Post-Gauda Prime

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: PGP, fifth season, series E
Related: fix-it, futurefic, Last Knight Story
See Also: pre-Way Back
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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The final episode of Blake's 7 takes place on a planet called Gauda Prime, and ends in shocking fashion. The fan fiction stories which attempt to fix, project beyond, or rework the ending of the series are collectively referred to as Post-Gauda Prime stories, or PGP. PGP is arguably the most popular genre of stories within the fandom. The Bang and Blame archive (2000–2002) was devoted to PGP stories and essays.

PGP is the opposite of pre-Way Back or PWB, which refers to works set before the beginning of the series.

Fans refer to the 21st December (the date on which 'Blake' was originally aired) as Gauda Prime Day. Despite its gloomy content matter (and the fact that writer Chris Boucher was known as the man who killed Christmas for a while as a result of this episode), GP day is generally seen as a cause for celebration, with fans wishing each other 'Happy Gauda Prime Day'. The fifth edition of Tales from Space City is composed entirely of PGP fics. Editor Helen Patrick writes: "And so it came to pass that on the 21st of December 2001 we held a wake for the 20th anniversary of the massacre on Gauda Prime. Much fiction was posted, both on the day itself and in the month leading up to it. I'm very pleased to present some of it in this zine."[1]

Popular Tropes

In the 1992 article Let Me Count The Ways The World Ends, Kathryn Andersen surveyed 126 gen PGP stories from numerous different zines and arrived at the following conclusions regarding which characters were shown to be alive and which dead:

There are almost as many combinations as there are characters; which leads me to conclude that logic plays little part in 5th season stories; the author just makes survive the characters they want to survive. Well, some authors are more logical than others.

...

In descending order of popularity... In a close first and second place - they are all alive, and they are all dead! Only a difference of one between them.

(1) all alive. Count: 17 Percent: 13.60

(2) all dead. Count: 16 Percent: 12.80

In third place, Avon and Vila stick it out together.[2]

In 1994 Lysator members produced the following list of popular PGP tropes:

It's BLAKE'S fault Avon shoots him at GP:

Talk about blaming the victim! Like stories that have hm programmed to kill, this is a way of excusing Avon from responsibility for his own actions. God forbid Avon should actually be blamed for his own mistakes. This theme seems to hinge on the idea that Blake should have said something less ambiguous at GP because he should have intuitively realized that Avon was at the end of his rope. Grrr....(SC)

His words may have been vague but they were not that incriminating. "I set all this up" does not necessarily imply a trap and the man was unarmed. While I am not unsympathetic to tales of Avon's emotional scars as a result of his own actions, there is a surprising amount of harrassment of a recovering Blake by Vila and assorted others claiming that he should have known better. Excuse him for believing that Avon might trust him, he was looking for him after all.(CS)

I think that in fact the "Avon is mad" theme is also an excuse for his actions at GP. In PGP fanfic, we often see Avon in a catatonic trance, or so nutso that he twitches whenever Blake comes near him... all this serves to make him sympathetic, and not responsible for the attempted murder. Blake even seems to feel guilty for being alive, in some fanfic, since his presence upsets Avon so much and makes him remember what he tried to do. For some reason, Blake doesn't get marks from fan writers for being this forgiving, guilt-ridden creature, though; it still sounds like Blake-bashing to me, with Avon being made noble in his madness, BECAUSE of Blake. Gimmee a break.(LC)

One, some, or all survive Gauda Prime:

Kathryn's list (posted 30 July 1993) catalogues the possible combinations here. Avon is the most likely to emerge from the melee alive. He is, of course, the only one we don't see go down. (SC)

Gauda Prime escape scenarios:

Too many to mention but it comes down to either the Fed troopers were really Fed troopers and one or more of Our Heros escape later, or the Fed troopers were really rebels.

NOTE: Nicole posted a list of some scenarios Jan 22, 1994. Front runners: Avon and Blake set it up, Servalan set it up, Orac set it up, something else set it up, it was all a dream, Avon was programmed, Blake was programmed, it was Blake's clone, any combintation of the above. Other popular favorites: Vila fell the wrong way, therefore, he wasn't shot; Avon ducked and the troopers killed each other in the crossfire.(SC)

Blake's GP and PGP followers loathe and distrust Avon:

This happens in stories where Blake survives the shooting, and he is usually unaware that Avon and the others are being mistreated by his new group until Vila tells him. When he finds out, he always defends Avon. This goes along with "it's Blake's fault Avon shot him" and related trends that relieve Avon of culpability.(SC)

Blake's new followers are not as good as Avon and company:

Deva, Klyn, and whoever else Blake has gathered since leaving Liberator are just never as close to him, as trustworthy, as talented, and all-round wonderful as the Scorpio crew.(SC)[3]

Afterlife fic (i.e. everyone or most people are dead) is a relatively popular genre, particularly in B/A fic published in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Some examples:

Blake/Avon fic has other popular PGP tropes specific to that pairing.

More example Fanfiction

Gen

Novellas and Series

Other fiction

Pairings

Semi-Pro/Official PGP Fic

There are several 'official' attempts to write what happened after Gauda Prime, the most notable of which are Afterlife by Tony Attwood (Avon and Vila survive) and Paul Darrow's Lucifer series (only Avon survives), but these have generally not been treated as canonical by fans and are rarely incorporated into other fanfiction. Attwood writes of his own novel:

A lot of hardcore fans didn't like Afterlife - criticising both what I did with the characters, and what happened in the storyline, but to balance that (and to keep me feeling moderately happy) there was a lot of nice stuff from people who just watched the show but never subscribed to the fanzines etc. If you enjoyed Afterlife - I'm glad you did.[4]

Meta

References

  1. Tales from Space City 5
  2. PGP Survey: Let Me Count The Ways The World Ends by Kathryn A.
  3. Lystator May 2 14:57:12 1994
  4. How did we get here, review by Tony Attwood on Amazon.co.ul 9 Jun. 2005