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For non-consensual telepathic contact, see telepathy

Title: Mind-Rape
Author(s): Sheila Paulson
Date(s): 1987
Genre: gen
Fandom: Blake’s 7
External Links: Online at AO3

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Mind-Rape is a gen Blake's 7 story by Sheila Paulson.

It is part of the Jabberwocky series and published later by Judith Proctor with the other chapters of Jabberwocky, including Healer.

Reactions and Reviews

[Jabberwocky is] an alternative to series D, of the "everybody really does like each other" school, the Jabberwocky series has become a classic work of fan fiction. It's great if you like upbeat stories, provided Blake's Seven stories involving heavy doses of telepathy don't make you ill. The biggest parts go to Avon, Cally, and Blake, with a fair amount of Vila. Recommended.

The original three parts (published in two volumes) are early examples of Paulson's writing, and it shows, but the ideas are good. My main complaint has to do with style. There are too many undigested explanatory chunks. The writing is somewhat verbose, explicitly explanatory of what each character thinks and feels, usually with the exception of Avon, who is interpreted by the other characters. [Yes, we can see through him to see what a softy he really is!]

Aside from the third series cast, Paulson created two original characters: Hugh Tiver, a surgeon from the planet Dayson Prime, and Jabberwocky, a human brain integrated into a ship's computer. The plot grows out of a semi-prophetic dream experienced by Cally, who has been injured on Terminal, and has lost her telepathy. Essentially, the dream is series D as aired. "Link-Up" is spent in gaining the Mark 60 mindship (Jabberwocky) and in recovering Blake. Hugh serves as a neutral facilitator in both dealing with conflicts engendered by Avon's actions at Terminal, and reconciling misunderstandings between Blake and Avon. A subsidiary theme involves Cally's recovery from her injury through mental linkage with Jabberwocky, and her realization that she must learn to stand on her own, without other telepaths. The Jabberwocky ship was actually created to bond with non-telepaths, and has a...fun personality. It is cheerful, I suppose you could say.

Hurt-comfort is a major element of both "Mind-Rape" and "Healer." "Mind-Rape" focuses on the relationships between Avon and Blake, and Avon and Cally. Blake has taken over the linkage with Jabberwocky, and Servalan is attempting to steal the mindship through nefarious methods (of course!). Her cunning plot leaves Blake near death, and exposes Avon's feelings for him, when Avon proves to be the only one who can save him. An ancillary result of Servalan's plot is the establishment of a physical relationship between Avon and Cally. [1]
[Mind-Rape review by Aralias, spoliers]: Firstly, I don't think anyone in their right mind would call a story this today (there is a Dragon Ball Zee one on AO3, though, so maybe I am wrong). It sort of describes what happens... but also gives it that sexual and power-struggle element that I don't think is entirely fitting. So... I wouldn't have called it that.

Secondly, let's talk about what 'gen' means. I think the definition has evolved considerably over the past twenty/thirty years (I've talked about this before, I think). In a gen fic, I'd expect to get (at most) a light hint of a non-canon relationship, and maybe some kissing and hand-holding type stuff from a couple confirmed in canon. In the olden days, I think gen was taken more liberally to me[a]n 'no explicit sex'. This fic... well, it'd be wrong to call it an Avon/Cally fic, because there is a lot of other stuff around that and it is mostly focused on that other stuff, but it's an ensemble fic, with definitely explicit Avon/Cally sleeping together and saying they love each other, and what I assume is implied Blake/Avon and Avon/Vila. They use the word 'love' a lot in this fic, and I'm not sure what to make of it. I think I am supposed to take it literally - in which case B/A and A/V is correct.

I actually think the way that the A/C plays out is pretty good. I like that they're tentative with each other and largely start what they're doing out of a need for comfort, but also really like each other. Personally, I just can't see Cally being more important to Avon than most of the other people on the ship - I need to be sold A/C in a way that I don't need to be sold B/A because I feel the show gave me enough of that. Interestingly this fic has Cally explicitly wondering if Avon loves Blake more than he loves her. And certainly the events of the fic support that reading... which I guess I am ultimately OK with. Sort of. The whole situation really reminds me of Hellhound, which also has its second book (which had been mostly about Avon's obsessive love for Blake) end with Avon choosing to sleep with another woman.

elviaprose points out that Paulson's other work (i.e. Bondstone) suggests she is willing and able to write poly relationships, so maybe that's what I should expect going onwards.

Anyway - this one has some nice Avon/Cally scenes, even though I am too rabid to appreciate them properly. It also has some very nice, over-the-top stuff where Blake is lost in his own mind and Avon has to use his latent telepathy (yes, that old chestnut, back to delight us again!)(actually I obviously do not mind it, because I love Avon doing stupidly dangerous things that reveal his feelings for Blake) to rescue Blake - and the way he does this is to tell Blake how much he loves him.

Hugh hardly does anything this time, so I have less of a problem with him. Soolin and Dayna were mostly absent too, which I think is a shame. I hope they come back more.

I really like the stuff with Servalan and the new Supreme Commander. Perhaps he's a Mary Sue too (in addition to Hugh, this is), but I am dazzled by his age and just generally think he is great. I like that Servalan did a disguise, but that it's not very good (still much better than no disguise at all). It works well to have Servalan as the (forced) lacky, rather than the all-powerful commander. I haven't read that elsewhere. I also like Witt, the plant. He's an interestingly done character.

I like that there was a specific call-back to the way they learned how to fly the Liberator together in these early scenes, although I also think that overall we probably could have cut some of the learning stuff. One can have too much of a good thing. I'm also not quite sure why Blake is a better choice to link with Jabberwocky than Cally, though it certainly works emotionally for the fic to have Blake as the heart of the group.

Oh - and I love that Jabberwocky sometimes calls Avon 'father'. And that Avon invented computer games and used to put them into his proper systems as Easter Eggs. That is a lovely piece of silly charactersation.

Dialogue still good when it's good, although there are a few patches of characters exchanging long patches of exposition without much personality. But those are rare. The good dialogue is much more common. Still do very much recommend. [2]


  1. Blake's 7 - Jabberwocky, Archived version, also in IMHO* #2
  2. from Aralias, September 28, 2014