Game of Humanity
|Title:||Game of Humanity|
|External Links:||Wayback link to story|
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"Unknowing, unwilling pawns in a power struggle. Blake and Avon are marooned together on a planet where the only civilization is uncivilized at best where they are forced by circumstance to rely on and trust one another, and, more importantly, confront the realities of their tentative friendship."
Reactions and Reviews
Second season tale in which Blake and Avon are whisked away by aliens to serve as "moral examples" to a primitive species they've created. What's hours to the Liberator crew is months to Blake and Avon--who learn as much as they teach from the experience. (A sequel to this appeared in a recent issue of BLAKES DOUBLES, but wasn't nearly as good, IMO.) 
Sheila Paulson's "Game of Humanity" is a must-read for A-B fans. IMO it rates with Suzan Lovett's stories as "gen that's as good as slash." Blake and Avon are stranded, seemingly forever, on a distant planet with an initially hostile, primitive alien race. Gradually they become closer to their hosts and to each other. There's a PGP sequel, "The Dreamers," in Blake's Doubles #4. The Lovett illos for the story are to die for-- incredibly slashy. There's the one in which Blake reaches out to the injured Avon, the one of the two of them bathing in the mountain pool (yes, honestly!), the one of Avon comforting Blake, the one of both of them, shirtless, in a cave together-- yum, yum, yum. 
'Game of Humanity' Several words suggest themselves in describing this fifty page story, including magnificent, riveting, terrific, and stunning, but I'll settle for sublime. Blake and Avon are abducted by alien game players and inserted into a primitive society to prove/disprove a point. They gradually transform the society, and in doing so transform their own relationship, acknowledging the differences between them, the conflict between pragmatism and idealism. The story is relatively straightforward, its the telling that counts, and Ms Paulson has excelled herself. 
Another one from the list of gen stories that the slash fans love to read. Blake and Avon are kidnapped by highly advanced aliens who using living creatures as game pieces, and set down amongst primitives to help them develop. The concept has the potential to be horribly cliched, but in the hands of this writer becomes a wonderful story of friendship. Absolutely gen, but in its original zine publication (in Probability Square, currently available as a reprint) it was accompanied by some glorious illos by Suzan Lovett, which are popular with slash fans for good reason. The story is available online, as its sequel The Dreamers. Note - spoilers for second season in the first story, and for the final episode in the sequel. 
In our humble opinion, 'A Game of Humanity' is Sheila's best story. She has taken a fanfic cliché - Avon and Blake stranded on a primitive planet - and turned it into a gorgeous study of complex, ever-changing emotional commitment. This is wonderful and every A-B fan should have it. (Suzan Lovett's utterly yummy illos don't hurt, of course ...) The sequel  isn't bad but can't help seeming a bit pale by comparison - and it might've worked better as a stand-alone, since the slow reconciliation between Avon and Blake can stand on its own merits. 
"For instance, the longest story in the zine is Sheila Paulson's Game of Humanity, which would make a respectable 50's (possibly an 80's) sf novel exactly as it stands. The writing and character development and creation of rational alien races are all good, and its only links with B7 proper are Blake and Avon, whisked out of their usual context into an alien problem. It is a careful study of Avon and Blake -- heightened by the Suzan Lovett illos, which should be collectors' items -- as they create politics in a primitive culture, according to their unique personalities, which no setting can change. How they, and the nonhuman race they find themselves with, change each other is the meat of the story, handled well enough to satisfy a fan either of space opera in general, or of Blake and Avon. The equally original and well-done illos are by Dani Lane."