Gentlemen Never Tell

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Zine
Title: Gentlemen Never Tell
Publisher:
Editor(s): Marian Kelly aka Taliesin
Date(s): 1997-2008
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Wild Wild West
Language: English
External Links: the publisher's page
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Gentlemen Never Tell is a slash Wild, Wild West anthology with covers by Rune.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1

Gentlemen Never Tell 1 contains 120 pages. It was published in November 1997.

[The editorial]:

No, indeed, gentlemen never tell... we, on the other hand, have no compunction about speculating about what James West and Artemus Gordon got up to behind closed doors.

Nor are we planning on stopping here. Ready your stories, send in your submissions, letters of comments, and (eventually) your orders. There will be a "Gentlemen Never Tell 2"—look for it next November, and keep in mind that its existence will depend upon you.

Though the show was canceled more than two decades ago, Wild Wild West slash fandom is still relatively small and unknown. We have no doubt the interest is out there, but it needs to be sought out, and encouraged. Consider this your caU to arms: start subverting your friends now!

On a more serious note, I want to thank Trish and Mary Millard for badgering me into doing a Wild Wild West slash zine; it was entirely too much fun to miss. Also, Trish and Linda White both deserve much thanks for sending in last minute stories "Just for you" and being too modest to actually suggest I put them in the zine, even if that was obviously where they were destined to end up.

Jean Himmer gets the "snappy" award, for taking a ridiculous number of "just one more" frame captures from the episodes for use inside the zine and on the cover. Jean's responsible for three pictures inside the zine—FYI: those with episode names are indeed from those episodes and were not altered, other than to lighten them for visibility; the third picture is the product of Jean's artistic and romantic imagination. Jean's frame captures were also used by Rune in the creation of the beautiful and suggestive cover (many heartfelt thanks to Rune for keeping at the cover until it was done, flu and electronic-drawing-pencil-eating puppies not withstanding).

Now go enjoy the zine, and don't forget to encourage anyone who shows an interest in dearest Jim and Artie. Especially those who write. We'd like the next zine to have a greater variety of authors and styles, and to give my alter-ego, Taliesin, a bit of a rest before the well of story ideas runs dry.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

We had a big discussion recently on another list about what constitutes a good fanzine review. While I held forth with a strong position (duh), I was speaking as someone who had never actually *written* a fanzine review. So, in all fairness, I felt I needed to write one. Luckily, a zine came out recently that deserves some publicity (since it's such a small fandom at the moment). I'm not going to get too much into plot; that's my preference in reviews. All usual yadda yadda applies here. If you agree with me, great. If you don't, write your own review.

Includes stories by: Elizabeth Cochrane, Taliesin (pen name of Marian Kelly, publisher -- and she says this on the first page of the zine, so I'm not blowing anyone's cover here <g>), Mary L. Millard, Theresa Kyle, Linda White.

Temptations by Elizabeth Cochrane

THE WILD, WILD WEST is unique among slash fandoms in that the heroes have an arch-enemy who sees the slash as well. Cochrane puts Dr. Miguelito Loveless to good use in the first story in the zine, having him prey upon Artemus Gordon's obvious love for his partner in an attempt to coerce him into helping the good Doctor get his hands on some serious money. Cochrane's characterizations of Artemus and Loveless are right on, even if, in her dialog, she experiences a problem that *anyone* writing for WWW has: the show is set in the late 1800's, but the feel of the series was very 1960's. The balance was often tipped one way or the other, but rarely kept even, and most stories in the universe are not exempt from this. Still, the story works, and could even have played out as a few scenes in the show if this sort of thing was allowed on television.

As Strong as Death by Taliesin

This story takes place after one of the more slashy episodes of WWW; Artemus believes Jim is dead, and worse -- it is being said that he died a traitor. Also, Artemus proposes marriage to a woman at the end of the episode (actually, Jim does his proposing for him) but is gently rebuffed. Other than the 1800s/1900s problem, the other problem in writing WWW fiction is that James West is not a talker. He's not dumb, by any stretch of the imagination, but he's not chatty. We also don't get to see him as an introspective sort (introspection being a big mainstay in slashfic). Taliesin has such a right-feeling take on Jim West's inner life that I'm ready to buy just about anything she writes in this fandom sight unseen (and in other fandoms; her *To Live in Interesting Times* in MFU is one of my favorites).

Quickie quote:

"He wasn't the pensive type. Even so, there were times which just cried out for a certain amount of soul searching, and smoking an excellent cigar in a trainyard on a balmy night under a soft full moon was one of them."

Her clever maneuverings within James West's mind are some of the more entertaining parts of this zine, in this story and others. Also, the reasons for Artie's proposal are very well taken care of before the yummy sex comes into play. This is a PWP, and a darned good one, too.

A Writer's Guide to "The Wild Wild West", or Everything You Need to Know About Jim and Artie by Marian Kelly

Wow, wow, wow. This sixteen-page, double-column survey and itemization of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you need to know about WWW is an extreme labor of love. Section titles are: Personal History, Military Arts, Medical History, Sedentary Pursuits, Physical Accomplishments, Guns and Gadgets, Character Study, Miscellaneous, Matters of the Heart, Appendix I = Clothing, Appendix II = Disguises (which covers five whole pages). If anyone wants to write in this fandom, this is required reading.

Make His Face to Shine Upon Thee by Taliesin A short, slice-of-life character study of Dr. Loveless and his twisty emotions about West and Gordon. I always feel like I can smell the campfires in Taliesin's stories, and this one is no exception. She writes with a firm hand on the sensuous <g>, and her stories really envelop the reader in their surroundings.

The Night of the Second Chance by Mary L. Millard

I must say as a preface that I don't like weepy, sappy stories just on principle, especially in fandoms where they make no sense. While S&H fen can write touchy-feely sensitive men stories and it works, James West is about as far from that as you can get. Mary Millard seems to have cornered the market on this particular kink in WWW (and MFU). In this story, Jim is rescued from capture and torture, and spends the rest of the story weeping about it. I found this story to be formulaic at best (Jim won't tell Artie what happened while he was being held prisoner, gee, I wonder what it could be), and completely out of character at worst.

Quickie quote: " 'You -- love me?' Sounding shocked, Jim pulled back to see Artie's face. 'You can't.' 'Well, maybe I can't, but I do,' Artie responded. 'What's the matter, hasn't anyone ever told you they loved you before?'"

I will say that this is better-written than some of Millard's earlier works, but it's still not to my liking at all. Everybody cries over and over, and the story falls prey to the "if it works once, do it twice" pitfall: Jim is re-taken by the same torturer. More sweetness ensues. Ick. Different strokes.

Leather by Taliesin

Quickie quote: "It was a mistake to tell Jim how much the sight of him in those tight black chaps arouses me. Definitely a mistake."

If you're a leather fetishist, this is the fandom for you! <g> Jim does wear nice leather chaps often during the run of the series, and they outline his, er, attributes rather well. This is a PWP in first-person, a hot little interlude smack-dab in the middle of the zine. While I'm not so hot on leather, I still appreciated the story.

Dalliances by Theresa Kyle

Kyle creates a series of characters who fit into the WWW universe quite well, and her dialog is very easily "heard" in the voices of James and Artemus. While this isn't a PWP (There is a storyline, and Jim and Artie do have an assignment), the agents' assignment is relatively simple, and therefore the plot is relatively simple. Still, it's nice to see a beginning, middle and end to a slash story. West and Gordon come to their slash relationship without any unwieldy mental maneuvering, which is the downfall of so many slash stories. This is a charming story, well in-character and in-universe (as far in-universe as you can be and still be slash!), and a fun read for a WWW fan.

The Night of Reality by Mary L. Millard

Once again, keep in mind that I just don't like this kind of story. Millard's shorter addition to this zine is full of Artemus whimpering in his sleep as he dreams of Jim discovering his love for him. Jim overhears him. They snap at one another the next day, they have The Discussion, etc. These versions of Jim and Artie are so far removed from how I see them that I can't objectively review these stories. At least, I 'm not good enough at reviewing to do it yet. Hey, it's only my first review and I'm trying to crank it out quickly.

Far from the Madding Crowd by Taliesin

The boys are on vacation, and Artie convinces Jim that they should vacation together. This story takes the reader in a different direction than one would first imagine from reading the first section. Again, what Taliesin is so good at is creating the physical world in which her stories take place, and her abilities serve her well in this story of two men out in nature. The characters josh with one another in fine WWW style, the dialog just reeks of Ross Martin and Robert Conrad's cadences, and the author is able to bring the slash aspects in without trumpeting them. Her counterpoint of rich, complex descriptions of the outer world and spare, clean glimpses of the inner world are a fresh opposition in style to many stories out there.

The Night of the Secret Swoon by Linda White

Linda, Linda, Linda. I'll admit it: I'm a huge Linda White fan (what's the deal with WWW and MFU writers being the same people?). White writes men with a capital M, stoic and strong, which I know is not to everyone's tastes. No wasted words, no emotional outpourings, and very little discussion, but the words they *do* use say it all. This is a 'just-up-to-the-sex' story, and I've written Linda expressing my rather vehement opinion on just what she better do for GNT 2.

A Matter of Convenience by Taliesin

This is my favorite story in the zine by far. There's a real plot, there's an *established* sexual relationship which actually progresses as the story does, and there's well-thought-out action sequences that work brilliantly. When there's great sex and a spectacular explosion/ rope-trick scene that wouldn't be out of place in an Indiana Jones movie, I think you've got a winner.

Whew. As far as the appearance of the zine, it isn't as visually classy as some of the other more recent zines in other fandoms (the graphics in particular aren't very appealing, and screen-grabs, while amusingly captioned, are not a substitute for artwork in my book), but it's clean, readable, and has very, very few errors. Someone went font-happy, though: each title is in font different from the story and from any other title, which doesn't really add anything to the zine or make any particular statement. Still, these are minor concerns in what is otherwise a fine slashzine. For a fandom so small and so under-represented in the zine world (and what is out there sucks 90% of the time), the quality of this zine is disproportionately high.[1]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Gentlemen Never Tell 2 is 137 pages long. It was published in 1998.

[The editorial]:

Well, here we are—the second edition of "Gentlemen Never Tell."

You'll find a greater number of stories and authors here than in the last installment.

People have really come through to make this work, and they can't be thanked enough for trusting me with their stories. There wouldn't be a zine without these wonderful authors, and I sincerely hope they'll be writing further offerings for the next edition. And that the rest of you out there will take up pen and paper (okay, keyboard and computer) and have a little adventure with Jim and Artie.

Special, if belated, thanks to Bingo for coming up with the zine title—I foolishly forgot to thank her in the first issue, and her contribution was incalcuable. There can't be a zine without a name.

A few of the stories here are sequels to stories which appeared in "Gentlemen Never Tell 1"—all are understandable without having read the first story, though I expect they may be more enjoyable for the knowledgable reader. "Leather & Chains" is a sequel to "Leather"—yes, I know, a sequel to a PWF??? Still, it just had to be done, and I'm not sorry I did it. I don't think "The Night of the Second Swoon, Part 11" needs any explanation... just an ecstatic shout that Linda could be convinced to write "what happened after they got back to the train." And "A Fearful Thing" continues some eleven months after "From the Madding Crowd" left off. The references to Artie's tattoo in "A Fearful Thing," like those in "Far From the Madding Crowd," come from the aired episode: "The Night of the Turncoat." Mea culpa: I somehow managed to put Artie's tattoo on the left arm in "Far From the Madding Crowd"—how I failed to read my own Writer's Guide and realize it was on the right is beyond me. Anyway, it's on the correct arm this time, never fear.

Finally, heart-felt thanks to all those—writers, friends and family—who've put up with me through all this. Little did they know they were in for the long haul... I'm not likely to give it up soon. So... start thinking about your stories for GNT3, and look for the next zme in the fall. We can all use a trip on the Wanderer now and then.

Enjoy!

Issue 3

cover of issue #3

Gentlemen Never Tell 3 was published in November 1999 and contains 186 pages.

It was the winner of a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Zine). Includes: The Night of the Unexpected Assignation by Belladonna Triste, winner of a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Short Story); The Night of the Mesmerizing Kiss by Theresa Kyle, winner of a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Story); The Night of Monsters by Jane Mailander, winner of a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Novella); Never Love a Stranger by Taliesin, nominee for a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Story); The Night of the Piper by Linda White, nominee for a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Story); The Nights of Yellow Jack by P.R. Zed, nominee for a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Story); A Room for the Night by Taliesin, nominee for a 2000 STIFfies Award (Best Story).

[The editorial]:

They say third time's the charm. Maybe that applies to zines, too. Certainly, this edition of Gentlemen Never Tell has grown significantly over previous ones. More authors are jumping on the bandwagon... er, the train, too, about which I'm very pleased.

We seem to have some themes this year, or at least corresponding ideas. Three stories set in New Orleans. Four in which Loveless plays a large part, all of them with interesting and different views of the little doctor. Two dealing with how our favorite secret service agents first met (both of which can be laid at my door, I'm afraid). Two dealing with rape (which is, I'm sorry, the only warning I'm prepared to provide, as I don't believe in giving away spoilers on stories). And one, Linda White's story, which is set in the same universe as previous "Wild Wild West" stories from her pen. Not that this list is in any way a complete listing of all stories herein, given that several of the above "categories" overlap. Writing editorial notes at eleven p.m. the day before printing tends to make one amnesiac. Not to mention less than adequately creative!

One caveat for the faint of heart: "The Night of Monsters" contains graphic violence. I only make note of that since the Gentlemen Never Tell zines have so far not dipped much into darker waters, and I'd rather this not come as a great shock to anyone. I hope, however, that this note will in no way deter anyone from reading the story, as it is extremely well-written and well worth the read.

A quick note on "Never Love a Stranger"—for the purposes of this story, I ignored Artie's references to his regiment in "The Night of the Pistoleros". My excuse, if I need one, is that no one ever explicitly said it was a Civil War regiment they were discussing. However, for those to whom canon is not to be trifled with, I suppose we'll just have to call this story an [[alternate universe]].

The picture on page 187, by the way, is real, and not a computer generated composite. It comes from a book called "The Secret War for the Union" by Edwin C. Fishel. I also caught a glimpse of it in a History Channel "Civil War Journal" episode.

As always, thanks to all the authors for trusting me with their stories, and thanks to all the readers for giving this zine a chance. You won't be disappointed, I promise.

Enjoy.
  • The Night of the Unexpected Assignation by Belladonna Triste (1)
  • Escape From Limbo by Taliesin (6)
  • The Night of the Magic Touch by Mary L. Millard (11)
  • How the West Turned East by Natasha Barry (17)
  • Turning the Tables by Taliesin (37)
  • The Night of the Light by Mary L. Millard (47)
  • The Night of Monsters by Jane Mailander (58)
  • A Room for the Night by Taliesin (75)
  • The Nights of Yellow Jack by P.R. Zed (103)
  • Look, But Don't Touch by Natasha Barry (119)
  • The Night of the Mesmerizing Kiss by Theresa Kyle (131)
  • The Night of the Piper by Linda White (144)
  • Never Love a Stranger by Taliesin (164)

Issue 4

cover of issue #4

Gentlemen Never Tell 4 was published in November 2000 and contains 222 pages.

It was the winner of a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Zine). Includes: Fever Dream by Jane Mailander, winner of a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Short Story); The Terrible Doubt of Appearances by P.R. Zed, winner of a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Story); The Night of the Vampire's Curse by Linda White, winner of a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Novella); Coupling by Taliesin, nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Story); The Night of the Best of Enemies by Belladonna Triste, nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Story); And Be a Villain by Taliesin, nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Novella); and The Shadow of a Soul by Taliesin, nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Novella).

[The editorial]:

I never know what to say in these things.

Well, the first thing is obviously to thank the authors for sending me their wonderful stories. This zine wouldn't exist without these brave scribblers putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) and letting their wildest fantasies flow out onto the page for others to read.

And, of course, the zine wouldn't exist without the exceptional people who buy it, read it, and make those fantasies live again.

I feel blessed that there are enough of both groups to make it possible for me to continue producing this zine. Although it's often a slow and difficult process, it's always worthwhile. And the world would be, for me, a grayer place without these adventures of Jim and Artie to liven it up.

I'll keep at it as long as the stories keep coming. Coming to me, and to the other authors in the zine. We have a few new writers this time out (one story written by a writing team of sisters—which must be a first!), who I hope will find the rewards of their effort satisfying enough to compel them to try their hands a second time. And, of course, to those authors who've contributed to the Gentlemen Never Tell zines on several previous occasions: thanks for making this possible -- I couldn't do it without you.

Enjoy.

Issue 5

cover of issue #5

Gentlemen Never Tell 5 contains 194 pages. It was published in November 2001. Winner of an Honorable Mention Fan Quality Award for Best Zine. Includes: By Any Other Name by Taliesin, and The Night of the Lost Netherlander's Mine by Kensiga L'Tir, co-winners of a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Just A Kiss by Taliesin, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Night of the Blood Bond by chevron, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Night of the Mysterious Missives by Linda White, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Words, Words, Words by P.R. Zed, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).

  • Words, Words, Words by P.R. Zed 3 pages
  • The Night of the Blood Bond by chevron 28 pages
  • Calico by Taliesin 6 pages
  • The Night of the Homecoming by Khylara 3 pages
  • The Night of the Night by Meg Carruthers 15 pages
  • Just A Kiss by Taliesin 19 pages
  • The Night of the Hands of a Friend by chevron 7 pages
  • The Night of the Lost Netherlander's Mine by Kensiga L'Tir 47 pages (winner of a 2002 FanQ)
  • The Baron's Breakfast: An Acquired Taste by Kensiga L'Tir 5 pages
  • The Night of the Mysterious Missives by Linda White 15 pages
  • By Any Other Name by Taliesin 46 pages (winner of a 2002 FanQ)

Issue 6

cover of issue #6

Gentlemen Never Tell 6 contains 231 pages. It was published in November 2002. Winner of a 2003 Fan Quality Award for Best Zine. Includes: The Night of the Fateful Convergence by Chevron, winner of a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Dead Men Rise Up Never by Taliesin, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Jim West and the Secesh by Taliesin, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).

  • The Night of the Amorous Artwork by chevron 2 pages
  • Jim West and the Secesh by Taliesin 14 pages
  • The Night of the Reluctant Agent by Islaofhope 28 pages
  • The Night of the Wild Goose Chase by Ellie Butler 6 pages
  • The Night of the Crashing Waves by Islaofhope 46 pages
  • The Night of the Dragon Spawn by Linda White 11 pages
  • Qui Mal Y Pense by Taliesin 17 pages
  • The Night of the Fenian Folly by P.R. Zed 13 pages
  • The Night of the Lover's Revenge by Meg Carruthers 10 pages
  • The Night of the Strange Encounter by Ellie Butler 5 pages
  • The Night of Recompense by Graculus 8 pages
  • The Night of the Fateful Convergence by chevron 25 pages
  • Dead Men Rise Up Never by Taliesin 46 pages
  • an interior illustration by Jean Kluge.

Issue 7

cover of issue #7

Gentlemen Never Tell 7 contains 290 pages. It was published in November 2003. Winner of a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine - Honorable Mention). Includes: The Night of the Opium Den by P.R. Zed, winner of a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story) and a 2004 SCREWZ Award (Best Story); The Night of Equilibrity by Graculus, winner of a 2004 SCREWZ Award (Best Novella):The Night of the Missing Cattle Affair by Rari, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story);When Johnny Comes Marching Home by Taliesin, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story)

Issue 8

cover of issue #8

Gentlemen Never Tell 8 contains 260 pages. It was published in November 2004. The two-color cover by Rune won a 2005 SCREWZ Award for best artwork. Includes: The Night of the Spy by H. F. Dragonfly, winner of a 2005 SCREWZ Award (Best Novella).

  • The Stable Boy by H. F. Dragonfly 2 pages
  • The Night of Darwin's Hypothesis by Dame deFaillenot 32 pages
  • The Night of the Unlucky Seven by Islaofhope 10 pages
  • How Jim West Was Won by Taliesin 25 pages
  • The Night of the Dream Lover by Liz Ellington 70 pages
  • The Night Artemus Gordon Played Doctor by Meg Carruthers 5 pages
  • The Night of the Wayward Agent by Islaofhope 26 pages
  • The Night of the Spy by H. F. Dragonfly 39 pages
  • It Shall Be You by Taliesin 50 pages

Issue 9

cover of issue #9

Gentlemen Never Tell 9 contains 310 pages. It was published in May 2006.

  • The Pleasure of His Smile by Liz Ellington 1 page
  • Restraint by Taliesin 48 pages
  • A Time to Die by H. F. Dragonfly 13 pages
  • The Night of the Perfectionists by Griffinspark 28 pages
  • Not Always What They Seem by Liz Ellington 87 pages
  • The Night That Follows All Nights by Jane Mailander 3 pages
  • The Night of the Perfect Fit by Alabama Secondwind 5 pages
  • The Night of the Unpromised Rose Garden by Islaofhope 58 pages
  • The Night of the Easter Blizzard by P.R. Zed 8 pages
  • The Night of the Apprehension by Graculus 9 pages
  • Strange Bedfellows by Taliesin 50 pages

Issue 10

cover of issue #10

Gentlemen Never Tell 10 contains 189 pages. It was published in June 2008.

A Jean Kluge Cover

At some point, one of the issues was to have had a cover by Jean Kluge with a title of "The Night of the Really Wild West." [2]

Nightofthereallywildwest.jpg

References

  1. ^ review on Virgule-L, December 30, 1997, quoted anonymously
  2. ^ Artist's Webpage, via Wayback Machine