Puppeteer

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Zine
Title: Puppeteer
Publisher: Waveney, Judith Proctor
Editor:
Author(s): Bryn Lantry
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): Whitby27
Date(s): post 1987, reprinted without a cover February 1996
Medium: print zine, fanfic
Size:
Genre: slash
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
cover of the 1996 version by Whitby27

Puppeteer is a slash Blake's 7 40,000 word-novel (50 page) by Bryn Lantry/xBryn Lantry. Illustrated by Whitby27.

It was originally published as E-Man-Uelle #8 and again in Homosapien Too. After going out of print, it was reprinted as a standalone with a new by cover Whitby27 in February 1996 by Judith Proctor.

Archived online at Archive of Our Own: Puppeteer

The 1996 Version

1995 flyer
Avon's bored. Stuck on the world of Kasir Kadin while Blake tries to contact local dissidents, he passes his time by analysing Blake. When Blake inadvertently lets slip that he's gay, Avon shifts from analysis to manipulation. He sees Blake as someone who might be able to fill his own emotional needs and he's quite prepared to manipulate Blake to the edge of a breakdown in order to get what he wants. his is a fairly bleak story dealing with complex characters. It's a story that requires you to think about what is happening. What does Blake really want? Is Avon telling the truth? It's probably true to say that "Puppeteer" is a love it or hate it zine. It has been variously described as: weird, the best Blake's 7 slash story ever, brilliant, incomprehensible, etc. Personally speaking, I love it, which is why I made the decision to publish a new edition... "Puppeteer" has been printed twice before. A draft version of the story appeared in Emanuelle. The final edition of the story was published in Homosapien Too. The only change between the version in Homosapien Too and this one is the addition of artwork drawn especially for the story. [1]

Author's Notes: Online Version

An earlier version printed as 'E-Man-Uelle 8', 1987; this version printed in 'Homosapien Too', editor Julie 'Stew' Bozza, 1992, and again as a single-story zine from Judith Proctor

Original dedication: To Stew, sister and trusty fellow eccentric, without whom I would have burnt it nine years ago. She and me invented slash separately, as I imagine many people have done, then confessed to each other. Shortly we were overjoyed to discover it wasn't a weird invention of ours, and other people wrote this kind of thing. - Bryn XXX

What can I say? I spent my late teenage years on this story, obsessively, over and over. To me now, the last third or quarter has - a fair bit of what I thought it had. Anyhow, it's history, my history.

Author's Summary: Online Version

"Avon's a weirdo. He sets out to psychostrategise Blake and falls in love with him. Poor Avon."

Gallery

A few samples of the interior art by Whitby27

Reactions and Reviews

Blake, Avon, Cally, and Vila help a nomadic group of rebels fight the Federation in an effort to reclaim their primitive planet. Easier said than done in xBryn Lantry's dark and provocative tale, which refutes any attempt to easily encapsulate. Blake is at an emotional and moral crossroad and Avon is determined to pull Blake in one specific direction. If you enjoy angst at a thoughtful, intellectual level, you will likely enjoy this tale which serves as a reminder that Avon might have been a more than competent psychomanipulator. Lantry's style is very dark and she makes her readers work. During the reading, I varied between liking the story, admiring the story, and disliking the story. I liked this novel much better when I had time to give it serious consideration afterwards. It's worth the effort and I recommend it. [2]
Puppeteer (published as a stand-alone) is one I didn't like quite as much because its plot is so over-complicated I can't follow it, and there isn't enough sex for this reader. [3]
This is also on the internet, but I'd never read it there. What I did know was that x_los and elviaprose really liked it, and I ... sometimes like Bryn Lantry B/A and sometimes don't. Anyway - I thought I'd give it a try, but this is one of the ones that I don't like much.

The writing is very hard going - but more than than for the first 30 or so pages very little happens. Then a lot happens, and it is quite interesting (if really grim - but it's bolder in veering away from canon than almost anything else I've read in this pairing, and that is to be lauded), but again I have difficulty connecting with it as much as I would like because character motivations are obscured from me (slightly on purpose, but I also resent the fact that not only do I not understand what's going on - it's slightly implied by intros and comments etc that this is because I'm not a clever enough reader), and I wish the prose was cleaner. I find Blake a bit weak, too, which is my constant complaint, but in an interesting way here I guess. One wonders how he will lead the crew after this - presumably ... he won't be able to, which is quite nice given that he made the wrong choice in order to make that possible.

One other thing to mention is that Avon isn't a puppeteer in the novel. Which a) doesn't surprise me as he'd be crap at it, as this story proves (that's something I do like about Puppeteer - that he is so so bad at getting what he wants, and that's why it's OK that Blake is a bit rubbish too) and b) is a bit of a shame, because one of my all time great fic wants is a B/A fic where Avon is basically Travis. It's even more fun if he's Carnell.

Really good ending, but I won't read it again. [4]
Do slash stories need explicit sex scenes? Not always, no. It depends a lot on the story. The best example that comes to mind is Bryn Lantry's novella, Puppeteer. Not the draft version in E-man-uelle (although that wasn't too bad), but the fully revised version in Homosapien Too. The editor rated it as the best B7 slash story ever. Now, admittedly as Bryn's sister she might have a slight bias, but it is an extremely good story. Although the relationship between Blake and Avon starts out pretty intense, and develops down a rather troubled route into a sexual relation ship, there isn't any explicit sex in the story. None the less, it is a very slash story. It's a bit difficult to explain unless you've read it. All I can say is that Bryn can make it work, whereas most writers probably couldn't. [5]
Puppeteer (Blake/Avon) by Bryn Lantry is a convoluted but beautiful story where: the action is in the emotions, everyone has multiple motives, and no one truly knows their own minds, much less understands their crewmates. A bit alternate, set sometime in the months before Star One but after Blake has already got the idea in mind, this is a wonderful character study of Blake and Avon, with Vila and Cally in strong supporting roles. Not my favorite type of story -- I think I prefer something a bit more straightforward -- but undeniably compelling and well written. [6]
Bryn Lantry, there is an author who puts words together like I like, and interprets the characters the way I see them, or recreates them in such a way that I like them even better. Her Blake usually has a wonderful sense of humor and wonder. "Puppeteer" is one of my all time favorites, for characterization, plot and style. [7]

References

  1. from Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  2. from Morrigan at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  3. 2002 comments by Predatrix
  4. comments by Aralias, zine reviews! Part 2, December 29, 2015
  5. from Late for Breakfast #26
  6. On October 12, 1992, Sandy Herrold reviewed this zine as part of the first post to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is quoted here with permission.
  7. from a fan in Rallying Call #14 (1995)