Horizon Newsletter

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Title: Horizon Newsletter
Publisher: Horizon
Editor(s): Pat Thomas, Diane Gies, Jackie Ophir, Heather Lulham
Type: newsletter
Date(s): April 1980-April 2001
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake's 7
External Links: Horizon webarchive
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Horizon Newsletter is a gen Blake's 7 newsletter that contains primarily nonfiction but also fiction, poetry, and/or fan art.

It has a sister zine, a collection of the interviews in The Horizon Interviews, which reprinted fourteen interviews that had previously appeared in this newsletter. It also has a sister zine of fiction called Horizon and a letterzine called Horizon Letterzine.

The earlier editions were all photocopies; the publisher started having them professionally printed with #16.

This newsletter was founded by Sharon Eckman, Diane Gies, and Pat Thomas.

Full of Interviews

This zine series had many interviews with the actors, producers, and other people officially involved in creating Blake's 7.

Some of those interviews were reprinted in The Horizon Interviews, where Diane Gies added some commentary.

There were plans to print more of them, but it is possible The Blake's 7 Wars put a bit of a brake on them.

Jacqueline Pearce #2 | Steven Pacey #3 | Lorna Helbron #4 | Josette Simon #5 | Jan Chappell #6 | Geoffrey Burridge #7 | Michael Keating #7 | Peter Tuddenham #8 | Glynis Barber #10 | Mat Irvine #12 | Brian Croucher #13 | Sheelagh Wells #14 | Paul Darrow #15 | Sally Knyvette #17 | Gareth Thomas #21 | Terry Nation #22 | Colin Davis #24 | David Jackson #26 | Stephen Greif #27 | Dudley Simpson #28 | Vere Lorimer #31 | Martin Bower #32 | Gareth Thomas #33 | Chris Boucher #34 | Vere Lorimer #40

General Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

It turns out that quite a lot of the newsletters-- more than I realized-- have fan fiction, poetry, or art, so I'm adding them to the grand lists of those things. For now I left out the nonfiction, interviews and such, although in fact that is the bulk of the zine.

BTW, I especially like Nik Spender's ongoing graphic story in the last few issues. I think it's very well drawn. For that matter, the graphic stories in the old Marvel monthlies were nicely done too.

Sometimes it's hard to decide what's fiction and what's nonfiction. For instance, I finally decided, after stewing over it, to consider Neil's fictional history of the Federation a kind of SF story. [1]


From the editors of Horizon Newsletter #10 (mid-1983):

...regarding characters in fan stories. It appears that some people are bringing the names of the actors/actresses into stories, rather than just the characters they portray. Whilst in most cases these are fairly harmless, Horizon will not be printing any such stories. In correspondence with Paul and Janet Darrow, they have particularly asked that stories only be written about 'Avon1 and not about Paul and Janet themselves, and I think that this should really go for ALL the actors/actresses. After all, who are we to think we could write with authority on the personal lives of these people.


Horizon is a Blake's 7 magazine. Definition of magazine in his case is a glossy production with colour cover etc that carries all current news of the actors and the series, has lots of interesting things to buy, some hilarious jokes, discussions on topics like how fast the Liberator can fly, or how a space drive might work. Local fan groups etc. Without Horizon, I would not have found my local fan club, I would not have found this list, I would not have found places to publish my stories, I would not have found all the other Zines I am madly reading, I wouldn't have the Blake's 7 stickers I put on my mail etc etc.[2]


The fiction in the Horizon newsletter is not very typical [of Blake's 7 fanfiction in general]. It's designed to provide background material for Alan's tapes, and it does that pretty well. Most fan fic concentrates more on the emotional relationships between the characters. This holds true even when sex is not part of a story - the reason we are interested in these characters is because of the way they relate to one another, their arguments, agreements, misunderstandings, beliefs, etc. [3]

Issue 1

Horizon Newsletter 1 was published in April 1980 and contains 34 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #1
back cover of issue #1

From the editorial by Thomas:

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ’HORIZON' is a line bounding an observers views of the earth and sea or the earth and sky. But figuratively speaking, it is the limits of one's thoughts and/or interests. It is also the name of one of my favourite Blake's Seven episodes and therefore it seemed to be a good name for a Blake's Seven Appreciation Society.

Horizon is a new club which has no connection with any other club or society.

We have an enthusiastic Committee of seven (there must be something significant in that!) We would all like to create a new Horizon of adventures and ideas around Blake's Seven and we would like to hear from, all members on subjects ranging from: How the club is/could be run, to changes in the scope of the series or what kind of cat does Gareth Thomas have! We enjoy the serious discussion but also enjoy the more light-hearted side too.

The Committee range in age from 19 to 27 so we can consider ourselves reasonably flexible. Above all, we share a love for Blake's Seven; it seems amazing now that out of one 50 minute programme introduced in the new year of 1978 has managed to evolve such a rich world of characters and ideas. Our hope now is to spread the word - suggesting that those who haven't seen it yet should watch it and those who have should watch it again. The 3rd series has now finished so you 'out there' should have lots to say to us. To give you a better idea of 'us' we ought now to let you in on who 'we' are Let me introduce myself as Pat Thomas - President and founder member of Horizon. Some of you will know me as the self same publisher/editor of the Fanderson Files (a former Gerry Anderson devoted zine). Well, my interests have now changed to Blake's Seven. I was a helper with the 'Seveners' club and after this club unfortunately had to fold when it's President was unable to carry on, I decided to start a new club. So, sometime last March, I asked a few friends on ideas for it and they rashly volunteered to help me run it - so there I had a Committee.

I believe we have some great plans for the future. We would also like to hear any ideas you would care to give us for future Horizon Newsletters. The degree of involvement in club activities is up to you - we respect that right, but please remember that if people don't contribute the club is that much less likely to succeed.

I very much want Horizon to succeed in order that we may promote B7 fandom as far and as widely as possible. It is a great programme - yes, it also had a great many problems but it still had a certain magic and style that captures the imagination. I would like people to see and like it; show it around the world and gradually admire the way they managed to succeed with such a small budget and even less time. In fact I didn't like it at first - and most of the present fans were not enchanted with the first few episodes, but we-all kept watching because there was something about it that kept one turning it on on Monday nights, and then all of a sudden we found we liked it.

  • Jacqueline Pearce biography
  • Servalan: A Woman's Point of View, essay by Pat Thomas
  • Servalan: A Male Viewpoint, essay by Tony Baldock
  • Astrological Profile of Servalan by Pat Thomas
  • addresses for other Blake's 7 fan clubs
  • upcoming convention news
  • crossword puzzle
  • fan ads
  • tele-pics by Pat Thomas for sale
  • Visit to Another World, article by Sharon Eckman (about visiting the B7 set)
  • My Life, part one, fiction by "Avon" (the story is not Blake's 7 but about one of Pat Thomas' pet rabbits)
  • review by Iain D. Keiller of the episode "Aftermath"
  • review by Iain D. Keiller of the episode "Power Play"
  • review by Sharon Eckman of the episode "Sarcophagus"
  • Blake's Seven: Series Three Questionnaire
  • letters of comment
  • Strike Call, fiction by Dorothy Davies
  • Anna, poem by Heather Hillsden
  • The Price, poem by Elaine Thomsan

Issue 2

Horizon Newsletter 2 was published in July 1980 and contains 40 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #2
back cover of issue #2
from issue #2, the questionnaire results (note: this was before the fourth season had aired)

At this time, the club had almost 200 members.

Club meeting announcement:

As some of you already know, Horizon holds monthly meetings at the residence of one of the Committee members - usually Pat Thomas. At these meetings, Horizon and its members can get together and talk, look at pictures, hear the latest B7 gossip, eat, drink and other things besides. Our August meeting is an extra special one - to be held on 25 August (Bank Holiday Monday) and amongst the special attractions is the fact that this residence has a swimming pool conveniently situated in the back garden. It begins at 2.30 pm and goes on until late evening (as late as you like as long as you can get back home). The residence is a ten minute walk from Golders Green underground station (Northern Line) and the full address and details of other attractions will be given to those phoning or writing (with an SAE) to Diane Gies (or Pat Thomas if Diane is not available).

About the upcoming fourth season:

Unfortunately, there really isn't any news yet -- excerpt for the fact that the budget has now been decided and a production team is being put together. But as yet we have no further details regarding the 4th series, apart from the fact that there is going to be one...


NEWSFLASH. We have just received information that Vere Lorrimer has been appointed Producer of the 4th Series of Blake's Seven. However, at the moment he is still working on another project and we would ask you NOT to write to him about Blake's Seven.

  • Jacqueline Pearce, a long interview conducted by Maggie (Summer 1980, likely at an Italian restaurant as per a comment in The Horizon Interviews where this transcript is reprinted.)
  • My Life, part two, fiction by "Avon" (the story is not Blake's 7 but about one of Pat Thomas' pet rabbits)
  • crossword puzzle
  • Third Series Views, fan comments by Vivien Smith
  • review by Iain D. Keiller of the episode "Volcano"
  • review by Iain D. Keiller of the episode "Dawn of the Gods"
  • review by Diane Gies of the episode "Dawn of the Gods" (titled "Alien Encounters of a Lost Trek Kind")
  • Theatre Critic: Reviews by Sharon Eckman of "Anna Christie," "Three More Sleepless Nights," "Something's Afoot"
  • short fan ads
  • an account of five fans' trip on August 2, 1980 to watch the filming of "Star Games" for Thames T.V. (Paul Darrow and Jackie Pearce were two of the participants)
  • two Star One Convention reports
  • 10 photos taken by fans of Star One and nine photos taken by fans of "Star Games" for sale
  • Questionnaire Results (there were 50 replies)
  • News of the Actors
  • What is Science Fiction?, article by Pete A. Gilligan
  • information about other fan clubs, zines
  • a review of Epic, see that page

Issue 3

Horizon Newsletter 3 was published in November 1980 and contains 46 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #3
back cover of issue #3
  • The Hatch, fiction by Anthony Murray (competition winner, fan speculation on the upcoming fourth season)
  • First Episode, Series 4, fiction by Barbara Wakely (competition runner-up, fan speculation on the upcoming fourth season)
  • My Life, part three, fiction by "Avon" (the story is not Blake's 7 but about one of Pat Thomas' pet rabbits)
  • Elegy, poem by Eileen Duffield
  • Epitaph to Zen, poem by Eileen Duffield
  • Biography of Steven Pacey
  • Interview with Steven Pacey, conducted by Sharon Eckman, Pat Thomas, and Maggie on September 25, 1980 and Maudie's Restaurant, Drury Lane Hotel (Steven ordered the cheeseboard: "I enjoy having cheese out... the BBC food is rotten." In the interview, Pacey is very out-spoken about his views or the roles he has taken.)
  • Tarrant: A Minority Impartial View, essay by Vivien Smith
  • Del Tarrant: A Personal Opinion, essay by Brenda Callagher
  • The Starburst Awards, as observed by Sharon Eckman (Marvel Comics Film and Fantasy 1980, at the Royal Horitcultural New Hall on October 19, 1980, presenters were Paul Darrow and Caroline Munro)
  • many excerpts from fan comments about season three episodes
  • fan comments about the possibility of a book/film being made from Blake's 7
  • crossword puzzle by Ann McPhail
  • review of the Old Vic Charity Football Match by Caroline Woolveridge
  • two con reports for Star One
  • fans' reviews of plays that included B7 actors: "Death of a Salesman," "Othello," and "Night and Day," "Twelfth Night," "The Circle"
  • a description by Pat Thomas of a visit to the set of the episode "Terminal"
  • zine ads, convention news, fan ads

Issue 4

Horizon Newsletter 4 was published in April 1981 and contains 43 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

Note: the front cover could easily be confused with the back cover, which in turn could easily be confused with the inside front cover and inside back cover, as they all have the same format.

The zine is online here.

front cover of issue #4
back cover of issue #4
  • Spotlight on Gareth Thomas: general description, credits
  • Rog Blake... A Personal Point of View, article by Brenda Callagher
  • Is Blake Dead?, essay by Kathleen Glancy
  • A Blake Article!, essay by Sharon Eckman
  • The Dawning," poem by Susan M. Morton
  • When the Fighting is Over, poem by Eileen Duffield
  • Avon's Ladies, Competition Results (write about the three special ladies (Anna, Cally, and Servalan) in Avon's life and their relationships with him)
  • Lorna Heilbron (Anna Grant) biography and interview "related by Diane Gies" in March 1981 (9 pages)
  • Explanations, poem by Eileen Duffield
  • Bad News, fiction by Dorothy Davies
  • Inter-galactic Times -- Agony Column, a satirical short by Ricia Watts
  • reviews by Iain D. Keiller of the episodes "The Harvest of Kairos," "The City at the Edge of the World"
  • Title Changes, poem by Kathleen Glancy
  • Soon, poem by Eileen Duffield
  • Blake's 7 Word Puzzle by Jonathan Jewsbury
  • Ads
  • reviews by Judith Cross of the plays "Witness for the Prosecution," "What the Butler Saw"
  • a review by Maggie Lokier of the play "Wait Until Dark"
  • a review by Diane Gies of the episode "Volcano" (She mentions that her husband "loathes the very mention of Blake's Seven that he has even designated 7 as his un-lucky number.")
  • newsy bits about what the actors are up to
  • an article by Caroline Woolveridge about conventions in general, what they're like, a bit of history
  • general con, zine, and club blurbs

Issue 5

Horizon Newsletter 5 was published in August 1981 and contains 36 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #5
back cover of issue #5
  • Memories, fiction by Jo Blackie
  • Foolish Child, poem by Margaret Martin
  • art by Deborah Eckman
  • Josette Simon biography
  • Josette Simon interview, took place at J.C's on Duke Street, London in February 1981, conducted by Diane Gies, Pat Thomas, perhaps others
  • A Dayna Article... by Margaret Martin
  • Dayna, essay by Brenda Callagher
  • Competition winners - favourite/least favourite characters
  • con reports for Teal Vandor Convention (includes photos by Alison Lesley)
  • B7 Reviews from Down Under
  • Crossword Puzzle
  • review of the plays "No End of Blame," "Double Exposure"
  • there are no letters of comment

Issue 6

Horizon Newsletter 6 was published in late 1981 (shortly after the last episode) and contains 36 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #6
back cover of issue #6

From Thomas:

Since the first episode of Series IV, ’Rescue', was broadcast there has been a large amount of discussion and debate initiated. Starting out with a new producer with new ideas, it was bound to stir a certain amount of controversy and we here at Horizon have been receiving a lot of comments as well as expressing our own views of it. It is difficult for us to have a general consensus of opinion on the Committee as we all have certain strong opinions on the fourth series, so we have put individual articles in this newsletter for your perusal. Rut when all is said and done, the fourth series has been made and nothing anyone can do will change it. What we will do is to provide an open forum for comments by the viewers and fans of B7's fourth series. In this Newsletter, we have printed a few of the letters we have received to set the ball rolling. We also have a fourth series questionnaire/poll as we had for the third series - with the same prizes.

The only way we can judge the results fairly is to get as many replies as possible, so PLEASE participate! After all, we are all B7 fans and our opinions count as much as any of the self-made critics I keep running across. I must admit the fourth series has raised a lot of comments from non-fans, i.e. the general viewing public, who, knowing my connection with B7, have expressed their view that the programme seems to have really gone downhill this year.

Well, what do you think? Put yourself on the line and be counted!

  • An Interview with Jan Chapell conducted by Sharon Eckman, Diane Gies, and Pat Thomas (mid-May 1981, at Mario and Franco's "The Club") (one topic was Cally's death, the manner of her death, Chapell's disconnect from the show and wanting nothing to do with the fourth season, also her dislike of science fiction)
  • A Cally Article, essay by Margaret Martin
  • Quote on Cally from "The Asylum Guide to Blake's Seven" (reprinted from the 1981 Teal-Vandor Convention booklet)
  • A Tribute to Cally, essay by Rosalind Barnes
  • Cally's Obituary, humorous vignette by D. Myse
  • Lost on Terminal, poem by Judith M. Seaman
  • Jan Chappell biography
  • various fans' opinion regarding the fourth series so far
    • A Fan's Opinion of Series IV, essay by Pat Thomas
    • I Make No Apology for What Follows, essay by Sharon Eckman
    • A Fifth Series???, essay by D. Sillusioned
    • Some Comments on Series 4, essay by Wendy Ingle
    • short comments by David Bell, Rosalind Barnes, Judith M. Seaman
    • I HATE the Series So Far!, essay by Helen Baldwin
    • A Review -- of Sorts -- of Series 4, essay by Cris Reay
    • a short response fiction by William Shaxper
  • a review of "Animals" by Rosalind Barnes
  • two reviews of "Rescue," one by David Bell, one by Heather Lulham
  • a review of "Power" by Heather Lulham
  • a review of "Traitor" by Heather Lulham
  • a review of "Stardrive" by Andrew Thompson
  • a review of "Sand" by Deborah Robinson
  • Jenna Stanis -- A Defence, essay by Deborah Robinson
  • Vila, essay by Lesley Hatch
  • Vila Restal, essay by Maggie Symon
  • 4th series questionnaire
  • a review of the play "The Seagull" by Sharon Eckman
  • news about the actors, upcoming cons, zines...
  • covers: 4th series crew/Avon/Jan Chappell/3rd series crew

Issue 6: Fan Comments About the Fourth Season and the Last Episode

In my opinion, I believe what has happened is a fundamental change of viewpoint of Blake's Seven between a large majority of B7 fans and the production staff of the series. This is not unusual in television shows, particularly with science fiction series, but I still feel unhappy this has happened with Blake's Seven. I started watching Blake's Seven from the first episodes and stuck with it through all the great and wonderful episodes as well as the slightly off-centre ones and even the really bad episodes, but I must admit to finding little in the fourth series to console me. When I sat down and thought about it, the only reason why I think this has happened is that there are two viewpoints of what has happened to the characters and how it has affected them.

Viewpoint One is the one that the series' production staff have taken; that is, through all the experiences they have been through, the characters we know have been fundamentally changed. This particularly applies to Avon; through all the episodes of the fourth series he has been going quietly (and not so quietly) mad, to culminate in his actions in the episode 'Blake'. Tarrant has lost his initial aggressiveness as well as the forceful, interesting thrust of personality as well. Vila has degenerated into more general apathy and drunkenness. In some aspects I could agree with this; people do change through circumstances - and particularly with what this group has been through, it is natural and right that they should. What I disagree with is the reason WHY: for example, I can believe that Avon is going mad, but there is no clear cut reason WHY!

Yes, he has been under considerable stress and pressure, but I find it hard to imagine that he has not been under some sort of pressure before (his arrest and trial, for example) and I believe he could withstand it in a better fashion.


So, viewpoint Two is based on the fact that no matter what has happened to these people, fundamentally they remain the same; that these experiences reinforce their characters, not break them down. In fact, in the episode ’Rescue’ there is a phrase at the end that summarises my opinion; as Dorian put it to his ’creature' that they (the crew)"had been bound together through time and pain". Therefore, the "new" crew of-Scorpio would tend to work together instead of pulling apart as they did. This is in spite of the fact that Avon is a survivor. They have all survived initially through efforts of Avon and through that they have a better understanding of him. Even if one considers the point that they are still a highly separate group, one cannot deny that Avon as well as the others, is certainly not reacting as before. Through three series, Avon was an overwhelmingly intelligent survivor; therefore Avon - no matter how emotionally disrupted he might feel - would still have had the necessary emotional strength and intelligence to recognise his approaching breakdown and even if he could not find the necessary willpower to stop himself, he would get aid from the others to do so even though he would find it emotionally embarrassing. This would be the logical course; and Avon has been always a logical personality.

Not that I believe he is a 'Superman' a paragon of superiority; he is after all quite human, at times very vulnerable which is one of the aspects I like most about him. But what I probably like most about Avon is his intelligence and I honestly believe he hasn't been acting very intelligently in this series. Incidents like killing Dr Plaxton in 'Stardrive' unnecessarily is one example. Avon ordinarily finds ways to keep useful people.

Avon's greatest strength is his intelligence and if writers cannot keep a fundamental point like that in the scripts, it is no wonder that this series lacks the believability of the previous three. Of course, it is too late now to change these things, but it is why I frankly feel that there should NOT be a fifth. If a fifth series were to be treated in the same manner, then I can't honestly feel it is Blake's Seven, or anything to do with it.

"...a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Shakespeare).

I make no apologies for what follows. It was written at 1.15 am on Tuesday 22 December, just after I had watched ’Blake’. Having read it back in the cold light of day, I still stand by every word....

Up until now, I had planned a wry, light-hearted look at Series 4 of Blake’s Seven - disappointed, rather amused - but having just seen the final episode, entitled ’Blake’, I can’t even try to be funny. For me, the 4th series began very badly with the loss of Cally and also of Dorian - a potential hit if ever there was one - and finished not with a bang, but with a dull thud.

I really didn’t care if they all died. I didn’t feel grief when Avon shot Blake (although if I’d been Blake, I'd probably have offered up a prayer of thanks). It was all done with such 'disinterest' that I wanted to switch it off (why didn't I??) I felt a great deal more upset when Slave .'died' than I did watching five figures collapse in slow motion like waxwork dummies. I would have thought that I was supposed to care about their deaths - why didn't I?

Why didn't I cry over Vila, with whom I had 'lived' for four series, and Tarrant and Dayna who I had grown to like very much in two. And finally, why was I hoping that the one person who would die would be Avon? Was it because someone had forgotten that Avon was a person and replaced him with a deranged android? Was it that he had, as Vere Lorrimer indicated, finally flipped? Dr was it because - dare I say it - Mr Darrow had lost touch with Avon’s character? He certainly wasn't playing the Avon I remembered.

I was looking forward to 'Blake'. I thought that ONE episode, perhaps, might be salvaged from the whole mess. I had been disappointed with 'Sand', cringed over drivel like 'Power', 'Games' and 'Animals' and watched with bewilderment mediocrity such as 'Gold' and 'Warlord'. What happened to the series I chose to help run a fan club for?

I wanted to see Blake again, and I was getting very involved in the episode until the confrontation we had all been waiting for with bated breath. Was it worth it? It. seemed to me that with five minutes of running time to go, the scriptwriter had suddenly realised that this was supposed to be the last episode and hurriedly scribbled at the bottom of the page "... and then they were all dead." Gareth Thomas didn't disappoint me, thank God - one good thing to remember about the series - but there was no feeling, no pain, no involvement, as has been the case for me since Series 4 began. Somebody said to me that they will need another series to erase the memory of this one. All I can say is that it's going to be bloody hard!!


Blake dead. Dayna, Vila, Tarrant and Soolin blasted by the Feds. Avon surrounded by 63 armed Federation Troopers... looks like the end... have our Heroes ever been in a nastier spot? Can there be a 3th series... TUNE IN TOMORROW, SAME BLAKE TIME, SAME BLAKE CHANNEL.

Now follow 2 possible plots for the 1st episode of Series 5...

a) Cut to shot of 63 dead Federation troopers. Vila, Dayna, 'arrant and Soolin are getting up off the floor, dusting drops of blood from their clothing. Avon is standing nearby, with the usual mad grin on his face. Tarrant then says: "Gee Avon, it's a good thing Grac got us to put on our neutron-blasterproof uniforms today, wasn't it?" Avon grins again and strides off to look for a new spaceship, and calls over his shoulder in a deep, butch voice: "OK you guys, lets find some more villains to mop up...."


b) Fade in to shot of the dead bodies last seen in ’Blake' with Avon and the 63 Federation Troopers... sound of several shots... fade out... THEN cut to shot of Vila in bed with Soolin standing over him. She says: "And then they woke up and it was all a dream... I’ll tell you another bed-time story like this tomorrow if you don't stop stealing all that wine from the cellars."

By the way, I’m really sorry they all got shot in ’Blake'... it should really have been the 4th series scriptwriters, directors and producer.

How could they!? Mow them down without even a decent fight! I felt all cold inside at first, now I just feel cheated. When I stop reacting and think about it calmly (well, fairly calmly) it doesn't even hang together properly. Scorpio need never have been shot down; whatever happened to the Stardrive they went tc such lengths to obtain? They are supposed to be able to outrun anything in the galaxy.

Avon shooting Blake is the most, illogical thing ever, and could only be accounted for if Avon had finally blown a fuse. He'd gone a lcng way and to a lot nf trouble to find Blake to head his alliance. He needed him. The cool calculating Avon built up so carefully in the three previous series' would never have reacted so hastily. Blake was no immediate threat, Avon could spare a few moments to be sure he had been betrayed. Blake knew the Federation were due to pay a visit, and must surely have taken steps to ensure his group would be safe.

So even with him dead his people would have taken some measures. The troopers would not have walked straight in. Avon and Co. would have had some warning and put up a proper fight, or made one of their usual miraculous escapes.

Soolin is so fast with a gun that in 'Games' she even outdrew herself. ’ She could easily have shot Arlen while the others were surrendering their guns, so why didn't she? I hate it when scriptwriters take liberties with established characterisations. Only Avon's reaction right at the end when he knew he was beaten was truly in character. Vere Lorrimer has been cavalier with the series right through, to the extent that it often appears to be sending itself up. Oh, I know it's not meant to be taken seriously, but there has to be a limit or it becomes caricature. I refuse to believe that the Fed. won. It makes all the deaths that have gone before wasted. He even made sure that Jenna was accounted for. The Fed. even get Orac, and the Stardrive if they can be bothered to salvage it, and all almost by accident since they weren't even after B7 this time.

Why the hell couldn't they let them live and build their alliance? What differene would it make to the Beeb? Does the Fed control the Beeb? How can Chris Boucher be forced to rewrite the last 10 minutes? - preferably in time for inclusion in the Edgecon programme. (Now there is an idea).


Somehow as I turned off the television last night (.21 December) I had the feeling that the BBC are not planning a fifth series. Talk about making a clean sweep! (I'm afraid it didn't improve my opinion of Blake at all... of all the...!!

Still, I suppose it was too late by then, anyway.)

Stylistically, I had already convinced myself that when Avon and Blake met up again one would have to die, most likely killed by the other. In fact I was anticipating that Avon would kill Blake and then go completely off his trolley - which I suppose is actually what happened - but I didn't expect everyone else to get the chop as well. Except Servalan! For some time I have had the feeling that the BBC are in the pay of the Federation - with Servalan surviving and Orac obviously falling to the victors, I think this has just been proved. I really thought the series was safe when I saw that Servalan wasn't in the last episode. How wrong I was - in ending Blake's Seven it seems that evil has survived triumphant.

(Written 19 October) I expect there will be quite a lot of comments about the new series of B7, so I thought that I would add my voice to what I feel must be a sea of complaints against the Beeb. I HATE the series so far! I thought that it had plumbed to the depths of despair when Cally was killed, with the introduction of Slave (a horribly humble abomination - I'd hack it to pieces within its firs£ few words) and the Scorpio (passable, but less than amenable) and the ’coincidence' of a teleport being on board, to which Avon just happens to be able to make repairs. Various incidents have also been out of character - Avon actually defending Tarrant!!**?! "He has potential!?" and Tarrant's almost blind obedience to Avon is unbelievable, as are the few token outbursts of indignation. Soolin I reserve judgement on, as her few appearances have not given much time for character development. The plots leave much to be desired - tonight's was unappetising - Spacefaring Hell's Angels are more appropriate to Buck Rogers, not B7, and the special effects are not worth the increase in budget.

The worst moment - the worst defamation of a character - came at the end of Stardrive - with the death of Dr Plaxton. Avon may be ruthless, indeed we know that he will kill to get what he wants, but he is not an indiscriminate murderer, a callous, unthinking brutal creature. All logic showed that the female doctor should have lived, and would have been an invaluable asset to Avon's team, as the only one able to build and repair the handy new Stardrive. Instead of manoevering to gain the few extra minutes needed, Avon condemned the woman to death without a single word from the others, never mind the passionate outcry one might have expected from Tarrant or Dayna. It is an unforgivable faux pas by the writer and producer that surely went over the top in trying to demonstrate the calculating mind of the character of Avon. I hope that a lot of people will protest at the use of the characters we love - Avon is now as bad, if not worse, than Servalan. The BBC seems intent on making B7, an imaginative adventurous series, into a banal, vicious series. I hope that in the next few episodes I may find some of the old B7, with the attributes that attracted u$ to the characters. Let's face it, after Stardrive - there is only one way - UP! Or is there?

(Ed. - and now you know!)

Issue 7

Horizon Newsletter 7 was published in mid 1982 and contains 38 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #7
back cover of issue #7

In between issue 6 and this issue, the club had gained "almost 100" new members. This was too many for the committee to continue doing their own photocopying. Instead they felt they had sufficient members to "go professional" with the printing.

It seems strange to us when we realise how long it has been since we began and we had no idea how involved we were going to become. We have taken part in numerous collating sessions, learned how to run a gestetner without depositing vast quantities of ink over Diane's carpet, panicked over innumerable deadlines and delays and 2 conventions! It is all a lot of fun as well as hard work and we hope that you will overlook our mistakes and enjoy it along with us. Do write to us and let us know how we are doing.

  • Episode 13 (Series 4) as Seen from 'Down Under' by Pam Wright (filk, Waltzing Matilda)
  • No One Ever Knows, poem by Judith Seaman
  • The Michael Keating Interview, conducted by Diane Gies and Heather Lulham (February 20, 1982 at a fan's home, also in attendance were Pat Thomas, Maggie, and Sharon Eckhart) ("I was actually crying [in that scene in "Orbit"] and they cut it because they said it was too real. I was actually crying because he was the one person I would, OK - not trust 100% - but he was the one person that I could kind of rely on, after being with him for a long time and I actually got quite emotional about it. They thought it was wrong and I suppose they're up there and decide what to burn and we're down here. They thought it would become horrific otherwise and they thought that wasn't right for the programme. They wanted more of a comedy thing out of it.")
  • Geoffrey Burridge (Dorian) biography
  • An Interview with Geoffrey Burridge, conducted by Sharon Eckman, Diane Gies (and Pat Thomas, Heather Lulham, and Maggie) (spring 1982, location "a charming small French restaurant somewhere in Kensington)
  • theatre reviews of "Anyone for Denis?," and "Mr Fothergill's Murder"
  • 4th series questionnaire results
  • Covers: Dorian/Vila

Issue 8

Horizon Newsletter 8 was published in late 1982 and contains 41 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #8
back cover of issue #8

From the editorial:

Dear Friends,

As we started work on this, our 8th newsletter, I began to realise how many changes we have all been through- Blake’s Seven started production in 1977, over five years ago and look how far we have come- Through all that time, B7 has spawned a strong support group, with over seven clubs, various articles, books and magazines, several fanzines and two major conventions with over 400 people attending. That is a good and encouraging sign that B7 fandom is large and still growing- It’s thanks to you out there that we feel it is worth the time and effort it takes to keep a club going, but I think it is important to emphasize that more changes will come. There will inevitably be a slight drop in the number of memberships, for example, now that the series is out of production and of course the actors and the rest of the production staff are involved in new and interesting work* We, the strong core, will remain as committed as ever and look forward to the more distant future when more interest will again awaken- It happens to all good series as I have reason to note; perhaps the most recent and powerful example is the successful second Star Trek film ’The Wrath of Khan’. I recently saw this and was struck by the powerful impact it made on the audience, and how much improved and enjoyable the performances of the actors were - they may have been 15 years older, but they were also 15 years better, but the most important thing of all to me was that the faith and support of the fans had paid off in spite of the long time gap. It was the continuing strength and loyalty of ST fandom over 15 years that lead Paramount to risk this movie and I sincerely believe chat B7 fans have the same commitment. Also, one factor in our favour is that there are still some areas, particularly America, where it has only just been seen and there will be a new and growing group of fans there.

As time goes on and when few new series will prove to be as entertaining, interesting and popular as B7 it will be reconsidered in a different light. In the meantime, as I said, we will have to go through the present lull with less and smaller conventions, zines and clubs and less interest and active support from the old cast. We here at Horizon hope you understand and bear it with us. We will strive to get you the best value for your money and are always grateful for your criticisms as well as your favourable comments to us. We hope to hear from you all at some time.

  • Editorial by Pat Thomas
  • short comments about the death of Anne Lewis
  • Peter Tuddenham interview conducted in February 1982 by Diane Gies and Pat Thomas, includes a short bio (3)
  • art by Deborah Eckman (12)
  • Questionnaire Results, Part 2 (One question was "Did you like the final ending?" Results: Yes: 4, No: 59. This survey also includes comments about The B7 Monthly and Scorpio Attack) (11)
  • Edgecon photos & con reports (20)
  • The Vila of Bethnal Green by Pamela Wright (filk; a version with very slight variations, retitled "Star of the Delta Grade," was later recorded by Linda Short on the filk tape "Ditties from the Edge of the World") (28)
  • many, many fans' answers to the question: "Which episode do you remember best from the first series?" (29)
  • Pull the Other One, fiction by Rhea Antoniades and Deborah Gryc (31)
  • News on the Actors (35)
  • ads and news bits
  • information about the upcoming Horizon Xmas Party at Diane Gies' house: it will be catered, hopefully people will donate some money to pay for it, please no smoking indoors, bring a bottle contribution if you're going to drink more than one class

Issue 9

Horizon Newsletter 9 was published in early 1983 (perhaps April) and contains 42 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

The zine is online here.

front cover of issue #9
back cover of issue #9

The editorial in this issue touches upon letter campaigns, direct involvement in fan activities by TPTB, promoting Blake's 7, the developing US Blake's 7 fandom, and a contest to design a club badge.

Dear Friends,

It has been so nice hearing from so many of you recently, and as there has been an extremely high percentage of renewals I can only think as well as hope that you are all enjoying the newsletters. Welcome to all our new members — and especially to all our new Australian members; we have had many new members from 'the other side' recently - no doubt due to their fortunate circumstances at having the first and fourth series aired simultaneously on some channels there. Our membership from the U.S.A. is growing too, but more of that later.

We were not able to arrange a Spotlight interview in time for this newsletter, but we do have the usual range of articles and information that we hope you will find interesting. The questionnaire results continue with in-depth discussion of the episodes. Also, we have the results of the last Avon competition which attempted to find out your views as to whether he was indeed insane by the end of the 4th series (and if so, why?) What we didn't tell you at the time, however, was that Paul Darrow had kindly volunteered his services as the competition judge. His comments and choices proved most interesting and we thank him very much for his time and trouble. We also have reviews on our Christmas party, the success of which was due in no small part to the company of our special guest, Peter Tuddenham. We also have a report on the Edgecon charity cheque presentation to the British Diabetic Association by Gareth Thomas and the Edgecon committee. We were all delighted with the generosity of the Edgecon attendees - I am sure that the £1,200 donated to the B.D.A. will be put to very good use.

I am also pleased to announce that we are going to have a club badge. Seeing that a lot of you will be wearing it (we hope) we want the members to participate in the design of it. We are therefore having a special contest for the design; what we are looking for is something distinctly 'Horizon' that will look good reduced and we will have in a range of up to 3 colours. Even if you can't draw, but think you have a good idea for a badge, write us a description of it and we will try to get someone to draw it out for you and check with you. Every entry will get the usual free colour photo from the 4th series (the male crew of Scorpio) (only if you send an SAE though) and the first prize will be 2 8x10 colour photos of your choice and 2 free zines so it is certainly worth trying for. We will also have 4 runners-up prizes of 1 8x10 colour photo. We will print the 5 top designs in the next newsletter (ENTRIES MUST BE IN BY THE END OF JUNE) and you can all vote for your favourite, so let's hear from you all.

There doesn't seem to be any real news on a fifth series from the BBC and I personally don't think there will be one now. However, due to the pressure from you and other people writing to the BBC, they are reshowing the 4th series, so you see letters can work. I would really like to have a campaign to reshow ALL the series again, especially the 1st series. I think a letter campaign would be most successful, but if any of you out there have any good ideas, please let me know, (Any good ideas will warrant a free photo...) Perhaps we can try to coordinate a successful campaign on this point with 87 fans everywhere.

One very nice result from my recent trip to the U.S.A. last October was to meet many of the B7 fans on the East Coast. There are small but rapidly growing groups and they are extremely enthusiastic. There are two clubs now and we have decided to work together and organise a B7 table at the World Science Fiction Convention in September at Baltimore, Maryland. We hope to catch and retain the interest of some of the thousands of people who attend 'Worldcon' in B7, and although it hasn't yet been officially shown there it has been sold to a television company, so it may well be shown some time in the future. Anything we can do to help it along would further my aim of promoting B7 around the world so that others can enjoy it too.

I hope to be reporting more on this later. In the meantime, enjoy the newsletter and get to work with your entries for the badge competition, and sending your articles and views.

first page of the five-page questionnaire
  • Renewal questionnaire results
  • Competition winners - was Avon mad? (5 pages)
  • portrait of Avon by Kay Wallace
  • uncredited art, portrait of Avon
  • "Dead or Alive," fiction by J.D. Humphries (S5; real world crossover, RPF, Avon-Chris Boucher)
  • results from the 4th series questionnaire, part three (six pages, lots of narratives)
  • Edgecon cheque presentation & photos, see Edgecon
  • a review of the play "A Handful of Dust" (Lorna Heilbron)
  • a review by Heather Lulham of the play "Terra Nova" starring Paul Darrow
  • a review by Pat Thomas of the play "Major Barbara" (Brian Croucher)
  • newsy bits on the actors
  • blurbs about cons, zines, and clubs
  • ads
  • a review by Diane Gies and Pat Thomas of the play "Kate" (Jan Chappell)

Regarding the essay competition winners:

"We had some very interesting replies, but the outright winner was Judith Seaman -- who won a 10x8 photo of Avon (4th series of course!) with a personal message of congratulations from Paul Darrow himself, who very offered to judge this competition. We will now reproduce the 4 entries Paul judged the best and to begin, we reproduce Paul's letter to us..."

The first part of Paul Darrow's letter:

... So long after the event, it is fascinating to read such erudite compositions, but extremely difficult to establish who should be first, etc. In the end, the winner came in by a distance. All the others, I felt, were of almost equal merit.

Of course, actors are dependent on basic scripts for their motivations. Consequently, although some scripts placed Avon, somewhat ludicrously, out of character, a way had to be found to maintain his conviction.

Clearly, Avon has turned out to be a lot of different things to a lot of different people and that is not necessarily uncomplimentary. Given the material, I did my best to make him interesting and, I must say, I miss him somewhat.

For the record, I don't think Avon was mad. It's just that he constantly reminded himself of the adage, 'you don't get owt for coming second.' I hope that he never failed to be anything less than first.

Issue 10

Horizon Newsletter 10 was published in mid 1983 and contains 44 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #10
back cover of issue #10

By this time the club had 650 members, many of whom had joined as a result of an article published in Marvel Blake's Seven Monthly, or Tony Atwood's Blake's Seven Programme Guide. As a result, the committee expressed their feelings of being overwhelmed:

We are almost up to 650 members now, and with such a small committee (who all of course have personal commitments) are beginning to find it difficult to do all the work involved in running a club of this size. NO, DON'T PANIC, we're not closing down or anything dreadful like that - it's simply that the most time consuming type of jobs e.g. collating, stuff things into envelopes (!) etc. take up so much of our time that we don't have a chance to branch out more into writing, research, new projects, etc. Anyway, we have come up with an idea that has worked well for other large clubs - they call it a work-in, which basically means that various people meet up every so often for a wild binge of collating, hole-punching, envelope stuffing, etc. I think it might be an idea to try. We can offer 'rewards' to tempt you.[4]

From the editorial:

As far as zines and stories go, there are a few points we would like to make. The first point concerns zine quality. As you know, with the exception of the newsletters and (so far) Oracle which have been professionally printed, all our zines are run off on a gestetner, with litho printed card covers. Obviously, gestetner quality cannot be compared to professional printing, but we do aim to print them as well as possible. We would love to be able to have all our future zines professionally printed, but alas it is very expensive to have things printed A4 size. For personal preference, the committee has avoided having zines professionally printed on A4 reduced to A5 size (although this would be afford- ! able) due to the fact that we find it hard to read (we are all short-sighted to a greater or lesser degree). HOWEVER, if it!s just us, and most of you out there that buy the things would PREFER A5 professionally printed zines, we would look into this more thoroughly. I know that many other clubs and magazines are resorting to this, so we would like you to let us know what YOU think. In the meantime, of course we are still hoping to get more things printed like Oracle on A4 - but it does take up a lot of our funds!

...regarding characters in fan stories. It appears that some people are bringing the names of the actors/actresses into stories, rather than just the characters they portray. Whilst in most cases these are fairly harmless, Horizon will not be printing any such stories. In correspondence with Paul and Janet Darrow, they have particularly asked that stories only be written about 'Avon' and not about Paul and Janet themselves, and I think that this should really go for ALL the actors/actresses. After all, who are we to think we could write with authority on the personal lives of these people.

  • Editorial
  • Spotlight on Glynis Barbar (Soolin): July 1983 interview (by Diane, Pat and Sharon) and short bio (3)
  • New Recruit fiction by Helen Gerald (10)
  • Soolin, fiction by Helen West (11)
  • The Avenging Orphan, fiction by Wendy Ingle (12)
  • An Odd Piece of Verse ("best read aloud!"), poem by David Bell (13)
  • Pragmatic Heroes, fiction by Sarah Berry (14)
  • Song for the Aged B7 Crew Members by Charlotte Brooks and Natalie Prior (filk, When I'm Sixty-Four) (17)
  • Last Gasps, fiction Ros Williams (17)
  • Thirty Years On (or Thereabouts), fiction by Barbara Wakely (20)
  • Questionnaire (4th Series) Results, part 4 (23)
  • Inside Information, fiction by Mary Moulden (25)
  • art by David Nicol (26)
  • Orac/Slave, comic strip by David Nicol (27)
  • Bake's 7, comic strip by David Nicol (28)
  • Which Way Up, fiction by David Nicol (29)
  • Thoughts from Australia on Series 4 by Genny Potter (29)
  • Theatre Critic, review of Mr. Cinders with Steven Pacey by Sharon Eckman (31)
  • Theatre Critic, review of Educating Rita with Gareth Thomas (32)
  • Theatre Critic, review of Fiddler on the Roof with David Jackson (32)
  • Badge designs (33)

Issue 11

Horizon Newsletter 11 was published in January and February 1984 and contains 42 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #11

This is the first issue to use the new printer, switching from paper fasteners to stapled binding. The editorial in issue 12 gives more information:

We have found ourselves a new printer as you will have seen from N/L 11. More expensive, but also far more professional (but we still haven't increased prices yet...) We try to maintain, and if possible improve, the standard of our newsletters, but we make a loss on them - the other merchandise that we sell subsidises production. If we didn't sell zines, etc. at a profit we couldn't keep the standard we have. So, encourage your friends to buy our merchandise - it's in your own interest![5]

Issue 12

Horizon Newsletter 12 was published in mid 1984 and contains 40 pages. It was edited by Heather Lulham.

front cover of issue #12
  • Felis Sylvestris, "Letters- To Mother, from Tarrant (Part 2)" (fiction)
  • Cathy Heatherley, "It Takes Three..." (fiction)
  • Wendy Ingle, "Blake's Seven-- The Motion Picture" (fiction)
  • Ann Godfrey, "Blake's 7-- The Film" (fiction)
  • Gillian Marsden, "Still Life in Water Colour" (fiction)
  • Vince Barnett, "Blake's Seven Alphabet" (poem)
  • Guy Daniels (art)
  • Peter Cook (art)
  • Chick (art)
  • includes renewal questionnaire and photo list for January 1985 to purchase telepics, from the society, Blake's Seven Episodes 1-13 series A, Episodes 3,5,6,7 & 13 Series B, Episodes 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, series C, episodes 1,2,7,13 series D. Also special event photographs.
  • Mat Irvine interview, conducted in February 1984
  • B7 film script competition winners
  • Covers: Avon & Soolin/Blake & Cally/Vila/Servalan & Travis 2

Issue 13

Horizon Newsletter 13 was published in January 1985 and contains 45 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #13
back cover of issue #13

NOTE: this zine is labeled incorrectly as issue #12 on the inside cover.

The zine is online here.

  • Brian Croucher biography & interview, conducted in September 1984 (11 pages)
  • a short bio and description of the fannish activities and friendship between two fans: Helen Pitt and Mary Moulden

Issue 14

Horizon Newsletter 14 was published in May 1985 and contains 44 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

front cover of issue #14
  • Helen Pitt, "Goodwill to All Men" (fiction)
  • David Bell, untitled story (fiction)
  • David Nicol, "Orac/Slave" (comic strip)
  • Geoff Tilley, "It's Supertravis!" (fiction)
  • Val Leibson (art)
  • David Nicol (art)
  • Danny Dresner (art)
  • Kay Wallace (art)
  • Interview Sheelagh Wells (B7 makeup);
  • Winners Orac’s Xmas presents competition
  • ‘Afterlife’ reviews (massacres?!)
  • More theatre goers etiquette
  • Covers: Blake/Servalan/Dayna/Glynis Barber

Issue 15

Horizon Newsletter 15 was published in late 1985 and contains 48 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

front cover of issue #15

Issue 16

Horizon Newsletter 16 was published in early 1986 and contains 40 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

300 issues were sent out on its first printing; in 10% of these issues, some of the pages were blank due to an error by the printer.

  • Emma Clarke, "Halcyon Days" (fiction)
  • Danny Dressner (art)
  • more B7 video news
  • Competition winners - how should fandom progress
  • Galacticon review
  • Photo page
  • Servalan’s photo album
  • Covers: Cally/Blake/Jan Chappell & Sally Knyvette/4th series crew

Issue 17

Horizon Newsletter 17 was published in late 1986 and contains 48 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

The zine is online here.

front cover of issue #17
back cover of issue #17
inside front cover of issue #17
inside back cover of issue #17
  • editorial by Diane Gies
  • info on the Horizon Raffle
  • info on the "new 6-weekly newsflash service," created to fill in the very long gaps between these formal newsletters
  • a crossword puzzle
  • Sally Knyvette interview, conducted at by Pat and Heather at Scorpio (4 pages)
  • two portraits of Jenna, one by Stephen Haines, the other by Jo Jobson
  • Competition winners - ‘What is B7 ABOUT?’ (many fan essays by Tim Nicholl, Judith Seaman, Carol Wyke, Ros Williams, Sarah Berry, Ann Godfrey, David Bell, Margaret Scroggs, and Lynn Eaton) (5 pages)
  • Would You Name Your Child After an Alien?, an article by Wendy Ingle about the character Cally (2 pages)
  • photos, and two con reports for Scorpio #4, see that page
  • a con report for Space City, see that page
  • a response regarding comments in the last issue about Galacticon
  • some short discussion/essays on "The Duel"
  • "A Review of the N.F.T. Tele-Fantasy Convention, and The Way Back" (The first British Tele-Fantasy Convention, took place at the National Film Theatre on July 12-13, 1986)
  • Still Round the Corner We May Meet by Judith M. Seaman (fiction) (1 page)
  • a review of the play "Romantic Comedy" starring Paul Darrow
  • a review of the play "Benefactors" with Gareth Thomas
  • fourteen fans list their names and addresses and willingness to host regional fan club meetings for fans who can't make the "trek down to London"
  • there are 23 fan comments in a section called "Member Comments," something that predates the official Letter of Comment section later in this newsletter; this appears to have started with issue #16
  • there is a lovely photo of Peter Tuddenham cutting a cake shaped like the Liberator at the "Horizon Summer Party 86"
  • Orac's Oddments, the regular column of things for sale and trade (7 pages)
  • zine reviews
  • a review of the novelisation of the episode "Shadow"
  • Covers: Jenna & Cally/Jenna & Avon/Soolin, Avon & Tarrant/Servalan & Kasabi

Issue 18

cover of issue #18

Horizon Newsletter 18 was published in early 1987 and contains 56 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

  • Fliss Davies (art)
  • Danny Dresner (art)
  • an article by Pat Thomas about the start of B7 fandom
  • The First Decade of B7 & Down Memory Lane photos
  • Competition winners - B7 5th series or film with other actors taking over the roles?
  • Competition winners - Stupidest questions to ask the crew
  • Convention reviews & photos Space City 86
  • Blake article by Judith Seaman called "No Myth is Safely Broken" -- there are a number of responses to this in the next issue
  • What’s in a Name
  • Our Heroes! article
  • Covers: Vila/Blake/Avon/Soolin

Issue 19

front cover of issue #19
back cover of issue #19
inside front cover of issue #19
back cover of issue #19

Horizon Newsletter 19 was published in late 1987 and contains 72 pages. It was edited by Pat Thomas.

photos of Paul Darrow drawing a fan's name for a raffle contest. Photos are by Diane Gies

The zine is online here.

  • the usual very, very long editorial that addresses changes in members' club duties, and horrendous problems with the postal service; the editor notes that because of problems with the Postal Service, American subscribers received their copies of issue #18 five months late
  • an obit, plus photos, for Geoffrey Burridge, the actor who portrayed "Dorian" (5)
  • B7 10th Anniversary Charity Appeal (7)
  • That's the Way the Money Goes(!), an article about club finances, (9)
  • Competition winners - change the ending of an episode, one fan (Nicola Barnard)'s answer is a short fic with an "Orbit" focus, another fan (Carol Wyke) also writes a fic in response to the competition, this one a "Gambit" story ("A Gambit Bargain" -- "What if Vila and Avon had cut a deal with Toise to take over Freedom City?") (10)
  • Competition results - your memories of B7 & B7 fandom (19)
  • There, There Tarrant, an article by Sarah Berry about being a Tarrant fan (25)
  • theatre review: Don't Worry About Matilda, with Michael Keating
  • some articles written in response to Judith Seaman's article "No Myth is Safely Broken" which appeared in an earlier issue (27)
  • a quiz, "How Fan Are You?" compiled by Jane Porter and Belinda Lancaster (31)
  • Where Are the Good Guys?, article by Joyce McMaster (32)
  • results of the second Horizon raffle, includes photos taken by Diane Gies portraying Paul Darrow drawing name of the winner (34)
  • a report on the club's promotions and activities (37)
  • Orac's Oddments, stuff for sale (38)
  • Letters of Comment (46)
  • Tenth Anniversary Questionnaire (53)
  • three more photos taken at Scorpio V (54)
  • a con report for Eccentricon, see that page (55)
  • a con report for Scorpio V, see that page (56)
  • a con report for Conspiracy 87 (Brighton Worldcon), see that page (59)
  • Covers: Avon, Blake & Vila/Geoffrey Burridge/1st season crew/Avon, Dayna & Hal Mellanby

A fan, Sarah Berry, writes:

'The Price of Freedom.' I stared writing that in a small, red notebook on the plane back from L.A. in 1980. It wasn't finished to my (then) satisfaction for over two years. It tools o long as it was written in twenty minute bouts before school and at weekends if I could concentrate that long. Thankfully, I've destroyed the original pictures that went with the stories. It took months for me to type (on two different typewriters) out and the first, unbound copy was sent to IMIPAC. Soon I had the one and only copy photo-copied, reduced and aligned so that it could be sold in booklet form. I never expected the response thrust upon me, and even now I'm at university and stopped putting out adverts 2/3 years ago, I still get esquires from America, New Zealand, Australia, Holland, Germany and, occasionally, parts of Britain. Hear this world, I sell it now more! Jane Porter and I hope to present you with two new, non-fiction ventures shortly!

Issue 20

Horizon Newsletter 20 was published in June 1988 and contains 72 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

  • David Nicol, "Play Fair" (fiction)
cover of issue #20
  • Jeff, "Flake's 1 to 8: Afterflake" (graphic story) (fiction)
  • Michael A. Hather, "The Ballad of Roj Blake" (poem)
  • Jeff (art)
  • Danny Dresner (art)
  • Results 10th Anniversary questionnaire
  • making of World in Action: The Trial of Theresa starring Josette Simon with pictures
  • The Great Tarrant Controversy articles
  • Jan Chappell, Paul & Janet Darrow, Michael Keating & Brian Croucher gamely answer extremely stupid questions from members (eg What kind of soft toys do the crew own? What colour is your bathroom & does the loo paper match?)
  • Convention review & pictures DSV1; Large scale zine bootlegging problem with prime suspects Star Tech in Tennessee, USA
  • The World of Fandom article
  • Covers: Tarrant/Brian Croucher/4th series crew/Cally

Issue 21

Horizon Newsletter 21 was published in October 1988 and contains 88 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

front cover of issue #21
back cover of issue #21
inside front cover of issue #21
inside back cover of issue #21

The zine is online here.

  • this issue notes that the "ridiculous '28-day video law' ... whereby the Government was planning to make it illegal to keep video recordings of ANYTHING for longer than 28 days, was abandoned, although they are still planning legislation concerning video recordings (and audio)."
  • the editor offers up a plan for fans feeling disgruntled at having to wait a long time for newsletters to be published in order to get news: "send 4 ordinary sized stamped, self-addressed envelopes PLUS a cheque or PO payable to Horizon for 50p.... This will entitle you to 4 newsflashes... We will be issuing them whenever anything we think will be of interest occurs, but certainly 2 and possibly more will be sent out between newsletters."
  • the editor reports that the mess regarding this club's US agent has been straightened out, but not after losing money (several hundred pounds) -- it was due to the fan in the US totally dropping the ball on correspondence and sitting on checks and orders
  • a fan writes that "And just to pre-empt any future comment, I must make it clear now that the amazing resemblance between "fly Late Lamented Friend" by Fliss Davies and a story which is scheduled to appear in Interface 12 of the same title is purely coincidental. All I can say is that, obviously, great minds think alike. (Except I wrote the situation the other way around and, subject to Yvette Clarke's scrutiny and approval, there will be further adventures of 'Avon and Blake (Deceased)' to come.) Meantime Fliss, congratulations on such a great idea, but please be assured that I'm not a plagiarist!"
  • Charity appeal information & bid auction: rules, goodies, info on the charity video tape (six pages)
  • Gareth Thomas "10 Anniversary Interview" & biography (12 pages)
  • Pam Wright, "A Poem for Gareth (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett)"
  • art by Tim Pieraccini
  • con report for Telly Con, see that page
  • two con reports for Scorpio VI, see that page
  • two con reports and photos for Space City 88, see that page for one of them
  • Fliss Davies (art)
  • Danny Dresner (art)
  • zine reviews
  • a fan's review of the play "The Admirable Crichton" with Steven Pacey
  • Blake articles & poem

A comment on American Blake's 7 zines:

A word on American zines - the problem with these, for us over here, is that they cost a lot, and as many of them are 300+ pages of A4, weigh half a ton 5 cost the earth to post here. Two types of giant zines - the 'single story' type ones, which I have to confess I often find rather heavy going-one giant one I was reading was very good, excellent writing and all that, but DEPRESSING... hundreds of pages with no humour and 'witty crew exchanges' such as we all know and love from the series. Or maybe us Brits don't understand the American sense of humour? And as I've said in the past, Post GPs are fine, but they generally don't hold my interest these days, unless there's a really good twist (or some humour!!) As for the 300+ page zines with billions of short stories in them - many of these are very good, although one gets a bit punch drunk trying to read it all in one go. Nothing springs to mind to comment on specifically at this moment (it's been around 5 months since I read most of them) but I do envy them their printing facilities - offset printing, different typefaces/styles/sizes, colour covers... I've just received one 2 days ago - GAMBIT 3 - which I haven't had time to actually read yet (this N/L to finish first) but just looking at the presentation, it'd be worth buying for that alone, almost!! My compliments to your laser printer!! (By the way, Jean, it took 3 weeks to get here - AIR MAIL - according to the stamp, and came wrapped in plastic with that ominous note... "Found open and damaged" at... wait for it.... Tokyo Airport!!!! What the blazes was it doing there, I'd like to know! But panic not, it's all in one piece.

Regarding feedback and a bit of public shaming:

Jean Lorrah's powerful piece of self-promotion struck a chord or two here and perhaps will with other fan writers. I mean, I put myself out, heart and soul, to write fan stories - partly for my own pleasure, of course, & partly because, like most other writers, I love to share my dreams & fantasies. And there's the point: sharing. Jean has enthusiastically TOLD us what she's written, but does anyone KNOW I've also written a story about Tarrant mixing up the memory tubes? I KNOW five people have read the story -Margaret Martin - or was it Elizabeth Everett, I forget which, also Diane - yes, you said you liked it, but. never commented on it in your occasional brief zine reviews, so I imagine you didn't like it very much - and a couple of friends to whom I actually gave or showed a copy! Also the editor of the zine. I still think it's one of my best stories, but I ask myself sometimes why I bother to write anything as I get so very little feedback that I begin to wonder if anyone ever reads the stories at all. Do people agree with my interpretation of Avon/Vila? Do they find the stories convincing? Do they even buy the zines in which stories appear? Horizon occasionally comments in N/L's about reprintings, but that's all I, an author they've featured, ever hear from them about the stories. When I read a zine I usually send a letter to the Ed. about it. I begin to think I should write to the individual authors for I suspect the editors never pass on any comments. It may be lack of time, I appreciate that, but writer/editor is a partnership. Perhaps whoever the person is who approves zine stories should make a point of passing feedback to authors they feature? And if they never get feedback, they can say so too, and perhaps indicate to the readers that if they never comment do the stories, the writers will eventually lose interest. I write less B7 these days - partly due to lack of time, partly due to other writing interests, partly due to enthusiasm for Carnell - I can't write about him all the time so I write less (I imagine zines wouldn't accept stories which feature Carnell every time!) and partly due to very little feedback. Once a zine has issued your story, you may as well forget it exists, because that's the last you'll probably hear of it apart from your freebie copy. Has ANYONE else read "Cross-switch"? Or any of the best of my other stories? Did they even notice who wrote what? Will anyone read my Avon/Anna epic, "The Road to Rebellion"? Is it surprising Judith feels no-one wants to read her stories? Perhaps they never bother to tell her they like them? Writing stories is wonderful - for the writer. But if no-one reads them? Is it worth it? Writing articles is more satisfactory as one gets responses in the next N/L. Perhaps I should stick to articles? As for Jean, if she wants to write to me about HER version of the tube-switching, she's welcome. At least we might appreciate each other's efforts satisfactorily! We each know how it feels... [... Ed. That's a very interesting point, and I apologise on behalf of HORIZON if we haven't passed on feedback we may have received. BUT we now have the LOCs section, where anyone liking (or disliking) a particular story in a zine can just write a line or two about it, rather than having to write an entire zine review. I hope people WILL comment on stories in Horizon zines. Obviously, if we've printed a story. WE think it was good, but what do YOU think? Re my comments on zines, due to lack of space, I've tended to comment - briefly - on stories I've just read/new zines, and even then usually on zines sitting in front of me to refresh my memory. Sorry, Ros.)

A fan defends fanfic:

What really motivated me to write was Roger Cope's statement that he tends to "steer clear" of zines because they're "imaginary" and the BBC B7 is "real". As not only an avid zine reader, but a writer, I found that appalling. Haw boring to spend a fandom only reading things that are scripted from the show as presented. Half of fandom is zines, is carrying on the characters. Is giving them life. Zines are for 'what-if' stories; for speculation. Without them, there'd be no fandoms. You can watch tapes so many times. And nothing ever changes. When fans gather, speculation is what rolls. How far or how much speculation would we get if there were no zines, only newsletters and interviews? I guess it'd be confined to the N/L LOCs. Period. Interesting - but not creative. A good fan story can really make you soar. Damn satisfying - as the series could never be.

Complaint about a "twerp's" letter:

Graham Spencer's "Weekend" in the N/L is very condescending. I suppose it hasn't yet occurred to him that he'll be old one day, and maybe with a housewife in tow - or leading him on - with him liking it or not as the case may be. Teenage crush? Never had one of those, didn't he? Too clever, perhaps? Really, Diane, how can you publish such a male chauvinist, immature twerp's ramblings? Tell him to grow up. We adults want better in our N/L. (... Ed - everyone's entitled to their opinion, I guess... )

An example of the many, many comments about individual characters:

I like Karen's point that Avonophiles might not enjoy living with him. I am sure many fans see Avon as much nicer than he really is - simply because they worship him so much that they can't quite believe in his faults. I'm sure I'd get on with him well in that we're both perfectionists, that I'd like to work with or for him if I had the kinds of talents which would complement his... BUT I wouldn't think of living with the man. He'd be a dratted nuisance as he'd endlessly try to order me about and never say thank you for anything. Day and night on a spaceship? Well, the day's OK. Forget the nights. I'd spend them somewhere else - preferably with Carnell, with whom I'd get on famously, I can tell you (day or night). Avon's too self-opinionated. That would be tedious. And, furthermore, if we are to accept Avon as Paul apparently depicts him, as a kind of Rambo in space, a man who DOES, but rarely ever THINKS ... Urk! Men who never think are crashing bores. I hope Paul is wrong!

Tarrant! Love him. Clearly I'm abnormal, too. And I'm an Avon fan, too. Why on earth or elsewhere should Tarrant worship Avon? He'd be a crashing bore if he did. Avon needs people to fight him or he'd walk over them all. Blake was such a good foil for Avon - the best, really, apart from Servalan. I've always meant to write a story about Tarrant and Deeta - perhaps one day. And it's important to remember Tarrant is Avon's only male colleague for, in spite of all the sentimentality about an Avon/Vila relationship, Avon has never, in my opinion, last his contempt of Deltas. Whatever he feels emotionally for Vila, he can't forget the division between them of class.

Regarding bootlegging and profit:

Thanks for all the research you have done into these American 'bootleggers' who are illegally reprinting, among others, MY work. While, in a sense, I'm flattered that one of my stories should be considered worth pinching, you, of course, have my full backing to say I'm hopping mad to have this done without my approval or yours, and I think if they're selling OUR stuff for this whacking profit, we're entitled to some form of payment. After all, those of us who 'sold' scripts to the Marvel B7 magazine, who banked in Baltimore, were paid £30 by a magazine selling for 50p, so there is a precedent. If they don't pay us anything, I think they could make a donation to the club. It would do nicely for the Charity Appeal. Continue to threaten them with everything you can, and if, at any time, you would like 'your authors' to dip their pens in vitriol and write to these bods as well, just say the word and I will! Best of luck, anyway, with whatever you decide to do!

Disgruntlement towards a fan, plus more on bootlegging:

It is a shame that all the good news around at the moment concerned with B7 is blighted by certain individuals who are, it seems, either unscrupulously making vast amounts of profit from B7 orientated material or who are letting certain areas of B7 fandom down. Both are inexcusable. To start with, [Sue P] undertook an obligation to supply Horizon merchandise in the US. Her failure in dealing with excessive demands and her complete lack of reliability shown by the failure in making regular reports to the Committee is, in my mind, very sad. As always, the Horizon Committee will be left picking up the pieces and this is not on. I don't want to spend a whole page condemning Sue, because I feel she has suffered enough, especially if she read N/L 20. However, as an individual, I must express my displeasure in the lack of consideration shown to the Committee and to all the US members of which some are still waiting for their year-old orders. However, I make no apologies for my utter condemnation of the bootlegging that is going on at the moment. Fans have written zines and contributed to zines out of sheer love for B7 and without ever wishing to make any profit from their endeavours. That someone has the gall to use items by fans, some of which are oblivious to the fact that their work is being used, is not only despicable, but dishonest and lacking in morals as well.

Much praise:

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading the N/L - it's always full of such interesting things, between the LOCs and miscellaneous articles, which are always fascinating and often controversial. I especially liked Judith Seaman's 'No Myth' articles in N/L 18 and all the responses to it in 19. And I enjoyed the defense of Tarrant in N/L 20, As one of the few Tarrant defenders I know, I am always looking for new ways to defend a character I feel has gotten a terrible rap. And I love the 'trivia' -I'd like to see somebody do a count of teleport bracelets destroyed. (... Ed. - your wish is our command!)

I am always impressed by the quality of the N/Ls - it's obvious the work that goes into them. It's understandable why they're far between when you're putting out over 70 pages of top-quality publication. As long as members get 4 N/Ls for their subscription, what does it matter if it's per year or 19 months or whatever. (... Ed. - it's the 'whatever' I tend to feel guilty about! There is a lack of continuity when it's over 6 months between N/Ls.) I always recommend Horizon to my friends here based primarily on the strength and quality of the N/Ls. The US agency problem was unfortunate, but I hope the problems with getting zines last year won't discourage US fans from ordering from you again. Now that Ann has got that mess straightened out (and I encourage any US fen who ordered and didn't receive their order to write to Ann - she doesn't bite and she can get your order problem solved), ordering zines should be easy. Especially since Horizon takes US$ cheques, which some overseas dealers don't. As one who has just started a B7 club stateside (in Chicago), I can now better appreciate the work that goes into running an organisation like Horizon. Your suggestions to fans in the back of NL 21 were quite helpful (and one of the things that finally got me going on an idea I'd been thinking about for some time). So far, our little club (Liberation) is small and informal, but it's still a lot of work. And we've adopted many of your ideas (including members' surveys of likes and dislikes, etc. and conversation topics for our monthly meetings/parties). You probably don't realise it, but you've helped a lot. Thanks to you all.

Issue 22

Horizon Newsletter 22 was published in June 1989 and contains 72 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

front cover of issue #22
back cover of issue #22
inside front cover of issue #22
inside back cover of issue #22
  • information on the "Blake's Seven 10th Anniversary Appeal" (2 pages)
  • "Fascinating B7 Facts" (1 page)
  • Terry Nation interview, includes a portrait of Nation by Fliss Davies (10 pages)
  • general letters of comments (12 pages)
  • "Orac's Oddments," a regular section of ads, con announcements, club info (6 pages)
  • section titled "The Controversy in Blake's Seven Fandom" with numerous letters from many sides of The Blake's 7 Wars, see Horizon Newsletter#Issue 22: Letters from the "Controversy in Blake's Seven Fandom" Section. (8 pages)
  • Close Encounters of the Blake Kind, about an internal newsletter for Rutherford Laboratory (now Rutherford and Appleton) about some filming of the B7 "Weapon" in their labs (1)
  • Horizon Merchandise (key rings, zines, posters, stamps, holiday cards, badges, the Wells make-up video, scripts, stickers, photos...) (7 pages)
  • a short recap of the bootlegging situation, see The 1988 Blake's 7 Bootlegged Zines Discussion
  • Competition winners - So you want to run a Fan Club? (4 pages)
  • photos and con report for Gambit 1989, see that page
  • Helen Parkinson, "Best Laid Plans" (poem)
  • Fliss Davies, "Travis' Last Stand (poem)
  • Twenty Great "Blake's 7" Costumes
  • The Darren Funnell Guide to B7 -- Part One
  • Blake-a-Thon and Script Reading Marathon Report, see that page
  • Theatre Reviews
    • Alibi for Murder with Paul Darrow
    • Measure for Measure with Josette Simon
    • Inside Job with Gareth Thomas
    • The Queen of Spades and I with Michael Keating
  • review of the televisions show "These Foolish Things" with Michael Keating
  • Danny Dresner (art)
  • zine reviews:
  • six reviews of Avon: A Terrible Aspect (all written knowing Paul Darrow would probably see these: one review ends with "Love ya, Paul!"), see that page
  • Competition winners - B7 bloopers
  • comments in the general LoC section regarding the recent Space City III con, see that page
  • Covers: Terry Nation/Servalan/Tarrant & Avon/Jenna, Blake & Cally
  • "Several Insane Ways to Bring Back "Blake's 7" Onto Your Screen" by Kate Barrall: one suggestion:
    1. a) Take one large piece of card, a tape measure and some glue. b) Measure the screen of your television set. c) Cut out the following letters according to the screen size: 7. B.E. SLAK. d) Re-arrange to form a certain television programme. e) Stick on the screen. 100% foolproof.

Some excerpts from the general LoC section:

My remark that, to me, Paul Darrow IS B7 seems to have created a furor. I never said the other characters were irrelevant. I never said I watched solely to see Paul/Avon. As I recall, the comment was in respect of a question about why one watched B7 and whether changes of actor, etc., would spoil a series rather than losing a character. If I misremember, I apologise - I don't have the time to hoick out reams of past N/Ls and the like to check - but I think what I was saying was that, so far as I was concerned, almost any other character could have been recast or killed off without killing the series, but killing Avon or losing Paul would probably have destroyed it utterly - for me. I want to distance myself from some of the remarks by others which have followed from my original assertation! As for the other characters, I love them all; yes, even Tarrant. I was bitterly disappointed when Blake disappeared - the series was never the same without him. If Avon had gone instead. I imagine I'd have continued to watch and perhaps have found a new hero; but I can't be SURE of that. I could survive without the others - but without Avon??? Almost inconceivable, yet who knows; I mean, Carnell might have taken his place..Only Carnell could be superior to Avon (but better to have both of them along). As for the specific question, WHO IS B7 - the answer is sure to be totally individual!

I can't see why Avon fans should do down Blake unless it is that they resent the fact that Blake was - in my opinion - always the leader. I suspect many fans emotionally need Avon to lead and when he doesn't, they want someone to blame. I find this attitude inexplicable, but then I never did sec Avon as a willing leader. Having watched the series from the start, I didn't expect Avon to lead and -be honest-he didn't make too good a job of it when he eventually had to try. I know some fans will want to lynch me for that, so remember I adore him too...but that doesn't stop me psychoanalysing him and deciding, rightly or wrongly, that Blake's the boss - ALWAYS. I imagine some of us will never be able to agree on this matter. As for Blake being a manipulator, what's wrong with that? One of Avon's prime problems is that he isn't too good at manipulating people. How boring this series would be if all the characters were saints! As for the manipulators - I LIKE them in stories. They make things happen. Carnell must surely be B7's prime manipulator.

Before you ask bootleggers for payment, you want to check on the legal position. "Blake's 7" is copyright - either to the Beeb or to Terry Nation, I don't know which. Perhaps to both. Copyright laws are a minefield, but one thing we can't do, so far as I know, is accept money for the stories we write. These laws are different in the States: perhaps you could from there? My inclination is NOT to take money. If you receive any, you have either to send it back or - perhaps - you could send it to a charity.

If the bootlegging weren't a serious matter, I'd find Bill Anchors' letter hysterically funny. I still found it hysterically funny in a ghastly kind of way. Where writing's concerned I don't, thank heaven, have a fragile ego and insults to my writing don't upset me. All criticism should be assessed as objectively as possible, mind you. (A fragile ego might be more modest, but it don't get you anywhere!!) Since Anchors' remarks about my writing obviously aren't intended to be calm, clear, reasoned criticism, I don't give a damn what he thinks. This guy is presumably a businessman, yet he says he didn't read these stories before selling them. That suggests a pretty cavalier attitude to his customers, although one would not, I guess, expect a bookseller to read everything he sells. However, fanzines are amateur publications and quality cannot be guaranteed - most pro. publishers have bearable standards.

His remark "I doubt if few of my customers read your N/L" betrays his bad English, so I don't think his assessment of my work is worth a moment's thought. What he has actually implied here by his incorrect English is that many of his customers may read Horizon N/Ls! To use the word "pissed" in a business letter- and this SHOULD have been a business letter - is, let's say, unfortunate. It is not logical for him to refuse to give you the "reprinter's name" - in my opinion...and his reason for refusing to give it is - again, in my opinion - curious. His advert in respect of why he is no longer selling the zines is also wildly unbusinesslike. It's one thing to be offensive privately, but I suggest that his 'tone' has only made things worse -- for him.

Hi! I joined Horizon at Gambit, and I'm absolutely delighted with your zines and newsletters. I hate to admit it, but I think the fiction in your zines is more imaginative than that in American zines. We haven't been at it as long as you, though; maybe we'll catch up some day. The newsletters are great fun, too -- very professional, and the photos are lovely. Best of all, we Americans get to see the British view of things!

[Here's] one more Yank's story of conversion [to Blake's 7]:

The time and place was Summer Media Fest 82, a small multi-media convention in the Washington D.C. area. Heather Nachman, whom I didn't even know at the time, had scheduled a private screening of some "Blake's 7" episodes in her hotel room, only to discover that the TV set in her room didn't work. In desperation, she asked my roommate, who was a friend of hers, if they could borrow our room for the screening. My roommate said yes, I shrugged, and I was about to head out the door, when Heather practically nabbed me by the collar and said, "Sit down. Watch this. You'll understand when it's over."

I don't know if I can convey to the British fan the experience of being jammed into a modest hotel room with well over 20 other fans, all of us staring at a hazy-blue camera copy of 'Countdown'. Someone was sitting on my feet and I was getting a crick in my neck from having to turn sideways. The image on the TV set wasn't very large to begin with when viewed from across the room. There was no colour discernible in the picture (just shades of blue), many of the visual details were gone, and the audio was noisy enough that we lost the odd sentence here and there as well. I didn't know who these characters were, or why it was so important to them to be doing what they were doing. And still I was grabbed by the urgency and the import of it all. Even under those circumstances you could tell that both antagonism and loyally passed between Blake and Avon. You could tell that there was a discrepancy between the way Avon acted and the way he felt. You could tell that there was a lot more substance to Blake than the usual run of 'cowboy' heroes that get served up. (His last line to Provine, "See you in hell," came through loud and clear even on the fuzzy audio. I remember thinking to myself that this guy was no Captain Kirk, and that was all to the good.) You couldn't miss the tension and the irony of the two old enemies working together against the clock to defuse the bomb. These people felt strong emotions without ever lapsing into sentimentality. I really didn't know what the hell was going on, but there was an uncommon intensity and maturity to the whole thing that impressed me as no other TV show had ever impressed me before. I was hooked.

It would take me two more years to finally finish seeing all 52 episodes (camera copy) in the summer of 1984. The interesting thing about watching B7 through fan contacts (as opposed to watching it off a TV station) is that if fans have a fault, it is the tendency to treat everyone as though they have already seen the whole series. Within 24 hours of my having seen my first B7 episode, somebody just HAD to tell me what happened in the final episode. (After that I started a rigid policy of dashing madly out of the room if anyone started talking about episodes I hadn't seen.) As a result, I was somewhat prepared for 'Blake' (as prepared as you can be for a kick in the stomach). What I was completely unprepared for was 'Orbit'. I was stunned. It was perfectly logical and perfectly horrifying. To this day, the look on Avon's face as the logical solution dawned on him is the single most indelible memory I have of my experience with "Blake's 7".

On the subject of fan literature, Linda said that a good fan story can make you soar "as the series never could". If it wasn't the series that made me soar, I wouldn't be a B7 fan! One of the things that makes B7 so great is that you can watch an episode again and again and keep finding something new in it. Fan literature is great, it's a wonderful way to explore and share and continue the series, but if it isn't true to the series as shown by the BBC, it isn't B7, for me. My ideal fan story would be one that I could imagine as an episode, like Mary Moulden's "Captivity" (see Horizon 9) or Linda Webb Taylor's "Sanction" (see Best of Spacefall).

[from Suzan Lovett]:

FINALLY! Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus! I must explain that bit of effusiveness. When I discovered the B7 fandom, I ran around collecting all the Horizon publications I had missed and eventually got around to subscribing. While I have consistently found your newsletter to be of the highest quality, and have appreciated the efforts and professionalism your team puts into it, for me, it has always lacked something. The same something the old monthlies also lacked. And a lot of the zines. Namely, Blake of "Blake's 7". With no disrespect intended for any of the fine actors that made B7 a great 'total', the character of Blake (and the talented actor that gives him - and many other roles - form, voice and personality) is what has made and kept me a B7 fan.

So. Even though I've always enjoyed the Horizon newsletter (well, I must admit to one occasion when I tossed it across the room. When, in one of your surveys, Blake not only got just a smidgen of the 'pie' in a character popularity vote but, to add insult to injury, garnered a large portion of the 'unpopular' vote) this is the first time I can actually say that it's been a total, real joy. Thank you for the lovely interview, the beautiful recent photo on the back cover and, for more practical reasons, Mr. Thomas' 'credits' list. Now that I can specify what I'm looking for, I can harass my friends on the other side of the ocean and hopefully get to see some of the things I've missed or would have missed.

Issue 22: Letters from the "Controversy in Blake's Seven Fandom" Section

See much more at The Blake's 7 War.

A fan writes of their disbelief:

I'd like to make a few comments regarding the current unpleasantness in B7 fandom. I didn't even know about [A W's] attack until about two weeks ago when I got a copy of her unsigned allegations with a fanzine. My immediate reaction was that it was a gross misinterpretation at best. I did not believe a word of it and resented the obvious attempt at manipulation. I especially resented the fact that it was unsigned and did not offer any sort of opportunity to verify the information. That alone would be enough to set me against its author. The allegations themselves were also completely counter to anything and everything I'd ever heard about Paul and his work for fans. I've written him a letter saying so. but it doesn't seem enough somehow. I'm ashamed that a countryman of mine has done such a thing and wish there was something I could do to make amends. Past expressing my views in letters to friends and zine editors. I don't know what that could be. I just want all of you to know that most of us (at least the people that I've heard from) are sickened by the whole thing and wish [A] would fall into a black hole for awhile. If there's anything more I can do, please let me know.

A fan writes about BNFs, access to celebrities, and of profit:

The following is about a terrible thing happening to B7 fandom here in the US. It indirectly affects fans from other countries, too. Just pray it doesn't happen to you! I've just read a letter by 'Anonymous' in Federation Archives (what an apt name) Dec-Jan issue. May I be allowed to reply to it, from a No-Name Fan point of view? Anonymous' letter does not 'border on personal attack'; a total idiot knows which 'star' is being discussed here. And I wasn't aware fandom was being 'attacked'. I still feel pretty safe about being a follower of B7. Maybe some people just think they're being attacked, because they're starting to lose their stranglehold on B7 fandom. I've never been to a pro-con, but I know people who have. I've yet to have one tell me that they felt a certain someone was unavailable to them. In fact, I was told he went out of his way to meet the fans. And my sources are just as reliable as Anonymous'. Maybe his/her sources got this 'star' mixed up with someone else. Besides, his fee was nowhere near what the other guests were getting. I wonder why? The tear-jerking line about 'dying children' was good, too. I wonder how much Anonymous, and some cons, really give to charities. The idea of guests making money from 'dying children' or any other cause is too ridiculous to even devote more space to! And about Guest Funds - HA! What an absolute rip-off! Yes. I was one of those tans who was 'willing to scrape up the money' for a fund once, but never again. I was promised a party with the guests in attendance. Well, they came, but the BNFs and their friends immediately surrounded them like sharks at a feeding frenzy, and they sank from sight. The one time I did get close enough to talk to one was spoiled too by other 'fans' who wouldn't let me get one word out without interrupting. Geez, I know I have an accent, but it isn't that bad! Some people even like it! We (two friends and I) ended up in the comer talking to the waiter who amused himself and us by tossing quiche over his shoulder. Yeah, great party, loads of fun. Nice seeing the back of your head occasionally, Guest 1. Oh. Guest 2, I didn't even know you were here! Thanks. BNFs. Anonymous says 'the actors no longer want to mingle with the fans.' Oh? It seems to me that a lot of BNFs don't WANT to mingle with us.... In closing, Anonymous predicted the end of guest-orientated conventions. Really? We'll see. I wasn't aware that s/he had control over my welfare ('I won't allow the fans to be ripped off.') And how many people really 'work for free' at a con? I see loads of money being made in dealer's rooms and art auctions. And a lot of the people making the big bucks are on the con staff or involved in the con somehow. I don't deny them the right, but they are making some 'profit' aren't they?!? The only 'Federation take-over' I'm aware of is when BNFs become BNFs in their own eyes and they thought THEY should control fandom. And yes, it is a free country, even to some stars who want to run their own cons! God Bless America!... Incidentally, I'm glad that the star and his wife, among others, don't approve of slash and are taking their stand on it. After all, if people are 'free' to write it, then we're also 'free' to not like it, and say so if we wish. I don't regret that the writers have been found out. My stories are never written under pseudonym or anonymously, and neither are my letters.

A fan writes:

US B7 fandom has recently been turned into a battleground, a state which, it seems, isn't unusual in US fandoms In this case it started with an anonymous attack, printed in a US letterzine. Federation Archives, and now admitted as being by [Ms W] against a B7 actor not specifically named but dearly identifiable as Paul Darrow. The apparent reason for the attack was a suggested, commercially organized Convention tour proposed jointly by Terry Nation and Paul Darrow. [Ms W] is known as an experienced and competent fan writer. She is quite capable of producing a piece of carefully thought-out English prose, stating any concern she may have felt regarding the proposed tour, its funding, its programming, or its organization. She was capable of listing any points she felt required clarification in the rumours that seem to have been around previous to her letter. She also knew Paul Darrow well enough to be aware of his character, his concern for his fans, and his likely intentions with regard to the tour. She chose instead to write a piece of vicious character assassination, alleging, against all evidence, that Paul had for some time been interested only in money and not mingling with the fans, that the proposed Cons would be a 'rip-off', intended to 'control fandom' and a 'line a greedy actor's pockets.' Her reason for writing this article was given as her concern for 'fandom,' a cause not noticeably assisted by her outburst. Paul Darrow wrote a rebuttal... Despite the fact that no one has ever suggested that his attribution was incorrect, he has been further condemned both for defending himself and for having the temerity to mention names.... At the same time that this tour was mooted, Paul and Janet Darrow expressed their dislike of the 'slash' element in fan fiction, and requested that it should not be openly on sale at Conventions where they are guess. All those responsible for the first attack were producers of 'slash' material, and this fact had only just become known to the Darrows.

A fan writes "whose power is corrupting whom?":

And so the Pro v fan con/Controversy rages on (and on and on an on....) What is it all about? I don't honestly know anymore, but it seems to me to have left the realms of righteous (and not so righteous) anger and descended into the sordid arena of personal vendetta. Let's put my my comments into perspective. I am no longer involved in B7 fandom. I was, however, a founder-member of Horizon, all those years ago. I write articles for the newsletter from time to time and go to cons occasionally to see old friends. I do not consider myself a part of the 'scene' any longer. So, you may ask, what right have you got to stick your nose in? Probably none, but as we still have freedom of speech (though I daresay Salman Rushdie would disagree) I intend to. The attitude of fans to fandom has long been a source of interest to me. I've met many fans, from BNFs to SNFs to fans who don't even know what they were. But fandom seemed, in the beginning, to be about enjoying yourself with like-minded people, talking about your passions, (whether they be Avon, Barbaella, or Aragorn son of Arathorn). The deeper one gets into fandom, however, the more one learns of the telling phrase 'power corrupts.' But, at this state, whose power is corrupting whom? Is it the 'power' of the actors, doing the dirty on the fans, or is it the jealous BNFs who don't want to see THEIR power (and profit) slipping away as the actors gravitate towards pro-cons. I have read Paul Darrow and Terry Nation's outline for the proposed pro-cons and I think that it sounds like an eminently sensible idea -- it it goes ahead as planned.... As I am not acquainted with any of the protagonists in question, I can only go by what I read, and what I read is a lot of paranoia and some rather unpleasant accusations made on BOTH sides of the camp.

A fan writes of slash and pseuds:

I have before me the 'Addendum' of [L T's] Fed. Archives, and a lot of letters on the subject in question; some of which are extremely sensible, some of which are staggeringly insulting to both fans and guests. On careful reading of these letters, the main bones of contention appear to be these: 'slash' fiction and paying actors to come to come to cons and indeed, the right of fans to EXPECT the actors at cons. Let's consider... 'slash'. I have already considered it semi-seriously elsewhere in this newsletter (and no doubt insulted people already. Oh well...) However, 'slash' offends a lot ol people. That it offends some fans is not a big deal, after all, they are under no obligation to buy it. That it offends some actors is more of a big deal. Janet Darrow has stated her distaste for 'slash' and asks why the authors decline to use their real names. The authors reply rather ramblingly on the subject of 'witch hunts' and homophobia. This is crap. Writers of hetero and homosexual fiction have been using pseudonyms since time in memorial, and to suddenly put the blame on the above is ridiculous. That homophobia exists is not in question, but to use it as a weapon in this way, especially in the current climate, seems repellent. Then the authors say 'Why do some actors use pseudonyms? Are they ashamed of their families?' ... So what, precisely, are these authors hiding? Their sado-masochistic streaks perhaps? Rapes, whippings and unwilling bondage are bloody unpleasant when held up in court. Why are they glorified in 'slash' fiction? And what is the justification for using the actors' real names?! This is particularly unsavoury. How would the authors like to see their names bandied around in such a way? The actors' intimate lives are none of their business, and to use their real names for dubious titillation of fans is not only distasteful, but 'chutzpah' in the worst hum. And the illustrations, my dears! The artists could be sued for wrongful size... But more seriously, why should the actors (who after all, breathed life into the characters, let us not forget that) be subjected to graphic drawings of themselves performing sexual acts ol ANY nature? It's one thing to read about one's character doing it; quite another to see one's face, doing It. Oh by the way - if 95% of fan writers theoretically write 'slash', how come I can think of ten writers off the top of my head who haven't? And if 99% of clubs are supposed to PUBLISH 'slash', how come I can think of very few who in fact do. Another aspect of the 'large cultural and intellectual gap between the US and England'??

A fan writes of cons and expectations:

Should actors honour their commitments to cons? Yes, of course they should, if they can. But what if they can't? This makes me VERY angry - in fact, angrier than any of the other points. The sheer temerity of fans who expect guests to turn down jobs to go to an (unpaid) con! Actors spend, unfortunately, rather too much time not being actors. When they are not working, it is they who are not wanted. Oh yes. it's your skill, etc, but when it all comes down to it, people don't want you. This is very hard to put into perspective when you've failed to get your umpteenth job. So. [L T], when you go on about Con Coms "working an entire year in not-so-spare time...' and guests coming in to work "three intense DAYS', ask yourself this. What, precisely, do you think these guests do the other 362 days of the year? Sit on their backsides and watch the work flood in?? Yes, all credit to Con Coms who volunteer to do all this, it's wonderful and makes lots of people very happy, but don't start slagging off the guests who take time to ALSO make lots of people happy.

A fan writes that the capitalistic Americans are at blame:

It is interesting to note, as [N W] of CENTERO observed, that it is the newest fans, i.e. the Americans, who are providing the fuel for this fiasco. It is also interesting to note that it is this same capitalistic country which has turned fan events into profit events and that this is now happening to B7. I agree that actors deserve a fee for appearances, as a con is work like any other. I also think that there are times when they are so pampered and honoured that I wonder if a fee is necessary as well. I now steer well clear of all such adoration because it is so unreal and sickening. It turns actors into something they are not. B7 was only another job which they completed as well as they could and then they moved on. I have never spoken to Paul and Michael as some have because I felt that I had no gift or bribe great enough to make them notice yet another fan. I've seen people go to such lengths for a single kiss that I'd rather avoid that 'scene' altogether. Despite my personal feelings that actors are heavily confused with the characters portrayed (and I think that this maybe true of some actors themselves), which makes me feel that often they are receiving more than they deserve, they do require a fee for appearances in the Real World, Money and Time are the same commodity. I would hope that this wouldn't mean actors pricing themselves out of our grasping hands, but it does turn fannish events into professional events whoever is running them. What Terry and Paul intend to do by combining fannish activities with a guaranteed appearance is courageous, but probably pricey. What really worries me is that this run of cons is being held exclusively in the US. It was pointed out to me that the US is where the new interest is and the money is and that Britain could not support such a tour. Again my naivety struck. But this is where B7 was born and one would dearly love to see the con tour started in this country with one well-polished event. Terry and Paul's ideas about putting cons back into the hands of the fans only seem to put cons back into the hands of American fans.

A fan discusses slash:

The slash debacle has been called a side-issue, whereas to me its seems to be central to a lot of the pain and insult caused between so many people. Paul and Janet publicly do not like slash. Though they have every right to say so, that should not be important generally except that: 1. We have no right to offend these people identified with characters they have portrayed when these characters are used in sex stories. 2. Terry Nation owns the B7 universe and has the legal rights to say 'Stop'. I see no reason why we shouldn't write and sell this material if it is sensibly done. Some of this material (slash and straight) can be excellent if it is not used purely as a vehicle for getting characters into bed in unusual combinations. Where it seems to go wrong is when: 1. It is sold for profit not going back into clubs and zines as then Terry and the actors must have a right to share. This goes for any form of merchandise. Sex fiction just happens to be a more sensitive form of merchandise. 2. Fans show such material to, or discuss it with actors whose characters are used in sex fiction and who do not approve. 3. Through letters and comments fandom is whipped up into a frenzy of personal abuse and what might be interpreted as homophobic backlash. I would not lay the blame for this argument at any particular door because over-reaction on all sides has caused massive escalation of original disapproval. However, this escalation seems to have occurred because both BNFs and Popular Actors have the power and the backing to swing battle axes at each other until one or the other is ruined. So much for fandom being fun.

A fan asks for others to "back off" and ponders the ownership of B7 fandom:

Originally, I wrote in my LOC that I firmly supported [A W] and [L T]. Having read more, I think that... neither side is worthy of complete support. [L] and [A] had things to say because it appears that the Darrows reacted badly to the discovery that friends of theirs were linked to the printing of homosexual material. [L] and [A] felt they were being hounded and they also reacted badly. Both sides have written items stoked by anger and spiked with emotionalism, but perhaps [L] and [A] are now saying it all too loudly. If we could back off, no one would have to take sides against anyone. Finally, what makes fandom fandom? The fans, obviously, but zines a real svital. I mean that in very general terms, from LOC sheets right through to slash, that is any form of fan creativity which deepens and broadens the universe we saw limited by a TV format into something that is even greater than that which the writers and actors created. We owe these people a debt, but fandom does not revolve solely around them and their wishes. The actors are important, but this is now our universe. They had to move on, at least eight years ago, to other material, with occasional visits back. Let us do with our universe what pleases us.

A fan asks "Where's the fire?":

I had sat down and written a friend overseas about the so-called 'controversy' sweeping American B7 fandom, when I realised - there was no problem! Look at it. The hysterical original statements claimed that there would be control of fandom, control of zines, of cons, of art. That just ain't happening. And it's not because 'Anonymous' and her hysterical friend jumped up to protect' us and save us. It hasn't happened because it was never going to happen... There was a claim, for example, that the pro-cons would be held in cities and at times to rival local fan-run cons. The locations of those cities depends on what the fans there themselves want. That has always been true. There was only one city actually under discussion, however, where there is no regular B7 fan-run con, and where the fans were eager to be involved. That city was San Diego, and it was curiously not mentioned in the statements. Why? Perhaps because 'Anonymous' didn't have her facts at all straight. Or just perhaps 'Anonymous' was flat lying in order to raise a lynch mob against Paul Darrow. If this one basic fact has been twisted, how much of any of her statement can one take as true? Very little. There was a claim of art control, that certain artists would pay a 50% commission to join the pro-con. The fact is, that in in addition, mark that, in addition to the usual art shows and auctions and and the usual fees, some artists would be COMMISSIONED to do special art promoting the con (i.e: T-shirts, mugs... the sort of thing you see at any fan-con) for 50% of the profits. 'Anonymous' pulled two words out- 'commission' and' 50%'- and tried to make that sound like control. And then there's zine control, and I'm certain 'Anonymous' and her friends will make a big issue of this. A few writers and zine editors have already voluntarily blacklisted themselves. One admits so in the Federation Archives Addendum. Terry Nation didn't do that. Paul Darrow didn't do that. Janet Darrow didn't do that. They did it to themselves. Why? They like martyrdom I suppose. I dunno. I do know that slash is not the issue, but merely part of the problem 'Anonymous' and her friends are creating. At Revelcon in San Diego, we had a slash panel and Terry Nation presided. We discussed the issue maturely and rationally. We didn't seek his approval and he didn't seek excuses. The panel broke up with UNDERSTANDING on all sides. Almost all problems can be cleared up in a rational, mature DISCUSSION.... is it zine control if Terry Nation or Paul Darrow ask 'Anonymous' and her two friends to no longer use them or their creations in their zines? That depends, if you thing after maligning Terry Nation and Paul Darrow, hurting him and his wife, and distressing many fans as well, one still has the 'right' to their faces and creations. Attorneys for Michael Keating and Paul Darrow have issued a cease and desist, that 'Anonymous' and her two friends are no longer allowed to use their images in anything, and I've no doubt 'Anonymous' will start screaming that they are attempting 'control.' I think that a person would have a great deal of gall to attempt any gain (be in monetary, fame, prestige, popularity, or anything) from someone they've spent a great deal of effort to malign and hurt. Don't forget, it's Terry Nation's characters and universe and I think he's been incredibly generous with it. It's his right to put a halt to anything that hurts him, however. Instead, he supports fandom. But you can't ask him to support people who hurt him, his creation, and his friends.

A fan writes of slash:

I'm not lonely. I'm not frustrated. I'm not a spinster. I don't have an inferiority complex. I'm not even frantically in love with some actor yet convinced he/she would despise me. I don't, frankly, give a damn what any actor should think of me. Everyone knows which B7 character I like and if he should 'want' to get off with Servalan, or some other gorgeous woman or even some desirable, masculine guy, good luck to him. Fantasy? Great. Experimental fiction? Marvelous. I'll be happier if it's kept tasteful according to my own principles but I'm not going to fret if someone else has different views. Fandom is fun -- let's keep it that way and discuss it amicable. Something that disturbs me about the ranting against slash is that the objection seems to dwell on homosexuality. I don't wish to write intimately of homosexual love as I cannot experience it. Possibly women find it unusually interesting? What is wrong in that? Male writers seem to dwell on rape and violence. As to hunky men together -- if I like 'em, I can't see why I shouldn't fantasise over the possibility that they might like one another. I defy anyone to try to prove that therefore I am a deviant moron. I despise anyone who dare not sign their work -- if they're ashamed of it, why don't they alter it? If they want to write slash, then for heaven's sake do so and say so -- most of us won't condemn them if they can keep what they write reasonably civilised.

A fan writes:

The biggest question I had to answer my overseas friend was: Why? Well, Paul Darrow and Terry Nation asked [L C], because of her experience in setting up cons, to organize the pro-tour and not 'Anonymous.' 'Anonymous,' by her own admission in the Federation Archives Addendum, admits that [L C] asked her to be involved and that she refuses to participate if [L C] is going to 'be in charge'. Think about it. All this so-called controversy is because one woman got jealous. 'Anonymous' being who she is, went on the attack. If she couldn't have the pro-con, no-one could. And she doesn't stop. If she can't have this fandom, no-one else can. And she blackmails us further. She'll take the only contribution she has to this fandom, her zines, and go home (this threat before the cease and desist order). Her friends will blacklist themselves, and somehow it's the Darrows' fault.

A fan feels TPTB's direct involvement in B7's fandom is a good thing:

Blake's Seven fandom is, to my limited experience, unique. I can't think of another fandom where the actors have the care and concern for the fandom that the Darrows do. I've thought all along that we've very lucky to have such genuinely nice human beings so accessible to their fans. I now think we're doubly lucky that they, and Terry Nation, care so much. A lot of strong bonds are being forged here, not the least of which are the bonds between the actors, the creator, and amongst the fans. I'm glad to still be a part of it all.

A fan writes of slash:

I generally disapprove of censorship and I cannot see anything wrong in detailed descriptions of 'love' between adults, even if in unlikely circumstances between macho, hunky men (heavens, it's only FANTASY -- it isn't real). I don't read, or write slash, but I couldn't care less if others want to. I don't agree that all slash is about the 'actors' even if there are illos accompanying it, although I agree that such illos might offend the actors. The subject of slash is the decision of the writer and the reader -- you can't dictate what they should think or do. Paul Darrow isn't Avon. I've no desire to write about Paul Darrow, or any other actor. Other writers might feel differently. It is impossible to be sure what is intended or how a reader will see a story. I agree personal names of actors should never be used, nor slash material forced upon them if they don't want to see it. I have no difficulty in distinguishing between actors and characters but some people might be unable to tell the difference. That's their problem... but it's not a crime. Sadistic or paedophilic slash would not appeal to me at all, and I would hope that most fans avoid it. But then I deplore sadistic stories in general... and in fact there's plenty of sadistic violence in Avon: a Terrible Aspect. Where do you draw the line? It's inevitable there will be some violence in stories about a violent society, even I have used it now and then to make a point. We are bound to argue over how much sadism, violence, explicit or illicit sex, homosexuality or any other question matter should feature in stories, illos, or on screen. The readers and viewers dictate what's wanted. If a demand is there, someone will always meet it -- that's life. If readers enjoy sadistic or homosexual tales, if they want to read of gorgeous hunky guys together, they'll get all that ... there is no point in getting upset about 'underground' products. I can't myself see any difference between sadistic slash and violent murder on page after page of commercially printed books which you can buy on any bookstall.

A fan writes:

[A W's] article: I can't accept that it's true. It contained a number of serious allegations of bad behaviour which are entirely contrary to Paul Darrow's well-known track record at conventions. We're being asked to believe that he has completely changed his attitude, and we are offered no proof. I'd need more than one person's statement to convince me that he has abandoned the care and consideration for fans which has been seen and recorded for years. As for the proposed convention tour being a rip-off, publications by Terry Nation and Laurie Cohen make it clear that the cons are not going to be organized as [A W] said they were. So her article is wrong.

A fan writes of what she considers "public attacks on unnamed fans":

[L T] writes vitriolically about 'Quislings' who 'betray confidences' and' suck up' to the Darrows over the slash issue. On the same subject, L[L S] talks about 'sycophantic finks'. Neither chose to say whom they meant. Why not? Afraid of being sued for libel? You needn't be. if you can prove what you say. No proof? Then what are these people doing spreading inflammatory rumours? (Or inflammatory lies). [K H] believes, from personal letters sent to her by [L T] and others, that she is the subject of some of these attacks. The hate mail sent to her by some readers of these articles indicates that other people think so too. If she is the intended target, then the accusations made are not true. [K H] has staled in public that she has never discussed slash with [L T], much less received any confidences on the subject. She has talked about slash as a topic of general interest and general knowledge in B7 fandom. Her attitude to it was not invented to curry favour with the Darrows, but has been known for years.

A fan has an issue with badly written slash:

I here has been much indignant correspondence lately on the subject to Slash fiction. Comments have ranged all through B7 fandom, from the lowliest NNF right up to Janet and Paul Darrow. Much has been made of the use of the character's "real' names, the porno-type artwork and explicit writing However. I think that the real horror of slash has been missed The indecent nature of it lies in none of the above, but in the fact that it is mostly such a load of old (cock?) cobblers. There is no excuse for some of the appallingly written, staggeringly embarrassing tripe passing for prose in these stories. The writing of a good and credible sex scene is very hard to do without falling off the tightrope into the 'three dots' category or the hilariously purple prose of "... revelling in the thrill of this Niagra (sic) of passion, Avon pressed against Blake's large chest....' I mean, please. Pass the sickbag. Two immediate questions arise from this sentence. What, pray, 'is a 'Niagra of passion', and why is Blake's chest so large? In my perusal of this genre, it appears that were someone to do a photofit of poor ok) Roj, he would have a chest large enough to accommodate Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and an organ the size of the Empire Stale Building. The piece I have quoted is not from the UK in fact, but in an Australian zine - written in the US. I believe. from whence came the delights (?) of Kirk/Spock. Don't get me wrong I have nothing whatsoever against homosexual pairings (indeed, some of my best friends, etc....!) Done well, a gay story is extremely effective. I remember, in my youth, being given a Professionals' slash story. I raised a dubious eyebrow, but on reading it, was impressed both by the writing and the relationship between the two men which was made to be not only credible, but also possible. However, most B7 slash I have read is SO inept that one can only wonder whether the people writing them (invariably women) have any idea of who their characters are (let alone how two men make love)... Now I KNOW that 'Alternative' B7 heterosexual stories are quite often on the same lines. But it's so BORING!!... I can only end by saying this: By all means put sex into B7 if you want, but for God's sake (and ours) KEEP IT PROBABLE, or you will inspire not only disgust, but hysteria. And which is worse?

The editor includes "A Statement Written by [D G] on Behalf of the Horizon Committee," some excerpts:

The Pro-Con Tour: ... sounds like a great idea... if anyone IS going to be greedy, and try to ask for too much money, the thing would founder for lack of participants anyway, so why not leave the organizers to work things out sensibly by themselves? I wish I could go to one! BNFs:... I am not acquainted with them personally -- so unlike politicians -- we will not discuss this aspect of the situation since we don't know the facts behind the personality clashes here... What is termed "BNF syndrome" doesn't seem to happen over here, at least not that I know of. Slash fiction: Tricky to draw a fine line between censorship and not upsetting. Some say, "no-one is forced to read the stuff, so anyone disapproving should ignore it.' Fine, except that when finds out that people you have come to admire and respect for their acting abilities and/or personalities are revolted by reading of the characters they portrayed indulging in highly questionable and (to them) unpleasant acts, what is one to do? APART from the Darrows, I have spoken personally to four other of our Honorary Members, and all four disapprove of Slash Fiction. It's easy enough to say "don't read it" but if these people KNOW that fans are seeing their images performing homosexual and/or sado-maschohistic acts, might it be rather unpleasant and embarrassing for them? The issue seems to have really taken off after the Darrows discovered that PEOPLE THEY KNEW PERSONALLY, CORRESPOND WITH AND REGARDED AS FRIENDS were writing this stuff about 'them' or at least their characters. It's one thing to know that 'fans in general' write the stuff, but when it's someone you've had tea with... Even in these 'liberal' times, some people have always and WILL always feel uncomfortable about certain things. We should respect that. And really, a lot of the Slash written seems to not be about B7 at all. The characters bear no resemblance to ANYTHING we ever saw on screen... Gambit convention: rumors abounded at the time that the Con Committee "withdrew Paul's invitation out of spite"... As far as I understand it... the Darrows were originally invited well BEFORE any problems emerged, and Paul had already had to subsequently refuse the invitation because of starting tour with 'Alibi for Murder' the same week as the convention... Paul Darrow: Really, the facts speak for themselves. Whether 'motives' people may wish to attribute to his actions, the facts are that Paul is ALWAYS accessible to the 'ordinary' fans -- not just those he knows well... And if the LOCS printed above all seem pretty one sided (i.e., on the side of the Darrows) this is MAINLY because 95% of all the correspondence and verbal comments we have received have supported them unequivocally, or almost so -- with perhaps the thought that certain statements were a bit 'over the top'... One can make an eloquent case for EITHER Side if one has the mind. You can distort facts to fit whatever theory you want it to fit... if BNFs want to squabble amongst themselves, let them do it quietly. If people want to write and/or publish slash, let them do so unobtrusively -- without overstepping the mark into revolting pornography for its own sake. And for goodness sake, leave the rest of us to ENJOY our fandom -- B7 is too good to throw away.

Issue 23

Horizon Newsletter 23 was published in December 1989 and contains 72 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

cover of issue #23

Issue 23: Letters from the "Controversy in Blake's Seven Fandom" Section

See much more at The Blake's 7 War.

From a fan:

I can't follow the reasoning behind [name redacted's] letter on the Controversy. She seems to be contradicting herself when she closes her letter with the remark: 'let us do with our universe as it pleases us.' Since this conclusion ignores that he has admitted earlier in the same letter that Terry Nation owns the B7 universe and has the legal rights to say Stop!' Moreover, the B7 universe is not merely Terry Nation's property, but his creation and not the creation of the fanzine writers. All fiction in fanzines, not just those for B7 but Dr Who, Star Trek, Robin of Sherwood etc is essentially a kind of literary parasite whose existence is derived from the original creative ideas of others. To claim that because they are are now part of a original creator's past a fan writer has the right to take over these original ideas and do what he or she wants with them simply seems unfair to the original creators who surely retain a moral as well as a legal right to have a say about how their creations are interpreted and used by others, especially when sensitive issues such as slash fiction are involved. If [name redacted] and fan writers really want their own universe to do as they please with, it would be more honest for them to to give up writing fan fiction and instead to try to create an original work and characters of their own rather than those that others have already created and twist them to suit their own tastes.

A fan writes:

I'm amazed at the 'Controversy' as this is the first I've heard of it. As I've seen neither side's correspondence. I can only go by your article and the related correspondence, of both sides have been slinging mud, they are obviously both in the wrong. On the specific topic of slash fiction, I wasn't aware of its presence in Blake's 7 fiction, but it doesn't surprise me. These days my curiosity has been fully satisfied but I've read the Star Trek variety (which is the form which originated the whole genre). A lot of it as [name redacted] says, is badly written though the same can be said about non-slash/non-sexual material. More disturbingly, most of it is morbidly obsessed with rape/bondage scenarios: in the K/S (Star Trek) context this usually takes the form of Pon Far [sic] or slave stories. Most, if not all, is written by women. It is interesting to speculate on the psychological aspects: it has been suggested that, as women are conditioned to identify with men's needs and achievements, they identify with the male characters in these stories as a way of legitimising putting themselves into the stories. It is interesting to note that the male characters usually exhibit an emotional intensity: desperate need, weeping, baring their souls - that men in our society are conditioned against showing. They are men but express themselves emotionally with a freedom only permitted to "weak" women. Having said that, there is a (relatively small) body of slash stories which do not feature sadism or boring blow-by-blow bedroom capers but are sensitive and convincing stories to the emotional relationship between two men which remains true to the characters. In other words, the writer does not distort the characters and the relationship develops in a way which is "true' to how they would react if they did develop a sexual/emotional attraction. I am thinking especially of Leslie Fish's Kirk/Spock stories. I am concerned, like [name redacted] whether the objections against the stories stem from a bias against homosexuality per se rather than the sadism, etc. of most of the material. The over-reaction on both sides may have something to do with the hysteria in recent years of the 'gay plague' AIDS coverage and general anti-gay attitude. It is rather disingenuous of '[name of her pseud redacted]' to pass it off with the comment about longtime use of pseudonyms; they were employed from time immemorial for the very good reason that using your real name invited prosecution... Although the danger to writers of 'straight" porn and sadism has largely disappeared, gay writers face continuing persecution with raids and confiscation of books at Gays the Word and other booksellers even of 'classics' available in 'respectable' outlets. Similarly, there are many cases of workers dismissed once their sexual orientation is revealed. Obviously none of this excuses the rudeness of the writers concerned in this case, but may to some extent explain their paranoia. In conclusion, I hope that this uproar dies down soon, vitriol and lies do nothing except bring the whole of fandom into disrepute.

A fan comments on slash:

Concerning the slash debate: My own feelings on this literature is a mixture of [two names redacted's] letters. Whether people like it or not, slash fiction is here to stay. Prejudice against this form of literature is not only annoying, but worrying in the extreme. People have many different tastes in reading matter and just because your choice of reading doesn't coincide with someone else's doesn't mean you have the right or privilege to censor their reading. Personally, I enjoy reading well-written slash. For a long time I have regarded Avon to be bisexual and strongly attracted to Blake. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with me seeing the characters in any way I choose. It's said some men find the thought of two women together, shall I I say, interesting. So why shouldn't women find the thought of a man making love to another man equally interesting? If you find slash distasteful then don't read it. Most adult fanzines are usually marked with warning of content slash, be it comedy or dramatic is usually entertaining, and entertainment is what it's all about in the end. It's a welcome plus if a story makes you think, but not a necessity. It all comes down to personal choice in the long run.

A fan is blunt:

With regard to the controversy, you must come down VERY firmly on the side of the actors. Their enthusiasm must have complete protection from the whims of the few, or the fabric of the club will fall apart.

A fan has a suggestion:

In [name redacted's] letter in NL22 she states that 'almost all problems can be cleared up in a rational, mature discussion' referring to Terry and the slash panel at Revelcon. I challenge the Darrows to follow Terry's example and do just that- discuss their problems with fandom, WITHOUT making wild accusations that if you're neutral or undecided then you're Pontius Pilate. It has put a lot of fans against B7 fandom and/or the Darrows. B7 fandom is a hobby to me, so it's not going to kill me if this fandom dies as a result of the controversy. But it seems like such an idiotic way for this fandom to meet its Gauda Prime.

A fan comments:

I imagine there will be some affronted fans who'll promptly blackball [name redacted] after reading her letter. But she has merely said sensible, honest things which a number of fans have been thinking for some time. I am not surprised there is a row over 'private conventions'. How could an argument be avoided if there is a suggestion that 'ordinary cons' aren't good enough? In any case, this very un-British conceit embarrasses British fans. I too have wondered why these cons are to be exclusive to the United States. Perhaps we don't fawn round some actors enough? Still, fawning is not my style, and I'd rather do without the cons than make a fool of myself.... The problem with slash is that the word covers two very different types of activity. One relates to love, or two people being very nice indeed to one another. The other relates to violence, rape and power, and sex is merely an additional, salacious factor I wonder why it is apparently OK for sex and violence to feature ad nauseam in a certain book [6] whilst slash sex and violence are, according to some, disgusting beyond belief? Perhaps those who differentiate would like to explain what the difference is? The answers will be very illuminating...even if not in the manner those responding actually intend.

A fan writes:

What seems clear from the NL is: a) Most of the hoo-ha is centered in America. b) The Darrows have been deeply upset by the whole thing. c) The fiction concerned seems to be a minority thing anyway.

A fan writes:

My view is... if people continue to put their oars in the muddy waters the situation will continue and get steadily worse. The reason I am saying all this is the news from the States. It seems that everyone is putting their small oars in the waters and making things ten times worse and because of that Fandom is disintegrating over there. We must never, ever let that happen here.

A fan writes:

This fandom controversy has caused me some concern. I hate it when politics come into fandom! Politics and profits are NOT what fandom is about. I'm a fan of B7 because I love the characters on that particular programme. I want to see the actors in other shows and environments. I love meeting other fans, reading and writing B7 stones, poems etc. However, I do object to all this internal squabbling. I am deeply sorry that people such as the Darrows have been hurt by the recent goings on. I think we as fans should realise (and most of us do!) that without the Darrows et al there would be no B7 and I for one wouldn't have made the many friends I have made since being 'a fan'. To those who have brought this bad feeling, I can only say I hope you're satisfied, and I'm sorry that your attitude is as it is. Fandom owes a great deal to 'our' actors etc, because they've given up a great deal for us with no grudge or complaint. Thank you to them for their interest alone in the fans. [Name redacted] has probably written the nearest view to my own on the subject of slash. I don't object to it. I've written it myself (not B7 related) and am not ashamed to say that I've written it. Homosexuality exists and I suppose in B7 the possibilities are there, though I can't imagine our characters being gay. I do object to the use of actors' names. That is unfair, and some find it offensive. I read enormous amounts of gay fiction, and I can assure you I'm not a pervert. If those who wish to use slash in B7 fiction do so, please at least treat it kindly and print your own name. If you are a gay writer, so what? I don't care provided you can write a decent character story that's credible within the B7 sphere of fiction. Alter all, fandom is fun, B7 stories make up fandom. [Name redacted] hit it on the nose, make the stories good, please!!

A fan writes:

About slash: slash fiction has nothing directly to do with the eroticization of violence. I can't understand where this misconception came from. Slash is about love, and about the expression of that love; from K/S onwards. Specifically, slash is about the eroticization of love between people of the same sex. That some people find this fearful is a symptom of this sick society, that finds violence more suitable for children to watch than sex. It is my contention that slash is a step forward in emotional maturity tor many fan writers. I recall one writer, who has made, I think, a clear transition: in an early story of hers that I remember, Avon was first crushed half to death, then given a drug to which he was allergic, then discovered to be paralyzed in the legs, then tortured by Travis (Servalan watching), then gassed... all in one fairly short story, so that Blake and Vila could express their feeling for Avon! Later stories allowed Blake and Vila to express their feeling for Avon by putting Avon through emotional and mental hell, but immense suffering was evidently still required. Finally, quite recently, this writer has begun to write slash stories in which Avon and Vila, Avon and Blake, are allowed lo express their feelings without putting Avon through every kind of hell first.

Now, deep breaths, I'm going to plunge into various controversial items: In general: I've been to one pro-run con, and while I defend to the death anyone's right to go to one if they want to, I'm never going to another. I don't go to many cons, and I prefer to go to cons focussed on fans, not their money. To '[name, a pseud redacted]': Who is using homophobia as a weapon? It seemed to me that various people on the anti-slash side tried. And lost, I think, because the majority of fans support the free press of fandom and are basically very right-minded people, uninclined towards witch-hunting. Also, I'm a slash writer, a slash editor, a slash reader, and nothing I have ever written, for any market, has ever been published under a pseudonym. I also know maybe a dozen fanwriter's pseudonyms. I've never given anyone away, let alone to a hostile audience. Some writers (James Tiptree, Jr., multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner, being a notable example) prefer to use pseudonyms. And why shouldn't they? The fact that slash may offend some of the actors is completely irrelevant. If they don't like it, they're free to say so. No one is forcing them to read it. I'm not interested in opinions about slash from people who don't read it, and that goes for actors as well as fans. Obviously, zines with embarrassing cover illustrations should be sold under the table only in dealers rooms. Illustrations inside the zine are no one's business but those who want to read the zines.

[Name redacted:] if you've only read "inept" slash, where have you been since the Southern Lights/Southern Comfort zines came out? Or you could have borrowed some of my own zines. I think you might find some fairly ept stories in there, if I do say so myself. Finally, with regard to the slash part of the Horizon statement; are you suggesting, seriously suggesting that fans should not write stories that may make actors uncomfortable? Fandom is for us, not the actors. Are you suggesting that fans should suppress stories? I'm appalled. No. I'm shocked. Fandom's the last free press, let's not muzzle sit, and lets get real, if all the B7 actors stepped under buses simultaneously (God forbid!), it would rock B7 fandom but not destroy it. Nothing can destroy fandom but the fans leaving it.

The editor of Horizon, speaking as herself and not in official capacity, responds to the letter above:

I think it would depend on why it made the actors uncomfortable. B7 fandom has actively chosen to involve the actors, and so they deserve our respect. It if makes them uncomfortable to read stories where the characters they play are portrayed pornographically in (to them) repugnant situations, particularly with illustrations, I think they are entitled to say so in the hope that we (the fans) will, perhaps, take this into account when deciding what to buy and write. I don't see fandom as 'the last free press' in a political sense. The vast majority of fans chose to involve the actors, and this has to be taken into account, in my opinion. I'm not saying we should NEVER do ANYTHING that they might disapprove of, or just be reasonable.

A fan writes:

I was able to read through the latest issue of your newsletter at Scorpio, recently. Neutrality means you keep your yap and your newsletter shut. If you mention any controversy, then you must present all sides. This you did not do. In fact, many of the letters were so old they were behind the facts. If you 'didn't have the room' to present the opposing view, why present one at all? Especially now that it's simmered down here. Now that [names redacted] and myself are still here, still producing zines and art and photos. And selling same. And winning awards. Fans still organize cons and go to them. Paul is still acting and doing an occasional con.... By the way, for the record, I never accused any of Paul's supporters of being 'snitches.' I accused the snitches of being snitches -- in any fandom.

A fan writes about a controversial book, and of "Pro-Con-Pro-Con-Cons":

Slash. I hate to say this, but I can't help thinking of Salman Rushdie. The poor chap writes a book (okay, he probably know it was going to offend people), but those who are actually baying for his blood by and large haven't actually read it! Similarity, I can't help feeling that those who are the most anti-slash haven't read any -- they are put off by the IDEA of it.

Re: the Dreaded Controversy. On my way to work this morning, I found myself musing thus: if a Professional Convention is a Pro-Con, then those in favour are Pro-Pro-Cons and those against are Con-Pro-Cons. Which makes the controversy a Pro-Con-Pro-Con-Con at which point it starts to sound like Doctor Suess. And isn't the whole thing every bit as silly?

The editor writes:

As far as we are concerned, the controversy is over and no further comments on the subject will be printed. Let's get back to having fun and enjoying fandom.

Issue 24

Horizon Newsletter 24 was published in May 1990 and contains 80 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir. Includes all Horizon Poetry Competition results, "serious, humorous & Vogon!"

front cover of issue #24
back cover of issue #24

The editorial has NO mention of the recent controversies:


The new decade has got off to an excellent start, with a whole surge of renewed interest in B7, chiefly resulting from the re-release of the BBC Videos. Yes, the Beeb have seen sense at last, and are now selling their official tapes at the more realistic price of 9.99. Not only that, but they've also released the fourth tape, 'Aftermath', which for reasons known only to the Beeb, was previously sold only in Australia! All four tapes are doing nicely in the HMV Video Top Twenty Charts. As I type this (April 3rd), 'The Beginning' is currently number 8 in the charts, 'Duel' (listed by HMV as 'The Dual'!) is number 12, 'Orac' (similarly retitled 'Oracle'!) is number 14, and 'Aftermath' number 18. So it looks as though the BBC are beginning to accept that B7 just WON'T go away! Who knows, perhaps we may even see some repeats on TV? (But don't hold your breath...)


Now, look out of your window. Does the moon look blue? Are there pink elephants flying by? Has a U.F.O. landed on your lawn? Well, try believing this, then: THE EPIC IS READY!!! Astonishing but true! All of you who ordered it should have received it by now (okay, you should have received it 4 years ago, but we won't go into that!). And those of you who haven/t ordered it should seriously consider doing so - it's huge and glossy and glorious - a thoroughbred racehorse of a zine! (...Ed.- And due to the printers mucking :: up three times and having to reprint it, we ended up with a zine which looks - and indeed cost the printers - at least double what we are charging!!)


You've heard of Pro-Conventions, you've heard of Fan-Conventions. But I bet you've never yet seen a review of a Non-Convention! When Del-10 was cancelled, Nicola and I were left high and dry with air tickets to America that we couldn't cancel. Horizon is proud to present the saga of what Nicola and I did INSTEAD of Del-10 - fandom's very first Non-Con Review! (Well, I couldn't disappoint Marise Morland-Chapman, could I?!)

Yes, folks, once again it's a bumper-size newsletter! Apart from all the usual news, reviews, and interview, we've got a new Tec-Sec by Kathryn Andersen, this time on the subject of Tarial Cells; we've got the results of the poetry competition; plus all the wonderful articles and LOCs that you have sent us! Keep 'em coming in - this is YOUR newsletter, we like to hear what you have to say.

  • Editorial
  • Club News
  • updates about committee members, present and past
  • regarding anonymous contributions: "ANONYMOUS ARTICLES - We welcome all contributions to the newsletter, but Horizon policy is not to publish anything if we don't know who sent it. We're happy to credit the article under an assumed/pen name for you if you want, but WE must know who you are, please. This doesn't apply to anything unpleasant (personal attacks, etc.) which we won't publish anyway."
  • a con report, with photos, for Space City
  • Happy 10th Birthday Horizon!, article by Diane Gies
  • small signed notes (some handwritten) notes from the actors congratulating the club
  • Birthday Editorial from Horizon Founder & President, Pat Thomas
  • How to Post Newsletters During a Postal Strike!, article by Diane Gies
  • What We Did Instead of Del-10, a Non-Convention Review by Jackie Ophir (includes photos, hauling seven suitcases to New York City to collate and mail)
  • Blake's Seven -- The Adverts, humorous article by Gill Marsden
  • So You Want to Join the Federation Space Academy?, humorous multiple choice test by Rory Hull
  • Horizon Publicity Report, article by Fliss Davies
  • Blake's 7 in the Media, compiled by Kevin Davies
  • B7 Location Guide by Kevin Davies
  • information about the BBC Blake's Seven Videos
  • Tec-Sec: Comments on Kerr Ajay's IMIPAC Theory (one fan points out: "not IMIPAC, since it is an acronym and the last word is KEY")
  • What is a Tarial Cell, Really?, article by Kathryn Andersen (reprinted from Cypher n.1, the newsletter of the "new Australian Club Liberator Australis")
  • A Liberator Diary, a recount by Kevin Davies about constructing the new kit model of LIBERATOR from Comet, includes photos (it took him 21 days to finish due to his inclusion of a flashing light)
  • Comet Miniatures - LIBERATOR, Review and Model Making Guide by Paul Holroyd, includes some hand-drawn diagrams
  • Vila - A Personal View, essay by Karen Foley
  • Letters of Comment
  • An Informal Chat With Colin Davis, long interview conducted by Jackie Ophir (and six other fans) at a small village tea shop, includes two photos, also includes some fan art of Colin Davis
  • Paul Darrow in "Making News" (Thames TV), reviewed by Nicola Best
  • Theatre Reviews, "Summer Breeze," "Noises Off," "A Bit of a Wiz," "King Lear"
  • North-To-South-West, a Horizon Cultural Weekend in Exeter!, article by Crystal Denton (an account of seeing Gareth Thomas in "King Lear")
  • News About the Actors
  • MANY fannish things for sale
  • convention blurbs
  • Category C-- Vogon
    • Roberta Roe, "Ode to a Small, Sticky Piece of Blake Found Behind Avon's Left Ear After Gauda Prime" (winner)
    • Roberta Roe, "Thoughts upon Being Shot Dead by a Psychopath in Black Leather Who Has Overdosed on Studs-- A Viewpoint of Roj Blake"
    • William J. Morrison, "The Blake Effect"
    • Teresa Ward, "Ode to Avon"
    • A. J. Startup, "Freedom's Crusade"

Early in 1987 two exciting things occured in the world of B7 fandom! Horizon acquired it’s first word processor (Diane’s) and... the BBC released the last of their 3 (hideously expensive at £24.95 each) B7 videos (Orac). Whilst you decide which of these 2 events was the most exciting, I’ll tell you what’s been happening on the video scene since then. NOTHING. Right up until March 1990, the BBC have done nothing at all except to release a 4th video (entitled Aftermath) in Australia. However, they have finally seen sense and you will all be delighted to know that on 5th March 1990 the original 3 videos plus the never-before-seen-in-the-UK 4th video were re-released on the unsuspecting British public at the far more sensible price of £9.99 each.

For those of you who weren’t around at the time, we’ll give you a brief bit of background information. The Beginning (15 minutes of ’The Way Back’, a fair amount of ’Spacefall’ and ’Cygnus Alpha’ and a fairly decimated version of ’Time Squad’ all on one 2 hour tape!) was released in summer 1985. The other tapes were also edited, but not so heavily. So then came Duel (encompassing ’Seek-Locate-Destroy’, ’Duel’ and ’Project Avalon’). After that came Orac (’Deliverance’, ’Orac’ and ’Redemption’). This latter was generally accepted to be the best of the three, with better editing, helped by the fact that the three stories run into one another. The last tape. Aftermath, brings you ’Aftermath’ (conveniently omitting the rest of Series 2... what happened to Gan, Travis, Jenna, Blake himself... and what is it the Aftermath of??) followed by ’Powerplay’ and ’Sarcophagus’.

The tapes are released on the BBC Video label, catalogue numbers BBC V 4325, 4327, 4328 and 4329. Price £9.99 each. Most major video stores will be selling them, or if you really have trouble you could get them direct from the BBC, but I’m sure you’ll be able to buy them locally. Apparently, the tapes have been doing REALLY well in the ’video top 20 charts’ with Aftermath coming fourth (I think - can’t find my notes!), and the other three also in the top 20. Aftermath also reached No. 1 on the Virgin sell-thru chart.

I think people are being a bit over-critical of Blake’s 7 fourth series. Certainly it was B7’s least interesting, but it’s not loo bad. I don’t think you can point to any one factor which spoils it - its failings were perhaps due to a few smallish mistakes, such as a poor Scorpio set (I suppose anything would seem poor after the Liberator set!), some badly directed action sequences, and what Mark Willis, in his review of ’Blake’ in Space Rat issue 6 called ’the heroic snarling Avon’. However, I did think that the writing was competent, especially Robert Holmes’ scripts, and so was most of the acting. Unfortunately, the series looks to me to have had a pretty hefty budget cut, which you can’t really blame the production team for. In an S.F. series, low budgets can be disastrous. You can have the best S.F. script ever, but if its effects are poor, just too many people write it off as dross. This is a fact which leads B7 in general to be viewed in an unsympathetic light by many members of the public, and not just the fourth series. They expect TV effects to be as good as Film effects, which is just not possible (unless we paid treble the license fee, of course!).

People call Avon the ’Great Survivor’, but who else survived just as long, and why? Wasn’t Vila’s consistent attitude to life all part of his particular defence against it? Whether seen as a part of the first crew or the last, Vila was always different from the others. They all seemed so hard, tough, determined, committed (match the attribute to the character as you will) with little or no time or even capacity for humour, caring or even relaxation. Vila excelled in all of these attributes; they were a natural part of his persona and essential to his personal survival.

We know that Vila could have been graded Alpha, but chose to be graded Delta, engineered it deliberately, for specific reasons. He then went on to pursue a (presumably) successful career as "a thief and a good one" (Avon, in ’Gold’). On '.his basis, it seems to me that Vila was very much in control of his own existence from an early age, & went on to make sure that things were as he wanted them to be, as much as possible, within each set of conditions imposed upon him.

Vila never needed to affect Toughness, Arrogance, Sarcasm or to alienate everyone around him. He never pretended that he went with Blake out of any commitment to the Cause. He never needed to be a great fighter or a crack shot. Instead, he tried as far as possible to avoid situations where such talents might be necessary, or to be with someone who did have them. Vila was totally confident in his own skills and never laid claim to any others - quite the opposite. The others moaned at and about Vila, threatened and betrayed him, and thought they knew him for exactly what he was. Consequently, one could sympathise with him in ’Orbit’, when Avon’s cold-blooded decision to ditch Vila in order to ensure his own survival caused Vila such fear and pain - then afterwards he was angry and resentful, and made sure Avon knew it.

1 found Vila the easiest character to accept - you knew where you were with him, and he was likeable; not a word you could use with many of the characters! His consistent attitude towards any form of possibly dangerous enterprise made it easy for the others to dismiss him as a fool, a coward, a half-wit, an idiot - all quotes. I don’t think Vila was at all cowardly, but it suited him to have everyone thinking that he was, so he played up to the image. This ensured that they ill treated him in the way he wanted them to. They didn’t automatically include him on missions or expect him to do anything heroic. Consequently, Vila avoided an awful lot of trouble and who can blame him?

I think many fans choose Avon as leader because they like the guy best and because he tended to try and defy Blake (often for no good reason that I could see, other than sheer cussedness)! But no-one is ever (I suspect) going to convince me that Avon was the leader. And I have to agree that unless Blake is present in some way in a 5th Series, it won’t be Blake s Seven for me either. Avon’s Seven won’t be the same thing at all, and I’m not terribly interested in a scenario which concentrates solely on Avon’s future.

As a fanwriter. I’m not likely to agree with Gena’s views on fanfic. I suspect that Sarah’s remarks in the previous N/L relate to her disappointment over the way fandom has gone recently and a wish to opt out of some of the more depressing developments. I think some fan stories are superior to any of the TV episodes... but that’s just my personal opinion.

Many Beeb programmes look rinky-dinky, as you put it! To us, characterisation is far more important than special effects, though it’d be nice (naturally) if we could have everything perfect. I doubt if many of us care about the rinky-dinkiness overmuch. So what if Liberator’s set nearly fell down during every episode and eventually had to be destroyed because it wouldn’t last another series! It’s all part of the fun. I’d rather have rinky-dinkiness than nothing at all, and nothing at all is likely what it’d be if the Beeb had to produce wonderful sfx... since we wouldn’t pay for the licence fees required to produce diem. I guess we’re grateful for what we get As you can see, I am a confirmed Beeb supporter IN SPITE OF THEIR DETERMINATION TO FORGET B7 EVER EXISTED.

I don’t think much of Scorpio as a ship. It was a fearful comedown after Liberator and doubtless contributed to the lower popularity of Series 4 amongst fans here.

I agree with your theory about the ideals of fandom, where you said that because one is not supposed to like Tarrant, new fans take this to heart. The same thing was tried on me, when I first viewed the series in Australia. I was told, most emphatically, that I would NOT like Tarrant, and they almost had me believing it! Shame on them (you know who you are!). Fortunately, my good sense prevailed, and I love that curly-haired pilot, so there. Let new fans form their own opinions. I recently let a friend borrow my videos of the series. I kept my mouth shut on who I liked, and she ended up picking Vila as her favourite, stating that Avon was too unlikable, or some such thing. Incidentally, she liked Travis, too. I promise I didn’t influence her!

Del Tarrant. Yes, I’m one of the enlightened few who admit to having Tarrant as their favourite B7 character. When I found B7, I had no idea that fandom existed or that Tarrant was much maligned. I came in during the third season and thought that young, exuberant pilot was most interesting. To find out later that he was unpopular was disheartening but also brought out my stubborn streak to root for him even more enthusiastically. Tarrant is wonderfully portrayed by Steven Pacey, who made him a very fascinating, complex character. The character had his faults, mostly the faults of youth, but that made him more believable and well rounded. And Avon, who is almost universally adored, had his faults as well.

There are those who can’t look beyond Tarrant’s bullying of Vila in ’City’ to find the good qualities that abound. When Tarrant forced Vila to go to Keezam, he did it for the good of the ship and crew, while believing, a bit naively, that Vila would be perfectly safe. He later shows his loyalty by refusing to abandon Vila (unlike Avon), and even is big enough to apologise.

Another pet peeve of mine is having Tarrant blamed for the Gauda Prime fiasco (which seems more an American misdemeanour). Again Tarrant was only trying to protect his friends by ’condemning’ Blake. He proved himself more than once in that particular episode by staying with Scorpio while the others escaped, breaking away from the armed Blake and Arlen to warn his crewmates of Blake’s ’betrayal’, and by returning for Avon in the midst of enemy troopers in the tracking gallery. Why can’t fans give Tarrant a second, open-minded look, remembering that he is young and military trained. With that in mind, his bullying and impetuosity are understandable and his virtues far outweigh his few faults.

I have to say that I love the overall pleasantness of the newsletters. Fandom is supposed to be fun, and I’m glad that you still keep it that way. At least the Editor doesn’t constantly interrupt letters with mean and snide comments! Humorous ones are great; I just can’t stand someone attacking me in print when I can’t defend myself. Editors always have the last word, and I’m glad Diane’s are nice ones.

...Chris Boucher said at a Convention what a hard job he had getting Star Cops made. He claimed that the Drama Department is run by people who don’t like SF and simply don’t want to make it.

In my opinion, the BBC must be full of people ’up there’ who are of this persuasion. Why else would the BBC keep fobbing us off? I wish that they would stop all this ’contractual problems’ rubbish. Nowadays, the BBC are showing more and yet more cheap, glitzy game shows, rubbish talk shows, cerebral cortex vegetating American imports, and worse. I was considering buying the three Blake’s 7 BBC videos, until I read that the episodes in them have been butchered by editing. So I thought, why bother? Yet one can’t see Blake’s 7 any more, and I do not know where, if ever, I can see the episodes again.

Having heard that Terry Nation has further plans for the B7 series, I must register my reticent enthusiasm about the prospects of any further happenings. Most evidence suggests that SF (of the BBC kind) has been in decline for many years. The arguments can either relate to the total disinterest of the viewing public toward in-house SF or the apathy of the Beeb to indulge itself in such projects.

So what is the present state of SF on our screens? There is, of course, Doctor Who, the only continuing SF in the traditional ’cult’ sense, while any other SF is transmitted in the form of humour as with Red Dwarf. Doctor Who is now on the verge of its 27th year and its fate has never been so in doubt. Last season the show clocked up some of its lowest viewing figures in its history, at its lowest 3.1 million and at the highest 5 million. Not staggeringly impressive when considering its past performances reaching usually over 8 million and at its peak 16 million. So, is humour the only way to portray SF to an audience at large? Red Dwarf recently had its third season and although entertaining is hardly a fitting replacement for the more definitive dramas.

The lack of positive viewing figures for Doctor Who hardly make for the BBC to adventure into any other areas of SF. It is important to analyse the reason for the Doctor’s failings. Firstly, there is the hugely popular Coronation Street played simultaneously on the opposing channel. With bad timing and pitiful publicity there could hardly be a better way for the BBC to dupe the population into accepting the death of TV SF (except of course through Pylene 50 in our coffee). So even if B7 was to return, it would naturally be under impossible budget restrictions (the entire effects budget for the last season of Doctor Who was equal to that of one episode of Red Dwarf), bad timing and typical BBC publicity.

My belief is that there is an audience for SF on the television, especially for repeats. (We all know THAT story) and a new B7 series being suitably processed would be successful. It is merely my natural cynicism that makes me feel that the BBC have not the adequate imagination to endorse a new series. But then the Federation were immobile against public opinion. Does anybody want to attack BBC Centre?

I’m flattered that you think B7 looked more American during the 4th series, as I found it a tremendous improvement. The original title sequence is nice, but old-fashioned and static. The dynamic, modem 4th series title sequence is much more exciting to watch, and extremely authentic as well. The whole ’look’ of the 4th series was better. The ship, teleport bracelets and clipguns appeared sturdy and very authentic compared with their plasticky counterparts of earlier series - more like things that are actually meant to be used. The Liberator is prettier than Scorpio, but from an engineer’s point of view, Scorpio is far more realistically designed. But honestly, the ’look’ of the show isn’t that important. I’ve yet to meet a B7 fan who was drawn to the show because of its spiffy props and special effects!

The N/Ls are getting nicer and nicer looking each time. They are now just like a magazine in a newsagent, in their presentation. Let s please have something amateur looking in something ’by fans, for fans’. Please. It may sound a daft request, but part of the appeal of N/Ls, amateur fan magazines, etc for me, is the ’home-made’ air. However, I have absolutely NOTHING against tidy, well set out N/Ls, please don’t get the wrong end of the stick! I mean, heaven knows I can’t imagine the problems you members of the Horizon Committee have in just getting N/Ls done! Please treat the above paragraph as the prattling of a grateful member.

(Ed: Really, some people are just never satisfied! Sorry, William, I'm afraid Horizon’s caveman days are over - it's Hi-Tec for us now.)

I too fell in love with the Avon portrayed in the first three seasons and though I still admired him in the fourth series I felt he wasn’t the same. I agree with characters changing and I think it was a believable development, but still something was missing. For this reason I agreed with the point raised by Gena Davies. I haven’t read Paul’s book yet, but I don’t think I would enjoy it as much as I could if Avon is portrayed as a professional hitman. The fact that Avon wasn’t a trained killer was fundamental to my interpretation of his character and his possible reasons for what he did. I would find it difficult at this stage to alter my views of him and this would affect my enjoyment of the novel.

You’re right, Avon was a different character in each series. That’s one of the best aspects of B7. The characters change, as real people do: not always for the better. I think 4th series Avon was a natural development of the lst-2nd-3rd series Avons. (Though I’m hard-pressed to see any connection between the hero of Avon: A Terrible Aspect and the Avon we all know and tolerate!).

The first three series of Blake’s Seven had an atmosphere of tension and menace, leavened by humour, and a sense of purpose. I think the fourth series lacked a little of this, detracting from its quality. Possibly the absence of Terry Nation and the fact that he didn’t write any of the scripts made the quality slip. Having a title sequence with no real relevance to Blake’s Seven and a closing sequence like a pop tune rather than something befitting a serious drama can’t have helped, either.

Issue 25

Horizon Newsletter 25 was published in November 1990 and contains 76 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

  • Competition winners - With one bound they were free
  • Convention reports & pictures - Orbit 90, Space City 90, Eastcon, Carousel 90
  • Make-up workshop
  • Reminiscences of B7 early days
  • Beginners Guide to building the Liberator model
  • Covers: Jenna & Blake/(a young) Paul Darrow!/Vila/Tarrant

Issue 26

Horizon Newsletter 26 was published in May 1991 and contains 84 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Fiction and Poetry: Competition winners - You know you are safe with ...



  • David Jackson interview & biography
  • Pictures of Pacey, Croucher & Jackson offspring
  • Convention reports & pictures - Blake-ation 2, Confederation 2, Huttcon 90; Article - Blake a Terrorist?
  • Mutoid article
  • Who was Anna Grant? article
  • Scratch build a clip-gun
  • Covers: Gan/David Jackson/Avon & Pella/Dayna

Issue 27

Issue no. 27 cover

Horizon Newsletter 27 was published in November 1991 and contains 84 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Fiction (all from "in the style of" competition):

Poetry (also from "in the style of" competition):


  • Stephen Greif biography & interview
  • Making a Jenna costume
  • Liberator handgun & trooper
  • Darrows Silver Wedding tribute & gift presentation & pictures
  • Jonathan Ross show report & pictures
  • Convention reports & pictures - Blake-ation III, Enlightenment; Articles - More Who was Anna Grant?, More Was Blake a Terrorist?, Carnell, Gan; T-shirt design finalists
  • Front Cover (NB 1st colour cover) 4th series crew; Back Cover - Stephen Greif; Inside (a) Blake, Vila & Ven Glynd, (b ) Janet & Paul Darrow in Gaslight

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 27

I am a new member of Horizon, and recently received my first N/L, issue 27. I was most pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed reading everything in it, even and perhaps particularly those items with which I will probably never be able to be personally involved, and also including those things with which I did not agree. I found the description of the Blake-ation interesting and amusing, and laughed myself almost hoarse while reading the description of the not quite so smooth delivery of the microwave to Paul and Janet Darrow; that was one of the most amusing stories I've been exposed to in ages. I also enjoyed the Stephen Grief interview and was quite pleased to see it revolved around the actor, not the character he portrayed (is this standard interview procedure for Horizon, by the way?). (Jac: Yes, it is.) Many interviews of actors in series such as Blake's 7 tend to include the character almost (and sometimes totally) to exclusion of the talented individual who made that character live and breathe. Therefore, I found this a refreshing change. The wide variety of topics covered should provide something for just about everyone interested in Blake's 7, and the professionalism of the publication Itself is to be highly commended. It cannot be an easy task for a small group of geographically separated people to accomplish such an excellent result. You are to be heartily congratulated, and I, for one, appreciate the effort. [7]

Issue 28

Issue no.28 cover

Horizon Newsletter 28 was published in May 1992 and contains 88 pages. It was edited by Jackie Ophir.

Poetry (results of epitaph competition):

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 28

Well, what do you know? I asked for a colour cover of the 1st season crew and -voila! Loved NL28 as always (but would have loved to love it a lot sooner and could have done if it hadn't been posted to me SEAMAIL BY MISTAKE), Speaking of mistakes, I've been reliably informed that Horizon does not now possess, and never has possessed, (but hopefully will someday possess?) a copy of the script for Seek-Locate-Destroy. So why, pray tell, is it still listed as available, and how about unlisting it for the next NL before some other beleaguered club member spends 9 months waiting for it in vain? (Jac: Apologies for all the above. By now all mistakes should have been rectified.)

Now, on to the positive (which far outweighs the complaints): Even more
 fascinating articles than usual: Neil Faulkner's imaginative speculations, political and scientific (I'll admit I skimmed the mathematics of the latter rather quickly, but I lingered over the accompanying map, all the same); Micky DuPree's eminently sane and lucid discourse on terrorism, which 'should' end the debate once and for all (but I know it won't); and Jane Mather's astute sociopsychological analysis of Ro. I'm looking forward to the second instalment (and I agree with Jane s rejection of TV Zone's assessment of the episode Horizon as being no better than average - for me, it improves each time I view it.

Enjoyed the Famous Last Words quiz (got most of them right) and the epitaphs (my favourite being Jean Graham's for RoJ Blake).

The LOC section made strange reading this time around, though: a major deja vu experience, considering that I'd already read the vast majority of the letters in the previous Issue of the Letterzine [8] I was never quite sure, though, so I kept running to the Letterzine to check - neurotically afraid that I'd end up replying to the same comments twice, (When you belong to several B7 discussion forums simultaneously, this is already a problem, believe met It's just possible the two-tiered discussion within Horizon will prove perilous to the mental health of some of our less stable members). (Jac: Over the year, the Letterzine has become more of a separate entity, so 'deja vu' shouldn't be too much of a problem from now on!)


Issue 29

Isssue no.29 cover

Horizon Newsletter 29 was published in December 1992 and contains 88 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies. It was the winner of a 1992 FanQ.

The back cover of this issue is the illo on the front of the zine Checkers.

This newsletter is the first time the editor marks with letters of comment in the newsletter have previously appeared in Horizon Letterzine.

  • Joan Wakeman, "A Visit from St. Nicholas, or Seasonal Recollections of a Rebel Leader (with profuse, humble & totally inadequate apologies to Clement Clark Moore)" (poem)
  • Joan Wakeman (art)
  • Michael Lanham? (art)
  • Una McCormack (art)
  • Paula Gross (art)
  • Danny Dresner (art)
  • Barry Jones (artist) interview
  • 15th anniversary questionnaire statistics
  • Event reviews: Paul Darrow video signing (+ photos), Charity Dog’s Blake’s 7 (+ photos), Who’s 7 Convention (+ photos), Costume auction (+ photos); Charity information on end of Romania appeal
  • Results of Guess the B7 Baby Competition with cartoon
  • Theatre reviews: Macbeth (Paul Darrow - + photos), Post Mortem (Steven Pacey) & Shadowlands (Jacqueline Pearce); Articles on Ro/Horizon
  • How to establish the year of The Way Back
  • Missing Links (development of humanity)
  • Pt 1 of Blake’s 7 Log Book;
  • Tec Sec: teleport, acceleration & auto repair;
  • Covers: Front - Avon (colour); Avon, Blake & Jenna - colour artwork by Lucia Casarella Moore; Inside (b/w) Tarrant/Vila/Dayna and Blake/Cally

Issue 30

Horizon Newsletter 30 was published in August 1993 and contains 92 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

Covers: Front (colour) Cally, Blake, Avon & Vila (S2), Back - Jenna/Gola; Inside (b/w) Soolin/Dayna & Servalan/Travis 2.

cover of issue #30

The art is by Lucy Collins, Tim Burroughs, Una McCormack, Paula Gros, Katherine Fraser, and Rory Hull.

It includes articles on Federation trooper costumes, Cally, and weapons, humour from a spoof 5th series, media interviews of Jaq & Rob for Bella magazine, information about Gareth Thomas running a Horizon table in Harrow (+ photos), Paul Darrow in Swansea, The Terra Nostra meet, Visions '92, and Orac's Prediction by Lucy Collins (graphic story; early S2, humor).

  • Editorial (1)
  • Renewal Bits (2)
  • Club News (3)
  • Horizon Newsflash Service, Submissions (6)
  • Meetings (7)
  • Questionnaire results Pt 1 (8)
  • Charity News (13)
  • Announcement (15)
  • Theatre: Dearly Beloved review + photo (Sally Knyvette), Trelawny of the Wells (Steven Pacey) (16)
  • News on the Actors (18)
  • The Video Club (19)
  • Did You Know (19)
  • Letters of Comment (20)
  • Video Letters of Comment (36)
  • Pen Pals (40)
  • B7 Location Guide (+ photos); Workbench: Making a communicator, the Scorpio clip-gun & a knitting pattern (41)
  • Merchandise (43)
  • Role-Playing Game Review (50)
  • Ex Libras Liberator (50)
  • Cartoon (51)
  • Logic Puzzle (52)
  • Ensor's Workbench (53)
  • Tec Sec: Space travel, warp drive, gravity, teleport + article by Mat Irvine (56)
  • Armour or Not to Armour (61)
  • Leadership on Liberator (article) (62)
  • Cally - A Character Study (62)
  • Seeker - The Forgotten Weapons (63)
  • Cally's Last Word (64)
  • Stock Shot Trivia (64)
  • +++Information+++ (66)
  • B7 Trivia Quiz (66)
  • Travis' Progress Report (67)
  • In Defence of Season Four (68)
  • B7 Search-A-Word-Puzzle (68)
  • The Blake's Seven Log Book, pt.2 (69)
  • Avon - The Way Back (71)
  • Puzzle Answers (75)
  • Interview with Sheila S. Tomlinson (B7 Editor) (76)
  • An Open Letter (79)
  • Events (80)
  • Orac's Oddments (83)
  • Club Information (88)
  • Cartoon (90)
  • The End Bits (91)
  • Cartoon (92)

Issue 31

Issue no.31 cover

Horizon Newsletter 31 was published in May 1994 and contains 92 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

  • Joan Wakeman, untitled (filk, Jingle Bells)
  • interview with Vere Lorrimer conducted by Diane Gies, Nicola Best and Jacky Ogilvie, edited by Jackie Ophir (excerpts reprinted in #40)
  • Results of Alzheimers charity appeal
  • Group outings to Alien War, Midlands Blake Wake & Location outings in Yorkshire & Oldbury Power Station
  • Results of Questionnaire Pt 2;
  • Theatre & photos - Rough Crossing (Paul Darrow), Happiest Days of your Life & Curse of the Werewolf (Steven Pacey), Home (Michael Keating), Paddywack (Brian Croucher), Bridges (Gareth Thomas), A Handful of Dust (Sally Knyvette)
  • Events: Visions Convention 93 (+ photos)
  • Model displays by Martin Bower (Dorset, Sunderland & Warrington) + photos
  • Articles on Blake, Soolin & Avon
  • B7 Logbook Pt 3
  • Covers: Front - Avon, Travis 2; Inside (b/w) Tarrant/Dayna & 2nd series crew

Issue 32

Issue no.32 cover

Horizon Newsletter 32 was published in March 1995 and contains contains 103 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies and Jackie Ophir.

Covers: Front (colour) Sleer; Back (colour) Martin Bowers working on Liberator; Inside (b/w) 4th season crew on Scorpio flight deck, Jenna & Blake (episode Spacefall).

Contains Blake's 7 Online - The Official Horizon Site - Articles: Relationships in Blake's 7 by M.G. Harris, Archived version, which was posted online in 2014.

The art is by Pete Wallbank, T'AZ p. 6 "The Trials of Travis".

The zine contains articles on Star One, Avon emulating Blake, Orac, Servalan & Travis, and a short story called "A Beautiful Friendship."

  • Editorial/Renewal Bits (2)
  • Club News (3)
  • Newsflash Service & Cartoon (6)
  • Martin Bower Interview (special effects person, includes photos) (7)
  • B7 Music Article (14)
  • B7 Logbook, pt.4 (17)
  • Why Star One? (article) (18)
  • Letters of Comment (20)
  • Theatre Reviews (Lady from the Sea, The Life of the World to Come, Death & the Maiden, Deadfall, Half the Picture - most with photos) (33)
  • News on the Actors (39)
  • Agents' Addresses (40)
  • Convention Reviews (reviews of Who’s 7 94 and Visions 94 - with photos) (41)
  • Convention Listings (50)
  • Fanfic Humgrommet Generator (51)
  • Regional Meetings/Grou[s (52)
  • Results of B7 Relationship Competition (54)
    • Secret Memo, fiction by Andrew Phillips
    • untitled fiction by Joan Wakeman ("relationships" competition winner, humorous section; parodies of various poems)
    • untitled fiction by Karen Bush ("relationships" competition honorable mention)
    • untitled fiction by Rachel Holdsworth ("relationships" competition honorable mention; script of newscast)
  • Horizon Merchandise (62)
  • Vere Lorrimer Poem (by? about?) (73)
  • Merchandise Illustrations (74)
  • Bootlets & Bad Guys! (84)
  • Ex Libris Liberator (85)
  • Video Club (86)
  • Video Cabinets (87)
  • B7 on UK Gold (88)
  • Servalan & Travis (article) (90)
  • Orac Technical Manual (91)
  • Tec Sec (92)
  • Soma Break (96)
  • Charity News & Auction (97)
  • Shakedown Review (103)

Issue 33

Horizon Newsletter 33 was published in November 1995 and contains contains 96 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

cover of issue #33
  • David Tulley, "Prelude" ("Down Among the Dead Men" [subsequently retitled "Mark of Kane"] fiction)
  • Pita Enriquez Harris, "The Seer Vindicated" (fiction)
  • Susan Bennett, "On the Re-discovery of Blake's 7" (poem)
  • James Hoy, untitled (poem)
  • T'AZ (art)
  • Interview with Gareth Thomas
  • Short interview with Sheelagh Wells on making Together Again - Blake’s Back audio tape
  • Short stories by David Tulley & Pita Enriquez Harris
  • Events features on Gareth Thomas & Paul Darrow at Playhouse Video signing (with pictures)
  • Cast reunion for BBC Video at Stringfellows report (with pictures)
  • Theatre reviews - Taming of the Shrew (Michael Keating & Josette Simon), Misery (Michael Keating) with pictures + pictures of Paul Darrow in Gruesome Grannies of Gobshott Hall
  • Articles on Liberator speeds, calculations on spacials + letter from Mat Irvine
  • Competition results on Avon/Vila relationship
  • Book reviews - The Making of Terry Nation’s Blake’s 7 by Adrian Rigelsford
  • Articles on Pella, the fascination of B7, the episodes Trial & The Web; Cartoons
  • Charity auction results
  • Covers: (all colour) Front - 1st crew publicity shot; Back - the cast reunion at Stringfellows; Inside (a) Travis 1 & Servalan, (b ) Avon, Vila, Dayna, Tarrant & Dorian

Issue 34

Horizon Newsletter 34 was published in June 1996 and contains contains 96 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

cover of issue #34
  • Karen Bush, "Fashion Victims" (poem)
  • Paula Robinson, "Ode to B7 Fandom" (poem)
  • Emma Griffiths, age 11
  • David Griffiths, age 8
  • Pete Wallbank (art, back cover)
  • Interview with Chris Boucher
  • Bloopers identified
  • Events features - Visit to see Paul Darrow filming Noel’s Telly years, the filming of Blake’s Legend (with pictures), making of The Mark of Kane audio play (with pictures)
  • Audio tape reviews - Blake’s Back, Mark of Kane
  • Ode to B7 Fandom
  • Theatre reviews - How the Other Half Loves (Sally Knyvette) & pictures
  • The Storyteller (Gareth Thomas) & pictures
  • TV review of Stick with me, Kid (Paul Darrow) & pictures
  • Convention reviews - introduction to conventions, Event Horizon 95, Visions 95 (lots of photos)
  • List of actors from B7 who also appeared in DW
  • Competition Results - Everything I know I learned from B7
  • Articles on Travis, Zen & Security
  • Set visit to the BBC to watch ‘Gold’ being filmed
  • Obituary to Jon Pertwee
  • Covers (all colour): Front - Jenna & Avon; Back - Mark of Kane artwork; Inside (a) The Liberator, (b ) 3rd season crew + Servalan

Issue 35

Horizon Newsletter 35 was published in December 1996 and contains contains 92 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

cover of issue #35

Issue 36

Issue no.36 cover

Horizon Newsletter 36 was published in June 1997 and contains contains 88 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

  • Nik Spender, "Prime Legacy, Part Two: Taken for a Ride" (graphic story) (fiction)
  • Nik Spender (art)
  • Terry Nation Tribute (including reissued interview, biography, obituaries)
  • Articles on Avon, Blake, plot holes
  • Bizarre coincidences
  • Theatre reviews - When God wanted a Son (Jacqueline Pearce), Oblomov (Jan Chappell), Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Rebecca (Gareth Thomas)
  • Books & tapes reviewed
  • Convention reports - Visions 96, Neutral Zone 97
  • Front cover - Terry Nation; Back - Avon; Inside (a) Montage of Terry Nation at conventions (b ) Blake, Jenna & Cally

Issue 37

Issue no.37 cover

Horizon Newsletter 37 was published in November 1997 and contains contains 88 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

  • Marion Horrocks, "A Galactic Performance of 'Blake's 7 the Opera'" (competition winner; plot summary with opera filks) (fiction)
  • Anne Murphy, "Blake's 7-- The Panto" (competition runner up; script) (fiction)
  • Karen Bush, "Seven on One" (second runner up; script of newscast) (fiction)
  • Nik Spender, "Prime Legacy, Part Three: Gone But Not Forgotten" (graphic story) (fiction)
  • David Tulley, "Gothic" (fiction)
  • Sarah Vernon, age 16, "The Renegades" (poem)
  • Connie Gawlick, age 8 1/2, "Webs" (poem)
  • Nik Spender (art)
  • Articles - Back at the Grants, Olag (Cat Strangler) Gan, The Cooks Report, Life Capsules, B7 Anagrams, B7/The Avengers - cast list
  • Short story - Gothic; Competition winners - B7 as: opera, a pantomime, a consumer programme
  • Events & Convention reports - Space Cadets recording, Blake at Wolf 359, Cult TV, Making of Logic of Empire
  • Theatre reviews - Killing Time (Glynis Barber), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Gareth Thomas), Blithe Spirit (Steven Pacey)
  • Tape reviews - Sevenfold Crown, Together Again: Kingmaker; Children of Auron articles
  • Front cover - Blake, Back cover - 4th season crew; Inside (a) Servalan & Jarvik, (b ) Vila, Kerrill & Bayban

Issue 38

Issue no.38 cover

Horizon Newsletter 38 was published in June 1998 and contains contains 96 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

  • Nik Spender, "Prime Legacy, Part Four: New Friends, Old Enemies" (graphic story) (fiction)
  • David Tulley and Alan Stevens, "Premature Burial" (fiction)
  • Shaan Everson, "The Last Fan" (fiction)
  • Nik Spender (art)
  • Interview (& free colour poster) with Jacqueline Pearce
  • Article on Cally
  • Chocolate Liberator recipe
  • Tape reviews - Sevenfold Crown & Logic of Empire; Together Again Inside Story
  • Events & Conventions - Making of Logic of Empire (part 2), Deliverance 98, Paul Meets Paul, Trip to FAB Cafe
  • Theatre reviews - Sleeping Beauty (Gareth Thomas), Romeo & Juliet (Jan Chappell), Kafka’s Dick (Michael Keating), Guards! Guards! (Paul Darrow)
  • Front Cover - Servalan, Back Cover - Jacqueline Pearce; Inside (a) Deliverance 98 montage, (b ) Paul Darrow and ‘Errol’

Issue 39

issue #39

Horizon Newsletter 39 was published in December 1998 and contains contains 100 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies. Alan Stevens and Andy Hopkinson were co-editors.

Issue 39 is archived here.



  • Diane Gies, "Editorial"
  • Andy & Alan, "Editorial II"
  • "News on the Actors"
  • David Maloney, "Dear Vere: Vere Lorrimer, An Appreciation"
  • Una McCormack, "The Web" (review of B7 on Internet)
  • "Lost in Space: Zen and the Art of Fan Fiction" (accounts by fans interviewed on TV show)
  • Alan Stevens, "Lost in Space: The Inside Story"
  • Judith Proctor, "Lost in Space"
  • Una McCormack, "Lost in Schedules"
  • Andy Hopkinson, "The Interview that Never Was"
  • Diane Gies, "Lost in Space: The Outside Story"
  • Letters
  • Tabitha Cash, "Voice from the Future" (interview with Peter Tuddenham)
  • Andy Hopkinson, "All Set for Deliverance" (behind-the-scenes con report)
  • Jim Smith, "Spotlight on Gambit" (episode review)
  • Aubrey Woods, "Krantor's Double Dealing" (essay by guest actor)
  • Alan Stevens, "Toise 'R' Us" (interview with John Leeson)
  • Andrew Pixley, "The Full Gambit" (comparison of script and aired episode)
  • "Audio Reviews"
  • "The Seven-Fold Crown" (reviews by Sarah Bellamy, Alex Skerratt, Stephen Adams, Jon Miller)
  • "The Logic of Empire" (reviews by Martin Holder, Murray Smith, Alex Skerratt, Harriet Monkhouse, Jon Miller, Chris Middleton, Kathryn Davis)
  • "Jacqueline Pearce in Conversation 1: Servalan" (reviews by Claire Fisher, Jim Smith, David Tulley)
  • "Deliverance '98" (convention reviews by Debbie Murray, Colin Frost, Kathryn Davis, Murray Smith, Julia Ferrer)
  • "Orac's Oddments" (ads)
  • Benjamin Ziman-Bright (aged 14), "Medievil from Playstation" (review of computer game w/ voice of PD)
  • "Theatre Reviews"
  • "The Crucible" (with GT; reviews by Judith Proctor, Nicola Best)
  • "Things We Do For Love" (with SP; review by Carol McCoy)
  • "Twelve Angry Men" (with MK; review by Nicola Best)
  • "Rehearsed Reading of 'The Jews'" (with PD; review by Diane Gies)
  • Diane Gies, "Club News"
  • Assorted ads
  • Nik Spender (art)

Issue 39.5

Issue no.39.5 cover

Horizon Newsletter 39.5 was published in March 2000 and contains 16 pages (mini-issue). It was edited by Diane Gies. It has no fiction, art or poetry.

  • Diane Gies, "Editorial"
  • Diane Gies, "Club, Committee & Magazine News"
  • Judith Rolls, "Blake's 7 Movie-- Latest News"
  • "News on the Actors"
  • "B7 Cast Convention Appearances in 2000"
  • Mark Spencer, "Fetch Me a Wig, I'm Going In" (theatre review: Jan Chappell in Les Liaisons Dangeureuses)
  • Rob Emery, "Over the Moon: Nightmare or Dream?"(article on filming of TV show with brief spot on B7 fandom)
  • Diane Gies, "Over the Moon Afterthoughts"
  • "Deliverance Videos: A Hit? Or Just a Myth?"
  • Reviews "The Syndeton Experiment: Two Reviews" (by Jackie Ophir and Murray Smith)
  • Pauline Tucker, "Soldiers of Love-- Pt. 1-- 'Genesis'"
  • Sarah Lester, "Soldiers of Love-- Pt. 2-- 'Deathtraps'"
  • Nicky Shipp, "Soldiers of Love-- Pt. 3-- 'Metamorphs'"
  • Jann Tarrant Johnson, "Childhood's End" (audio tape read by Steven Pacey)
  • Sandy Douglas, "Together Again-- Solstice"
  • Gill Barrett and Danielle Barrett (aged nearly 7), "The Story of Anastasia on CD, Read by Paul Darrow"
  • "Horizon Merchandise"
  • "Emergency on Planet Earth! Blake's 7 Needs your Help to Stay on Terrestial TV"
  • "Sad News" (obituary for fan Nikkii Finck)

Issue 40

Issue no. 40 cover

Horizon Newsletter 40 after a long-wait, was published in April 2001 and contains contains 100 pages. It was edited by Diane Gies.

Apparently, Alan Stevens (co-producer of "TLOE" - "The Logic of the Empire" and "TMOK") and Andy Hopkinson (co-producer of "Horizon" 39) had left the club and put out their own zine called Zenith and the content that was going to go in to "Horizon 40" went into "Zenith." [10]

From the online flyer:

No, it's not a soma-induced illusion, our long awaited Mag. has just been posted out to approximately 1500 members worldwide. If you're a current Horizon member, you should be receiving it in the next few days. If you don't, please contact Pauline, our Renewals Secretary, to check on the status of your membership at tuckers@... We hope you'll enjoy it - do let us know what you think.

If you're not a Horizon member yet, perhaps we can tempt you into buying a copy of H40 - it's 100 x A4 pages, including 4 cover pages of full colour art and photos. Contents include News on the B7 cast, with photos, an 11 page Vere Lorrimer Tribute section (including 2 interviews, photos, tributes from the B7 cast and crew - Vere's friends & colleagues, a detailed biography and more.) There are also articles on shows/videos/films/CDs featuring the B7 cast eg. The Strangerers (including interview with Sheelagh Wells and a short piece from Gareth Thomas), Written Off and The Soldiers of Love.

There's an article about the background to the proposed B7 movie, B7 fans on TV, and articles with photos of the presentation of B7's own Variety Club Coach (with letter from Kate Nation) and the opening of Roy Kinnear House (with letter from Carmel Kinnear). There are also LOCs, Nik Spender's cartoon strip, theatre reviews, convention reviews, special event reviews and a 7 page photo diary. All our B7 merchandise is listed, with reviews of all the latest merchandise. The entire mag is crammed full of photos and superbly designed and typeset by Mark Spencer of Dysfunction Ltd. [11]


  • Nik Spender, "Prime Legacy, Part Seven [sic]: A New Face to an Old Friend" (graphic story)


  • Vere Lorrimer, Christmas card poem


  • Diane Gies, "Welcome!" (editorial)
  • "News on the Actors"
  • "Other B7 News (Obituaries; Repeats and Releases; Upcoming Conventions; B7 in Cyberspace; Miscellaneous News)"
  • "The Man They Called 'Uncle'..." (eulogies of Vere Lorrimer)
  • Andrew Mark Sewell, "Memories of a Survivor" (interview with Vere Lorrimer)
  • "Mr. Lorrimer, You Can Take Over!" (interview by Diane Gies, Nicola Best and Jacky Ogilvie, edited by Jackie Ophir; condensed reprint from HORIZON NL #31, specially edited by Dinae Gies)
  • Vere Lorrimer credits
  • Robyn Heyworth, "Blake's 7 Crossword" (puzzle)
  • "Theatre Reviews"
  • Mark Spencer, "Alone in the Dark" (GT in Equus)
  • Jo Sharp, "Cross-dressing, Love, and Revenge..." (GT in Twelfth Night)
  • Pauline Tucker, "Intrigue in the Court of Kings" (JS in Don Carlos)
  • "Crime, Punishment, and Chaos" (GT in The Clearing, by Sue Wadsworth-Ladkin and Catherine Quinn; MK in Charley's Aunt, by Claire Saunders)
  • Paula Robinson, "The Law Gone Wrong" (JC in The Colour of Justice)
  • Carol McCoy, "Confused? You Will Be... or, An American on Vacation" (SP in Pinter plays, The Room and Celebration)
  • Jackie Ophir, "Inconceivable?" (SG in An Immaculate Misconception)
  • Rita Grewal, "Fallen Angels" (with SG)
  • Mark J. Thompson, "Written Off" (educational video with JP)
  • Gillian Puddle, "We're Gonna Get You Sucka!" (TV review: PD in The Strangerers)
  • "Silicon Heads, Parsnip Roots... An Interview with Make-up Artist Sheelagh Weells," edited by Gillian Puddle and Jackie Ophir
  • Diane Gies and Gillian Puddle, "B7-- The Movie-- When, When?"
  • Letters of Comment
  • "Special Events Squad"
  • Gillian Puddle and Helen Lyon, "Sleepess in Swansea" (Welsh Weekend club trip, with theatre reviews: PD in Guards! Guards!, GT in The Hosts of Rebecca)
  • Lorna Price, "A Cold Day on Saurian Major"
  • Gillian Puddle, "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby Baby..." ("A visit to Horizon's oldest member, Ruby Gunn [84]")
  • Jo Sharp, "A Star is Torn" (theatre review: JP at Edinburgh Festival)
  • Diane Gies, "Cult TV 1999" (con report)
  • Claire Saunders, "365 Days of Fandom" ("A photo diary of my first year as a Blake's 7 fan")
  • Diane Gies, "Diane's Photo Diary: The Last 18 Months..."
  • Mark J. Thompson, "The Making of 'Soldiers of Love'" (article on the comedy audio series, by the producer)
  • Rob Emery, "Oh No! They're Not on Telly Again!" (article on appearance on program "Screen Grabs")
  • "Merchandise Reviews"
  • Jackie Ophir, "Jacqueline Tells All!" (review of Mythmakers video with JP)
  • Keith Barnfather, "A Note from the Mythmakers Producers"
  • "Thomas Talks!" (reviews of GT in The Actor Speaks CD, by Valerie Guy and Helen West)
  • Sue Whittle, "Soldiers of Love-- Planet of Death" (audio review)
  • John Medany, "The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself" (review of "Fearmonger," DW audio with JP)
  • "Critical Mess?" (reviews of John Kenneth Muir, A Critical Analysis of Blake's 7, by Pauline Tucker, Jackie Ophir, Joyce Bowen)
  • Horizon Fanzine #22 (reviews by Helen Speight, Francis Bishop)
  • Pauline Tucker, "Walking with Dinosaurs" (review of CD with PD)
  • "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (game review: Hostile Waters, with PD and GB)
  • Helen West, "Mythmakers: Stephen Greif" (video review)
  • "An Experiment Gone Wrong?" (reviews of BBC audio, The Syndeton Experiment, by Kathryn Davis, Susan Walker, and Bobbie Murray)
  • Gillian Puddle, "Together Again Seven" (review of audio tape)
  • "Orac's Oddments" (small ads)
  • "Official Horizon Merchandise"
  • Andrew Pixley, "The Full Gambit-- Postscript" (additions to article in #39)
  • "Fundraising News"
  • "Auction"


  1. ^ by Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  2. ^ Subject: Lots of Things by Judith P. on Lysator dated Nov 13, 1993.
  3. ^ comments by Judith P at Lysator (January 29, 1999)
  4. ^ Horizon 10, editorial
  5. ^ editorial, issue 12
  6. ^ Perhaps a references to Avon: A Terrible Aspect, a tie-in book by Paul Darrow, one that was not well-received.
  7. ^ from Horizon Letterzine #2 (April 1992)
  8. ^ Longer versions of many of the letters of comments in the "Horizon Newsletters" were printed in Horizon Letterzine.
  9. ^ comments in Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  10. ^ from a fan in The Way Forward #20
  11. ^ BULLETIN #001 April 20th 2001 posted to the Horizon B7news mailing list on April 1, 2001; reference link; reference link.