From the Log of the Hellhound
|Title:||From the Log of the Hellhound|
|External Links:||B7 at Ashton Press and Hellhound series at Ashton Press and hyperlink where the other Log of Hellhound stories are published|
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From the Log of the Hellhound is a gen Blake's 7 AU story series, written by Katarina Larkin (nee? Synder) and Susanne Tilley (nee? McGhin). The stories were spread across numerous different zines. Books I and II were re-printed as separate zines (having been previously available as part of anthology zines), and book XIII was also published as a standalone zine. The other books were only ever available as part of other Ashton Press zines, largely Southern Seven).
SallyMn describes Hellhound as being "sort of post-series Blakes 7 written in Dallas/Disney style, with a cast unblushingly based on half the popstars and TV stars of the eighties (yes, it is very eighties :) Never finished, and it was a pain chasing them up."
A fan on Lysator (1992) described the series thus:
This is very long, not yet finished, and distributed over a number of zines published by Ashton Press. B7 for the eighties, with a lot of style and many original characters, some, I'm told, based on other TV shows. There are many incredible plot devices and coincidences, but I don't notice them while I'm reading. The writing is very high quality, with excellent dialogue and just enough description to set a scene. In Log of the Hellhound books 1 and 2, Southern Seven 3, Blakes Doubles 2, Southern Seven 5, Southern Seven 7 and more to come. There are related stories in other Ashton Press zines. All are available from Bill Hupe.
See many more comments and other information at Hellhound Universe.
The following stories are listed on the 'where to find Hellhound stories' list as being prequels to the ten Hellhound books. They are published in several different zines. It is not clear whether the stories listed here without authors or zines were ever written, or if they were only planned.
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "I Was So Young..." (published in Southern Lights #3.5)
- "Just Like Heaven"
- "Hit by Lightning"
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Weight of a Feather" (published in Southern Lights #2.5)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Blood Red Thread" (published in Hellhound Book I (reprint issue) - see below)
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "In the Dark" (published in Southern Seven #4)
- "The Cold Light of Day"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "The Fool's Tale" (published in Southern Seven #4)
From the Log of the Hellhound Book 1 was published in February 1988 and contains 112 pages (reduced). The cover is by Leah Rosenthal and interior art is by Katrina Snyder. Some fiction was reprinted from first edition of Southern Seven #1.The publishers describe the content thus:
The one that started it all! Book I of this popular series by Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley reprinted with brand new, never before published material.
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "God from the Machine" (Avon is rescued following Gauda Prime by a rather unusual time traveling thief...)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "Cross of Diamonds" (on an alternate Earth, in the past, Avon struggles to survive and tries to forget about the past he left behind.)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "Only the Thunder" (Far from the mainstream of the Federation, a man named Rohn Smith struggles to regain a memory that was lost in a crash...)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "Knife Edge" (Avon discovers that Blake might possibly be alive and is willing to do anything to gain the means to return to his own time and universe...)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Value of Patience" (On a backwater world, Avon thinks he's finally tracked down Blake. The person he finds isn't who he expected all...)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "When the Black Ship Came" (At long last, Avon finds Blake...or the man who seems to be Blake. But Rohn Smith has no memory of being Roj Blake...or of Kerr Avon.)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Blood Red Thread” (a new pre-Hellhound story about the battle at Star One)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1
I must say I did not care for the" Log of the Hellhound" at all I found the series to be tedious and ludicrous While some of the original characters had potential, they were never developed to the point of actually coming to life - although they were better written than the Blake's 7 crew. In a way, it was the attempt to introduce the Blake's 7 crew that overshadowed and deterred the original characters Unfortunately, the original characters were still be better-written than Blake's people. There was none of that special spark that made Terry Nation's creations so endearing in "Log." It was a dragged-on, punked-out new-wave nightmare. I read the first parts and scanned the second parts. Can't say it looks like it will improve. Please, just finish it, and let sleeping (or should it be drugged?) hellhounds lie. Sorry, but this just wasn't my cup of "English" tea.
I'm puzzled by the Hellhound contingent's emphasis on the popularity of the cycle. What's the point? Popularity is no gauge of worth—Shakespeare wasn't the most popular playwright of his day. I'm disturbed, however, by the interjection of yet more personality politics into Blake's 7 random, and by what seems to be an attempt to make an issue of a non-issue i.e., one review of one piece of fanlit by one reviewer in one fan publication.
Miss Virgil states that I "did not... allow the reader the opportunity to make up his/her own mind... by not including ordering information." No, I didn't include ordering informs lion in my Hellhound review; I didn't include it for Avon; On-line either, an oversight I'll rectify in future reviews. I wasn't aware, however, thai failure to do so constituted forbid ding fans to think for themselves—or that reviewers controlled fans' minds.
As for the charge of bias: I made no secret of the fact that the outcome of the Steinburg case (eight years for beating i child to death), I can't say the charge breaks my bean. I also read Hellhound at least five times before concluding I couldn't stomach it. That anything goes in fanlit is one school of thought; I belong to the school that whatever was shown in the series was the way it happened, and that fanlit should adhere to that "reality."
Mrs. Larkin's complaints are contradictory. She complains that I infer her and her co-author's views from the story cycle, then states that hers are "obviously very different," inferring mine from my review. 1 did not infer her or her co-authors views, merely the views that were coming across in the story cycle. She writes a long dissertation defining an opinion and stating that those expressed in a review are merely those of the reviewer—things I'd thought so obvious as not to require stating—then goes on to say she finds it ironic that I judge the characters in Hellhound. when by definition a review, amateur or professional. is a judgment. As for the position of Hellhound: the story cycle is extremely partisan, but the characters presented sympathetically are often little different—by their own standards—from those presented unsympathetic ally. How different, for instance, was Jeanine Orly from Avon's mother, Sarah?
Concerning the points Mrs. Larkin brings up my inference that Avon would forgive his father's prenatal abandonment and assume his surname was incorrect, which I've since discovered. I stand corrected; however, the principle remains the same. She herself raises the issue of "living in a society where you are considered 'less than human." What does she think takes place in situations of child abuse and/or neglect? What messages does she think are being transmitted by having Avon's grandson assume the surname of a great-grandfather who all but stretched bis sons out on an altar and sacrificed them to the Great God Ego? Or having a boy show no resentment toward a mother who apparently made no attempt to defend him from an abusive stepfather? Or having that boy admire a teacher who didn't lift a finger to help him? Perhaps I am taking this matter too seriously—but I think not. As for Avon's mother never being described as a servant: the word used was "drudge"; if that is not a synonym for "servant" I'd be interested to learn what it is. I've also yet to see a passage presenting Servalan's administrative and military prowess rather than using the "feminine wiles" of manipulation and sex. The claim that Hellhound has "no great artistic pretentions" is contradicted by the other claim that the characters in the cycle don't represent the authors' views. Creating characters that fully realized is difficult for' 'serious" writers; to claim that Hellhound has done it suggests very great artistic pretentions indeed.
I don't object to the borrowings, blending an projection of contemporary attitudes, mores, fashion etc. per se. just the amount of it.
I don't judge Hellhound by the same standards as "serious literature" (and where did the idea come from that "serious literature" wasn't intended to be read for pleasure?). I closed my review "amateur status does not excuse careless craftmanship." I criticized careless crafting; a piece of literature doesn't have to be "serious" to strive for excellence; Hellhound does not strive.
Considering bow prevalent child abuse is, it's difficult to see how I could be elitist. As for condescension—it seems to me I regard fanlit, and by extension Hellhound, with more respect than Mrs. Larkin does.As for the "critical acclaim" of other reviewers: I call it as I see it, not as anyone else sees it; and in fact bow anyone else sees it is irrelevant. I'm sorry Mrs. Larkin's feelings were hurt, but in case she missed it, Hellhound offended me.
Book IISouthern Seven 2 and then available as a separate reprint issue, hence this fanzine starts at page 333 and ends at page 412. The cover is by Leah Rosenthal and other art is by Katrina Snyder.
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, “Where Were You Hiding?” (Seeking sanctuary and repairs on the smuggler’s base of Nova Seven, the crew of the Hellhound find more trouble than they bargained for...and an old friend.)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, “Rebel Without a Choice” (In his determination to return Blake’s memory to him, Avon takes desperate measures and kidnaps a psychotherapist.)
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, “The King of Pain,”
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, “Grip Earth and Let Burn.”
Reactions and Reviews: II
I really like it. I read it all very quickly and I am now desperate to read the rest and already very annoyed that I don't have it/will never have the last book. The dialogue is too American and not quite right for the characters, although their actions are spot-on, interestingly. As a B-A person, I really like the fact that it is this relationship that drives the plot. Speaking of the plot - it's fast and interesting (although with some amusing pratting-around/downtime moments) and although I've seen it criticised for not being like Blake's 7, I'd disagree and say it's very like Blake's 7. I understand that it's some plot business but i HATEIHATEIHATE that Avon's a woman hater, and I'm glad that he's getting over it now. It is angsty. It is a lot of fun. I would thoroughly recommend it. [more on this fan's Dreamwidth journal] 
More fear and loathing on the road to Arrakis.
In Book II of Log of the Hellhound, the conceptual confusion and carelessness that crippled Book I continue unabated. Ad, as Book II is set entirely in the Federation universe and time, it is even less successful as a space opera.
Characterization continues to be weak, series characters are distorted, and all characters' action and reputed inner thoughts remain a jumble of hard-boiled adventure and soap opera, or more precisely, bodice-ripper—though in Book II the bodice-ripper elements are dominant. The action continues to slow to a dead halt while clothes, (bod, etc. are described in minuie, wearisome, and sometimes redundant detail, and relatives, friends, etc. appear with claustrophobic frequency.
The science, economics and sociology of the Hellhound universe are no stronger in Book II than in Book I, and even less believable. Again, the reader is expected to believe: that a prototype spaceship intended as a research vessel can outfight warships of an expansionist society with centuries of R&D behind it that Avon's acquisition of enough wealth on a 20th century Earth can finance a revolution against a society that can draw upon the resources of entire solar systems; and that the Hellhound medical unit, produced by a 20th century medical science, would be considered adequate by people of the Federation's time, when medicine, like military technology, would haw had centuries of R&D behind it
Sociologically, Book II is as confused as Book I. and additionally offers the most farfetched and grandiose plot device I've seen in ten years: Avon, who is genetically inclined to be a resistor—an idea taken from the series and potentially interesting, had it been thought through—is so brilliant the Federation considered him such a potential threat it conspired to deny him educational and employment opportunities and attempted to drive him insane.
The storyline begins with Hellhound arriving at Nova 7, an outer space Tortuga, where our heroes encounter Tarrant, who has acquired an alias, a seven: limp, a punk look and a new lover, Bev Hastings, a sort of punk Dorma Reed Bev's former lover betrays them 10 the Federation; during the obligatory gunfight, Blake's lover Jeanine Orly, her personal interests threatened, straps on a gun and leads Blake's imaged protege Morten Hendricks into the fray—though it's mystery why the equivalent of a young merchant seaman would follow the equivalent of a rural school-marm. Jeanine is killed; Tarrant and Bev leave with the others. In search of a cure for Blake's amnesia, they then kidnap a Federation psychiatrist, Steffany White, and the bodice ripping begins in earnest.
Steffany is believable neither as a psychiatrist nor as a product of her society and social class within that society. She blushes at double entendres, hastily looks away from erotic art, hesitates to talk about sexual therapy, avoids thinking about disturbing ideas, within minutes of being kidnapped tells one of her capers his leader is a "lunatic"—and is desperately in need of the number for the Federation chapter of Co-Dependents Anonymous. Hellhound postulates that resistors arc genetically predisposed to rebel though it is not explained whether they would rebel against any existing social system—which would put the Federation's actions in a different context— or just the Federation's. Various passages suggest that "resistor blinking" is classified by Federation psychiatry as a mental disorder usually detected very early, and Avon, only a potential threat, was systematically suppressed: it's therefore incredible that someone with resistor tendencies would have been allowed to become a psychiatrist, let alone treat Federation officials.
Steffany's behavior with the rebels is also strange. She adjusts to learning of the oppressiveness of her society and widespread collusion of her profession in that oppression and transfers her allegiance to the rebels in a few pages, though she takes Avon's torture in interrogation for granted as routine; she seems never to have heard of hostage syndrome or traumatic bonding, though she knows something of techniques of handling hostage situations, and is at a loss to know why she regrets the Hellhound's pursuit by Federation ships; she exhibits little constraint toward her capos, even treating Be v and Vila as friends, and within a few days of Avon's attempt to kill her, discovers she's in love with him. It's also odd, considering the Federations prudery and homophobia and her own inhibitions, that she exhibits no reluctance or dismay about having romantic feelings toward an avowed bisexual.
From Steffany's discovery she's in love with Avon, the rest of the story mostly concerns their peculiar courtship and her agonizing over why she loves him, but it never occurs to her to consider the ethics or psychological health of a psychiatrist and patient having a sexual relationship—which itself raises the question of the state of Federation psychiatry— nor does she consider Avon's motives in the matter.
The affair is finally consummated in a scene during which she thinks that she is "a prisoner in love with her jailer" and that "he could offer nothing but running, always"— odd and rather contradictory thoughts if she has truly joined the rebels, and unintentionally ironic following descriptions of expensive high-fashion clothes she'd bought with money Avon provided. I'm reminded of a statement by Dr. Allene Goldman, who teaches as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas: "Most of love is really self-interest."The behavior of the activist-adventurers is handled a little in Book II, at least in the case of Tarrant, though the others ate not handled so well, particularity in their reactions to the hostage situation. And I feel obliged to mention an odd and disturbing remark of Tarrant's, namely that Avon would do the dirty work that "a nobel (sic) rebel leader would have to keep his hands clean of"; I don't recall that Blake ever hesitated to do his suddenly and very obviously attracted to Steffany, can't keep his hands off her in fact And even though he engages in lengthy examination of other issues and relationships in his life, expends no energy considering this sudden change. It is beyond the bounds of probability that anyone, however obtuse and unaware of his feelings, would not exhibit some puzzlement in so abrupt a change in something as fundamental as sexual reactions. It would be nice if Hellhound would make a greater effort to be believable as space opera; even nicer if it would make up its mind whether it's a political thriller with serious moral and philosophical points o make, or a romance with none but "love conquers all." If the former, it should examine the issues it has introduced seriously; if the latter, it should leave out issues and pursue fantasy. As it is, I have seldom seen a piece of literature that so defeats any statements it might have on the human condition. The characters' suffering serves only to titillate, which is especially offensive, as most fan-lit I've seen, however clumsy in execution and naive in approach, has managed avoid prurience. Book II can be enjoyed as an especially lurid bodice-ripper, but as those can be read for nothing at the local library I would recommend money be spent on other fannish matters such as club dues or keeping Blake's 7 on the air.
"Every once in a while, a writer comes along in fandom whose work is considerably above average. Susan Matthews is such a writer. So are Snyder and McGhin. My first encounter with their work was their short story 'Weight of a feather', in Southern Lights Special 2.5. It impressed me because their view of Avon was intriguing -- somewhere between the 'Avon has a marshmallow center' and 'Avon is an unremittant bastard' schools of fanfic. In Snyder and McGhin's universe Avon IS a bastard, but has been through life experiences (apparently since grade school) that would reduce a less hard-nosed character to whimpering Jello. And while the amount of effort required to achieve redemption will be considerable, they make it clear there is still some good left in him that the right person (Blake or equivalent) might reach. I mention 'Weight of a feather' because it has some basic assumptions in common with HELLHOUND that are peripheral to the main plot but still significant. The first is that Vila knew Avon in school, though Avon would probably not remember something as unimportant as a Delta two grades behind him. The second is that Avon was ranked Beta rather Alpha on the whim of a schoolmaster, and he is still pissed off about it. The third is that Avon is bisexual. This duality becomes a reasonably crucial factor in HELLHOUND: it makes us unsure of Avon's true motives for searching so relentlessly for Blake, and it qualifies his actions when he gives up on women entirely after a VERY unpleasant post Gauda Prime interlude with Servalan. HELLHOUND is not for everyone. On the one hand, it is dark, brooding, and often brutal -- if it were a movie, it would receive 'hard R' rating. On the other hand, it is exceptionally well-crafted. Some people, after reading Book I, complained it was not Blake's 7 at all. Obviously, these people needed all the trappings of the B7 universe rather than just the characters in order for it to be B7. Maybe Book II made them happier. Only one thing is certain: there is no neutral ground when it comes to HELLHOUND. Either you'll love it, or you'll hate it. Considering Southern Seven continues to publish new installments, there must be demand. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the next segment.
Book IIISouthern Seven #3. The stories took up the space of 80 pages.
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "Shadows of the Night"
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "Weeping for the Memory"
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Ghost of Cain"
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Foundling"
- Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "Finders Keepers"
Reactions and Reviews: III
A review by CB of the parent zine reads:
Not having read the first two parts of Hellhound, I'm saving this for later. I've read so many series in the wrong order I thought it would make a nice change to be chronological. As the Hellhound series is widely recognised as excellent, I'm presuming the wait will be worth it. Is Avalon in it?
From the Log of the Hellhound Book 4 stories were published in Blake's Doubles #2.
This issue won a 1990 Fan Q Award.
- Katrina Larkin & Suzanne Tilley, “Wonderland”
- Katrina Larkin & Suzanne Tilley, "Rule Britannia”
- Katrina Larkin & Suzanne Tilley, "Shadows More”
- Katrina Larkin & Suzanne Tilley, “The Wolfmasters of Hearne”
- Katrina Larkin & Suzanne Tilley, “The Drowning Man”
Leah Rosenthal created "a take-off of [the] lovely Hellhound Avon cover that Suzi Lovett provided for Blakes Doubles #2. Click here to see a totally irreverent view of Kerr Avon...but don't be shocked! I call this one... Hellbuns!" This cartoon was used as the back cover of Southern Comfort # 5.5 (?).
The zine also contained several pieces of interior art by Katrina Larkin:
From the Log of the Hellhound Book 5 stories were published in Southern Seven #5.
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Guns And Butter"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Wicked Ways"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Flesh and Blood...At Least"
Reactions and Reviews: V
An anonymous review of the parent zine noted the length of the Hellhound section (80+ pages) and added "If you like Hellhound this is fine. If you do not like it, 80+ pages of a zine is a lot to skip over."
Book VISouthern Seven #7.
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Sins of the Fathers"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "The Stand"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Deceit"
Reactions and Reviews: VI
A review by Sarah Thompson of the parent zine reads:
And of course there's a nice fat juicy chunk of Hellhound. My one complaint: fond as I am of Suzan Lovett's art in general, I don't like the way she does Hellhound Avon. His hair is too short for my taste. (I have the same complaint about this season's haircut for Sheridan in B5. Super-short hair is fine on women, but on men, ick!) But Katrina Larkin's own illos are very nice, showing us the authoritative version of what the various characters look like. Her style has made great progress since the earlier issues. The Log of the Heckhound cartoon is priceless.
Book VIIBlake's Doubles #4.
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "In the Dark"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "The Fool's Tale"
Reactions and Reviews: VII
Well, this part of Hellhound is in Book 7. They have gone to a planet (with werewolves, no less, one of whom Vila picks up!) to get agricultural supplies for their base, including horses. Blake happens to be watching a black stallion which he tries to pet. It takes off and he says (approximately) "You don't like me very much, do you? Your name should be Avon." Rather cute I thought. However, Avon decides to ride it and a draft horse comes over to make friends with Blake. Large and affectionate. Interesting connection! :-) Anyways, I liked this part better than some of the other Hellhound sections that I've read. I didn't really enjoy the early parts of the series. this was much better. 
From the Log of the Hellhound Book 8 was published in 1993 and contains 80 pages. It has a back cover by Adrian Morgan and other art by Leah Rosenthal. This issue includes a Hellhound Timeline (presumably the same one published online here).
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Flame of the West"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "The Good Soldier"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Breaking Eggs"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Wise Child"
The story "One of My Kind" in Southern Seven #10 also fits within this book.
Book IXSouthern Seven #12.
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "Just Like A Woman"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "The Gates of Hell"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "So Close and Yet So Far"
- Katrina Larkin & Susanne Tilley, "The Prince of Darkness"
Reactions and Reviews: IX
A review by Sarah Thompson of the parent zine reads:
Hellhound, of course, is in a class by itself. If you're a Hellhound fan, you've probably acquired this zine already. If not, I do recommend it very strongly, but Book IX isn't the place to start; this saga definitely has to be taken from the beginning. Some feel that this gonzo space opera with its Miami-Vice-like sensibilities is too far from canonical B7 to be enjoyable in a truly fannish way; but many, including me, love it and consider it one of our all-time favorites. Try it and see for yourself.
A later review by Thompson posted on the Ashton Press website reads:
I've now finished reading Book IX and can report that it delivers. There are lots of ocs, including some new ones, but the many plot threads are starting to come together in a satisfying way. The tide is slowly turning in favor of the rebels, yay! There's not a lot of Avon, but what there is, is choice; and there's a fair amount of Blake. Blake fans will be happy to know that he finds a new love in this book. As usual, lots of vivid description, action, snappy dialogue, great clothes, and rock 'n' roll. I can't wait for Book X! I have my suspicions as to what is going to happen, and I'm very curious to see whether I've guessed right. If so, it should be a wonderful wallow. It will be such a thrill to have the saga complete.
The following stories appear on the 'where to find Hellhound stories' list, but seem not to have been published.
- "The Blood of the Lion"
- "Part 1—The Best Kept Secret"
- "Part 2—Sacrifice Like Lambs"
- "Wake the Wolves"
- "Dogs on the Run"
- "Blaze of Glory"
- "Epilogue: Look Away"
- The Hellhound pages on Ashton Press's site
- A comment from SallyMn on Aralias's Livejournal in 2013.
- Subject: Fan fiction posted at Lysator on Dec 2, 1992.
- 'where to find Hellhound stories' list on Ashton Press
- Blake's 7 Fanzine page on Ashton Press
- from Tarriel Cell #3 (June 1988)
- a response by Eumendidis to a letter by a fan named Larkin to a review Eumendidis wrote of this zine in an issue of Tarriel Cell
- comments by Aralias at Aralias reviewed 'From the Log of the Hellhound' book 1 and 2 on Dreamwidth in May 2014
- review by Eumenidis in Tarriel Cell V.3 N.6 (1990)
- Pressure Point no.3
- from CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
- This art was for sale at Partnersrmore, Archived version
- Hellhound on Ashton Press
- from 'Anon' at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
- from Sarah Thompson on Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
- a fan on Lysator, September 17, 1993
- from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
- Sarah Thompson on the Hellhound pages of the Ashton Press site
- 'where to find Hellhound stories' list on Ashton Press