|Cover Artist(s):||Kathryn Andersen|
|Medium:||print zine, fanfic|
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Limitations is a gen Blake's 7 48-page novel (21,400 words) written by eight people, Anon, Idem, Kathryn Andersen, Jean Graham, Michelle Moyer, Judith Proctor, David Sanderson, and Susan Beth. It was edited by Judith Proctor and the cover is by Kathryn Andersen.
From a flyer: "Second season, all characters, but a better role for Gan than he normally gets."
Limitations is a single story zine originally written as an e-mail collaboration between eight fan writers. Each writer wrote a page or two and then the story so far was sent on to the next writer... The story is set shortly after 'Weapon'. Blake decides that a return to the Weapons Development Base is in order. Blake and Cally teleport down to collect some weapons that have been traded for in a rather shady deal, while Avon, Vila and Gan go to discover what new weapons are being developed. And then things start to go wrong. An old 'friend' of Avon's appears; Servalan turns up; people start double-crossing one another and Blake and Jenna find themselves in a desperate situation. 
I can say with complete honesty that this is the most difficult zine that I have ever edited. And it's all David's fault! All the writers of this story have one thing in common: we're all on email and most of us are members of the Blake's 7 mailing list run from Lysator in Sweden. Ever so often, a chain story or "Round Robin" will start up on this list. Some of them run to completion some simply peter out. The quality is extremely variable, some very god, some pretty dire. After reading one of these, David felt that he'd like to organise a Round Robin where all the contributors already had some writing experience. Eventually, eight of us were roped into this scheme and we agreed to write two installments each. The writing order was assigned at random and we weren't told who was to be writing each part. When it came to our turn, we were simply emailed the story to date and left to resolve whatever cliff-hanger the previous writer had left it on. It was quite an enjoyable experience, although I did have a moment's panic when I saw the gigantic cliff-hanger I'd been left with for the final installment! In a rash moment, I volunteered to edit the story for publication, not really realising what I'd let myself in for. Don't get me wrong, the writing was good, some parts of the story were excellent and we'd all developed the characters in the same way. The first problem was that eight different writers have eight different styles of writing. The break between sections was sometimes very jarring and I had to try and smooth out the differences in style without imposing my own style on top of everybody else's. The second problem was continuity. This proved to be the real nightmare. I'd made continuity mistakes; I think everyone had made continuity mistakes. Spaceships jumped around, people were suddenly in different places; characters knew things that they had never been told and one part of the plot had radically different interpretations from different writers. Poor David had to field long streams of queries from me, as I tried to find out what had been the intention of the writers at various points. He had to handle them, because I absolutely did not want to know who had written which bit. It was much easier to edit and comment when I didn't know whether I was criticising the work of a friend or a stranger. I had to treat all writers equally or the task would have been impossible. To this day, I still don't know who wrote most sections of the story. If the story hadn't been a good one, I'd have given up in frustration, but in the end, I like to think the result was worth it. Two of the writers have asked to remain anonymous, but this does not in any way mean that their contribution was less than anyone else's. It goes without saying that any remaining errors are my fault, but please tell me if you spot any and I'll try to correct them in future print runs. My thanks to everyone involved, and also to Calle for running the mailing list.
For an sample, see here.