Gunther's Revenge

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Title: Gunther's Revenge
Publisher: Pacific Fruit Express
Editor: Karen B
Author(s): S. Soliste
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): Jean C.
Date(s): 1982
Medium: print
Size: 65 pages, full-size
Genre: slash
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links:
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Gunther's Revenge is a 65-page slash Starsky and Hutch novel written by S. Soliste and illustrated by Jean C.. It is a Post-Sweet Revenge story.

It won an Encore Award.

The story was to have had a sequel but it was never completed. [1]

Missing Pages

Some original issues were sent out with missing pages, the first two from chapter six. In 1982, the editors sent out replacement pages, along with a letter of apology, to fans who had ordered the zine. "...enclosed are our apologies, our frustration, our depression and the knowledge that we an [sic] totally incapable of doing anything right. For the time being the Pacific Fruit Express is going to find itself a large swarm of fruit flies and suffer appropriately. However, we do learn from our mistakes and if we do another zine the fuck-ups will be new, exciting and different."


Reactions and Reviews


Gloat, drool, I just got my copy of 'Gunther's Revenge,' and I have my suspicions about S. Soliste, but if pseudonyms are in, she'll have to write me and fess up for the full critique. About the sex scenes... take a bow, lady. They are the grittiest, sexiest, most exciting action I've read in a long time, and so right, in character, that I've simply run out of superlatives, I wish I had written every word, and I hope the non-writers out there are aware that such depth of emotion is earned by effort and deserves more reward than just the thought of writing a LoC... Anyone who could read this one without a temperature hike must live in an igloo. Congratulations! [2]
I've seldom been so annoyed by one story and so absorbed at the same time. There were a number of things about GR's production that irritated me -- lavender covers for pity's sake (isn't the joke kind of thin by now?)--and dot matrix print that made me read the story in spite of its presentation. To be fair, the printing was clear, the two-column justified layout was easy to follow, and the frontispiece portraits were suitable for framing, but I felt that the typeface seriously detracted from the story. The story is not perfect, either. I wish the editor had persuaded [the author] to write the novel that was screaming to get out, instead of this abbreviated version. The first fourteen pages are one long series of "My Partner is Missing" incidents that made both S&H seem candidates for keepers. Both are subjected to physical abuse that ought to have at least slowed them down, but seldom fazed them... The characterization of minor characters also suffers from the length of the piece--things move so fast that it's sometimes difficult to keep track of them, much less tell good guys from bad. And yet, when it comes right down to it, I had to toss a coin to decide between [the author] and [J.R. author of Decorated for Death] when I voted for this year's "Best Writer." There is something very powerful about this story, not the least of which is the sense of the size of the hornet's nest S&H have uncovered in the Gunther case. Everybody from the Feds to the KGB seems to be after them, and their sudden sexual awareness of one another is really only one more wild card in a loaded deck. The international complications give GR a sense of Man from UNCLE, but with a life-and-death urgency that UNCLE seldom managed. And It has a plot! You have to think while you're reading. Lovely-- it kept me awake till four in the morning. I don't know if we can hope for a sequel--what does happen after East Germany and the Ayatollah learn that their agents are dead?--but I would recommend Gunther's Revenge very highly.[3]
When I first read 'Gunther's Revenge.' I enjoyed it but couldn't understand letting the first time scene go unwritten. Then PFE sent the crucial pages and the story became more cohesive and understandable. Ms. Soliste has a nice technique of combining adventure and '/' in one story and making it enjoyable. And [J's] pictures of S&H are by far the best I've ever seen in fandom. If she auctioned those off at ZCon, I envy the lucky owner.[4]
I you remember the old Man from UNCLE shows, you will recall how Napoleon and Illya weekly braved death and dismemberment to save the world from yet another THRUST conspiracy. Well, ‘Gunther’s Revenge’ can be considered S/H from UNCLE. In this novel, upon Starsky’s release from the hospital after the events of ‘Sweet Revenge,’ he gets kidnapped, and Hutch has to find him, and then Hutch gets kidnapped, and Starsky has to find him. Then they both get kidnapped, and Dobey has to find them, but this time L.A. is up to its collective tush in cheap Iranian smack, dumped by Gunther’s former lawyer, Jonathan Wells, who is trying to pick up the pieces of Gunther’s empire, but both the CIA and an agent of the Eastern block wish to treat with him, using Starsky and Hutch as counters. Meanwhile, our heroes have succumbed to the pressure of all this imminent death to become lovers. After that, it starts to get complicated. The love subplot is fairly distinct from the main intrigue plot, not causing Starsky or Hutch to do or say much under the circumstances that they wouldn’t do or say had they not fallen into bed together. The subplot also begins somewhat clumsily, with S&H both suddenly nonplussed by the notion of sex together, as if they’d never thought of it before. Almost immediately, they graduate to fairly ambitious sex, with such props as a bathtub and kinky fantasies on their second encounter. This could have distorted the novel, except that the furious hunger of their newly initiated love affair echoes and balances the frenzy of the main thriller plot, giving a human perspective to all the outrageous politics. Without that love affair, the two would probably seem as flat and mechanical as the characters in any early Mission Impossible episode. GR does suffer the defect of many thrillers: it’s difficult to keep track of the three (or is it four?) sets of baddies and what they’re after, and it’s also hard to believe that a dozen attempts by several of the supposedly most expert hitmen in the world couldn’t take out at least one of the pair. But by venerable volumes of Van Vogt, no one could accuse GR of lacking plot. There’s the love plot, the Gunther plot, the Iranian plot, the heroin plot, and a couple of cemetery plots. The touches of political reality give the story an extra sting, and Soliste’s style is clean and well-paced. The multiplicity of intrigues may not be to everyone’s taste, although personally I enjoyed the story immensely. There are just two illos in the entire zine… and the reduced dot-matrix printer was not a a felicitous choice of typeface, being mighty damn hard to read. Still, for its cover price, GR delivers.[5]


One of my favorite [Starsky & Hutch zines] is "Gunther's Revenge". Don't remember author, but has one of the best bathtub scenes ever. Hutch's hair floating out in the water...yum. [6]


'Gunther's Revenge' [is one of my favorites] just because it has such a darn good 'plot'! And the rest isn't bad either. ;-) [7]


Me, I want to learn to write like the woman who wrote Gunther's Revenge. In my hands that thing would've been a 600 page top heavy overblown monster. In her hands it was a lean, spare story with all the power packed into it of a major novel read. [8]


By S. Soliste, it has the same attributes as Vermont Avenue, but the tone is completely different. The previous novel is a slow stroll up to a relationship, creeping up to it so cautiously you're not sure it'll ever get off the ground. But in this novel, the sexual tension is so thick you can barely stand it and neither can the guys who are so hot for each other and so overwhelmed by their need, and, because of work, so restrained and prevented from getting together that Starsky can't stand to have Hutch lay his arm across the back of the car because it affects his driving. And it's got a plot!!! A nearly perfect story.[9]

I have so many favourite zines it's hard to narrow it down to my "favourite". <g>

Some I've read only once, some I read every-so-often when something in RL brings the story to mind, and some I read more often. "Gunther's Revenge" is a S/H novel that I read at least once a year.

This story is something that meets all of my reading needs. It's well written, planned and presented. It's also a style of writing that I very much would like to aim for in my own writing. It has an interesting and complicated plot which keeps me intrigued from beginning to end, no matter how many times I read it. I "never" skim over parts in this story, which I think is a true sign of a well crafted story.

The original characters created by the writer are so interesting that I don't mind that they're there at all, in fact, she created believable and unique villains that I could picture clearly and truly loved to hate <eg>. Then there are the characters from the series and the "Targets Without A Badge" trilogy in particular, which are threaded into the story in a way that makes this story seem like a logical continuation of the filmed episodes. I always enjoy seeing some of the series characters used in new and interesting ways to improve on a filmed episode, and these characters added so much to the story and the feel of the story for the main characters.

I'm partial to police procedural stories that "also" have all the personal day-to-day moments between Starsky and Hutch that the series did, and in some cases "more" then the series did. It also included a whole range of different emotions, including humour. I can also say that my h/c obsession was satisfied, too. Something that seems to be a 'must have' for me. <g>

Also, since this was a slash story, it offered me all the personal, tender moments that I like to read as well. Their relationship is developed gradually and "believably" and is PART of the whole story...but not the only part. I loved the fact that they could continue to be cops and work the way they always did together, and at the same time have a changing personal relationship.

The dialogue was realistic. The narration and descriptive paragraphs moved the plot along and gave me all of the information that I needed to picture the scenes clearly. The ending was written carefully to tie up all the loose ends and satisfied my feeling that the characters had come to a natural and not too rushed conclusion.

My only disappointment is that this novel isn't available on the net. [10]
I like the style myself--very crisp and sharp with no wasted words--but I do think some of the transitional scenes could have been tightened up some. Some of them move too fast and I wasn't sure where we were without reading a paragraph twice. Especially during the explosion....

The author really did excel with her OC bad guys. They were evil, but believably so, and on lots of levels--from the annoying to the cruel...

This story did that most rare thing--gave us H/C for both and nicely balanced. No where in there did you think you were reading a "Hutch" story or a "Starsky" story, you were reading "Starsky and Hutch", my favorite. Some of the little touches were so nicely delivered, too. Like Starsky propping Hutch's feet up in the hospital. Very in character and not overly drawn....

[Their realization regarding their relationship] wasn't just a lightening bolt, it was a slow moving summer storm. I loved that, and the bathtub scene is one of the most tender, gritty and realistic slash scenes I've read.... Gotta go back to that transitional thing for just a moment, because that's

the only place I wish we had a bit more. From that torture chamber to the hospital. From the apartment/car to the boat. Some moved too quickly in my

opinion, but it's a slight nit in an otherwise beautifully crafted piece. [11]
I totally agree about the style. It was very clear and precise I thought, and the jump between scenes was confusing for me at times. I'd have to reread some of them as well to get a better idea of where everyone was at and what they were doing.

At times I thought the plot jumbled together because of some of the different characters moved in and out so quickly. I'd have to reread a few scenes to get the gist of what exactly was going on.

The OC's I did like as well. I wanted to see more of them interacting with Starsky & Hutch, but that's just me. For me, adding a good OC to a story really brings a lot of depth that I enjoy. What I also liked were a few of the recurring characters she brought back. Jenny Brown was well layered and her interactions with Hutch, I thought were well done. Wells, was just plain fascinating. She drew him very clearly and precisely. His motivations were made perfectly clear and as the time came closer for Starsky & Hutch to see him, I anticipated it more and more as I read. I hoped to see Hutch with him along with Starsky because of his previous meeting with Wells during SR, but the meeting with Starsky worked great I thought. Two complete opposites on so many levels really highlighted the contrasts in this scene for me. It was a great scene for me.

[But] I personally felt like it jumped back and forth too much between hurt Hutch and hurt Starsky. Just when one got hurt and got some comfort, the other one got it. It felt like they were too close together which was a problem for me. The comfort scenes were fabulous. They really made up for how I felt with the hurt stuff. I always love the little touches because they can just really make a scene jump out for me.

Two thumbs up on the bathroom scene. It was great. The sex scenes overall worked for me because they weren't long drawn out and play-by-play. I like a good sex scene, but if they're too long with too much detail, the writer has lost me. I'll lose interest. I thought these were done great.

Overall, I the story was very well paced and thought out. Even at the times I felt like I was lost, it wasn't hard for me to get back on track. I liked how Starsky and Hutch started in this. I got a kick when they were trying to get out of the squadroom so they could get it on ;) It just seemed like something was always in the way and I thought it was cute watching them squirm over it. The dialogue hit the mark and I could easily see this playing out in my head for the most part. This is a story I'll read again because it has so much to offer, that I'll pick up on something new or I'll change my original thinking in the process.

A good read for one of those nights when I just want to kick back and sink my teeth into a long story with a lot of meat, if you'll pardon the expression. [12]

I know I never feel completely comfortable with a story if I can tell which of the two characters is the writer's favourite. Or, if too much of the story has one character sitting on the side lines going, "ho-hum".


I adore how she managed to build the anticipation level for both them, and us as readers. By the time they finally had time to themselves to consider the thoughts they'd been having all day it was something they could no longer control.[13]

OCs are such a personal thing. I like mine in small doses, but in a story of this magnitude, you need them to have a well-fleshed out story. And they do add a lot of depth and give Starsky and Hutch that foil to react from. I just always want to know I'm reading a Starsky and Hutch story when I'm *reading* a Starsky and Hutch story. I'll read other fiction to read about other starring characters, but this story didn't suffer from an OC taking over. They enhanced the whole thing.

What I also liked were a few of the recurring characters she brought back.


...there was a lot of back and forth, but it worked for me because it fit the mood and the pace of the story. Each injury brought the tension level to a higher place of dread and had me anticipating what on earth could happen next. It was a high wire act, pulling off all that hurt, but for me she did it.

I've probably stated my opinion on long sex scenes often enough that I can be quoted verbatim, and I can see the bored and blank stares of people running for their delete keys, <g>, but I love them anyway, as long as they're well-written, in character, and fit the mood of the story. These crisper scenes fit this story. [14]

I know a lot of readers really like h/c. That's why I cringed <g> I do like h/c, but the one thing that I did like about these, even though I thought there was a lot of back and forth, was that she didn't go into a horrendous amount of detail especially into the torture of Hutch. That's one I would have had a tough time to read. I don't care for an outrageous amount hurt which shows how much they are hurting. Even though the comfort might pay it off, sometimes it gets too much for me to read and I just have a tough time finishing them. This probably should be a separate thread in itself because it's all a matter of degrees with each individual reader. The scenes themselves were done well and I was thinking 'thank you' to the writer because she didn't feel the need to show in excrutiating detail the torture scene with Hutch.

I think if a writer could pull [the tension and dread] off, they've really done their job. Anticipation is a great thing to have in a story. Even thought you think you might know what's coming, you're looking forward to it. That's how I felt waiting for them to see Wells. I was really looking forward to this meeting and at each moment, it seemed like it was notched up just a little bit more as each scene progressed.

I felt like the sex scenes worked within the context of the story. They were more like a part of the story and they helped progress the plot involving their relationship. I didn't care too much for the sex scene later on in the story. I think they were in an engine room or something like that. That didn't work for me, but I'm sure for others it did. It wasn't enough that it hurt the story, but it just didn't click for me.[15]


  1. ^ "One of the best writers of S/H fiction, who wrote Gunther's Revenge, started writing a sequel and stopped. It would have been a killer story, except that for whatever reason she dropped out of fandom and we are left with one hell of an unfinished story." Another fan replied: "That is so true. Especially from that writer, the loss is even more sad. I'd heard that she *totally* gafiated." -- comments at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (April 3, 1997)
  2. ^ from Hanky Panky #5
  3. ^ from S and H #37
  4. ^ from Hanky Panky #5
  5. ^ from S and H #37
  6. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (January 18, 1995)
  7. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (August 8, 2000)
  8. ^ from the essay by Flamingo called Novel v. Anthology
  9. ^ Flamingo, August 22, 2003, who rated it among her top ten favorite zines, quoted from VenicePlace on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
  10. ^ comments at ThePits, quoted anonymously (June 3, 2003)
  11. ^ comments at ThePits, quoted anonymously (June 3, 2003)
  12. ^ comments at ThePits, quoted anonymously (June 3, 2003)
  13. ^ comments at ThePits, quoted anonymously (June 3, 2003)
  14. ^ comments at ThePits, quoted anonymously (June 3, 2003)
  15. ^ comments at ThePits, quoted anonymously (June 3, 2003)