Jabberwocky

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You may be looking for the 7th Sector novel with the subtitle "Jabberwocky."

Fanwork
Title: Jabberwocky
Creator: Sheila Paulson
Date(s): 1986 to 2008?, re-edited and reprinted in 2016
Medium: print, online
Fandom: Blake's 7
External Links: Gen Jabberwocky stories on Hermit.org, Adult Jabberwocky stories on Hermit.org
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Jabberwocky is a series of alternate universe Blake's 7 stories, all set in the same universe and written by Sheila Paulson. The story is an alternate series 4, although it shares some traits with Post Gauda Prime stories.

Stories in this universe were printed in specific Jabberwocky zines, as well as in a number of other mixed zines. The stories are mostly gen (with Avon/Cally as a strong component), but there are also a few adult het and slash ones (written under the name "Paula") as well, for the pairings Blake/Jenna, Blake/Soolin, Tarrant/Vila and Blake/Avon. It is not necessary to read the adult stories to understand the gen stories.

Jabberwocky is the ultimate happy ending Blake's 7 saga. The entire 4th season was actually a dream by Cally, and being forewarned of these events the crew are able to avoid them. Nobody ever dies permanently in Jabberwocky and indeed some people you thought were dead turn out not to be. No characters are rubbished and everybody (including Avon) comes to accept their friendship for every body else. Jabberwocky (the title character of the series) is in fact the computer of their new ship, an original character with a strong sense of humour." [1]

All Jabberwocky stories (including the adult stories by Paula) have been made available online at Hermit.org. Rather pleasingly, the first Jabberwocky story seems to have been the first B7 story loaded onto the archive, while the last Jabberwocky story is the last.[2]

The 2016 Re-Edit and Reprint

In October 2016, this zine was offered in a re-edited form by Requiem Publications. It was available in print form as well as a download.

cover of the 2016 reprint, Sekhmet

Jabberwocky by Sheila Paulson. GEN, full size zine from Requiem Publications. Colour cover by Sekhmet. First appearing on J. Proctor's Blake's Seven website, some parts of this saga appeared in various zines in the early 2000s.

The series assumes the events of the last season of the aired show were a terrible prescient dream of Cally's, and tells how the scattered Liberator crew, and the Scorpio's crew, meet and join forces.

We are re-editing Sheila's entire saga of Jabberwocky and some parts have been rewritten by the author.

Parts 1 to 3 in this volume. 229 pages, column layout.

The download zine is full page, 280 pages.

Part 1 Link-up: Cally has survived the explosion on Terminal and the crew have escaped in Servalan's wreck of a ship. Traumatized by her injury, she has lost her telepathy. When the crew, augmented by Hugh Tiver, a doctor kidnapped by Avon to take care of Cally, steal a prototype Federation mindship constructed around a living human brain and capable of bonding with a human in a mental linkage, their adventures are just beginning.

Part 2 Mind-Rape: Blake is back, and in linkage with Jabberwocky, and Servalan wants to steal Jabberwocky and link with it in order to take back the presidency. She uses Witt, a telepath who had worked his way into Avalon's rebel army on Ryalon base, to wrest control of Jabberwocky from Blake, leaving the rebel trapped inside his mind. A mental linkage is the only way to bring him back, and Cally is certain that Avon is the only one who can do it.

Part 3 Healer: Blake begins behaving oddly, and problems develop with the ship as Jabberwocky begins to remember his long suppressed past. In the meantime, Jenna Stannis and Del Grant have teamed up and have one objective: Kill Avon. When their plan goes wrong and Tarrant is gravely wounded, only the combination of the mindship and Avon, the untrained telepath, are able to save the pilot's life.

About the Jabberwocky Universe

1995 description from a flyer in Rebel Desires:

For those who have not yet encountered the Jabberwocky series, it is an alternate fourth season of Blake's 7, beginning with the rescue of a gravely injured Cally on Terminal. The rebels have gone to ground with a kidnapped doctor, who proves to have rebel leanings. As Cally recovers, they steal the Federation's pet project, the Mark-60 mindship, which has at the heart of its computer a living human brain. The ship's design allows the brain to form a permanent bonding link with a member of the crew and temporary linkages with the others for ship's business or simply for contact. Some of the events of year four have happened. The crew encountered Blake on Gauda Prime, but while he was wounded there he did not die, and he has also joined the crew. Jenna was located and also came back.

In this universe, Dayna died in an attempt to retrieve IMIPAK, but the mindlink program enabled Orac and Jabberwocky (the name the crew gave the mindship) to create a personality program that was so complete it attained self awareness. The program was placed in an android housing, in essence giving them Dayna again. Though the crew never encountered Dorian at Terminal, they did meet Soolin, who joined the crew reluctantly, as did the doctor, Hugh Tiver.

Recently the crew rescued from Servalan three scientists who had helped handle the telepathic aspects of Jabberwocky's design programs. Asked to join the crew and help the rebellion, those three are proving instrumental in designing new mindships. The youngest of them, Tanz, and Dayna have begun a relationship, which, at the start of this story, which shortly follows the twelfth story, Lifeblood, is not sitting well with Tarrant.

Description from Hermit.org, which sold the zine:

If you are looking for stories in which the characters go through many dangerous and difficult situations, but always come out of them with a greater understanding of each other, then this is probably a zine you will like. All characters are fairly treated in Jabberwocky; nobody is rubbished, and sooner or later, any character whom you may have loved and missed is pretty well guaranteed to turn up. This is angst with happy endings and characters who realize that they like one another.

So what's it actually all about? Jabberwocky starts just after 'Terminal' but with events different from those of the 4th season. Cally wasn't killed in the explosion on Terminal, but was unconscious for a time and experienced a prophetic dream which warned her of the events of the 4th season. The crew have to try and avoid the events which have been foreseen. Finding Soolin shows that Cally's dream contains large elements of truth. Can Avon avoid shooting Blake?

Why is it called Jabberwocky?

After losing Liberator over Terminal, the crew need another ship. The vessel they eventually steal is a revolutionary new Federation ship which has a human brain incorporated into it. The ship is capable of forming a mental link with a member of its crew. The mind-ship, a distinct personality in its own right, is Jabberwocky. [3]

Reactions and Reviews of the Whole Series

Jabberwocky is probably about 500,000 words in total, so it's a commitment of, in my case, about a week. If you are going to read the entire saga, you'd better really like telepathy/mindscapes/group bonding and hurt/comfort, people coming back to life and family angst. It's set post series 3, and mostly charts Servalan's attempts to capture the new ship they have (Jabberwocky) in a manner that increasingly resembles Travis 2 in series 2.

There's a lot of really nice dialogue and lots of stuff about the crew all caring about each other under the insults. The beginning is particularly good. However, a lot of it does feel repetitive. Hellhound, which does a lot of the same stuff (and to be fair, annoyed me in different ways), didn't feel nearly as repetitive.

The adult stories (all of which I really like) take place in some weird AU where they have no bearing on the gen fic - they're not marketed this way, but that's very much what it feels like. In the end and with that previous statement born in mind, I would say the overall pairings are - Avon/Cally, Blake/Jenna (a bit), Dayna/OC, Soolin/OC, Tarrant/the ship. With very strong Avon-Blake. Your adult!AU has Blake/Jenna, Blake/Soolin, Vila/Tarrant, and Blake/Avon (with implied V/T).

Even if you aren't like me and you wouldn't get annoyed because your B/A dreams are thwarted, I would probably recommend other Sheila Paulson fics before this one, which saddens me because I really liked the beginning.[4]
I liked the idea behind the series a LOT and though I don't like the series as much as I did - they talk too much and way too honestly for My Heroes - I still have a soft spot for it.[5]
I actually think I have more of a problem with the first story than later ones (though yes, they become way too repetitive in plot and themes). I didn't think it was possible for me to become fatigued by characters talking and thinking about each other incessantly, but apparently I have a limit to my liking for this kind of thing!

Also, I'm starting to get a bit irritated by gen tropes now that I've been heavily exposed to them. Not the telepathy though, because I'm a real sucker for that! However, I've found that the longer a B7 gen story the more likely it will feature an original character who understands the crew and their relationships better than they do themselves and isn't afraid to tell them so. Step forward Hugh Tiver! In SP's defence there are way worse characters like this out there and it didn't put me off so much that I stopped reading. Hugh Tiver is not quite punchable, but he is trembling on the brink of it! Oddly, he isn't unlikeable for all that I say that! Nevertheless it is still lucky he isn't too heavily emphasised in the rest of the stories. Actually, he is a bit like a more saintly and empathic Blake (even down to the hair!) serving as a stand-in until the real McCoy turns up.

Despite what I have said, I think Jabberwocky is fairly enjoyable, but if you are talking longer but still manageable length Paulson fic, I prefer "Game of Humanity"[6]
"Jabberwocky" was okay but not great, since it suffers somewhat from the instant utopia syndrome; I dunno, it's amazing how many AU and PGPs magically bestow Our Heros with a fantastic new prototype ship and sympathetic crewmembers to replace the Dear Departed (or the not-departed-at-all; some of those ships start to get mighty crowded 8-). [7]
I love the zines like jabberwocky where things work out well for our heroes. [8]
I tend to love the bleak gloomy [Blake's 7 fics]. But even I like a happy ending at least part of the time. All gloom would be no fun at all. Jabberwocky is a little too happy for my tastes unless I really need picking up, but the main reason I publish it is because I know not everyone has the same taste in stories as myself. [9]
I approached the Jabberwocky series with mixed expectations. On the one hand, I was no happier than anybody else when Cally died after 'Terminal', and I also like alternative universe premises and lengthy story series. On the other hand, I have no grudge against the fourth season, whose Ridley Scott-esque views of Scorpio I'd hate to miss, whose testing to destruction of so many characters is superbly evocative of fear and pity....

Sheila Paulson avoids the pitfall inherent in dream foreknowledge stories, by replacing canon material with something else of comparable interest to fans. The series is nothing if not revisionist of fourth season events, eliminating much doom and despair; but it retains a healthy dose of drama as well as all the characters, and it adds a nice new ship which rivals Zen and Orac together ...

All in all, the Jabberwocky series does more than adequate job of entertaining the B7 fan with its alternate continuation of that universe. It is big enough and ambitious enough to absorb the dream reference without remaining tied to it; the characters change and develop with their experiences, not arbitrarily; and it retains the original B7 story outline of a beleaguered but self-reliant group of political criminals making their way between the Federation and the universe full of unknowns where even the wonders may bite.[10]
Another that fits, in my opinion, In the 'pleasant read' category are all the Sheila Paulson Jabberwocky stories. I wish I could get hold of more but it's that dreaded American minefield again. Couldn't Horizon members club together and send someone over there to buy a load of zlnes? It's very frustrating... sorry! Where was I? Oh yes, Jabberwocky. I think these are lovely, safe and comforting (I bet they're the sort of thing that you either love or hate!). They're the evening cup of hot chocolate stories that leave you with a warm glow and a good feeling of everything being all right really. There is soon to be released a Jabberwocky Collected zine that also has some new material. I'm about to buy this - wish me luck! [11]

The Stories and Where They Were Originally Published

The Jabberwocky stories were originally published in parts, which generally appeared alongside other unrelated stories in anthology zines, such as Gambit. There are the following exceptions: the first story Link-up was originally published on its own as Seventh Sector 3, the second and third stories (Mind Rape and Healer) were originally published together in a standalone zine by Janet Walker. The 14th story (Malodaar) was also originally published as a standalone zine by Janet Walker.

Gen stories by Sheila Paulson

cover of Seventh Sector #3, by Kathy Hanson

Adult het and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula':

Zines by Janet Walker

Mind Rape/Healer

Mind Rape/Healer contains two stories (Jabberwocky parts 2 and 3) and is 153 pages long. It was published in 1987 by Janet Walker.

"Mind Rape" is pages 1-66) and "Healer" is 68-152.

The cover and most interior art is by Kathy Hanson, plus one illo by Sheila Paulson.

This is the first edition of these stories.

Janet Walker's editorial:

Hi. Hope you enjoy the story, it's fantastic. The first part is available from Kathy Hanson—there's an ad in the back of the zine. Also, there are already two more parts going into various zines sometime soon, so keep your eyes open for them.

Thanks go to Kathy Hanson for the wonderful illo's. She volunteered to do them, for which I am very grateful.And thanks to Sheila, especially, as she did all the typing on her nifty new typewriter. I love the print on that thing.

When we were looking for a title to tie the two stories together, nothing would come to mind, so Sheila suggested the present title; Jabherwocky: The Story Continues. I started giggling and finally told her that it made me think of two new titles for the individual stories and she had to agree that they fit. So, the subtitles for Mind-Rape and Healer, are -- "The Federation Strikes Back," and "The Return of Jenna." As you read the story, I think you will agree that they fit.

Enjoy the zine, and if you have any comments, you can write to either Sheila or me, and 1 will pass the comments on to Sheila. Every author enjoys hearing what people think of their work.

Jabberwocky Collected

In 1992, Janet Walker appears to have published a collected edition (Jabberwocky Collected) of all the Jabberwocky stories (with some new material?) up to but not including Malodaar. This edition was apparently very rare, even at the time.

A fan in November 1992 wrote:
There is soon to be released a Jabberwocky Collected zine that also has some new material. I'm about to buy this - wish me luck! [12]
In June 1993, a fan wrote:
Jabberwocky Collected was brought out for Media West in May last year. I'm told it contains all Jabberwocky so far PLUS new material. Contact address is Janet Walker. She never answers me but you will probably have better luck. If you do, will you let me know, as I'm still in pursuit of this one? [13]

In September 1993:

Nah, nah, na, nah, nah... I've got Jabberwocky collected, I've got Jabberwocky Collected! Don't give up. It does exist. It's enormous and absolutely packed with the most hysterical printing errors. It's wonderful. My copy came from the Media West Convention Keep trying, it's 
worth the effort needed to track it down. [14]

Also in September 1993:

On the more pleasant side of zine doings, someone picked up Jabberwocky Collected for me at MediaWest this year (so I didn't have to try to write to Janet Walker). The new material in it consists of two average-length (for Jabberwocky) stories, neither of which overly impressed me - basically because they rehashed the theme of so many of the earlier tales (you know, something breaks the mindllnk with the ship, and someone gets traumatised as a result). I don't recall how much of Jabberwocky you're missing though, and if you're looking for a lot more than Just the new stories, It's still a good buy. [15]
On an unknown date, Judith Proctor commented:
It is occasionally available at conventions, but I would not recommend buying it by post. [16]

Malodaar

Malodaar contains one story (Jabberwocky part 14). It was published in 1995 by Janet Walker. It is the first edition of this story and was published as a companion to Jabberwocky Collected.

Online at AO3.

Judith Proctor Re-Prints

In 1997(?) Judith Proctor reprinted all the Jabberwocky stories in 5 zines, having been given permission by Paulson to produce a British edition of the saga. Proctor comments: "I produced the stories in several volumes to try and enable people to reduce overlap with their existing zines. For instance, if you have all issues of Gambit, then you won't need volume 3 of my collected edition."[17]

Issue 1

Jabberwocky 1 contains 174 pages (Jabberwocky parts 1-4) and art by Whitby27.

Issue 2

Jabberwocky 2 contains 116 pages (Jabberwocky parts 5 to 8) and a cover by Kathryn Anderson.

Issue 3

Jabberwocky 3 contains 150 pages (Jabberwocky parts 9 to 13) and is illustrated by Mary O'Connor.

Issue 4

Jabberwocky 4 contains 50 pages (Malodaar, Jabberwocky part 14) and is illustrated by Whitby27.

Issue 5

Jabberwocky 5 contains 150 pages and illustrated by Whitby27. Unlike the other zines in the series, Jabberwocky 5 contains adult het and slash stories. These stories slot in amongst the gen stories - they are not meant to be read in one go at the end.

A 1995 List of Stories

Printed in Rebel Desires (addresses redacted here):

1. Jabberwocky: Link-up: Seventh Sector 3, Kathy Hanson, New Zealand 2/3. Mind-rape/Healer: one shot from Janet Walker, OR 4. The Froma: Down and Unsafe 6, Kathy Hanson 5. Decoy: Something...Unfriendly 1, Cathi Brown; available from Peg Kennedy and Bill Hupe 6. Kyl: Southern Seven 4, Arm Wortham, FL 7. Clone: Something...Unfriendly 2, Cathi Brown 8. Stand-in: Blake, Rabble and Roll 1, Mysti Frank, KY 9. Choices: Gambit 5, Jean Graham, CA 10. Program: Gambit 6, Jean Graham 11. Overload: Gambit 7, Jean Graham 12. Lifeblood: Jabberwocky Collected, Janet Walke 13: Revenant: Jabberwocky Collected, Janet Walker

ADULT STORIES:

1. Journey's End: Southern Lights Special 3.5, Ann Wortham 2. Comfort: Southern Comfort 5.5, Ann Wortham 3. Feedback: On the Wing, Tarrant APA; Rebel Desires, Peg Kennedy and Bill Hupe 4. Repercussions: Southern Comfort, Ann Wortham

References

  1. Blake's 7 - Jabberwocky and where to find it, Archived version
  2. Stories Sorted by Index Number (Approximately Date of Addition to Library) on Hermit.org
  3. Blake's 7 - Jabberwocky, at Judith Proctor's site, Archived version
  4. from Aralias, 05 October 2014
  5. from SallyMN 06 October 2014
  6. from burntcandlemas on 06 October 2014
  7. Lysator, Kathryn A, Jan 1995.
  8. Lysator, July 1998
  9. Lysator, Judith P, July 1998
  10. Pressure Point no.2
  11. comments in Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  12. comments in Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  13. comments in Horizon Letterzine #6 (June 1993)
  14. comments in Horizon Letterzine #7 (September 1993)
  15. comments in Horizon Letterzine #7 (September 1993)
  16. Jabberwocky, by Sheila Paulson and where to find it
  17. Jabberwocky, by Sheila Paulson and where to find it