Powerplay (Blake's 7 zine)

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Title: Powerplay
Publisher: Paw Print Press
Editor(s): Marion McChesney
Date(s): 1987-90
Series?: Yes
Medium: print zine
Genre: gen
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links: POWERPLAY: mini reviews by Sarah Thompson
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Powerplay is a gen Blake's 7 anthology.

Reactions and Reviews: General

I was saddened by Marion McChesney's sudden death this last June 2000. As far as I know, POWERPLAYs 1-7 were her only B7 genzines. She had been active in several fandoms throughout her life. In Star Trek, she produced the long genzine series VAULT OF TOMORROW which many people loved. Marion was, also, associated with several cons over the years.

I think POWERPLAYs 1-2 are among the best B7 genzines around, mainly for the stories and the art, much of it done by Marion's good friend Suzan Lovett, the lady who introduced her to B7. Marion's own B7 poetry and stories were, also, good, and I enjoyed them. I preferred her poetry to her prose, though.

I normally don't read B7 poetry because so much of it is awful, in my opinion. Marion's poems are always thoughtful and different. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite one. Her poetry and the art that goes with it are highlights to me of the POWERPLAY series. I have reread the poems in the first two POWERPLAYs, my personal favorites of the series, many times.

If you do not own any POWERPLAYS, I strongly suggest you start hunting for them, preferably originals so that the wonderful pencil art shows its full glory. But, if you can't get the originals, then reprints or even copies are better than nothing. The art quality will be dimmed or lost, but the poetry and stories will still be as wonderful....


My last contact with Marion had been via letters about a year or so ago. I bought the original Lovett that is the cover to POWERPLAY 2. It's a gorgeous Blake as knight fighting a Dragon (creature)dragon. It is now a precious possession of mine. Every time I reread a POWERPLAY or look at my wonderful Blake in armor, I will remember Marion fondly.[1]

Joyce Bowen at Judith Proctor's

Issue 1

issue #1, front cover by Suzan Lovett: "Each one is worth the price for the color Lovett cover alone. (In fact, I've heard that when the zine was first published, purchasers received not only the zine but an extra copy of the cover print, "suitable for framing." Dunno if that's actually true..." -- from one of the reviews below

Powerplay 1 was published in 1987 and is 108 pages long. The front cover is by Suzan Lovett, the back cover is blank. Interior artwork: Suzan Lovett (front cover), Caren Parnes, TACS, Sheila Willis.

1988 information about reprints of issue #1

The proofreading was by Melissa James.

The editorial:

It has been several years since Heather Nachman first showed me an episode of Blake's 7. Although I liked it then, the tapes were of rather poor quality and it was difficult to enjoy them long enough to really get to know the show. Later on the prints got better as sources improved, and as I saw more of it (in bits and pieces), and read some of the fanzines, I became more interested, but still not 'hooked'.

It was not until several months ago when I happened to be talking to a friend, Suzan Lovett, who happened to mention that she was working on a piece of Blake's 7 color art and had nothing to use it with. It was just an idea she's come up. She also said that it was a shame I wasn't doing a B7 zine. Five minutes later - I was. (I've done quite a few Star Trek zines and I love the doing.) Shortly thereafter I sent Suzan, through a mutual friend, blank tapes, and she gave me excellent copies of all the episodes. Since I got them, I haven't watched anything else. I'M HOOKED! I'm wondering now if there is anyone else who has gotten hooked on it, really hooked, I mean, after having started a zine. Or is it just me that has done this backwards.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Suzan for all her help, both in getting me to do this, but for listening when I needed to sound someone out. But most of all, I'd like to thank her for the marvelous story she wrote for me. She tells me that she's already working on one for the second issue.

I'd also like to thank the rest of my contributors and I hope they like the end result of the product they helped put out. Powerplay 2 is planned for January, 1988 (DSV One), assuming enough submissions by December 1, 1987. Contributions are now being considered.

Go on now, read, and I hope enjoy Powerplay. Please let me know your thoughts on it. Feedback is always helpful in planning the next issue.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for The Road to Hell.

See reactions and reviews for Once More Into the Breach.

See reactions and reviews for The Slumber Party.

See reactions and reviews for Cassandra.

See reactions and reviews for The Great Lord Shiva's Dance.

[zine]: Powerplay is another one of my favorite zines. The longest and best story in #1, The Road to Hell, has been reprinted by Judith in the anthology of the same title; but it's still well worth looking for this and other issues of the zine, for the other stories and especially for the art. I have #s 1-5 out of 7. Each one is worth the price for the color Lovett cover alone. (In fact, I've heard that when the zine was first published, purchasers received not only the zine but an extra copy of the cover print, "suitable for framing." Dunno if that's actually true, but I've got framed copies of two of them, acquired at cons.)

This issue has lots of other Lovett goodies, and Caren Parnes too.

For Susan Matthews fans, here's one of her story-poems, with a stunning Lovett illo accompanying it.

The two stories by Emily Ross could easily ooze over into something slashy -- especially "Once More," in which Blake is sold in a slave market. The description of the battered-but-attractive body is suggestive of London Bates. There's an equally suggestive illo by TACS.

"Cassandra" has A & V in prison together PWB.

"The Slumber Party" is just what it sounds like. The women discuss the sexual prowess of the men, who just happen to be listening in on the flight deck intercom. This takes place in the "Minor Arcana" universe, invented I think by Susan Matthews, in which all the crew are alive and together except Gan (sorry, Kathy!). [2]

[zine]: [See Aralias' Dreamwidth entry to see many photographs of this zine in the original review as posted. Excerpts from this review are below, as well as on individual fiction pages here on Fanlore.]

powerplay 1 - gen. mostly B-A. mostly pretty good. also includes 'road to hell', which is one of the best things ever. in summary - this is a good zine.

design stuff: generally i feel very positive!

ok, so we all know how i feel about the jaguars. but... i tell you what, everytime i look at roj blake fighting the dragon i love it more. there's a liberator on his shield, right? and the words 'liberty' and 'freedom' on the banner around his arm, and the dragon has federation symbols around its throat. (i don't like the cover of 'powerplay' 1 nearly so much. but there are bits of it i do like - the blake in the top left, the avon bottom left. the other faces all look a bit strange.)(that's my favourite avon outfit, btw, if you were wondering. although in my head it's gold, not white...).

the colour of the dragon is also much nicer in real life - the jaguars are fairly accurate. i also really like the red plastic clip they've got with for the dragon, and the maroon one for the jaguars.

it all adds up to my general conclusion that 'powerplay' is the first zine i've reviewed that is a genuinely desirable physical object. all three editions i've got here look nice and feel nice, and the inside has actually been designed. they don't get it right all the way through (note - that banner font for 'october story'), but by god, they get it right quite often.

that's not to say there wasn't attractive art in some of the others that i've reviewed (notably 'those who favour fire'), but it wasn't as well integrated with the zine as is with 'powerplay'. most of the images were just random - and they were almost all on their own pages. there are plenty of instances in 'powerplay' of poetry and images on the same page, and it really works. similarly, there are plenty of bits of public domain poetry placed under longer stories. 'those who favour fire' also used its page space like this, but 'powerplay' works the theme a lot harder and i think it pays off.

as someone with access to fanfiction on the internet... i appreciate the fact that i'm definitely getting a different and arguably better experience from the printed object. because it's nice. (if you think i'm going on about this a lot, wait until i get to 'fifth season 5', which is perfect bound. it's so sexy, you have no idea).

one caveat to all this design-love: 'powerplay' is also the first zine i've come across that has some pages in the wrong order. or rather, the page numbering is correct. but the content is wrong. i must own, the first time it happened, i just thought 'huh - this is weird. i must have missed a line'. but it turned out to be a whole page. when it happened again in 'powerplay' 3 i was ready.

anyway - here are some images of stuff! there will be more as i go through, if the images belong to specific parts.

ok - onto the content! [See this fan's review of "The Road to Hell," "Cassandra," "The Great Lord Shiva's Dance," "The Slumber Party," and "Once More Into the Breach," on their own pages][3]


This attractive zine offers several stories and some beautiful examples of art, as well as a few shorter items, most or all of which are worth collecting by any fan who likes either stories or art....

A predominant theme is how Blake and Avon interact: that is why and how they don't --or do-- kill each other. This may be deliberate design or happy accident, Blake versus Avon being a prominent theme of the show itself...

The production and proofreading are adequate; the 108 pages of type are not reduced, meaning that this zine is not in running for Year's Biggest award. The art, both in and out of the stories, is consistently good and interesting, and I can't find a single item I wish hadn't been included. The cover is a beautiful composite that emphasizes Avon in color. Unless you're incurably and exclusively addicted to the third or later series, the quality of work throughout makes this zine well worth its price.[4]

Issue 2

Powerplay 2 was published in January 1988 and contains 193 pages.

cover of issue #2, Suzan Lovett. The editor wrote: "The cover, beautifully crafted by Suzan, Is the best print job Color Qhas ever done for me. There’s just one little problem. Have you noticed the title? Tiny, ain't it? It was supposed to be typset much larger. Ihave had them redo It, but then Iwouldn’t have had the zlne ready for DSV. Well, at least the title won’t overpower the art."

From a fan: "ok, so we all know how i feel about the jaguars. but... i tell you what, everytime i look at roj blake fighting the dragon i love it more. there's a liberator on his shield, right? and the words 'liberty' and 'freedom' on the banner around his arm, and the dragon has federation symbols around its throat... the colour of the dragon is also much nicer in real life - the jaguars are fairly accurate. i also really like the red plastic clip they've got with for the dragon, and the maroon one for the jaguars."[3]
back cover of issue #2, Laura Virgil

The art is by Suzan Lovett (front cover, interior), Laura Virgil, (back cover, interior), TACS, Jean C., Celeste Hotaling, Gayle F., Pamela Auditore, Carol Hedge, Pat Cash, and Suzie Molnar.

From the editorial:

This issue of Powerplay is dedicated with love and appreciation to Suzan Lovett, for her support and encouragement. Her willingness to listen helped me more than I can say with my story. Then too, there's her fantastic writing and beautiful work. She also took to heart something I had mentioned wanting to do with a music video (I haven't had time yet) and created a beautiful piece of art, thereby giving me the opportunity to compose a poem on that particular theme.

The cover, beautifully crafted by Suzan, is the best print job Color Q has ever done for me. There's just one little problem. Have you noticed the title? Tiny, ain't it? It was supposed be typeset much larger. I have had them redo it, but then I wouldn't have had the zine ready for DSV. Well, at least the title won't overpower the art.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for Doppelganger.

See reactions and reviews for The Seventh Gate.

See reactions and reviews for Voices.

See reactions and reviews for The Survivor's Song.

See reactions and reviews for Across the Well of Time.

[zine]: No, the fanzine does not contain an AU story with King Blake slaying a Dragon on his white charger [as the cover suggests]. I sort of feel cheated in that respect. But it’s a lovely fanzine anyway.[5]

– bruinhilda

[zine]: [See Aralias' Dreamwidth entry to see many photographs of this zine in the original review as posted. Excerpts from this review are below, as well as on individual fiction pages here on Fanlore.]

powerplay 2 - gen. not nearly so slashy this time, and more ensemble stuff. lots of really good stuff. i liked this zine a lot.

Lonely in Your Nightmare by Mary Gerstner - A/C (sort of): this is a very short thing set after 'terminal', with avon thinking about how he blames vila for cally's death and that's why they can't be friends any more. it's not bad.

The Happy Ending by Celeste Hotaling - V: cute tiny fic about vila reading about gauda prime (hurrah!) to his daughter. alas, the fic does not tell us how vila survived. i wish it had gone on longer so i knew.

Precipice by L.E. O'Brian - B/A (we equate blake with anna, so i'm putting the slash in): another short fic (i quite like reading short fics for once) about blake hanging over a precipice and avon not letting him fall. as an idea, i'm naturally inclined towards it, but the dialogue and the thought processes don't quite work as well as they should, given that there is 0 plot to disguise them.

The Nature of the Beast by Marion McChesney - B-A: no comment.

Downtime by Kate Daniels - A-V-C: another short fic about the aftermath of 'terminal'. avon is very sad. i quite like this one, although its accompanied by that rather scary drawing of avon smiling...

For a Few Moments More by April Giordano - V: vila survived the shooting long enough for servalan to arrive. then he has to decide what to do next. i liked this one, too. 'powerplay' 2 was clearly a good zine.

Follow the Leader by Barbara T - s3 ensemble: much longer fic about kasabi's daughter and friends appealing to avon's 5 for help. avon is distrusting, tarrant tries to be blake and fails. there's nothing at all bad about this fic, but i nothing it.[3]


Issue 3

cover of issue #3, Suzan Lovett -- "Lord Avon". A fan in 2016 said: "No, I don’t know why. I just know that this will be our holy icon when we found the Church of Endless Snark.... #Saint Avon the Insulting Asshole"[6]

In 2013, fan posted on Tumblr: "Kerr Avon fan art by Susan Lovett. I am proud to say I’ve had this print as a greeting card since the year it was created, 1988." A fan responds: "Avon and Jaguars: a true, but inexplicable ship." Another posted: "I…I’m not entirely sure what to make of this…but you know. If you had to summarize the mass of Avon’s ego in one...". Another comment: "Just… what…in a good way but still…"[7]

Powerplay 3 was published in July 1988 and contains 175 pages.

The art is by Suzan Lovett TACS, Leah Rosenthal, Karen River, Bea Quindlen, Pam Auditore, Pat Cash, and Sue Williams.

From the editorial:

I’d like to take this opportunity now to plug a convention. Freedom City, the first Blake’s 7 convention to be held in Baltimore will be at the Sheraton Towson, in Towson, Maryland, April 28-30, 1989. Confirmed guests (professional commitments permitting) so far are: Paul Darrow, Janet Lees Price, Michael Keating, Sheelagh Wells and Terry Nation. An ad for the convention appears in the back of the zine. Hope to see quite a few of you there.

In the meantime, if you live in the Baltimore-Washington area, please write to Maryland Public Television and tell them you want to have B7 shown in your area. They own the rights to show it, and have for the last couple of years, but so far - nothing. Let’s work on them.

  • October Story by Susan Matthews (From the author: "The concept of homosexual relations, fantasies, desires, or inclinations between members of the Liberator’s crew is one that does not exist in the Minor Arcana universe.") (1)
  • Just A Bit Late by Jeff & Mary Morris (60)
  • Song of the Seven by Linda Terrell (61)
  • Thief by Kristy Merrill (65)
  • Garden of Stone by Pat Nussman (90)
  • The Kindest Cut by Kathleen Coy (91)
  • Martyr by CarolMel Ambassador (107)
  • The Shuttle Experience by JoAnn Marquet (109)
  • Closing Shadows by Marion McChesney (112)
  • Team Effort by Jill Grundfest (113)
  • What is It You See? by Sue Williams (123)
  • Patterns of Trust by Sheila Paulson (124)
  • Stalking Toward Revenge by Tyndara Meffe (128)
  • Circles by Mary Gertsner (130)
  • Counterpoint by Emily Ross (133)
  • Dust in the Wind by Cindy Henry (134)
  • Carousel by P. Dell Ames (151)
  • A Fragile Alliance by Sue Williams (152)
  • His Own Man by Shoshanna (168)
  • Revenge of the Slumber Party by D.J. Driscoll (170)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for October Story.

See reactions and reviews for The Kindest Cut.

See reactions and reviews for Martyr.

See reactions and reviews for Team Effort.

See reactions and reviews for A Fragile Alliance.

[zine]: [See Aralias' Dreamwidth entry to see many photographs of this zine in the original review as posted. Excerpts from this review are below, as well as on individual fiction pages here on Fanlore.]

powerplay 3 - more gen. less slashy even than before. contains nothing that i love. but how can this be? it has jaguars on the front :(

Just A Bit Late by Jeff & Mary Morris: this is a one-page fic, which is basically also one joke. while avon and vila are away on malodaar, soolin and dayna discuss how vila would be happier if he lost some weight...

Song of the Seven by Linda Terrell: ok, so here's another poem that i am going to 'review', albeit briefly. essentially, i don't know what the fuck is going on. i've read this thing twice at least and i still don't understand it. vila is vila and the others are all wolves. blake, avon and tarrant get to be their own separate wolves (dream-bringer, heart-piercer, cloud-dancer), meanwhile the wimmins are combined into one wolf (she-wolf and life-guardian). i think. i think that's what the poem tells me. i sort of hope i'm wrong, because it's so massively offensive.

i'm not opposed to mystical bullshit and star wolves, but i honest don't know what's going on. and i also think that tarrant doesn't deserve to be a separate character if jenna/cally/dayna/soolin are basically the same person.

Thief by Kristy Merrill - V and ensemble: there's probably nothing wrong with this one, which is about a theft gone wrong that means vila is being slowly paralysed and he has to go to the federation for help... but i don't like it much. it does some quite nice stuff with avon actually liking vila or at least feeling responsible for him, but it's just dull.

The Shuttle Experience by JoAnn Marquet - A-V: this is the one where avon throws his clothes out of the shuttle instead. it is pretty good, but i also think the image speaks for itself. very funny, lovely stuff. if i keep this zine, it will be because of the jaguars and this fic/comic.

Patterns of Trust by Sheila Paulson - B, S: very short AU in which blake is brainwashed by servalan into thinking that he's an upright federation type and avon is an evil rebel. it's ok.

Circles by Mary Gertsner - V: another short fic that, this time, is about vila being a spy, who regrets being a spy. it doesn't convince.

Dust in the Wind by Cindy Henry - B/J, Deva: i'm pretty sure i skipped this one... maybe it gets better, but it starts like this:

This time, he'd managed to wake himself from the dream without disturbing the woman beside him. He breathed a sigh of relief, of escape from dreams and avoidance of Jenna's concerns.

Jenna's concern, of recent, grated on Blake's nerves like sandpaper, wearing at him and leaving raw wounds that he resented. The wounds didn't heal as easily these days as they once had.

Blake moved his face closer to Jenna's head, gently placing his scars, th3 visible and the invisible, against her hair. He let her soft curls erase the pain of the injury, and soothe his inner pains in a way that Jenna's words would not.

oh, fuck off, blake.

Revenge of the Slumber Party by D.J. Driscoll: and i skipped this one!

so... that's it. no more stories. man, 'powerplay' 3 is just so disappointing after the previous 2. i didn't order 4-7 so i don't know whether this trend continues or whether 3 is just a poor showing. it's difficult to get excited about the others, though, after this. ah well. it's not as though i don't have plenty of other zines to read. i can live (for now) without knowing...[3]


Issue 4

cover of issue #4, Suzan Lovett: "Legendmakers" -- "with apologies to Michael Whelan"
the original art for issue #4, "Legendmakers"[8]

Powerplay 4 was published in January 1989 and contains 221 pages.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

See reactions and reviews for Love and War.

See reactions and reviews for A Fool's Wager.

See reactions and reviews for Too Good for You.

See reactions and reviews for Quoth Avon "Nevermore".

See reactions and reviews for Still Life.

See reactions and reviews for Hecate Waits.

Am I imagining things, or are there at least three stories in this zine that are related to the pictures (all by Leah) that were the basis of the writing contest in Southern Seven #5? SS#6 does indeed include a reprint of "Playing the Fool" and explains that the Bizarro-style cartoon of Vila as ax murderer was originally done to go with this story. But it also seems to me that "Quoth Avon 'Nevermore'" goes with the writing contest picture of Avon and the children, and "Too Good for You" (which I think I would have classified as an adult story even though it's not explicit-- Vila and Blake are sold as sex slaves on a female-dominant planet; Avon disguises himself as a woman) goes with the picture of naked Vila and long-haired Avon.[9]

Sarah Thompson

American genzine containing stories and poetry. The front cover is a strking blue and gold fantastical study by Suzan Lovett, principally of Blake and Avon. There are a number of illustrations including a second Lovett on page 87; other artists are Adrian Morgan Caro Hedge Karen River O'Caoindeablan, Sue Williams, [Gayle F], and [Billie Phillips]. The poetry is by Cindy Rancourt, Pat Jacqueri, and [Shosanna G].

[See this reviewer's comments on other fanworks in this issue on their specific pages.]

Four brief stories come next. In "Playing the Fool" by Wortham and Rosenthal Vila hoodwinks Avon in a short anecdote with a sting in the tail. "And then there was none" by Jeff Morris looks at Orac's role in GP. "Lost" by Steven Swanger tells why Jenna did not rejoin Liberator after Star One. "Nothing but the Thorn" by Joan Hoffman is about Servalan at seventeen, immediately after Keller and as she meets Kasabi.

"Past Tense" by Sheila Paulson is an original well-written story set many years after GP in which a young researcher finds more than he expected when preparing a thesis on Roj Blake.

"Last Clear Chance" by Sue Wells and Dee Beetem has Avon and Blake resolving their conflicts after GP. Not especially original in theme but excellent dialogue and spot on for character.

"Memories" by Mary Gerstner is a short and affectingly desolate monologue from a hallucinating Avon.

"Part 1V; the Wrath of the Slumber Party" by D J Driscoll is a comedy, part of a series but annoyingly there's no precis of the previous episodes to set it in context. Most of the action consists of female crew members in pursuit of male ones. It's moderately amusing but rather repetitive.[10]

– CB

Meanwhile over in Powerplay ... amazing Suzan Lovett covers adorn the fronts of most mediocre early zines (the earliest Powerplays also had Suzan Lovett fiction in them, but alas the latter ones do not). I've kept Powerplay 3 because I love the jaguars so much - fortunately I like the mages cover of number 4, but I can live without it. Suzan has done another image inside (of Avon with the grim reaper), but I don't much like images of the grim reaper (more magic, fewer skeletons). Other art is also nice - and those weird word-art titles are still around! (Kind of fun, though, right?)

Love and War by Jeanne Devore: I generally don't like Blake/Jenna fics. This is a Blake/Jenna fic in which Servalan and Travis capture Jenna because they know that will mess Blake up. I'm a hypocrite so if this fic had gone more like this:

"It must be the one who is most important to him. The one he can't refuse to rescue - no matter how great the risks."


Servalan sighed in exasperation. "Use your head, Travis! He's gay for Avon, who is also the only one aboard the Liberator who knows how the ship works!"

I probably would have liked it better. As it was, I felt it was a baggy and could use more characterisation. It's also long - I skimmed it.

Homing by Marion McChesney: Short, harsh.

Quoth Avon "Nevermore" by April Murray: Light comedy (that has nothing to do with Poe) about children on the Liberator. It's OK.

Hecate Waits by Jean Graham: This one's probably the best in the zine - Jenna and Avon get captured together. Unusual (but interesting) pairing up, and well characterised.

Playing the Fool by Ann Wortham and Leah Rosenthal: Vaguely bizarre short fic about trolling Avon. I like that Vila and Blake are friends.

Lost by Steven Swanger: Short, competent post-Andromedan war Jenna fic... showing Jenna as competent. Which is nice.

Nothing But the Thorn by Jean Hoffman: Weird coming to this after the Don Keller fics in 'Sleer as Folk' - this ones's a sleazeball, and I doubt Servalan would fall for him (though it's difficult to imagine who - apart from Kerr Avon - Servalan would be interested in.)

Too Good for You by Paulie Kay: This fic should not be in a gen zine! It's really weird as a gen fic - Avon disguises himself as a woman to rescue Blake and Vila who have been sold as sex slaves, but there's no sex, and it's not shippy in any way (though Avon does have to keep his arm around Vila to stop other people nicking him, which is perhaps a bit slashy). It's bizarre. Vila is a sex god on this planet and everyone fancies him (he wants to stay), whereas Blake is treated so badly on a weird impregnating farm that he represses the entire experience and has no memory of what happened at all by the end of the fic. There's stuff I like here (Avon dressing as a woman! and buying back his crewmates with ill grace. Excellent. I love a slave fic), but the fic is ultimately confusing and has no drive, which a chosen slash pairing would help with.

Past Tense by Sheila Paulson: Nice Sheila Paulson PGP fic about a history student. Some touching scenes with elderly Tarrant reminiscing, and an effective ending.

Last Clear Chance by Sue Wells and Dee Beetem: Another plot that is more familiar in a slash context - Avon asks for Blake's forgiveness after GP. Short, doesn't really add anything to the genre, but to be fair this probably wasn't such a big thing in 1989.

Memories by Mary Gertsner: This fic quite genuinely has four verses of 'Memories' from the musical 'Cats' at the beginning, followed by a sad story about Avon being sad and alone, followed by two more verses of 'Memories'. No comment.

A Fool's Wager by Kathy Hintze: Bizarre attempt to explain 'Orbit' that is too long given that it's just a short crack premise.

The Wrath of the Slumber Party by D.J. Driscoll: I haven't read this series since the first one because the rampant heterosexuality irritated me. Trufax.

Still Life by Judith Kitses: Massive fic. I only skimmed the first few pages. It's about Avon - that's really all I can tell you. The sequel takes up a substantial part of Powerplay 5 as well. So I mostly didn't read these two.

Summary: One fic I really like, one fic I like the premise of, and one fic of 80 pages I didn't read.[11]


Issue 5

cover of issue #5, Jean Kluge: "The Jean Kluge cover is slightly paler/more pastel than the other Lovett covers, but otherwise fits well with the general aesthetic of Powerplay (I wish they had be fantasy themed! That would have been awesome - though perhaps a bit wearing after 7 issues). You can't see it that well on the scan on Fanlore (or perhaps you can, gentle reader, but I didn't) but Blake's eyes are shown behind Avon and I assume his hand is holding up the crystal ball that Avon is being shown in (while the others are shown in crystal balls around Avon? Possibly). Anyway - it's a nice cover - Jean Kluge is very good. I love the Machiavelli Factor cover." --[11]

Powerplay 5 was published in April 1989 and contains 216 pages. It contains an A3 fold-out Suzan Lovett artwork.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

This time the cover is by Jean Kluge instead of Suzan Lovett, but it's equally beautiful. Makes me wish that Jean did more B7 work. My two top favorite stories in this issue are Tashery's long-after- GP surprise-ending gem, "Crusader," which is illustrated with a Lovett foldout; and Shoshanna Green's heartbreaking story in which Avon and Cally do *not* become lovers (sniff!). BTW, I think I'm going to start using "uc" to indicate "unconsummated" pairings.[9]

Sarah Thompson

The Jean Kluge cover is slightly paler/more pastel than the other Lovett covers, but otherwise fits well with the general aesthetic of Powerplay (I wish they had be fantasy themed! That would have been awesome - though perhaps a bit wearing after 7 issues). You can't see it that well on the scan on Fanlore (or perhaps you can, gentle reader, but I didn't) but Blake's eyes are shown behind Avon and I assume his hand is holding up the crystal ball that Avon is being shown in (while the others are shown in crystal balls around Avon? Possibly). Anyway - it's a nice cover - Jean Kluge is very good. I love the Machiavelli Factor cover.

Interestingly, though Fanlore does not tell you this, there's an A3 fold-out Suzan Lovett image inside (so she's not absent from this zine at all). And it's so amazing that I almost want to keep this zine just for the image, as I am already keeping stupid PP3. But I am going to be strong and not keep it. The image is Avon and Servalan, Avon looking into a mirror-of-Galadriel type deal, surrounded by two borders full of various different medieval Blakes...

It's tangentially at best related to any story. But it's pretty good. Other art is either good, or in some cases (some images accompanying the semi-medieval story that seem to be of Thomas Doughtie and 80s-convention-Gareth Thomas) actively not good.

Infernus by Cindy Rancourt: Another non-gay PGP angry!Blake must forgive Avon fic, seen through Vila's eyes. It's fine, but again - has to compete with a lot of other fics and doesn't measure up.

The Way to the Beginning by Heather Saavaarda: Short, pre-series Cally fic. It's OK.

Intruders by Sue Glaven: GP seen through the eyes of two thieves who come to pillage the bodies - Avon has a poem he's written about Cally on his body. The thieves are disgusted. Quite a nice idea, actually (if we want to think about how the scene appears and how it actually is through a 3rd-person POV), but the poem doesn't really work and the story is too short.

Physicist by Tom Beck: Very long story but good - Big Finish should try and publish this one in an anthology. It's quite like an episode plot (Blake and co find out that some scientists have almost cracked hyperdrive and go and try and blow it up before Servalan gets there). It has a particularly interesting Blake (she said to nobody's surprise) in that he is several steps ahead of everyone technically, even Avon (which never happens), he's determined and ruthless - to the extent that he claims to be willing to kill Avon if Avon will not stand aside and let him destroy the facility (how they get out of this feels a bit forced - Avon wanted to keep the discovery for the sake of science, then he finds out that the lead scientist was only in it for personal gain, and is then willing for Blake to blow it all up - I also think Blake should be more upset about the possibility of killing Avon)(some other weirdness in that one of the scientists joins the rebels because she is plain looking and will never get far in life - this is flagged up right at the beginning, and is her stated reason for defecting. On the one hand - perhaps fair. On the other hand, it's weird!). Avon saves them all from Servalan using a neat bit of trickery.

Crusader by Tashery Shannon: Nice idea. Could, in general, have been better executed (it's a little long and confusing for what is essentially just a fic saying - hey! a cool idea!), but there's one part in particular that trips it up and basically ruins the fic. The word 'flatulence' can (the internet inform me) mean "inflated or pretentious speech or writing; pomposity", which I guess could potentially apply to Blake. Unfortunately it has a much more literal meaning as well (I assume this latter one is derived from the former). Because nobody said 'this is weird - please edit this out' we get treated to a couple of hilarious descriptions of our dearly departed, fearless leader i.e.

"Once he got going on the subject of morality, Blake tended to be rather flatulent. Trapped though she was, Servalan smiled to herself. Avon would have liked that description of Blake."

What Dreams May Come by Shoshanna: Short, nothingy post-Sarcophagus A/C dicussion.

Timeless Conflict by Sue Williams: Plenty of elements I like here - in the present Avon passes out in a jungle and Blake is concerned about him (yes, thanks), meanwhile in Avon's dream he's engaged in a medieval conflict and Blake is making a bunch of stupid decisions that get everyone killed (well - I guess I like some of this, medieval AU, Avon as Blake's chief advisor with a nice cape, plus I like comparing and contrasting time periods). Gan is very good in the flashback world - which is weird as it's in Avon's mind. I guess he values Gan after all. Given that in the present we see Blake working tirelessly to save Avon, it feels a bit rotten that the take-home message for Avon is that Blake is a dangerous fail :(

The Flying Dutchman by Judith Kitzes (sequel to "Still Life" in #4): Hurricane by Judith Kitzes (sequel to "The Flying Dutchman") Didn't read - which is a hundred odd pages. Ah well.

Summary: Some good-ish fic, some amazing artwork (including some by Karen River as well. Powerplay gest all the amazing artists), but not handsome enough to tempt me due to the fic not being interesting enough.[11]

Issue 6

issue #6, front cover by Suzan Lovett
issue #6, back cover by Gayle F

Powerplay 6 was published in 1989 and is 164 pages long.

The art is by Suzan Lovett (front cover, interior), Gayle F (back cover), Sue Williams, Karen River, and Adrian Morgan.

From the editorial:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank both my contributors and my readers. Without them there's no fanzine, and I've enjoyed doing very much. I hope they will continue to support Powerplay. Special thanks go to Suzan Lovett for 5 wonderful covers, and a great deal of listening.

... On another note, I have some good news and some bad news. First the good, there's a Slumber Party Story in this issue (thanks, D.J.); the bad news is that it's the end.

Purgatorio is the sequel to Cindy Rancourt's story, Inferno, published in Powerplay 5. The artwork came in too late to include in that issue. However, hating to waste good artwork, I decided to use the illos in this issue. The two pieces that Adrian Morgan did for Inferno have been included at the end of the zine. All that is necessary is for you to remove the back cover (simple for spiral binding) and remove them and insert them into Powerplay 5, that is if you wish to do so.

The River is reprinted from Those Who Favor Fire.

"The Legacy," the poem by Mary G.T. Webber. It was originally printed in Powerplay #6 in 1989 and Panning for Pyrites in 1989, then was re-printed in Rallying Call #15 in 1995. A fan in the next issue of that apazine remembers this poem at Gambit: "[Gareth] said it was the best Blake poem he had ever read and then didn't he call the lady out and hug her or something? Lucky girl! No, I wasn't there. I just saw the vid."
  • Letters by Judith Kitzes (1)
  • Purgatorio by Cindy Rancourt (29)
  • Tale of a Fool by Sue Williams (49)
  • Silent Knight by April Murray (50)
  • The Legacy by Mary G.T. Webber (also in Panning for Pyrites and Rallying Call #15) (52)
  • Something Fishy by Debbue McKean (53)
  • Lest We Forgive by Kathy Hintze (57)
  • I Wish I Knew by Sue Williams (86)
  • Next Generation by April Murray (87)
  • Evensong: Avon by Jacqueline Taero (98)
  • Childhood's End by Jill Grundfest (99)
  • The River by Marion McChesney (reprinted from Those Who Favor Fire) (126)
  • The Stonecutter by April Giordano (127)
  • Avon's Big Score by Leigh Arnold (129)
  • It Tolls for Thee by Sue Williams (142)
  • Slumber Party IV by D.J. Driscoll (143)

Issue 7

Powerplay 7 was published in 1990. It contains 11 stories and is 153 pages long.

front cover of issue #7, Bea Quindlen
back cover of issue #7
flyer for issue #7

This issue was dedicated to "Satchel Productions and its continued success."

From the editorial:

Welcome to Powerplay 7. It is my sincere wish that you will enjoy what is for me the last issue. After three years of publishing in B7 fandom and 9 years in Star Trek fandom, I've come to the end of the line. I always promised myself that when the fun became work, I would hang it up. Although I've enjoyed doing zines and learned a lot in the process, the fun has in the past year become more of a chore and an obligation. I feel now is the time to say adieu before the quality of the zine (production, not writing) suffers more than it already has. I'd like to thank my readers and contributors. I"d particularly like to thank Bea Quindlin and Suzan Lovett for all their help and encouragement.

The cover design for this issue originally was supposed to be by Karen River, but unfortunately time and finances made it impossible to have it printed in color. Printing it in black and white would have been an injustice to the original artwork. Bea Quindlin very kindly did black and white graphic cover designs for me and inside those covers, I am including a print of a previous color cover by Suzan Lovett.

But wait, a hot flash. This may not be the end of Powerplay. Bea Quindlin has informed me that she is interested in carrying on the zine. So...I have given her permission to do so.

  • Out of the Pit by Sheila Paulson ("The "war" has been fought and won ... but not all the victors have been gathered close about. One remains conspicuously absent.") (1)
  • A Study in Contrasts by Roxie Ray ("An artist shines new light on Blake's people.") (11)
  • Just Give It Some Time by K. Ann Yost ("Avon's never been out of the domes and the "wide open sky" takes on new, and frightening, complications that will have to be dealt with.") (19)
  • Second Chance by April Murray (23)
  • The Dream Foregone by Virginia Waldron ("After Gauda Prime the remaining "crew" of the Scorpio has to find new ways of making their way in life. Some do well... and others don't.") (50)
  • Puppet by Sue Glaven (64)
  • Irreconciable Allies by Susan Rottellini (69)
  • On Time by Paulie Kay (90)
  • Heart of Stone by Marie Logan (99)
  • Shivan by Sheila Paulson ("We know that "Shivan" is a code name, an alias taken on by the rebel leader to protect...someone. But who? And who was "Shivan" before he took that name?") (115)
  • Those Dreams by Pat Nussman and Jacqueline Taero (150)
  • artwork: Bea Quindlen (front and back cover), Suzan Lovett (color, inside front cover, the same as the cover of issue #4), Sue Williams, TACS

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

There's some steamy stuff here, gen though it is. In particular, "Those Dreams" could easily have gone into Straight Blake's, especially in issue #1, which was mostly non-explicit. "Oceans Apart" is a short, bittersweet, unconsummated A/C; "A Study in Contrasts" also seems to pair them romantically, at least in the mind of an outside observer. Gan is featured romantically in "Second Chance," with Vila as the second male lead in this one.

Several of the stories have a rather slashy feel, at least to my smut-inclined mind. "Out of the Pit" reminded me quite a bit of Careless Whispers. It wouldn't be at all difficult to add sex to this view of a PGP A-B relationship. "The Dream Foregone" is much darker, but again, sex could be added. It starts as a PGP A-V, but gradually we learn that events on GP did not occur as in the aired canon-- and in the end we find out why.

Paulie Kay's gen A-V stories often seem to me to come close to A/V. In this one, Vila is the victim of an odd phenomenon that sets him adrift in time, but he manages to come back long enough to tend an injured Avon.[12]

Sarah Thompson


  1. ^ Joyce Bowen, at Judith Proctor's site
  2. ^ from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  3. ^ a b c d zine and art review by aralias at: "aralias - ziiiiiines: powerplay 1-3". 2013-06-21. Archived from the original on 2013-07-16.
  4. ^ Pressure Point no. 2
  5. ^ "bruinhilda: "Cover to Powerplay #2, art by Suzan Lovett …". 2016-05-07. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.
  6. ^ "bruinhilda: "Powerplay #3.  No, I don't know why …". 2016-01-21. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27. {{cite web}}: no-break space character in |title= at position 27 (help)
  7. ^ "docnickie formerly revnickie — Kerr Avon fan art by Susan Lovett..." 2013-09-28. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.
  8. ^ "Suzan Lovett Shop: 'Legendmakers' (Blake's Seven)". 2008-01-09. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.
  9. ^ a b "Mini Reviews (#1 to #6) by Sarah Thompson – Blake's 7 POWERPLAY". 1998-02-21. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.
  10. ^ "Review (#4) by CB – Blake's 7 - POWERPLAY 4". 1998-02-21. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.
  11. ^ a b c comments by aralias at: "aralias – Deadlier than the Male, Powerplay 4 and 5". 2016-01-24. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.
  12. ^ "Mini Review (#7) By Sarah Thompson – Blake's 7 POWERPLAY 7". 1998-02-21. Archived from the original on 2022-04-27.