Hellhound Universe

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Synonyms:
See also:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Hellhound Universe is a gen Blake's 7 AU universe with stories written by Katarina Larkin (nee? Synder) and Susanne Tilley (nee? McGhin).

The stories were spread across numerous different zines. Most of the stories were reprinted in the zine series The Log of the Hellhound.

Books I and II of The Log of the Hellhound 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).

Descriptions

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."[1]

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.[2]
Another fan on Lysator (1994) commented:
I'm certainly not unusual here, but I've got to say for pure writing, including well-thought-out plots, characterization that's fair to all the men/women involved, and pure enjoyment, Hellhound is _it_. This is perhaps the only series in B7 fanfic that actually shows us _why_ the Federation is evil and gives us a look at how and for what reasons people in this universe are turning to resistance. Also, it features what are probably the best-realized created characters in B7 fanfic.[3]
From a fan in Rallying Call in 1994:
One key to enjoying Hellhound, I find, is to simply look at it as an SF serial in which some of the protagonists bear a resemblance to some of the 7ers. Unfortunately, the authors don't get any pre-publication feedback because Ann Wortham has forbidden them to pass around copies to friends to preview. I suspect that might have made quite a lot of difference in some areas. (And Annie's editing style probably accounts for errors in chronology and so on. Once she gets a copy of a story, you never see it again -- and may even have to beg for your tribber copy.) I know the authors never set out to aggravate anyone with the story, and only have the best intentions with it. A new editor/publisher might make all the difference.[4]
From a fan in 1995:
Oh yes, HELLHOUND'S been vilified in some fannish quarters: for not really being B7, for changing things, for having too much originality, for being immoral... Me, I think a lot of it's sour grapes and jealousy as HH is so much better than some of the stuff out there. I mean, I like JABBERWOCKY, but it's just the same story over and over again. HH always surprises me. You may as well plunge into now: every HH that has been written is currently available. That list of HH stories in some SOUTHERN SEVEN is kinda deceptive, as some of the stories are only projected, and some of the titles have been changed.[5]
From a fan in 1995:
I hope you won't be disappointed in the Hellhound Blake. I read the first few installments, but eventually found the landscape becoming so cluttered with extraneous original characters that the people I knew and cared about were getting lost in the shuffle. So I gave it up--right when the ubiquitous Martin Shaw clone turned up, now that I think of it.[6]

Aralias described the concept/plot of the first two books thus:

Basically, Hellhound is a PGP 'Avon shot the clone' fic. The first book is complicated by the fact that the way Avon escapes from Servalan is that he's rescued by a time-travelling thief from another universe (whom he apparently met before around series 2) and he spends most of book 1 in an AU of the 1990s/2020s (the fic was written in 1986). Whether this plot thread will come back is a mystery to me. I wouldn't like to guess as it has become clear that all I know is that I don't know anything about Hellhound except what I have actually read. I would hope so otherwise I don't know why it was there.

The fact is that at some point he returns to our universe with a new ship (the Hellhound), which he basically built to spec and which has time-travel capabilities (although these are not used in book 2) and most stuff the Liberator had. He finds Blake, who has amnesia and isn't that keen on coming with him, and puts together a rag-tag team of people amnesiac!Blake knew, other OCs, and some canon characters (I'll say who they are in the spoilery bit). Together they rumble around the universe trying to escape the Federation for long enough to get Blake back to normal and start fighting the Federation again.

Hellhound was originally published in a gen zine and has no descriptions of sex scenes. However - Avon sleeps with a man (repeatedly) in the first book, Blake sleeps with a woman (repeatedly), and it's strongly implied that Avon sleeps with another reoccurring OFC. One of the things I'll talk about later in the spoilery section is whether this is B/A or not, and how it handles that. I think it's worth mentioning though that it is explicit that Avon lusts/lusted? after Blake. If that ain't your bag then be warned. And if it is your bag... well, I'll say more below.[7]

The series were also recommended in Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories:

(Sex? Gen-ish) Epic (and unfinished) space opera/soap opera ensemble series, very much driven by the B-A relationship. It's PGP and Avon 'rescues' Blake from amnesia in order to set him up as the head of the revolution again. They acquire other ships, other crew-members (who all have their own adventures and romantic plot-lines) and try and defeat Servalan. Avon canonically fancies Blake in-series but ends up with someone else; Blake is probably straight, but mostly that doesn't matter. Lots of fun. [8]

From the Creators

Casting

Author Katarina Larkin commented on the Hellhound website:

It should be obvious, given the illustrations and the inside jokes, that we aren't just pulling these faces out of our fevered imaginations, and are instead indulging ourselves by casting all our favorite raves and, in some cases, ughs, as characters in the so-called on-going saga. I don't see any reason to apologize for this, as I'm sure professionals do it all the time, right? Hellhound is, essentially, character-driven, the plot ("hey! let's all fight a revolution!") being secondary to all the twisted, insane, and hopefully entertaining things Servalan and her minions do to our beleaguered and not always completely admirable heroes. It's been that way from the beginning.[9]

Also see Who's Who in Hellhound Books I-III.

Original Characters, Steffany, and Slash

In 1994, Larkin responded to fans' comments in a letter of comment in Southern Seven #8:

Yes, Brody does have a bit of Han Solo, my first fan writing interest, under his vest, and we do like The Professionals... the show and the stars. Dafydd is my personal favorite of the original characters, in fact. Thorn and Jim return later on, and they fare better than some. I liked the way that you warned people about "knowing" what's going to happen next in Hellhound, Annie, particularly in regards to Steffany. Perhaps they need to reread the introduction to Book I, ehh?

I think that Sally Flanagan's comments are worthy of an answer, too. She has an excellent point: friendships do tend to change when one friend marries another person. They can't be the same, in fact, they shouldn't be. Sometimes the marriage wrecks the friendship, or affects it adversely, as when the spouse is too possessive, but this doesn't always have to be the case, and I don't think it is between Blake and Avon. In Hellhound we are not interested in leaving the Avon-Blake relationship static, we are trying to show how it changes over the years. To my mind, at least, the "triangle" (if you want to call it that) between Blake, Avon and Steffany serves to add depth to the interaction--now Avon has two people sincerely interested in him, his best male friend and his lover. They are also friends with each other, which leads them to understand him better by seeing him through another "lens," so to speak, when they discuss him. (I think that seeing him through these two viewpoints gives the reader a better understanding of him, also.) The relationship between Blake and Avon is, indeed, central to the plot line of Hellhound, but this relationship is not the only one that either of them engage in, nor should it be. I'm afraid I don't quite understand the-I was going to say animosity, but that isn't the right word-mistrust toward heterosexual relationships in fan fiction that some fans seem to exhibit. It can't be that we don't like women. Most of us are women. We're (Susanne and I--we're sisters, if you haven't guessed from the rude stuff I say about her sometimes!) romantic enough (or perhaps interested enough in sex?) to want our characters to enjoy the fulfillment that such a relationship adds to life, and since we're both straight we find it easier to write straight stuff Blake and Avon slash does not appeal to us. (It doesn't bother us if it appeals to you, though. We're not into censorship or The Log of the Heckhound... very funny, guys!) A consummated sexual relationship between Blake and Avon would ruin the tension that is essential to Hellhound. There. Now you know one thing that isn't going to happen in Hellhound.

Where Is the Fiction?

Prequels

The following stories are listed on the 'where to find Hellhound stories' list[10] 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" (published in Southern Lights #3.5)
  • "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)
  • 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)

The Log of the Hellhound

See The Log of the Hellhound.

References

  1. ^ A comment from SallyMn on Aralias's Livejournal in 2013.
  2. ^ Subject: Fan fiction posted at Lysator on Dec 2, 1992.
  3. ^ Lysator, Pat Nussman, August 31, 1994.
  4. ^ from Rallying Call #11 (January 1994
  5. ^ from Rallying Call #14
  6. ^ from Rallying Call #15
  7. ^ Aralias reviewed 'From the Log of the Hellhound' book 1 and 2 on Dreamwidth in May 2014
  8. ^ from Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, August 5, 2013
  9. ^ Who's Who in Hellhound
  10. ^ 'where to find Hellhound stories' list on Ashton Press