Pressure Point (Blake's 7 letterzine)

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See also Pressure Point (disambiguation).
Title: Pressure Point
Editor(s): Pat Nussman
Type: letterzine
Date(s): 1987-1989
Frequency: bimonthly, then quarterly
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake's 7
External Links:
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Pressure Point is Blake's 7 letterzine with 12 issues.



From the publisher's ad listing in Southern Enclave #17: "A new bimonthly newsletter designed to keep in touch with what's happening in B7 fandom, what US conventions are featuring B7 guests and where, what zines you can buy or submit to, what B7 clubs you can join. In fact, almost everything that's happening in this growing US fandom, all in a concise and timely form. Each issue features a calendar of events, zine listings, zine reviews. and a marketplace."

From the publisher's ad listing in "Southern Enclave" #22: "The B7 newsletter, is now a quarterly letterzine bringing readers a fresh, expanded format with lively discussions of every aspect of the B7 universe, plus zine reviews, listings, con reports and articles. Catch the premiere of the new, improved 'Pressure Point' in January 1989."

Other Letterzines/Apas With Much Blake's 7 Content

Also see: List of Letterzines.

Issue 1 (1987:Oct)

First issue
  • Convention listings (1)
  • Review of B7 Complex no.12 (1)
  • Review of Fifth Season no. 4 (3)
  • Personal statement from a zine publisher (5)
"Last spring it came to my attention that a fannish dealer on the West Coast was making and selling copies of my fanzines B7 Complex without my permission. I wrote to the dealer, whom I knew through B7 fandom, and included a SASE for a reply to my offer to allow her to represent my zines legitimately on the West Coast. I never received a reply. Recently (this fall), I learned she is still selling my zines, duplicated without my permission, as well as several other zines for which she had no reproduction or sale rights. Many of the zines she's copying are in print and available legitimately, at cheaper and higher quality from the editors/publishers."

  • Zine ads (6)
  • Organizations (9)
  • Marketplace (10)

Issue 2 (1987:Dec)

Second issue
"In the cause of fairness to all parties, I've expanded my page count for this issue to accommodate all letters and statements I've received on the subject. Since I can't do this every issue (postage and printing costs being what they are), please let's have this be the last hurrah for this debate .. or move to a letterzine, where lengthy discussions more properly belong. In fact, I'd prefer not to print personal statements at all in the future, so I can devote Pressure Point's limited space to reviews, news, and other matters of more general interest. And while I have your attention ... I'd like to invite readers to let me know what kind of material you would like to see in Pressure Point. Zine reviews and information are the main focuses of the zine -- along with con reports, which I hope to running next issue -- but if anyone has any other ideas on content I'd like to hear them."

  • Comments on the personal statement in issue no.1 (5)

A subscriber writes:

"I received my copy of the Pressure Point today. What s disappointment. Instead of a newsletters of information I found a rather lengthy piece of one woman's personal attack upon another, under the guise of education."

"I am embarrassed by the entire situation, embarrassed by the people participating in it, and I am ashamed for B7 fandom that it has stooped to this level of behavior. I am very disappointed in Pressure Point, and would be even more so if it proves to be close-minded to other viewpoints and ideas."

A subscriber writes:

"Someone in California has apparently been illegally duplicating (counterfeiting if you will) copies of Susan Clarke's B7 zines. In future I will printing her zines here in the U.S. and legal copies will include a copyright statement for Susan with 'printed in USA by Poison Pen Press for S. Clarke.

A subscriber writes:

I have been warned by several friends that a smear campaign is being directed against me. Her letter is one of the more inflammatory diatribes I have seen, Besides being misleading and untrue ... Hearsay is not accepted as evidence by any court for the very good reason that anyone can make up a story and say someone else witnesses it. Or someone can exaggerate, distort, or completely revise the original tale ... Further I freely admit that I have provided copies of out of print zines for people looking for them I have an extensive collection of B7, including many rare, long out of print issues. I have always made my collection available to fans, and I charge little more than the cost of copying ... As long as this letter is, it does not even begin to to say how I feel about the way I have been treated, I have promoted all Blake's 7 zines to new fans for years now."

A subscriber writes:

"Some months ago, I began receiving letters from fans on the West Coast who had purchased my zines at conventions out there (Southern Lights 2.5, for the most part)They had taken the address from the zine and wanted information about others. I was curious since most of these people had bought the zines at cons where my authorized agent had not been ... And if the zine has my name on it and it isn't GBC bound, chances are it's bootleg."

A subscriber writes:

"I would like to make a few pertinent comments from a consumer's viewpoint, and offer some explanations why bootlegging is so prevalent. (1) Getting the word out there. A lot of people buy from bootleggers because they don't know where else to get zines. (2) Policing. Often there is no way to tell if a zine is being pirated. (3) Buying a pig in a poke. Buying zines through the mail is frankly, a gamble. (4) Instant gratification. Mail order only publishers are fighting an uphill battle against the instant gratification factor. (5) Foreign zines. All foreign zines should get them selves an American publisher/agent. (6) Pricing. Many publishers a pricing themselves right out of the market. (7) Social conscience. All other factors aside, it is a sad but true fact of life (in ALL walks of life, not just B7!), that the average fan does not have a social conscience."

  • Convention listings. (11)
  • Zines. (12)
  • Organizations. (15)
  • Marketplace. (16)

Issue 3 (1988:Feb)

Third issue
"I'll expand on impressions in the next issue of Pressure Point. In the meantime, I'll pass on a few general observations about conditions were like as I experienced them. The Holiday Inn is not large. If the convention had not been painstakingly organized, it would have been claustrophobic; instead the atmosphere was cozy--occasionally, downright intimate. The hotel staff seemed pleasant and reasonably cooperative. It was nice to have an event located near a hub airport, for convenience of transportation. Overall, good marks for the hotel. The convention itself was judiciously planned in advance. As an official timekeeper, procurer of wayward microphones; and obtainer of clean ashtrays and drinking glasses between activities, I appreciated having enough slack time between events that if one panel slid over time, we could still begin the next punctually. Also, there seemed to be very little scheduling conflict; it was possible, if you were virtually indefatigable, to attend almost every guest-oriented activity. It helped that all the attendees were tolerant about our unavoidable slip-ups, when the happened! The Helpers were helpful. The Dealers rooms seemed to be set up (despite the smallness of the available space) so that it was possible to circulate without foregoing breathing for long periods of time. Registration was set up and running every day at an early hour, and appeared to be run with remarkable efficiency. The Art Show was not humongous; but it was very select (witness the number of pieces that went to auction). The Con Suite seems to have been a great success. And finally, of course, the guests were absolutely wonderful. I cannot say enough good things about them all. My personal contact with them before DSV had been very limited: I'd had lunch with Terry at Scorpio '87; been to a group dinner with Michael in New York; and been a face in several amusing gatherings now and then when Paul had materialized in convenient parts of the East Coast over the past year. My lack of familiarity was compounded by my acute nervousness since I had never in my life done anything comparable to this MC business -- much less held a live microphone! All of the guests, without exception, were a delight to work with, and put themselves out to make my job -- as well as the convention in general -- enjoyable. They were all obliging, gracious, entertaining, hard-working, thoughtful, amenable, and above all, fascinating people. I'll try, next time, to relate specific examples of how they went about making DSV the success it was."

  • Announcements (5)
  • Convention listings (6)
  • Zines (6)
  • Organizations (10)
  • Marketplace (10)

Issue 4 (1988:Apr)

First page of no.4
  • Here, looking at you: memories of DSV One. (1)
"Conventions have their own rules. Things that are reasonable, natural, and just plain necessary during a con may be impossible to relate properly in a mundane context. We've all wrestled with this at some time.

My mission on that occasion was to announce Terry Nation and Jan Chappell before their Q&A panel. Jan had been delayed, so I went up front to mill around with Terry. That gentleman (despite having long transplanted himself to California's sunny climes), took one look, and reached out to glom onto my lapel, with flattering expressions of approval. My mind boggled in mid-compliment, so I don't remember exactly what he said. But whether the sentiment was sincere (I believe it was) or superficially polite , Terry very kindly put me at ease, and incidentally made me feel like Paul's Proverbial Million Bucks. (Terry also volunteered to begin the panel alone, one of the many times the guests contributed to keeping things running smoothly.) Never was Janet's enthusiasm more appreciable than during the grueling 7 hours of the Auction. All of the guests put on a delightful performance; though undeniably the featured attraction was the return of the Paul & Mike Show. Terry pitched charity items on behalf of an imaginary emergency airlift of medical specialists for Paul's back, till the hysterical crowd was on the verge of mindwiping. Jan Chappell, Sheelagh Wells -- everyone took a turn hawking one item or another, till the loyal buyers were euphoric, exhausted, and blissfully approaching destitution. But it was Janet who after midnight seemed to be just hitting her stride, dashing about fearlessly on that gawdawful collection of peripatetic ice floes we were using as a 'stage.' When the pace began to lag, it was Janet who asked for items of particular interest from the Charity to be put on the block, renewing general interest; Janet cheerfully hustling slow bids along; and impishly informing Paul she was better at it than he or Michael.

I have only two notable regrets, now that DSV One is past. I wish I'd made it to one of Sheelagh Wells' makeup workshops. I'm told that in addition to her warm personality, and enviable good looks, she is skilled in such esoteric arts as crafting 'old skin' on top of new, and contriving disgustingly authentic-looking warts with the help of Kellogg's Rice Krispies. I wish I'd seen the blooper reel."

  • Review of Straight Blake's (4)
  • Announcements (5)
  • Convention listings (5)
  • Zines (6)
  • Organizations (9)
  • Marketplace (10)

Issue 5 (1988:Jun)

First page of issue no.5

Issue 6 (1988:Aug)

First page of Issue no.6
It's true. Elvis is alive. He showed up in Seattle in early May--sans guitar, but complete with sideburns and shades--as Paul Darrow made his usual fan-pleasing appearance at Anglicon, as the Northwest's first B7 con guest, appearing along side non-B7 (but still popular) publicist Terry Erdmann. A major topic of the weekend, not unnaturally was Paul's current play, 'Are you lonesome tonight?' which follows the last six hours of the singer's life. Paul had taken advantage of the short break between the show's preview performances and the main tour tour to appear at Anglicon. And, every so often during the con, he provided fans with something of the role's flavor speaking a line or two like Elvis or singing a bit here or there. Whether as Elvis or himself, Paul managed to liven up the proceedings, as when he walked into one question and answer session with a large blaster which he pointed at the audience. (Would you like to have someone who looks like a deceased rock star and non-existent galactic terrorist with a penchant for mayhem pointing an energy weapon at you?) Fortunately, the fans survived this improbable combination to enjoy a Space City Casino Friday night with games of blackjack, roulette, poker ... plus a bank to rob (or get a loan from, for the faint-hearted). 'Elvis' made an entrance (causing a considerable stir) with his vintage shades and midnight black suit -- showing himself a master of poker. Working in concert with Terry, Paul rounded out his con activities by MCing the art auction and dancing with some fortunates at the Neutron dance.

  • Announcements. (5)
  • Convention listings. (5)
  • Zines. (5)
  • Organizations. (9)
  • Marketplace. (10)

Issue 7 (1988:Oct)

First page of issue no.7
"An American publishing company, Lyle Stuart, is releasing two Blake's 7 novels. The titles are BLAKE'S 7 and PROJECT AVALON. While these are novelizations that fans who would like to read original professional published Blake's 7 novels support them. The publisher has decided that sales of these two books will determine how later Blake's 7 releases are distributed, and whether or not there is eventually to be a line of these novels, similar to Pocket Books' line of Star Trek novels. Sometime this winter Lyle Stuart will publish Paul Darrow's Avon novel. These reprints of earlier B7 novels are being used to test the waters. If they fail, fewer copies of Mr. Darrow's book will be printed, it will get worse distribution than these two, and chances are you'll never get to read it. Also there won't be any more Blake's 7 novels, by Paul Darrow or anybody else..... Let's get out there and push for these books in our local stores, then buy a copy each to prove to Lyle Stuart that there is a market for Blake's 7 novels. Please transmit this information to all B7 fans you know. If fandom doesn't know the books are available, they may never appear in most bookstores, and they'll be out of print before most of us know they were ever in print. PASS IT ON."

  • Zines (4)
  • Organizations (9)
  • Marketplace (9)

Issue 8 (1989:Jan)

First page of issue no.8
First, a thank you to all of you that wrote to support my effort to expand PRESSURE POINT into a letterzine--particularly Linda Terrell, editor of Federation Archives. Input from fellow editor is especially appreciated. Also, thanks are due to those of you who wrote a letter for this first's not an easy task to write a LoC before discussion gets going. Now a few ground rules for LoCs. Like most other letterzine editors, I will not print personal attacks.. you're welcome to criticize a fellow fan's ideas, but not the person him/herself. I will judge whether a statement is or is not a personal attack and edit accordingly. I will probably err from time to time, but I will try. The second ground rule concerns length. I'm not setting a page limit yet, because I don't have a feel for how many letters to expect. But do keep length reasonable in deference to your fellows. If space is tight, I will edit letters for length.

  • Letters of Comment: The Prequel, Part II. (4)
"Since I decided to do a letterzine, it seemed I needed to kick off the discussion somehow, and I dug up something a friend and I had once kicked around in a idle moment.

1.Who among our our gallant crew were actually brought up in the domes? 2.Why do our unesthetic friends the Andromedans want to destroy all mankind? 3.Why is Blake so fixated on Earth? 4.Are the drugs the Federation have people on addictive? Were different kinds given to different grades? 5.Cally 6.Who is Avon, anyway? 7.On the subject of Anna, who the hell was she of many names and whose side was she ultimately on? 8.Why didn't Avon ever go back and blow away the Federation Banking system, with or without Blake's encouragement? 9.How do computers work in the B7 universe? 10.What about Zen, anyway? 11.Come to that, how human/sentient are any of the B7 computers? 12.What did Tarrant do after he deserted the Federation? 13.Where indeed was Blake between 'Aftermath' and 'Blake'? 14.What is Vila's real background? 15.Why does Avon allow everyone and his brother on the 'secret' Xenon base in 'Warlords'?

16.Why does Orac on two separate occasions attempt to wipe out Vila?"

  • Letters of comment (6)

A subscriber writes:

"My theory about Blake's character rests on the statement from the doctor in 'The Way Back', when he is asked whether Blake could possibly regain his memories. He replies, 'Only if he were to have a complete nervous breakdown.' I am convinced that what we observe in the first two series of B7 is Blake slowly but inevitably suffering that breakdown. I do not think Terry Nation was conscious of it in the first series; I think he and Blake both saw the character as the pure hero, but every once in awhile the ruthlessness and monomania of Blake's real personality would slip through--in 'Breakdown', for example when he threatens to destroy Kayn's hands, and again in 'Bounty', when he actually does begin to destroy the articles in Sarkoff's museum. I think Avon comes dangerously close to having his faith in humanity restored by the early Blake, the Blake who believes his own reputation and, I think, makes an honest effort to live up to it.... From that point on, Blake disintegrates; he tries to make a deal with the Terra Nostra; he practically drives Avon away in 'Horizon'--look at the configuration of the 'Avon might run' scene; Blake cannot cannot help knowing Avon could hear him. I could go on, but I promised to keep this short. For next issue, I will provide my ideas as to why Avon continues to follow Blake through the second series, even after he is thoroughly disillusioned. Here's to the success of PRESSURE POINT as a letterzine,.

A subscriber writes:

"I rather enjoy the sibling rivalry comparison of all the Liberator crew -- the biggest rivalry often presented as being Blake and Avon. I see this more as 'Father/Son' with Avon in the role of the unsure son constantly trying to win Dad's approval. Yet I constantly feel that Blake doesn't notice -- it's more that he presumes it and when Avon lives up to Blake's expectations. Blake simply accepts it. Probably one of Blake's major failings: he thinks they know he approves but people like to be told.

A subscriber writes:

'The dragons' teeth which we have sown among ourselves are various and potent. At this very moment, a number of battles are raging simultaneously, and the following list is my no means exhaustive. We have the debate over slash; the BNF/snf fingerpointing contest; the more academic question of what constitutes 'canonical' material in this media-oriented fandom; the issue of whether this fandom needs the continued presence of actors/guests in order to survive; the extremely problematic problem of whether it's beneficial for the actors and the fans to become involved on too personal level; and the enormous storm of controversy that has arisen from Terry Nation's and Paul Darrow's proposal to do a series of conventions with Laurie Cohen (in her persona as Decima Productions) this coming fall. I don't have time to cover them all, in this one letter to PRESSURE POINT, but I'll put down some thoughts on a couple that have touched me personally in just the last few days. Slash (explicit-sex stories between same-sex characters) has long been the subject of fan controversy. There are a number of stands possible to take: It's wonderful and love and discuss it openly (enthusiasm); it's wonderful but I hide it in a closet (secret enthusiasm); it does nothing for me but it's no big deal (tolerance); people can write what they want but I think it twists the characters beyond what I can believe of them (qualified tolerance); what am I surrounded by weird homos? (borderline antagonism); and set it on fire and stomp on it (outright antagonism). Fortunately, fans are, on the whole, easy going, well-behaved, and tolerant. People who are outright antagonistic rarely have the poor form to violently contradict the majority opinion (acceptance of slash) in public. This is probably just as well. Not only it is very rude to tell you friends you think they're sick; but also, sexual content topics are always touchy (despite any superficial appearance of placidity); and i fear the anti-slash people are seriously outnumbered.......

Surely virtually everyone in B7 fandom must be aware by now that Laurie Cohen has been putting out feelers (extensive systematic ones) about doing a string of 4 to 6 conventions in the fall of 1989. Although she's been soliciting help from local fan organizations in the cities she's targeting, these would be 'professionals' conventions, in that the proceeds (if any) would not be donated to charity. Instead the money would go to her and whatever actor/guests make personal appearances. Rather like Creation Cons, in many respects, except that (as I understand it) the actor/guests would be cut in for a considerably larger amount of the proceeds. Also, the guests would have considerably more input and control over what form the programming takes, and how their schedules run. I don't see how anyone could object to the guests making money off their personal appearances; it's the way most of them make their living. Literally, I think the idea of their having more control over what they do at conventions is admirable. Anything that boosts the guests' enthusiasm will probably make thing more fun for the attendees...... Personally, I believe we're going through a transition toward a more arms-length relationship with our guests (in which all parties can gratefully recover their privacy) right now. In the long run, a little touch of affectionate formality, a measure of benignly calculated diplomacy may prove beneficial to us all. But whether or not the guests remain active participants, whether or not we preserve the earlier traditions unaltered forever, there will always be a fandom.....

I would like to state for the record the Gambit Con Committee has taken no position of any kind with regard to Mr. Paul Darrow's recent behavior and statements(he contacted us with perfect courtesy long before all this upset began, to let us know he'd gotten work, would be unable to attend Gambit, and wishing us success); nor with regard to Laurie Cohen, Decima Productions, and any associated proposed conventions (which are, as of present rumor, scheduled for next fall), and therefore have no direct impact on Gambit, which is going to be a once-only undertaking anyway.) Individual members of the Con Committee have personal and private opinions on these and other matters. But Gambit has formed no policies and made no declarations intended to interfere with the unimpeded, legitimate expression and operation of Ms. Cohen, Decima, or Mr. Darrow in any way. As Ms. Cohen has repeatedly insisted we make clear, from the conception of Gambit, we have been completely independent of any involvement with, interest in, or influence by Decima Productions. With all due respect, Gambit intends to maintain that separation.

  • Announcements (14)
  • Convention listings (14)
  • Zines (14)
  • Organizations (19)
  • Marketplace (20)

Issue 9 & 10 (1989:Apr)

First page
"The LoCs: An editorial prelude. I, like many other fans, have my own opinion on the current controversy, but my main opinion is that this extremely acrimonious argument is tearing fandom apart, straining friendships, and decreasing everyone's enjoyment of the program. In other word, my friends, this fight stinks and I'm only allowing letters on the subject now in the name of fairness. Any further communications I receive about it will promptly and unceremoniously hit the rubbish heap."

A subscriber writes:

"I am sorry to see any fandom degenerate into this type of thing. I'm sorry to see my friends degenerate into this sort of squabbling. This issue I've seen that seems to be causing the biggest row is the battle between Paul Darrow and certain BNFs in American fandom. I'm not going to name names here since anyone involved knows who they are, and I'm not going to launch into a detailed discussion about it all. I will just say that I have read some of the correspondence/flyers making the rounds from the parties involved re libel and slander, etc., and I think no one is entirely in the 'right' and all are partially in the 'wrong.' It basically seems to be Paul Darrow on the one hand and the BNFs on the other hand butting heads, both sides stubborn and proud, and neither intending to give ground first. It has escalated into a shooting war from there. In both cases, ego seems to have a great deal to do with it. Perhaps it is going to take an independent arbitrator to solve this mess. I hope it does not end up going to court involving a libel suit and cross suit. All that will generate is bitterness and hurt to all involved. Why can't both sides just back off and say, 'I'm sorry. I took what you said the wrong way and my temper got the better of me.' Because that's the root cause of the whole mess. Somebody said something and somebody else got their feelings hurt, then got mad and decided to 'get' the first party involved. That's for pre-schoolers, folks. We're all supposed to be adults here."

A subscriber writes:

"The series of questions you printed in PRESSURE POINT #8 presented a number of challenges to Blake's 7 fans. I would like to respond to the question, 'Who was this Anna person, anyway?' After seeing 'Rumours of death' the second time, I came to a few definite conclusions about Anna and repeat viewings strengthened those ideas. (I have seen nearly all episodes twice and most 3,4,5 or more times. I truly believe that Anna really did love Avon. I think she also found herself in a position every double agent dreads and tries to avoid: She fell in love with the man she was trying to trap. Secondly, I think she may have truly gone over to the rebels, but not for her ideals. She probably found herself with a lot of questions to answer for her ' handling of the Kerr Avon affair.' For whatever reasons, maybe even initially as a double agent, she joined the rebels. Maybe it was the only choice she had; kicked out the system she had to fight it. Maybe she saw the aftermath of Star One and decided to join the winning side. Over all, she wanted power. Her reaction when she was able to sit at Servalan's desk was of someone who finally achieved the position she wanted. I also think she had a personal vendetta against Servalan, but who didn't?...... As I said at the top of this letter, I believe in fairness and I hope Blake's 7 fans can overcome this misinformation and work together for the sake of this fandom. Our fandom is lucky that the actors care so much about the fans and want to help them and meet them. After all, our actors also have bills to pay just like the fans and they should receive compensation for the time taken off work and the enormous travel expense. We are science fiction fans and we are tolerant people in general. Let's let bygones be bygones."

A subscriber writes:

"Like 'Sand', 'Moloch' presents on the whole a sympathetic picture of Servalan. She takes risks to rebuild her Federation. Her dignity in crisis is inspiring to anyone. She is profoundly grateful to Vila for behaving like a gentleman when he had the chance to visit the worst possible horrors on her. There is that unforgertable shot of her daintily lifting her long skirt as she runs down the slope to rescue Vila from the guard. The camera focuses on her hand nearing three objects: the gun (kill indiscriminately), the teleport bracelet (just clear out), and the rock. She chooses the rock, and uses it to knock the guard out carefully. Subsequently, she carefully aims, and shoots the guard to protect Vila again. Then she leaves Vila, alive and safe. 'Moloch' has always seemed to me a superb and subtle episode, with its elaborate web of motivations and its edge of the world symbology. A magnificent and very funny sense of irony hangs over the whole episode. Superman turns out to be the pathetic little Moloch. The salvation of the socially exclusive Sardoans includes opening their community to 'unemployed villains from Calchos.' Early on, Tarrant says coolly, 'Servalan's here for a reason. I'm going to find out what that reason is and then I'm going to kill her.' Awhile later, when Grose 'gives (Servalan) to (his) men', she says, 'You'll suffer for this, Grose.' In the end, Grose does suffer for it: he is shot dead by Tarrant. A nice irony that Tarrant who wanted to kill Servalan, avenged her instead. An even nicer irony when augmented by the speculation that Tarrant, after cold bloodedly threatening to kill Servalan, found himself at her mercy."

A subscriber writes:

"As for slash, it doesn't do much for me either, except make me a bit ill in the more extreme (explicit) cases. But many of the stories are well written and thought out, and if you concede that they don't really reflect the true attitudes of the B7 characters as established by Terry Nation, I don't have a problem with 'em. But even if did, I would hardly insist on every B7 fan in America not buying/writing/reading/drawing slash literature. For one, I doubt anyone would pay attention. Second, I would quickly become the laughingstock of fandom. It is a shame that someone felt driven to 'expose' these filthy writers and artists to certain actors and actresses. Having written adult stories (yes, and a slash story or two) myself under assumed name, I suppose I should now tremble in fear at the retribution that will surely fall upon me. But I won't hold my breath waiting. To the 'slashophobes' that dwell in B7 fandom: if you don't like it fine. But you do not rule universe, and there's this interesting document called the Constitution that has the fascinating section called 'The Bill of Rights'. And don't you know, the very first one deals with Freedom of Speech. So either ignore it and keep your mouth shut, or go join Falwall, Swaggert, et al. You should fell right at home until they find out you're a SF fan."

A subscriber writes about some of the fallout from The Blake's 7 War:

"Statement on behalf of Gambit con.

As a member of the Gambit ConCom, and as one of the people who participated in all of the telephone conference calls on this matter. I would like to clarify something something bought up in the statement read by Mr. Terry Nation on behalf of Mr. Paul Darrow at Gambit's Opening Ceremonies. Mr. Darrow's statement seemed to me to imply that Gambit 'withdrew' (his word) its original invitation to him and his wife, Janet, in a deliberate attempt to prevent either of them from appearing at the convention. This is not the case. Only 3 weeks before the convention was to take place, when we thought we had our budget and guest arrangements mostly settled, we received a phone message from Mrs. Darrow. She asked if her invitation to attend Gambit still stood, and stated that she expected a reply within 48 hours (her deadline). We were taken aback as Mrs. Darrow had previously sent us an eloquent letter in which she explained at length that though she appreciated our offer, she would be completely unable to attend Gambit without either Mr. Darrow or Mr. Michael Keating there as well: she felt that she worked best with those two gentlemen and that by herself (having had only a small part in the actual series) she was not enough of a 'draw' to justify the expense of travel arrangements. Naturally, we were curious as to why Mrs. Darrow had suddenly changed her mind about wanting to be at Gambit. But we promptly went over our finances to see if we could afford another guest. This question had to be settled before anything else. The answer was that, depending on airfares, we might be able to afford one more guest if we were willing to risk going in the red (as our budget stood before the con). To make matters more complex, within hours of Mrs. Darrow's inquiry, Gambit also heard from Ms. Jacqueline Pearce, who had likewise been invited earlier, had declined, and now expressed a renewed interest in attending the con. The Gambit ConCom (14 members) is strictly democratic.

I and several other officers spent the most of the next 2 days on the phone taking votes. First, the Committee had to decide if we were willing to risk going into debt to get another guest. The answer to that was an uneasy but definite yes. Second we had to decide between the two ladies, because we could not afford them both. The answer to that was an overwhelming majority vote (13 ayes and one couldn't be found in time) in having 'Supreme Commander Sevalan", who hadn't been at a US con for several years, rather than the relatively obscure 'Klyn', who had been over here recently, and who had expressed such uncertainty about her own value as a draw. From a purely business point of view, it was a clear-cut decision. I will not deny that the infamous 'controversy' that has been poisoning B7 fandom lately may have played a part in individual decisions. But, having discussed the issue at great length and expense with most of the other ConCom members, I can fairly state that when the decision was made, Mrs. Darrow part in the controversy worked equally for and against her. The factor that tipped the scales in Ms. Pearce's favor was her relatively greater value as a guest. That was all. Three members of the Gambit Con Comm contacted Mrs. Darrow, stating clearly who we were, on the international telephone conference (we felt the situation merited the expense). We told her that, sadly for Gambit, we could not afford to bring her to our convention; and that the Committee was unhappy at not being able to have her attend. Mrs. Darrow barely paused before informing us that she would pay her own way, and we should see to arranging a hotel room for her. We told her she'd be welcome, and asked when we could expect her to arrive, so that we could make arrangements to pick her up at the airport. She said she would contact us wit the details later. However, we never heard back from her directly (Even when she apparently decided not to come after all.) We did juggle the problematic security floor arrangements yet again, to reserve a room for her with the other guests, just in case.

Approximately a week later (now only 2 weeks before the con), while we were still struggling to finalize arrangements for Ms. Pearce and wondering where we'd come up with that last couple of hundred dollars, we received another telephone message. This time it was from Mr. Darrow, inquiring whether his invitation to Gambit still stood (his specific phrasing). Gambit's budget had not, in the intervening week, suddenly developed a several thousand dollar surplus. Nor (in the time remaining) were we likely to raise such funds. Even had he been willing to travel coach class, the bottom line was that Gambit could not afford Mr. Darrow any more than it could afford his wife. Again, there were multiple factors in the equation. We were not sure exactly why Mr. Darrow was putting us on the spot with his last minute request. It was virtually certain he would be unable to come even if we said yes. Mr. Darrow had a play, and was in fact leaving home to attend final rehearsals and begin touring the following weekend.

Furthermore, the 'controversy' surrounding the Darrows was getting worse, if possible. And despite our best efforts to keep Gambit neutral in the debate (every side of this mess has staunch proponents on our committee), we had been dragged in by none other than the Darrows themselves. By the time of Mr. Darrow's inquiry, we had heard from virtually all our confirmed guests (except Mr. Nation) that the Darrows had contacted them to specifically request that they not attend Gambit.

If we had the money, I believe we would still have done our best to make Mr. Darrow welcome, regardless: Gambit has taken its neutrality seriously. And besides, in the past, as everyone knows, Mr. Darrow has always been an exemplary guest. And even though we would have liked him at Newark, for both diplomatic and business reasons, the bottom line remained the same: we did not have the money. Again, we initiated a conference call, carefully announcing the names of all parties on the line. We did try to ask Mr. Darrow why he wanted to come. He replied only that he wanted his original question answered. Did his invitation to Gambit still stand? When we replied as gently as possible, 'well,no', he cut across any further discussion and got off the phone as quickly as he could without actually hanging up. We tried to explain the situation we were in. We would have listened to Mr. Darrow's views, and we gave him a fair opportunity to air them. But Mr. Darrow gave us no chance at all for a reasonable discussion. These are the exchanges which Mr. Darrow characterizes as Gambit's withdrawal of its invitation to him and his wife.

From Gambit's point of view, it looks rather different. The Darrows put us in an impossible position, demanding to know if they could still come only 3 weeks before the con -- when they had each turned Gambit down long ago, and Gambit had therefore committed its funds elsewhere. The Darrows carefully phrased their demands to make it sound as though we were personally rejecting them ( no matter what our actual reasons); and then (despite our express regret at not being able to afford Mrs. Darrow, and our willingness to make hotel and transportation arrangements on her behalf) they attempted to make it appear that we have been brusque and uncooperative, and taken sides against them. I repeat, this is not the case. In truth, no matter how Mr. Darrow may choose to characterize the situation, the worst offense Gambit's ConCom has been guilty of is trying to manage our business finances responsibly. Since we made the decision not to spend the money we didn't have to bring the Darrows to Gambit, other issues have arisen. Now, some of us may regret less and less what was at the time a purely fiscal necessity. But back when the Darrows tried to re-invite themselves to Gambit, the only reason we couldn't afford them was money."

A subscriber writes:

"I don't want to overstate my case, by any means, but since you are opening up an issue of PRESSURE POINT to the 'controversy', I felt that I had best respond. Especially since I have heard some disturbing rumors concerning regarding my position and actions. First, I wrote one and only one public letter regarding fan vs. pro convention situation. This letter was printed in its entirety and in the only form ever written or authorized by me in the Federation Archives. I asked no other club or newsletter to print it. I have since heard it said I wrote numerous other letters which 'names names'. This is untrue. Prior to the publication of my public letter, I wrote one personal letter to a West Coast fan. Within six days of writing that one personal letter, I was receiving 'anonymous' hate mail accusing me of conducting a hate campaign against Paul Darrow and Michael Keating (?!). All of the sudden the Darrows had copies of my public letter ... before it ever saw print. I may be incredibly naive and slow, but even I could figure out what happened. I obviously trusted the wrong person with sensitive information. I I have more recently found out that private letters I wrote to Terry Nation, Paul Darrow, and Laurie Cohen regarding the whole situation have been circulated indiscriminately by the principals involved. I find that lack of discretion disgusting but given recent developments hardly surprising...... The attitude From England and the actors themselves seems to be that my references to charities and 'dying children' was a direct attack on Janet Darrow's inability to have children. That's about the biggest quantum leap of illogic I've ever heard of. They seem to want to make me out to be the bad guy because I advocate giving money to charity. Which rather illustrates the whole point of original letter rather nicely: excessive demands on the part of some guests strains the convention budget and takes money directly away from the charities and the attendee functions. Period. That's what I said and what I meant. If some of you are willing to empty your pockets for these people, have at it. It's your right to spend your money where you will. I have never said any different. What I said was, you think about it."

    A subscriber writes:
"For myself, I am not cowed by words like 'yes-man' and 'gutter-sniping apostate' (has anyone ever figured out how to snipe at a gutter?) If some out there wish to stay in kindergarten and calling names such as these gives them peace of mind, so be it. If some out there wish to seek a job with the National Enquirer by penning volumes of sensationalist emotional demagoguery, so be it. Fandom is composed of rational and intelligent beings. To you I say this: keep your own counsel. Put yourself in Paul Darrow's shoes and assess your reaction to being called what he has been called in the first strike (e.g. greedy, uncaring, a baby-killer -- shades of Anti-Semitism with only a slight alteration of the name.) But don't believe he is being wronged simply because I tell you I know it to be true. Conversely, don't believe he is 'evil' simply because you heard it somewhere from someone else. Don't support the Tour of conventions simply because I or anyone else tells you it is a marvelous idea. Conversely, don't abhor it and shun it because someone else told you it is a wicked device. Look, listen, and observe for yourselves. You choose, dear fans. It is YOUR fandom, after all."

    A subscriber writes:
" Personally, I see a great many problems with the plan as laid out by Decima, both by their declared representatives, and in writing in their mass-mailing. Terry and Paul came up with an idea, which, if it could be made to work, would be a dream convention. I just sincerely doubt that it can make money. I earn my living as an accounting clerk in a department store; prior to that I was an assistant manager/assistant buyer with the same firm. Determining the profitability of an item by looking at its costs versus the income expected from it is something I deal with on an everyday basis. The expenses for a con of this nature are very high. Hotel space, for example. In the New York/New Jersey area, a small conference room will more likely than not cost more than a single room rented for the same period of time. A good many of these will be needed to run this sort of con properly. Ballroom space, another essential for conventions is rented out by the section/foot. This goes for an even higher rate. (This information comes from a friend of mine who has been setting up business conventions in connection with her job.) And the cost of renting/borrowing video and audiovisual equipment and perhaps personnel, and you can see that the overhead alone will eat up a vast amount of revenue. Add to this the expense of bringing guests over; airfare, food, bar bills, etc., and the figure climbs even higher. Remember, as this con is to make a profit, by definition there will be nothing like a guest fund or charity auction to help pick up the slack. As to the expected income, Decima's mailing stated that admissions, dealers' table costs, art show hanging fees, etc. would be set at the fannish norms. How then, do they expect to generate enough income to make a profit? By the nature of fandom, you simply can't attract the 10-15 thousand people who attended the big Star Trek in their heyday. I think that's why, when the conventions were first being touted, the figures mentioned by the Decima reps included the controversial 50% commission on artists. Perhaps, Mr. Nation and Mr. Darrow were unaware of it (from the tone of both their letters, as included in Decima's mailing, I believe this to be the case) but I heard this figure myself, when a Decima rep was outlining plans for the tour at a local fan club meeting. Since the plan has has now been dropped, it's a moot point, but it would have been one way to generate the money needed to pull this off. Actors bowing out of conventions due to work commitments is not a problem unique to fan-run conventions. Paul Darrow himself bowed out of a good many conventions, both fan and pro, when he got the tour of 'Are you lonesome tonight?' Would the contracts for the tour specify that if the actor got other work, that free time for the convention had to be written into their contract as a condition of employment? This might cost an actor a long-term job, and how many actors would want to risk a long term possibly breakthrough role for them because of a convention?"

    A subscriber writes:
"Thus, these rumors, like numerous others that have been related to me, had no basis in reality. They were not informational but malicious, intended to hurt me and injure my reputation within the fandom. And despite the reality, like all other rumors before them, they spread. What I'm trying to suggest is that when somebody tells you something, particularly if it's negative about another person, stop and think, rather than react. Where could they have heard that? Is it first-hand or twenty-second hand? Is it possible or even probable that they misheard or misunderstood or misinterpreted what they heard? I think it would be to everyone's benefit to believe the best of people and to be reluctant to believe the worst. Paul Darrow has been great for the fans and for Blake's 7 fandom. He has always made himself available outside of convention hours to spend time with fans. he and Janet are conscientious correspondents. He is unvaryingly hospitable to the waves of American fans who flock across the Atlantic to see him. Is it likely that he would suddenly be out to rook the fans? Of course not. Last April, in an effort to reconcile certain differences that had arisen in the aftermath of DSV One, I wrote to you and Annie, saying in part that fandom should provide an escape from the pettiness of the real world, not simply a new battleground. What I said last April still goes. I don't like fannish wars; I don't like fannish politics; I think this entire business is a monument to aggrieved egos and monumental stupidity. I don't exempt myself from a share of the blame or anyone else. But I think all of us should make an effort to put this behind us, and remember why we became in fandom in the first place: to make new friends; to discuss characters and plot situations that intrigued us, to explore and extend our creative horizons; to meet actors, writers, etc. who brought this show to life and to hear about it from their perspectives. Above all, TO HAVE FUN. The conventions we are planning are going to be fun. Fannish politics are not fun. If you enjoy power politics, go find another playground. If you're in this for the fun of it, come lend a hand with the conventions! It's a big playground and there's room for anyone who wants to lend a helping hand."

    A subscriber writes:
"It seems to me that most of certain people's distress has been caused by a lack of understanding of what fandom actually is. Fandom is us, those of us who love something so much that we can't just sit at home and absorb it passively. We have to have more, to do more. We have to join clubs and go to conventions and read fanzines ( and sometimes -- ulp -- even write and publish them) and hang out with other fans. For many of us, fandom is our primary social experience. I firmly believe that he whole problem is being caused by a failure to comprehend this. Fandom is about as close to being a true anarchy as we are going to find outside a political science textbook. Once a show gets out into the hands of the fans, we are going to do whatever the hell we like with it, regardless of what the creators of the show intended it to be. What we do with it may anger, amuse, appall or even deeply offend the show's creators. Tough. As I would to a Muslim offended by Salman Rushdie's THE SATANIC VERSES, I simply say: If you don't like it, don't read it. I don't like the concept of 'slash' fiction, either. So what? Since when did the universe depend on my (or anyone else's) opinions? Adult zines sell. They have an audience. Many fans want to read them. The marketplace don't know from ethics, and it don't care about people's feelings. I can certainly sympathize with Paul and Janet Darrow. It isn't surprising that they are offended by slash fiction. It would help matters if they could understand that the character in slash stories is not Paul but a figure more or less, by now, in the public domain called 'Avon'. Paul doesn't have to like it. But he does have to accept it, or else he has to reject a large part of what makes fandom what it is. Fandom belongs to us, the fans. It is our world, our lives. That means we come first. Period. End of discussion. Blake's 7 belongs to us now. Without us. the show wouldn't even exist anymore. That means that we are the most important element in any equation. Maybe even the only important element. Without grasping this, not outsider can possibly grasp fandom. Fandom does not belong to the writers, the actors, the producers, or even to the BBC. If any of them want to join us, they can do so as fans. They can't join as superior beings who behave toward us like gods. Nobody is going to order me to do anything. Any attempt to do so, in fact, stands a damn good chance of making me do just the opposite. As for the rest of this whole, ridiculous, painfully drawn out controversy, well ... I wish it would just shut up and go away. If these people want to feud, why don't they do it among themselves instead of trying to drag the rest of us into it? I don't care who is to blame, or who is right, or who started it, or who said what to whom when. It has gone on for way too long, and has caused a lot of hurt to too many people. There is no prospect of either side 'winning', whatever that might mean. By continuing to fight in public and trying to engulf all of us into it, they are hurting themselves and worse, they are hurting fandom. Which is where we come into it. They can do whatever they want to themselves and to each other. Bu they better leave my fandom alone! This is my life, folks, just as it yours. I'm furious that my fandom is being threatened by people who should know better. If they don't, they should at least be decent enough to stay out it and stop trying to ruin what they can never control."

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Issue 11 (1989:Jul)

First page

Editorial (Short, I promise) By Pat Nussman

"A letterzine inevitably reflects the interests and personality of the editor, as you've probably all noticed by now. I'm no more immune to this than anyone else, so I'm announcing a change in PRESSURE POINT policy. Recently, I've 'gotten into' British media besides B7 (while not losing my interest in Blake, Avon, and Company). Judging from the smorgasbord of British media discussed at the recent MediaWest*Con and just talking with folks, I think a lot of my fellow fen feel the same. This, mated with the relative paucity of letters for this issue (the late, not so great controversy having taken its toll), has made me to decide to open up PRESSURE POINT to letters, articles and reviews discussing all British media. This isn't to dethrone B7 as the main interest, but to perhaps broaden the scope of discussion somewhat. I've started it out, in this issue, with my own comparaison of Avon and The Sandbaggers' Neil Burnside. Next issue, I hope to have an article comparing the real SIS to The Sandbaggers' SIS written by Jackie Moleski and she's also offered me a Dempsey & Makepiece for an upcoming issue. In the end, of course, what a letterzine contains depends on the letters received -- if you, the LoC writers want to concentrate on B7, that's what I'll print. The important thing is to keep writing, and to keep thinking , about the programs and the characters that first brought us together. And I hope 'opening up' PRESSURE POINT to a wider discussion does just that."

A subscriber writes:

"I've heard more than one person day they find 'The Way Back' to be a boring episode since there is so little action to it. I've always found this attitude to be hard to believe, considering how much information we're given in this particular episode. In fact, I find it more interesting each time I see it. In 'The Way Back', we are introduced to Blake, learn about his rebel background, meet one of the people he knew before his arrest, see how he was framed, learn some things about the Federation 'legal' system, learn that there are honest and free-thinking within the system (Blake's lawyer and his wife who both suffer for it), meet Vila and Jenna and learn that the Federation prison system does not supply prisoners with uniforms. What else do you want from one hour? Oops, how could I forget -- we also learned about Federation brainwashing and drug control usage, see WestEurope Dome from the ourside, learn that there are people who live outside the domes successfully and illegally, learn that rebel cells still exist and what happens to them when they are 'arrested'. So, as far as I'm concerned, not only is this episode not boring, it is informative as hell."

A subscriber writes:

"I've got this whole theory about Tarrant (I'm a Tarrant defender, what can I say) and my own interpretation on why Servalan knew so much about him and his skill. We're told, by Servalan, that a man must go through at least 5 years training in order to be a pilot. We know that Tarrant went through this training, and, in fact, must have graduated because he was a commissioned officer, a Lieutenant on one of the Kairopan escorts. He tells Avon he trained as a Federation Space Captain, but we don't know whether he ever actually held that rank (through dialogue from the series). If, perchance, he was actually a Captain, chances are he attained that rank fairly young (this gets into the argument of how old is Tarrant really supposed to be, which I won't go into here). Which means he was very, very good.. Wouldn't it be likely that Servalan, as head of the military, would be aware of such a 'boy wonder'? Especially once the boy wonder stole a pursuit ship and defected? It seems obvious to me that when Servalan and Tarrant first meet on Liberator during 'Harvest', that they've met before -- there's a familiarity there which wouldn't be there with total strangers. I suspect Servalan cringed when she found out that Del Tarrant was now on board Liberator. They'd be less troubles as rebels now, but more trouble as pirates. As it turned out, she was right."

A subscriber writes:

"My primary interest in B7 is the interaction between Blake and Avon. Not only do I like Blake and Avon separately, I think each is 100% more fascinating when he's in the same story with the other. Their confrontations are the high points of the entire show. Together they make a dialogue between idealism under pressure and cynical pragmatism, only instead of being a dry abstract philosophical dialectic, it's real, personal, intense, and even deadly conflict. It's a dialogue that never goes stale or loses its relevance. (Indeed, the United States and the United Kingdom both have been wrestling for many years now with the question of just how much idealism can they pragmatically afford, and they will continue to wrestle with this question, perhaps violently, for many years to come). What keeps the particular dialogue between Blake and Avon from just degenerating into an irreconcilable shouting match is that the idealist isn't 100% self-serving. There is some common ground, small though it may be and however much Avon would be loathe to admit it. Take away one of the two characters, and the other losses some of his appeal to me, because that magnificent dialogue between idealism and pragmatism abruptly ceases. Indeed, for me, Blake's 7 reaches its pinnacle in 'Star One'. Although certain later episodes were outstanding, the last two series taken as a whole were something of an anticlimax.

If you held a gun to my head and forced me to choose which character was my favorite, I'd have to say Avon. But you cannot understand Avon unless you first understand Blake. It doesn't matter what your interpretation of Avon is, so much of what Avon said and did was in reaction to what Blake said and did that you can't make up your mind as to whether Avon was right or wrong, sane or insane, intelligent or stupid, until you first make up your mind to whether Blake was right or wrong, level-headed or fanatic, etc.

Was Blake fanatic? In the long run, I don't think so. People keep saying he was fanatic because he put his Cause before the welfare of his crew and was willing to sacrifice innocent people in order to strike at the Federation. But I want to point out that while Blake was sometimes hard on his crew, he obviously conceives of what he was doing from a military perspective (although he didn't tend to talk about it in military terms). As such he treated his crew as his tactical command. It has been said that a captain can't afford to have friends on his own ship, and while I think that's wildly overstated and that Blake was friends with his crew, it does point out the thorny problem of a military leader sometimes being put in the unpleasant position of having to order a subordinate who is also a friend into danger.

If you're going to commit yourself to a cause as Blake did, it must come before everything else. Blake was explicitly dedicated to his Cause. He told people that and everyone knew it. If you followed him, you had better be prepared to fight for the cause. If you didn't like it you could opt out.. Too, I think many fans use civilian premises in jumping to the conclusion that Blake was necessarily sick or mad to want to destroy Star One. To be willing to incur massive civilian losses is a terrible decision to make, but it's one that countless so-called legitimate military leaders before Blake have had to make as well, and we would not call them mad, sick, or fanatic (unless you happen to be a unilateral pacifist). The test of whether Blake's plan to destroy Star One was insane is: would it have worked? None of us can answer that with absolute assurededness, because, we were never privileged to know the precise military strength and deployment of either the Federation or the rebel factions. Based on what we did know, though, I'm inclined to say Blake could have succeeded.

In his motivations, Blake certainly flirted dangerously with fanaticism, but at the last minute he pulled back from the edge. If he had not insisted that the bombs be removed from Star One. If he had not insisted that the Liberator hold off the Andromedeans until the Federation arrived, then he he would have been shown himself an irredeemable fanatic. A fanatic sacrifices all priorities to his one overwhelming Cause, whereas Blake was willing to recognize that his common humanity with even the Federation overrode his bitter conflict with it. Blake was right to fight the Federation. I don't think Blake was a fool. Morally, I think he was right to fight the Federation from the start. The writers made it clear that the Federation leaders were not merely harsh and oppressive, but callous mass murderers. We're talking about a regime that crushed a handful of malcontents because they agitated for free elections. We're talking about a regime that used genocide as an instrument of policy. People didn't expect people to fight because fighting was 'right and good', but because not to fight was wrong. Fighting was necessary. You just had to find your own imperatives. And I think Blake was vindicated on pragmatic grounds as well when the events of the 4th series made it look like the Federation would soon control all of the known galaxy. There would soon be no place left for a free man to run.

That's the funny thing about idealism. When you step back and look at the big picture, idealism starts to look more and more pragmatically sound. It's like that old quote from World War II, 'In Germany they came first for the Communists and I said nothing. Then they came for the Jews and I said nothing. Then they came for the Catholics and I said nothing. When they came for me and I cried for help, there was no one left.' My only problem with the classic libertarian doctrine of enlightened self-interest is not that old bugaboo 'self-interest', but with expecting people to know where their true interests lie."

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Issue 12 (1989:Oct)

First page

A subscriber writes:

"To me, Blake and Avon represent two different answers to the same question: How does a good man act in a corrupt world? Blake dis answer that other age-old question, do the ends justify the means, in the affirmative on more than one occasion, but his ends never really changed. They only wavered once, in 'Trial', and even then he finally came to the conclusion that as long he could breathe he would fight. I certainly like Blake for that (I would like Blake as a person far more that I would like Avon), but it is precisely the fact that Avon had more difficulty with the question -- was more deeply ambivalent -- that makes him just slightly more fascinating as a character to me.

I, too, believe that Avon was fundamentally good man and that up until the 4th series he adhered to his own code of honor. When going to look for Blake in 'Terminal' blew up in his face and killed Cally, I think Avon decided to chuck this honor business on cold pragmatic grounds; it simply wasn't working.

Except that it's not that simple, a man who really is decent at the core cannot just wake up one morning and decide he's going to dispense with all that. He can act as though he's put all that behind him (he can pull a gun on Dorian and hijack his ship when all Dorian had done up to that point was save Dayna's and Vila's lives), and he can stalk a friend though a shuttle with deadly intent. But -- and this is my point -- he can't do this without doing himself a kind of psychological violence in the process. I think an honorable man can make himself act dishonorably though sheer force of will, but I don't think he can force himself to like it, ignore it, or be comfortable with it. And despite the inferior overall quality of the writing, I do find that aspect of the 4th series fascinating. (And I agree completely: I don't think Avon was ever insane.)

A subscriber writes:

"Ah, but we agree entirely on our enjoyment of the interaction between Blake and Avon! As a matter of fact, I like them separately a lot less that you do -- together they are dynamite! I think perhaps it was the relationship itself that appealed to me even over the characters themselves. They certainly were a different combination though weren't they. Finally we have people with flaws -- in real life, people thrown into a life or death situation don't always automatically get along or even cooperate well. Personalities clash as they did with Blake and Avon. It added to the dynamism of the show and neither of the last two seasons could boast that particular quality. Not even the third, when the relationship between Avon and Vila peaked. Your comments on whether Blake was a fanatic coincide well with my article on whether Blake was an idealist or not, and the other letter on his personality. Blake was a driven man, emotionally damaged by the deaths of his family and then later of Gan, but I don't believe he was a fanatic. And here - Yes, I admit it - I going to violate what I said earlier in this letter and step out of the series and mention the intent of the writers of 'Star One'. Until we reach the episode Star One itself, we aren't really given any indication of true fanaticism at all. Did you notice? Blake wasn't acting any different than he normally does until the writers (and Gareth) decided to write Blake out of the series. Then all of a sudden, Blake is willing to destroy a trillion lives to prove he was right about the rebellion, to win, etc., etc. But hold on one cotton-picking minute here. since when is Star One anything more than a communications/control base for the Federation? All of a sudden it controls climate and civilian ships and goodness knows what else. I was under the impression it was nothing more than one on Earth was, weren't you? I mean right up to the point where Blake has to become the bad guy and leave the series. That leaves us with a serious problem in resolving this one episode of the series with all the rest which have come before. I quite refuse to believe that all of a sudden it's MASS MURDER we're talking about instead of a nice little computer foul-up -- and yet we saw it! and eventually we accept it as a natural progression of the events leading up to SO because we saw it and must reconcile it to the rest of the series thus maintaining continuity and believability. Sooooo we (myself included and everyone who's ever written a story taking place after this episode) invented a 'progressive' fanaticism. We decided Blake has become more and more driven after Gan's death, yet in actuality, he didn't act much different - it at all - that he did before right up to the Keeper and Star One. Interesting? And I shall still stand my argument that Blake was not an idealist. So far my logic hold sound in that respect.

A subscriber writes:

"I don't find 'The Way Back' boring, it got me totally hooked on the show when I first saw it on January 17, 1987 (with no forewarning). It reminded me of an old favorite classic SF movie, Logan's Run. I think why some fans dislike it is, A) No rapid-fire dialogue between the ensemble cast like in Series, B, D, and A. (I found this missing in Series C as well, a major reason I don't like that season nearly as much). B) If you enjoy showing Blake's 7 to new people that you want to become fen then you see it a lot. After about 3 or 4 times it does get boring because of the lack of character conflict. The first time characters like the girl who brings Blake to the rebel meeting and Blake's lawyer and wife are interesting but when you know they are dead meat and there will be no further development of character then they aren't as interesting. I think the reason the Federation is shown as totally evil and Blake is totally good, in this episode, to to set up the situation. It isn't until late in series B that we start to see the cracks in Blake's character (such as his idea of using the Terra Nostra to gain control), and he starts really showing his obsessiveness with totally destroying the Federation after 'Pressure Point', until finally 'Star One'. Likewise, it isn't until later that anyone considers that the Federation has some redeeming qualities."

A subscriber writes:

"I'm one of those who finds 'The Way Back' an incredible yawner. I've read such much SF; I guess I'm jaded. Yes, there's lot of information feed, but it's all such standard stuff. If you've seen one dystopia story, you've seen them all. In fact, as SF/fantasy B7 is mind-numbingly trite. What makes this show so addictive is its fabulously flawed heroes, and they don't come into their own until the end of the 2nd series."

A subscriber writes:

"I see that Tarrant fans are popping up all over the place. There was a lot of talk about this in the last two FAs, as well (and Travis fans seem to showing up, too). It's an interesting phenomenon to me because I remember that in the early days of B7 fandom Tarrant was quite well liked and seemed to have a number of fans. In fact if you go back and read some of the older B7 fan fiction (Time Distort -- the zine done by Scorpio years ago) and Forbidden Zone (the first American adult B7 zine) spring immediately to my mind as early B7 zines which features some strong, sympathetic Tarrant stories. Several people have already noticed that Southern Seven #5 even contained a few Tarrant (and Travis) pieces this time around, along with other material which concentrated on some of the less explored characters. I wonder why they ever went out, so to speak? I mean, Tarrant was obviously popular in the early days, but somewhere in the middle, Avon become so overwhelmingly the favorite that Tarrant not only got left by the wayside, he became the 'enemy' simply because he and Avon didn't get along. Now there has suddenly been this resurgence in the Boy Wonder's popularity. Maybe fans are simply getting tired (or at least some of them are) of Avon stories, Avon and Vila stories, Avon and Blake stories, Avon and Cally stories... and would prefer to see something new explored. As many of you no doubt realize, as the fandom grows and more and more zines are published, it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with original ideas to write about that haven't been done by another fan."

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