Nearly Beloved

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Title: Nearly Beloved
Author(s): London Bates
Date(s): 1986
Fandom: Blake's 7
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Nearly Beloved is a Blake's 7 story by London Bates..

It was published as "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" in The Unique Touch #1 in 1985 and in Southern Lights Special #2.5 (1986). It was published as "Nearly Beloved" in The Other Side #1 (1986).

According to The Federation Archives, this story was sent to Paul Darrow and his wife, and part of The Blake's 7 War.

Reactions and Reviews

(A/B, A/Ta, B/Ta) PGP with Blake very angry at Avon. This tries to be heavy on the psychology and sex, but I don't think it succeeds that well. If you want a Blake-as-dominant-alpha-male vs. very-feminised-and-scared Avon, you'll probably think the characterisation's fine, but, putting that together with the way she writes sex scenes, it reminds me of nothing so much as a traditional romance novel, and I miss the shifting power dynamic you get in a lot of slash. Some people think the sex scenes are explicit, but I can't see it myself: purple prose, an unrealistic number of multiple orgasms and London Bates's dictionary of _1001 Interesting Euphemisms for the Male Organ_ don't do anything for me, and I feel she manages not to be very specific about either the physiology or the emotions. I think the xBryn story earlier in this issue manages to be *far* more erotic and outrageous while trying less hard. But then I do find London Bates' prose naturally antipathetic and her characterisation of Blake and Avon nowhere near mine. Maybe this story should be reviewed by somebody who likes her writing, just to add balance.[1]
The infamous story in The Other Side and Southern Comfort. Set post-Gauda Prime. Avon is almost suicidal after trying to kill Blake, and his casual affair with Tarrant isn't helping. Blake rapes him (and Tarrant, as an afterthought), and Avon falls in love with Blake. This is the story I got most of my examples of peculiar word-choice from, and I haven't read it for some time.[2]
I enjoyed both [stories in the zine The Unique Touch #2] (though personally I preferred the second) and found them well-written with a good feel for the characters. The first, "Nearly Beloved/Rogue," is a post-Gauda Prime B/A story by London Bates. Avon, Blake, and Tarrant have survived and the plot revolves around Blake's and Avon's attempts to come to terms with their memories of Gauda Prime and how it affects their feelings for each other, while Tarrant alternately tries to help and gets in the way. There is a fair amount of explicit sex (including a couple of rapes). The characters of Blake and Avon are quite different from usual, due the the deep effect Blake's shooting had on them.[3]
In London Bates’ “Nearly Beloved/Rogue” (1986), Avon and Blake are reunited, the emotional and physical wounds of Gauda Prime still gaping between them; an angry Blake rapes a remorseful Avon, while Avon, eager to suffer for his crimes, accepts and even embraces the brutal treatment: “Looking over his shoulder, he saw that Blake’s face was set in a kind of rage as a cold fury lit Blake’s eyes and the set of his mouth. He didn’t seem to really note who or what Avon was…. Blake was battering him, pounding into him with enough force to make the smack of flesh on flesh” (56). [4]
Heated discussion surrounds works like the Blake's 7 story, "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" or the Professionals story, "Consequences" which some fans charge romanticize rape and others insist allow them to work through the powerful emotions surrounding sexual violence in a less immediately threatening context. (Both writers have asked me to make clear that they did not intend their stories to romanticize rape and that they have been surprised (alarmed?) by the stories' reception by other fans. I cite these stories here not to chastise their writers, whose work I admire, but rather to illustrate the range of debates that slash provoked even among those who accept its general premises. Fan stories are as open to multiple interpretations as the original television programs; fan writers no more control their works' meanings than the original producers can.) [5]
"Nearly Beloved" took a lovely concept, that of Avon turning into a masochist to Blake's sadist after Gauda Prime, and did not live up to it. The sexual details are abundant, but the story lacks the depth and richness that ten more pages of characterisation would have leant it. If I hadn't read It elsewhere, I would have accused this editor of hacking up the non-sexual scenes. Still, this is the best story in the zlne, and is available in Southern Lights Special 2.5 (USA) and In the Unique Touch (Scotland) under different titles.[6]
As it pertains to B7, something I've long been curious about is why, given so many fen do like their slash dark and violent, why then is "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" so widely disliked? Would you all believe that was my intro to B/A? Actually it was one of the author's gen stories, "The Shadows Between Us," (or something like that) that turned me onto the possibility; but looking back I can't explain why "Rogue" didn't make me run screaming in the opposite direction. I know why it's not on my list of Top 10 B/As -- which is mainly that I can't see Blake doing that, or Tarrant taking it, or Avon wanting it, especially now that I 'know' them so much better.[7]


  1. ^ by Predatrix at Knightwriter
  2. ^ a 2006 review by Predatrix
  3. ^ from "touched" #11
  4. ^ from Textual Poachers, page 216
  5. ^ from Textual Poachers, page 220
  6. ^ from "touched" #11
  7. ^ from Rallying Call #9