Mice and Men
|Title:||Mice and Men|
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It was published in Southern Comfort #7.5.
Reactions and Reviews
... I did skim 'Mice and Men' because it was so infamous. Not worth it. 
The longest story in the zine "Mice and Men" features Avon and Tarrant, plus Blake latterly. It carries a warning that it contains explicit sex and violence and is not for the squeamish. I am very squeamish but I read the first few pages in the spirit of investigation, then picked out one or two later pages at random. It certainly is brutal, and from the bits I read, highly repetitious. I don't much relish stories which linger over pain and portray sex as a form of combat, so I heeded the editor's advice and skipped the rest. If anyone has read it and disagrees (tempting to say disagrees violently) please say so. At around nearly 80 pages it was rather a lot of zine to skip, but if you buy zines second-hand without having seen a flyer it's a risk you have to accept. 
"...[this] zine was, as far as I was concerned, well worth avoiding. Rather the way one would a rabid, ravenous squirrel. The last story (I believe it was the last: certainly the last one I attempted: it was the sort of Avon/Tarrant one) was one of the worst misrepresentations of character I have ever come across. It wasn't the--shall we say, *extreme* or *esoteric* nature of the activities explored, but the fact that a) they didn't fit the characters at all b) didn't make sense even within the story and c) didn't make sense in terms of human sexuality. Then there was the dialogue, the plotting and the miasmic moronity that passed for 'psychological insight' into the characters. I thought it was absolutely *dreadful*--especially in comparison to some of the earlier stories published by the same press, not to mention some of the really good stories out there. 
Mice And Men--This is the story that made me throw the zine across the room the first time I read it. I usually describe it as the Tarrant rapes-Avon-rapes-Tarrant-rapes-Avon story, (with a few Blake rapes in there for dessert), but for you guys, I'll try to add some details.
Tarrant decides that Avon is no longer *safe* so he plans a trip on the Scorpio just the two of them, and plans to kill Avon before he goes back to base. While stupidly trying to get Avon to crawl and beg before he killed him, Avon manages to get the upper hand, and though badly injured, manacles Tarrant to Scorpio and leaves him there until Avon recovers. Then, Avon takes Tarrant to a slave planet, where Avon just happens to know Traca Gre, a beautiful female slave-estate-owner. She offers him a partnership in her slave business, and helps him turn Tarrant into a trained (but not quite broken) sex-slave. These scenes are amazingly graphic, as Tarrant is trained to do *everything*, (there is a reference to animals, but amazingly, we aren't shown the details), and then each night, required to show off his training with Avon, Traca, and any number of other perfectly trained beautiful sex-slaves (After I don't know how many of these scenes, Avon has the gall to say, 'I've never been much for group sex.').
At an auction, Avon recognizes Blake, buys him, and gradually coaxes back his memory by allowing the, by-now-almost maddened Tarrant to rape him in front of Blake. Avon and Blake are both badly injured, and Tarrant is freed. Blake is saddened to realize his o ld friend has become a slaver, (I really can't think of the appropriate smiley for that sentance...) and leaves also.
Out in the wide world, Tarrant can't deal with memories of abuse, and becomes a homicidal rapist. Yes, he kills, and not *while* raping them, but as a part of raping them. (I'm going to quote one of these death rapes, since it was never obvious to me just how this kid died, but maybe it will be more clear to you'all. "He could never be satisfied. He thrust into the bloody orifice, lifting the thrashing body to pin her against his blood-stained hips, driving. Then she, too collapsed. With a groan of animal pain, Tarrant withdrew and tossed the lifeless hunk away.")
In the mean time, and for no good reason, Vila has joined Avon at the slaver-estate, so that Avon wouldn't be lonely, I guess. Blake comes back to visit, and manages to control his distaste for Avon's line of work long enough to help Avon sample the wa res. Tarrant finally snaps, kidnaps and rapes (only *almost* to death) both Avon and Blake. Avon recovers, but Blake is deeply mentally wounded--almost catatonic. Avon uses sexual healing to bring Blake back to himself. Once Blake recovers, Avon takes responsibility for Tarrant's pyschosis, and slowly, almost lovingly, brings Tarrant back to sanity, again using sexual healing. (Really!)Now, I'll be honest and admit that strictly as porno, much of this story works for me: the group sex, the rapes, etc. Unfortunately, I have much lower standards for porno than I do for slash. None of these stupid characters have anything to do with Blake's 7 in any way, and much of my dislike for this zine has to do with the fact that this 90 page story [Mice and Men] was the entire last third of the zine. 
Weirdest damn thing I've read in awhile. I agree it doesn't really qualify as slash; instead, it reads like a rather typical mainstream porn book (or fantasy porn book---can you say "Gor"?) with the names of the characters changed to those of B7 folk. It can be fascinating, in a morbid kinda way, to flip through, but it didn't work for me at all."
"Mice and Men" by Mistral. This very long (98 pages) story was dark and violent, with more sex than I've seen in any other piece of fanfic to date. Often the sex was more brutal than I would have liked and often it was longer (to the point that it was boring) than I would have liked, yet I can't say I disliked the story. It is powerful, memorable, and different, with a few sweet moments that were most satisfying. The story involves a number of different sexual pairings, but the main focus is conflict and sex between Avon and Tarrant. In this AU story, the two men have very violent goes at each other. Yet—amazingly—Mistral manages a happy ending. 
- comments by Aralias, see full post at Lots of not very good zines, November 13, 2015
- review by Anoymous at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
- MFae Glasgow on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
- Review posted by Sandy Hereld to Lysator on March 6, 1994, quoted in its entirety with permission.
- Review posted by Lorna B. to Lysator dated March 8, 1994.
- Carol McCoy, focus is Del Tarrant, in IMHO* #2 (1995)