Penny Dreadful (fan)

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Name: Penny Dreadful
Type: author, artist
Fandoms: Blake's 7, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Penny Dreadful is an author and artist best known in the Blake's 7 fandom, where she was mainly active in the early 2000s. She also writes in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom, among others.


Penny's writing is known for its unusual take on the Blake's 7 universe, often with a hard sf feel that is relatively rare in the fandom. Ika praises her story The Killer of Dole Nu Lin for its tough, pysychologically and socially plausible, realistic, hard-ish SF universe where the canonical characters fit in.[1]

'Killer' is a stand-out story that is perhaps her best-known work; it won a FanQ award for Best Gen Story in 2002,[2] and has been widely praised. Una McCormack writes:

[Q]uite simply, one of the best B7 stories ever written. It is a story of the resilience of humanity, and its emergence in unexpected places; it exploits canon yet is scrupulously attentive to its detail; it is pure B7, yet something absolutely novel from a gifted writer. / This is the kind of story that you wait years to read.[3]

In a recommendation at Crack Van, Hafren writes:

[I]t shows that fan fiction at its best is as good as anything out there in profic land. You don't really need to be into B7 to get it, either. ... It is, in fact, about what it means to be human and the mutoid's gradual process of reclaiming her identity is mirrored in a subtly-changing use of language... You won't often read an author, in any genre, so interested in style, in the craft of writing, and at the same time never forgetting that she has an audience to keep hooked.[4]

'Killer' and several of her stories feature mutoids; Penny explains: I have long had an unhealthy fascination with mutoids. Perhaps it's the fact that they are manufactured vampires, thus allowing me to indulge my inner goth without neglecting my outer nerd.[5] Her work frequently features Travis, as portrayed by Brian Croucher; Ika describes her thoughtful Travis II portrayal [in 'Killer'], giving him much-needed depth and coherence.[1] Penny is also known for creating realistic original characters and for fleshing out minor characters.

Other well-known stories include:

  • RelationsAstroGirl writes: [W]hat really makes this story a stand-out is the chillingly perfect way it conveys the horrifying, mundane evil of the Federation, evil inflicted not by mustache-twirling villains, but by human beings who may actually believe they're doing good, or at least doing an honest day's work.[6] Sarah Thompson writes: Like every story of hers that I've ever read ... "Relations" is a knockout.[7]
  • The Seven Deadly Virtuals – winner of a FanQ award for Best Slash Story in 2002.[2] Espresso Addict writes: [A] story that could easily be published as original sf, yet still reflects the heart of the show. Original, quirky, funny, memorable.[8]

Her work has been published in the fanzines Forbidden Star 3, I, Mutoid, Star Four, TTBA and Varia Lectio, as well as on the Freedom City mailing list. Some of her writing is archived online at the Hermit Library and at her personal site.


Penny contributed artwork to the zines Star Four and TTBA. Ika describes her contributions to the latter as: [S]trong and individual figures, which remind me a bit of Stanley Spencer.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ika. Review of TTBA (2 June 2001) (accessed 10 February 2011)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2002 Fan Quality Awards: Blake's 7 (accessed 10 February 2011)
  3. McCormack U. Review of TTBA (May 2001) (accessed 10 February 2011)
  4. Hafren. Recommendation of 'The Killer of Dole Nu Lin' Crack Van livejournal (5 January 2004) (accessed 10 February 2011)
  5. Penny Dreadful. Review of I, Mutoid (accessed 10 February 2011)
  6. AstroGirl. Recommendation of 'Relations' Crack Van livejournal (2 February 2005) (accessed 10 February 2011)
  7. Thompson S. Review of I, Mutoid (accessed 10 February 2011)
  8. Espresso Addict. Espresso Recommendations: Blake's 7 (accessed 10 February 2011)