May King

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Zine
Title: May King
Publisher:
Editor:
Author(s): Susan Cutter
Cover Artist(s): Whitby27
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1998
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links: Full novel on the Way Back Machine
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cover by Whitby27
May King is an 190-page adult het Blake's 7 novel by Susan Cutter, with cover and illustrations by Whitby27. It won a 1998 FanQ.


Summaries

The novel chronicles the crew's attempts to purchase food supplies for Xenon Base, before they have obtained the stardrive. Soolin is chosen to negotiate with a matriarchal society on a low-tech planet, while Avon stands as her silent bodyguard. Vila has his own adventures and meets the woman of his dreams in a local inn. Dayna stands in as the Goddess Avatar for the local religion's annual fertility ceremony, which is a more complicated process than she realizes at first, and Tarrant volunteers to be their May King, hence the title. Later in the novel, Avon negotiates on his own with a patriarchal society. [1]
When Liberator was lost, Avon and the remaining rebels were stranded with nothing but their guns and the clothes on their backs. Their defeat of Dorian has won them a home base and a new space ship. But they are still in desperate need of a food supply...and can they learn to work with Dorian’s partner, the mercenary Soolin?

"Leaving the negotiations up to Soolin...do we know she is up to it? And even if she is, despite her claims to be loyal to each employer while in his service, should we fully trust her to act in our best interests?"

"I thought you knew me better than that, Tarrant. I don’t fully trust anyone."''

Soolin guides them to a planet settled long ago by pilgrims who wanted to turn their backs on technology and the evils they believe it spawned. Labeled worthless and then forgotten by the Federation, that planet has been turned into the simple agricultural world the pilgrims dreamed of. A world where they can follow their religion. A world without war or want. A world rich in sensual pleasures.

A world so perfect the natives call it Eden.

But the intricacies of a religion can be tricky for those not born to it, and most Edens conceal a snake or two....

The courtyard was packed full of smiling natives talking and pointing at Tarrant and Dayna, who stood a little apart from the others. Both were trying to look pleasant and confident, but the underlying strain and wariness were clear to those who knew them.

"We have our May King, Mother!" the loudest voice shouted out. The others quieted somewhat, and he went on, "He volunteered! He has already chosen our Goddess-Avatar! And she has accepted!"''


Just how much will the Scorpio’s crew have to pay for the food they need?[2]

Warning from the author

The online version of this zine was published with the following warning:

This novel contains a great number of scenes of explicit sexuality.

More specifically, there are scenes involving vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse, as well as masturbation, voyeurism, exhibitionism and some truly kinky stuff among the following combinations of participants: m/f, m/m, f/f, m/f/f/f, f/m/m, m/m/m/m/.... Uh, can we just summarize it as, If you have strict views on what kinds of sex it is ‘proper’ to include in fiction, this novel is probably not something you will want to read?

This novel also contains scenes of violence, up to and including killing.

Not that people seem to worry about violence near as much as sex. This is a strange culture we live in, you know?[3]

Reactions and Reviews

I highly recommend "May King." ... Rather than spoil much more, I'll just say that, as with all great plots, things go downhill rapidly and in unexpected ways before the surprising and, for me, satisfying conclusion. But, hey! Blake's 7 is like that!

This novel is one of the few I have read which gives a strong part to every B7 character, particulary Soolin and Dayna, who are often underused. In fact, this is the finest use of Dayna I have ever seen. Not only does each character have a large part, each is indubitably him- or herself. Cutter creates several memorable original characters as well, whom I was sad to leave at the end of the novel.

So far as page-turning plot goes, "May King" could have been an episode, an exceptionally good one. Then there are the sex scenes, which are the most inventive I've seen in fanfiction, and are not limited strictly to Our Heroes. Not only are the sex scenes unusual, but some of them delve into the emotional lives of the characters in intriguing new ways. So buy the zine, already!

Pairings include (don't look if you don't want to know):

D/ocm, D/?, V/ocf, S/ocm, T/ocf, A/T.

No "traditional" h/c. No s/m. [4]
Um. This one's tricky... I borrowed a copy of this, and was very glad I had not bought my own, as it would have been a complete waste of money for me. And yet I think it's a good zine for those whose tastes run differently to mine. The smut simply wasn't erotic for me, because it didn't happen to hit any of my buttons. The plot was exactly what I expected from the title, there wasn't enough of it to sustain my interest in it as a story rather than as porn, and I've read too much SF with that theme already. In short, I found it thoroughly boring. But "I found it boring" is not the same as "it's boring". It's well written, with excellent characterisation and a good share of page space for all the series 4 human crew. In particular, Dayna and Soolin get a decent amount of attention. I can see that it would be a good zine for those who don't share my "het and A/T - icky!" prejudices, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys that area of smut. I'd say that with this one it's important to go with the reviewer whose tastes are closest to your own. [5]

References

  1. from Knightwriter
  2. Intro to the May King, online, retrieved from the Way Back Machine
  3. May King intro, retrieved from the Way Back Machine
  4. from Oliver Klosov at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  5. from Helen Patrick at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site