Hard as Lightning... Soft as Candlelight

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Title: Hard as Lightning... Soft as Candlelight
Publisher: The Really Useless Group
Editor(s): Jennifer Bills
Date(s): 1990
Medium: print
Fandom: Phantom of the Opera
Language: English
External Links:
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Hard as Lightning... Soft as Candlelight is a het 229-page Phantom of the Opera fiction anthology edited by Jenn Bills.

cover by Thomas Bevel

The cover art is by Thomas Bevel. The cover art is by Thomas Bevel, Judy Boguslawski, Michelle DeBeneditto and Linsey Deever-Ashe.

The stories are by JeanAnn Williams, Nancy Ellis, Michelle DeBeneditto, Christine Reynolds, Linsey Deever-Ashe, Robin Schindler and Lisa Fosbender.


  • Even in Thy Imperfection, novella by Robin Schindler, art by Linsey Deever-Ashe
  • A Final Note by JeanAnn Williams
  • a trilogy by Christine Reynolds, art by Thomas Bevel
    • Prelude by Christine Reynolds
    • Renascence by Christine Reynolds
    • Denouement by Christine Reynolds
  • Beck by Nancy Ellis, art by Michelle DeBeneditto
  • other unknown content

Reactions and Reviews

From front page to back, this is the most consistently well-written, entertaining fanzine I've read. Christine Reynolds' trilogy in particular stands out as a sensitively written portrayal of Erik's life, from before his meeting with Christine, through and after the events of the ALW musical.[1]

A single fanfic anthology put out by Jenn Bills and company “The Really Useless Group" during the heyday of Phantom Notes. Even though the illustrations are only middling to fair, this fanzine has, in my opinion, the most consistently high quality fiction I have seen within the genre. Stories include a trilogy by Christine Reynolds which follows Erik through his early years, his time at the Paris Opera House, and beyond.

A short story, “Beck" by Nancy Ellis, which is “inspired by the phantom" without actually being about him.

The piece de resistance, a novella by Robin Schindler entitled “Even In Thy Imperfection" is a true labor of love which explores what I suspect may be the secret fantasy of many phans and which, in style of writing, is very nearly up to professional standards.

There are also lighter pieces and short poems interspersed throughout. This 'zine is a must for anyone who enjoys fan fiction.[2]