chastity belt! Michelle Moyer's filk "Jenna's Regrets" was my favorite because it captures Jenna's sadness and regret at the loss of Liberator and her friends so poignantly. [89]

Issue 14

Gambit 14 was published in November 1996 and contains 328 pages. It won a 1997 FanQ.

front cover of issue #14, Lucia Casarella Moore: "One for All, All for One"
back cover of issue #14

The art is by Lucia Casarella Moore, Whitby27, Cynthia Brink, K.A. Marshall, Mary O'Connor, Jean B. Hubb, and Sabrina Stone.

According to a fan in Rallying Call #16, this issue was to have had a treat: "Blake and Avon paper dolls. They will be wearing swimming suits or something to protect the zine's general G rating." At least one LOC for this issue mentions these paper dolls.

From the editorial:

Welcome to our 14th and final issue of Gambit. Amazingly, it's been ten years since our first issue: ten years in which we've published hundreds of works by some of B7 fandom's best, more than a few of whom have gone on to publish professionally. Both the quantity and quality of B7 fanzines overall have been nothing short of phenomenal.

Between 1980 and 1996, B7 has inspired more than 1000 genzines alone ~ not bad for an "obscure" little TV series most of the world has still never heard of. And much of that work has been remarkably well-crafted, which is candidly more than we can say for the fanfic of many other fandoms. We're proud to have been part of all that, and would like to send virtual hugs, kudos and praises to the contributors who've made it possible over the years. Thanks for your help, your support, your letters, and most of all, for sharing your talents with us. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the readers who've faithfully bought our issues ~ thank you, readers ~ we couldn't have done it without you, either.

Gambit 14 includes, in this editor's opinion, some of our best - and most unusual ~ material yet. Check out our "Other Dimensions" section, for example, for two wonder fully giggle-inducing parodies by Diane Lynn Holland, as well as Sabrina Stone's Blake and Avon B7 Paper Dolls. (Whatever you do, don't overlook the commentary included with the latter.) We apologize that space limitations prevented our printing the paper dolls single-sided, but if you'd like to cut them out and dress them up (yes, you really can), we suggest photocopying them, pasting the dolls onto cardboard, and coloring the clothes with felt-tip pens. (Have fun!)

There are, of course, many more great stories, poems, puzzles and drawings in this issue. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

Many of you have asked about S.R. Mowatt's "Day of the Bounty Hunter" series, and whether there would be more of it. The latest chapter couldn't be completed in time for Gambit 14, but we're happy to report that it will be available from the author: her ad for same should be located at the end of this column.

It's been suggested that we provide a means by which contributors could receive feedback on their work in this issue, since there won't be a Gambit 15 in which to include a Letters of Comment column. So, here's how it will work: readers, send your letters of comment to the address in the next paragraph, and contributors (or anyone else interested), send a SASE with 55c postage (or a SAE with 2 Int'l Reply Coupons) marked "LOC" to the same ad dress. We'll reproduce the letters we receive over the next 4-5 months and will send you copies.

[...]

Gambit's swansong notwithstanding, we do want to keep in touch with any of you who care to write. We've made many very good friends in this fandom, all of whom we hope to keep! So, do stay in touch, OK?

Keep the Faith...
  • Editor's Page by Jean Graham (5)
  • Liberator Training Systems plc, fiction by Chris Blenkarn (Series A) (6)
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Avon Couldn't Have Killed Blake, humor by Teri Sarick (10)
  • The Art of War, fiction by Patti E. McClellan (Series A) (11)
  • Song of Hanna, poem by Gail Gawlik (15)
  • A Coin for Charon's Hand, fiction by Jean Graham (Series A) (16)
  • A Suitable Punishment, fiction by Susan Barrett (Series B) (24)
  • Winning Real Wars, fiction by Judith Seaman (Series B) (24)
  • He Seems Sincere, poem by CarolMel Ambassador (33)
  • Freedom, poem by Melissa Mastoris (61)
  • Snowblind, fiction by Alice Aldridge (Series B) (62)
  • An Instrument of the Service, fiction by Susan Barrett (Series B) (74)
  • Harvest of Sopron, fiction by Sondra Sweigman (Series C) (78)
  • Jenna, poem by Sue Ann Sarick (82)
  • The End, poem by Sue Ann Sarick (82)
  • Cally, poem by Sue Ann Sarick (82)
  • The Price of a Friend, fiction by Vicki Childs (Series C) (83)
  • Degrees of Gratitude, fiction by Jean B. Hubb (Series C) (128)
  • Every Little Bit Counts, puzzle, by ORmAC, Mark III (135)
  • To See, or Not to See, fiction by Mark W. Johnson (Series C) (136)
  • Au Revoir, Gambit, filk to the tune of "Suicide Is Painless," from MASH, by Mark Johnson (138)
  • Yawn of the Gods, fiction by Lorna Breshears (Series C) (139)
  • Queen of Darkness, poem by CarolMel Ambassador (151)
  • Non-Exempt, poem by CarolMel Ambassador (151)
  • Virtual Reality, fiction by Helen Parkinson (Series D) (152)
  • Avon's Top Ten Excuses for Shooting Blake, humor by Teri Sarick (155)
  • Deceptions, fiction by Mary & Paul Ragis (Series D) (156)
  • The Dream, fiction by Paul Ragis (Series D) (160)
  • Denouement, fiction by C.S. Kinsey (Series D) (161)
  • Time for a Change, fiction by Marian Mendez (Doctor Who crossover) (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (164)
  • Blake, poem by Sue Ann Sarick (169)
  • It's Only Logical, puzzle, ORmAC, Mark III (170)
  • A Favorite Jewel, fiction by Marla F. Fair (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (171)
  • You Know You've Watched To Many B7 Episodes When:, humor by Nancy Dziergowski (189)
  • Heart of Darkness, fiction by Marla F. Fair (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (190)
  • Siren Song, poem by Melissa Mastoris (193)
  • Abreaction Commenced, fiction by Irene Stubbs (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (194)
  • The Fireside Wait, poem by Melissa Mastoris (215)
  • A Daughter's Duty, poem by Melissa Mastoris (215)
  • Just Following Orders, puzzle by ORmAC, Mark III (216)
  • Whose Justice?, fiction by Judith Proctor (S5; sequel to "Justice" in #12 and "The Price of Justice" in #13) (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (217)
  • Mind Touch, poem by Melissa Mastoris (223)
  • B7 Slogans, humor by Teri Sarick (224)
  • Alone, But Not Silent, fiction by Nicolene van den Berg (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (225)
  • Little Thief, poem by Melissa Mastoris (229)
  • The Cattle Call, recasting movies with the B7 characters, by Nancy Dziergowski (230)
  • Comeuppance, fiction by CarolMel Ambassador (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (231)
  • Epitaph on Malodaar, poem by Nancy Dziergowski (232)
  • Four in Hand, fiction by Sheila Paulson (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (233)
  • Basic Black, poem by Teri Sarick (248)
  • Epilogue, fiction by C.S. Kinsey (Series E, Post Gauda Prime) (249)
  • Blake Casualty and the Sweet Honesty Kid, fiction by Diana Lynn Holland (Other Dimensions) (251)
  • Vila's Faith, poem by Nancy Dziergowski (264)
  • Two Plays by Euripedes: Avonestes & Iphijennia at Cygnus, fiction by Diana Lynn Holland (Other Dimensions) (265)
  • Masquerade, poem by Melissa Mastoris (272)
  • Time to Leave (by Avon), poem by Gail Gawlick (273)
  • My Kingdom (by Ro, High Ruler of Horizon), poem by Gail Gawlick (273)
  • Rule of Life (by Rashel), poem by Gail Gawlick (273)
  • Moon Disks (by Cally), poem by Gail Gawlick (273)
  • Avon, poem by Sue Ann Sarick (274)
  • Without Feeling, poem by Teri Sarick (275)
  • B7 Paper Dolls by Sabrina Stone (Other Dimensions) (276)
  • Loyal Federation Officer, poem by Melissa Mastoris (323)
  • Shaolin & Rebel, poem by Teri Sarick (323)
  • Letters of Comment (324)
  • Puzzle Answers (327)
  • Vila's Lament, poem by Susan Bennett (328)
  • Zine Ads (329)

Issue 14: Paperdolls

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 14

[The Price of a Friend]: This story was the great surprise of the Gambit 14 for me. It focuses on Dayna and it uses a plot that is as hackneyed as the hills - Avon is captured as a sex slave by a matriarchial society. Both of these are things that normally put me off a story. In this case, they worked! I got drawn into a story that developed Dayna as a character, drew on her hunting and fighting skills, gave her new friends, allowed her to act intelligently and made her really interesting. I enjoyed it a lot - a good thing as it's one of the longest stories in the zine.[90]
[zine]:

The cover of Gambit 14 is by Lucia Cassarella Moore. A colour portrait of Blake, Avon and Tarrant. Tarrant and Avon come out particularly well and Blake isn't bad.

As Jean says in the editorial, this is the final issue of Gambit, and it's a zine that will be much missed. It's gone out in style though - I think this is definately the best of the recent issues.

Layout is double column with a font size that is readable, but doesn't waste any space. Good clear print, and top of page headers make it easy to find the story you want.

Liberator Training Systems plc - Chris Blenkarn: A spoof of all those flash company training courses and their glossy brochures. I found this very amusing, especially the comments by people who had attended the courses.

The Art of War - Patti McClellan: Cally teches the crew unarmed combat.

A Coin For Charon's Hand - Jean Graham: Cally and Avon are captured. A Federation Major injects Avon with a particularly nasty drug. When he's at death's door, he starts hallucinating.

A Suitable Punishment - Susan Barrett (now Susan Riaz): Alternative universe story in which Vila is captured after 'Pressure Point' and sentenced to a prison planet where the prisoners are used as slave labour in swamps. The rest of the crew have to rescue him.

Winning Real Wars - Judith Seaman: A bleak story that looks realistically at the consequences of rebellion and what may follow afterwards. I tend to dislike the way Judith depicts Blake - I credit him with more intelligence than she does, but I can't deny the quality of her writing, nor her willingness to allow Avon to make tough decisions.

Snowblind - Alice Aldridge: This one I really enjoyed. It's an encounter between Blake and Travis when they are trapped beneath an avalanche. Through their hate, they come to a degree of mutual respect.

An Instrument of the Service - Susan Barrett: A look at Travis' trial that parallels it with Nazi war crimes tribunals. This is surprisingly effective.

Harvest of Sopron - Sondra Sweigman: The theme of this story is the things that people see when they look at Sopron. Cally saw her parents; Orac saw a powerful computer; etc. What did Avon see? If you know Sondra as well as I do, then the answer is obvious, but I won't spoil it for everyone else.

The Price of a Friend - Vicki Childs: This story was the great surprise of the zine for me. It focuses on Dayna and it uses a plot that is as hackneyed as the hills - Avon is captured as a sex slave by a matriarchial society. Both of these are things that normally put me off a story. In this case, they worked! I got drawn into a story that developed Dayna as a character, drew on her hunting and fighting skills, gave her new friends, allowed her to act intelligently and made her really interesting. I enjoyed it a lot - a good thing as it's one of the longest stories in the zine.

Degrees of Gratitude - Jean Hubb: Jean has written a number of stores in which various members of the Liberator crew encounter Blake during the third season. I've liked all of them, and this one is no exception. This time it is Avon who meets Blake. Blake is working as an explosives expert under a false name. This story has a gentle feel, although it is hard to explain what I mean by that when buildings are getting blown up and so forth. If you like Avon and Blake, then you'll like this story.

To See or Not to See - Mark W. Johnson: A story about the crew consulting an oracle. Readable, but nothing special.

Yawn of the Gods - Lorna Breshears: A complete send up of the series' least popular episode. I knew I was going to like this one as soon as Vila said, "It was Bayban the Butcher in the Library with the curling iron." Read it and laugh.

Virtual Reality - Helen Parkinson: Servalan has found a method of feeling Avon's emotions. However, this is a Helen Parkinson story and that means that you can never predict what is going to happen. Helen is one of the few writers who manages to frequently surprise me with a good twist in a story. I enjoyed this one.

Deceptions - Mary and Paul Ragis: This is primarily about Avon rescuing Vila from a fairly nasty fate. Nothing special.

The Dream - Paul Ragis: Tarrant dreams of a woman he loves and finally realises who it is.

Denouement - C.S. Kinsey: Gauda Prime through Servalan's eyes.

Time For a Change - Marian Mendez: Avon dies at Gauda Prime and then regenerates into the spitting image of Roger Delgardo! If you want to know how much he and Romana irritate each other, you'll have to read the story...

A Favourite Jewel - Marla F. Fair: PGP Avon is on a transport for a prison planet. He escapes in a life capsule which crashes in the grounds of an abbey where he is befriended by a young girl. However, nothing is quite what it seems in this story...

Heart of Darkness - Marla F. Fair: Sort of a sequel to the above. Distinctly weird. I'm not quite sure what's happening, but it's interesting. Make of that what you will.

Abreaction Commenced - Irene Stubbs: This was the only story in the zine that I didn't read right through. It failed to hold my interest, and I've no idea what the title refers to.

Whose Justice - Judith Proctor: A sequel to Justice and The Price of Justice in the two previous issues. PGP - Avon believed Blake dead, but found he had killed clone. Blake exeucted Avon for murder of clone but realised too late that Avon did it though a misunderstanding. I wasn't originally intending to write another part as I figured there wasn't anything nastier I could do to Blake than have him kill Avon. Then I realised that things *could* get worse, so I wrote another chapter <evil grin>. I can't really review my own story, so I'll quote what a friend wrote to me yesterday! "You bugger! I've just read 'Whose Justice!' You sod! Poor old Blake." Honest, that's what she did say! Charming friends I have...

Alone But Not Silent - Nicolene van den Berg: Nicolene is another writer whose work I'm beginning to look out for. This is a quiet story in which Avon and Vila have to face up to death.

Comeuppance - CarolMel Ambassador: I don't usually like CarolMel's stories. If you happen to like her work, then doubtless you'll like this more than I did.

Four in Hand - Sheila Paulson: Soolin is programmed by Servalan to try and kill Avon. Avon, Vila, Tarrant and Blake join forces after Gauda Prime and rapidly become a friendly compact group with bags of mutual trust etc. In other words, pretty typical Sheila Paulson fare. I don't think this is one of her best though - or maybe it's simply that I've seen her do so much similar stuff before.

Epilogue - C.S. Kinsey: Avon comes out of a coma after GP. Tarrant is there to share his first reactions.

Blake Casualty and the Sweet Honesty Kid - Diane L. Holland: I didn't think I was going to like this one at first, crossovers are rarely my forte, but it got zanier and zanier and by the time Orac had been reconfigured into a industrial dishwashing machine and Blake removed some of the plates without consulting Avon, and... well, Butch Cassidy was never as funny as this!

Two Plays by Euripedes: Avonestes and Iphijennia at Cygnus - Diane L. Holland: Another one I thought I wasn't going to like. Blake's 7 as Greek tragedy? I was wrong. Everyone is related to everyone else; there is a Chorus as all Greek tragedies should have; the dialogue is wonderful and I loved it. I remember more of my classical studies than I thought and had several good giggles.

B7 Paper Dolls - Sabrina Stone: Paper dolls of Avon and Blake with a large selection of outfits for both. I looked at these, saw how much of the zine they took up and thought 'What a waste'. Several hours later, I was still happily looking at the outfits, mentally trying them on and admiring the work that must have been done to get them so accurate. If anyone wants to call around one evening with a set of scissors and crayons, I'm game to do some cutting and colouring (of photocopies of course).

Poetry - mostly ranges from poor to mediocre, although there was one by Susan Bennett that I rather liked.

Art - likewise. I don't buy Gambit for the art - apart from the cover. There was a very nice Avon on page 323 though. Whitby27's ink work photocopies a lot better than her pencil. The pencil work is usually 3 generations down and looks awful.

Overall rating. Highly recommended, especially if you live in the UK as the dollar has fallen sharply of recent. For over 300 pages of a full size zine, this is very good value indeed.[91]

References

  1. ^ [http://www.katspace.org/reviews/fanzine/Gambit a review by Kathryn Andersen
  2. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10
  3. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10
  4. ^ Lysator, Sondra S., dated September 6, 1994.
  5. ^ Lysator, Pat Nussman, August 31, 1994.
  6. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #2
  7. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #2
  8. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #2
  9. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #2
  10. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #2
  11. ^ a review by CB from Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  12. ^ comarum.tumblr,
  13. ^ Lysator, Kathryn A, Jan 1995.
  14. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #4
  15. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #4
  16. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #4
  17. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #4
  18. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #4
  19. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #4
  20. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #4
  21. ^ by bruinhilda, bruinhilda.tumblr, November 18, 2016
  22. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  23. ^ from Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  24. ^ a review by CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  25. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  26. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  27. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  28. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  29. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  30. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  31. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  32. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  33. ^ an letter of comment in "Gambit" #5
  34. ^ from Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  35. ^ Ashton Press, 1998
  36. ^ from an LoC in Tarriel Cell v. 4 n.3
  37. ^ a review by CB from Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  38. ^ from Tarriel Cell v.4 n.2
  39. ^ by Carol McCoy in On the Wing #2
  40. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10
  41. ^ comments by the story's author, Tom Beck, who read the story aloud at a panel at 1992 Visions, printed in The Neutral Arbiter #7 (January 1993)
  42. ^ a review by CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  43. ^ from IMHO* #2 (1995)
  44. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  45. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  46. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  47. ^ Subject: Gambit 9 on Lysator dated March 4, 1993.
  48. ^ from a letter of comment by Sondra Sweigman in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  49. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  50. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  51. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  52. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  53. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  54. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  55. ^ from a letter of comment by Ruth Berman in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  56. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  57. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #10 (1993)
  58. ^ from Rallying Call #11
  59. ^ from Rallying Call #11
  60. ^ from Rallying Call #13
  61. ^ Subject: Zine review: Gambit 10 on Lysator by Catherine S. dated August 12, 1993.
  62. ^ from IMHO* #2 (1995), some of this LOC was also printed in "Gambit" #11
  63. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  64. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  65. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  66. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  67. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  68. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  69. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  70. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  71. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  72. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  73. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  74. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #11
  75. ^ Review posted by Vickie M. to Lysator on March 24, 1994.
  76. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #13
  77. ^ from a letter of comment by Sondra S. in "Gambit" #13
  78. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #13
  79. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #13
  80. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #13
  81. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #13
  82. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #13
  83. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #13
  84. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #14
  85. ^ Lysator, Sondra, dated September, 1995.
  86. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #14
  87. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #14
  88. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #14
  89. ^ from a letter of comment in "Gambit" #14
  90. ^ Recommended Zines for Dayna
  91. ^ a review by Judith Proctor at her Blake's 7 site