Rallying Call

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Zine
Title: Rallying Call
Publisher:
founded by Angela Reese until January 1995
then Sue Clerc who stayed at least until the end of 1996
Terry Owen may have been a collator after Sue Clerc
Editor(s):
Type: APA out of Ohio
Date(s): early 1992 to at least 1998
Frequency:
Medium: print, apazine
Fandom: Blake's 7
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Rallying Call is a gen and slash Blake's 7 Roj Blake-focused, Gareth Thomas-focused 8-1/2 x 11 apazine.

In 1998, the "publication" schedule was November, February, May and August, with tribs due by the 1st of the month, but in actuality and like many APAs, an actual tight publication date for most issues appears unlikely.

The main APA was gen, and explicit het and slash of any rating was in a separate supplement that was sent to members who requested it. In 1995, there was much discussion about including these topics in the main APA, something that caused much discussion, some rift, and the decision by some members to leave.

Gareth Thomas, the actor who portrayed Roj Blake, was an honorary member and the gen APA contents were sent to him. Thomas himself never commented or contributed to the APA in a direct way.

Gareth's inclusion in the mailings became an issue when the discussion began in 1995 about combining all elements of the zine. [1]

About

Description:
Rallying Call is a quarterly Blakes 7 APA, where the discussion is "Blake Friendly". Bluntly that means No Blake Bashing Allowed. That doesn't mean you can't drool over Avon or analyze Blake's finer and not-so-finer moments if you wish, just that you can be assured that you don't have to defend Blake in each and every discussion because Rallying Call members like alot of Blake in our Blakes 7. Consider Rallying Call a Blake-Without-Guilt-Group. (with apologies to the Avon-Without-Guilt-Gang). [2]

Fan Trib Titles

Like in many apazines, fans often gave a title to their tribs.

Gen and Slash Discussion

At first, "Rallying Call" was a gen apa, with a adult het and slash supplement, possibly titled "Dangerous Liaisons." This supplement was sent to roughly 2/3 of the members.

In the spring of 1995, the main collator proposed combining the two. There was much discussion, with one out-spoken fan leaving due to this change.

The collator addressed this topic in 1998 on Lysator, as well as added some general further description:

Q -- What about the 'S' word? (You know what I mean.)

A -- In the beginning, there were 2 versions of RC, one 'Gen' and one 'Slash'. Due to the declining interest in the APA and B7 in general, Rallying Call ended up with one version, with members of both groups staying on. Since this is the way it was when I inherited it, that is the way I think it should stay.

But - since I am _not_ a slash fan, I do feel safe in saying that Rallying Call is a friendly place for either type of fan, with all the current participants tolerant of the opposite p.o.v. and that at the moment it is a non-issue and I'd like it to remain that way.

FYI, the discussions rarely get past the pg-13 stage. Joining Rallying Call doesn't mean you have to approve of slash, just that you can ignore without comment what doesn't interest you. Remember, we also have lots of Gareth Thomas talk, Blake focus and general Blake's 7 stuff.

Well, that's about it. There's a real pleasure in getting an issue of Rallying Call in the mail - and it's fun being able to read and savor the B7 discussion in a way that we've tended to get away from since the online forums have come to dominate most fandoms. (And in some cases, it's our first taste of what fandom was like before the Internet.) [3]

"Rallying Call" and "Lysator"

This apa had a fair bit of overlap in membership and some content with the Blake's 7 mailing list, Lysator.

Some content:

Issue 1

Rallying Call 1 was published in 1992. (aprox)

Issue 2

Rallying Call 2 was published in 1992. (aprox)

Issue 3

Rallying Call 3 was published in 1992. (aprox)

Issue 4

Rallying Call 4 was published in 1992.

Issue 5

Rallying Call 5 was published in 1992.

Issue 6

Rallying Call 6 was published in 1992.

Issue 7

Rallying Call 7 was published in 1992.

  • a fan asks if other B7 fans would like to write in a "Thieves World" shared universe
  • "Vincent," a filk
  • "Stageplay," a filk
  • "A Cautionary Tale," a fic
  • much more unknown content

Issue 8

Rallying Call 8 was published in 1993, perhaps January. The collator was Angela Reese, who announced she no longer would be the collator.

Issue 9 (May 1993)

Rallying Call 9 was published in May 1993 and contains 50 pages.

The collator was Angela Reese, despite her announcement in the last APA.

The APA has 13 members.

a filk from issue #9
  • "About a Rebel Crew I'll Sing," filk to the tune of Tom Lehrer's "The Irish Song"
  • "A Womb of One's Own," fiction by Rebecca Ann Brothers (Jenna/Blake: Jenna and Blake have a baby, Avon gets to be the doting uncle) (het)
  • "Non Omnis Moriar," poem
  • "The Choice," fiction by Sondra Sweigman (het)
  • "My Heart Leaps Up," a "birthday story for Lynn F. by Isis" (slash)
  • "The Returning," poem
  • "In a Sheltered Place," fiction by Rebecca Ann Brothers
  • comments on the zine The Big B7 Zine, see that page
  • comments on the zine Careless Whispers, see that page
  • a con report for Visions '92, see that page
  • a fan transcribes part of a question and answer session from Anglicon '88, and Gareth Thomas' answers to whether Avon was "crazy" in the fourth season

Slash

One thing about several stories in BIG B7 ZINE got old pretty quickly though: the attempt to reproduce the sounds of sexual coupling. I hope the authors of the stories meant it to be funny; if it was meant to be erotic, it was a dismal failure—at least to this reader. I'm sorry, but paragraphs of gasps and grunts and moans had me in stitches. Some things really are best left to the imagination. That's more detail — and reality— than I want.

Or am I among the minority in not caring that much about the actual sex act? It's the emotional intensity, and intimacy, that draws me to it. (The same thing that makes or breaks a gen story, as a matter of fact.) Paragraphs of "insert part A into part B; add sound effects" does zip for me. It's not enlightening about the characters, and it's not even hot and steamy. Good erotic writing needs as much care as any other form of fiction: you've got to weave an atmosphere, tease — not go over the top.

As for the definition of slash... In the multi-pairing adult sines I've seen—such as SOUTHERN COMFORT — the contents are usually designated by pairing, all with the "/" (Blake/Jenna). But when the discussion is about slash, I have always understood that to mean, exclusively, same sex pairings.
I think all fanfic (well, that portion written by women—which is most of it) expresses a female perspective. Look at the issues that come up again and again: abandonment/conflict between family and work, abuse and so on. Those are not, in general, important issues for men. As it applies to slash though, I tend to believe the chief element at work is simply that we prefer the male characters: in slash we get two hunks for the price of one, and don't have to worry about any Mary Sue elements. Although I'm not sure that holds true entirely. Certainly when I write the stuff, if I approach it from Avon's perspective, his feelings about Blake may not be that different from my own: so as far as that goes, it might as well be Jenna bedding Blake—only the anatomy is different. But that's where the emotional impact comes in: Avon's relationship with Blake packs a lot more oomph than any other combination, changing the texture of everything.
Does anyone here like THE BONDSTONE by "Paula"? That made a good impression on me, even the A/V bits—at least there was a good reason for it all. Another favorite that seems to have disappeared was a Bryn Lantry story (when she just wrote good stories, and wasn't trying to show everyone how clever she is) called "In Porphry —or something like that (Avon discovers Blake in a gay bar).
What's the feeling about explicit art in the adult zines? I don't mind it too much inside the zine, although my favorite piece of slash art is a Suzi Lovett of B/A just snuggled up together. [4] It's an unpleasant surprise to take a zine out of the envelope and find the guys on the cover(s), starkers. As with a story, I think less can be more in illos as well.
Heed I say rape fantasy is another thing I don't get? And yet I guess it's fairly common, and starts pretty young because I'm having a Nick Knight flashback, recalling my best-friend-next-door, who had gone to see ROMEO AND JULIET — the Zefferelli (sp?) film from the late 60s, and she and her cousin were then playing R & J and acting out a sort of rape scenario. I don't recall the film well enough to know what inspired them, and from our collective 10-or-ll-year-old perspectives we probably didn't really get it, but that's surely what it was. As it pertains to B7, something I've long been curious about is why, given so many fen do like their slash dark and violent, why then is "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" so widely disliked? Would you all believe that was my intro to B/A? Actually it was one of the author's gen stories, "The Shadows Between Us," (or something like that) that turned me onto the possibility; but looking back I can't explain why "Rogue" didn't make me run screaming in the apposite direction. I know why it's not on my list of Top 10 B/As — which is mainly that I can't see Blake doing that, or Tarrant taking it, or Avon wanting it, especially now that I 'know' them so much better.
I think that's exactly it, re: our fannish preference for the guys. Being a woman, with women friends and relatives, I know what that's about. The male-female thing is a lot tougher, though, and male-male terra incognita. It's funny how it doesn't seem to work much in reverse, though." Men no doubt do find us baffling, yet don't seem to have the same drive to figure out what makes us tick. Does the guy in your life ever want to know what you and your girlfriends did all day?
Hah, I'm easy to please. I have mystery-addict friends who nitpick over the plots and stuff, while I couldn't care less about that. Sure, the solution's dead obvious in chapter three, but I'm reading for character and setting. I want to get involved in a story, see how the characters and their relationships progress from one stage to another. Them boinking each other every few pages gets in the way of that. And there is a sameness to it, to me. That's across the board, not just where fanfic's concerned. Let's put it this way: sex in the abstract is very interesting — the chemical reaction when two people meet, the chase, the obstacles they have to overcome in order to be together. Once that foundation has been laid (no pun intended) then the actual sex can be entertaining, if it's done in a sexy manner. I think too many adult fan stories suffer from an overdose of seriousness, too, which doesn't go over a treat with me as a rule. To judge by some stories, you'd think making love was the grimiest prospect anyone could face. A story can be powerful, moving, angst-ridden, but spare me these miserable stories about miserable people having a miserable time; seduce me, turn me on — don't depress me. Y'know?
Well I wasn't at Mountain Media, but can't help sympathizing with non-slash fans who might see it as an unpleasant surprise. I'd be annoyed to come across x-rated illos of Cadfael and Hugh, but would not be especially shocked. I'm sure they'll be forewarned this time. Like I care about fanfic rules? :)

General

I've read a few Thieves World stories; I like the concept more than anything else/ of a shared universe. My idea re: B7 was that someone come up with an outline for a long-range series of B7 stories—it could be canonical or alternate universe (a/u would allow for more flexibility/ I think); and then any like-minded fans who were inclined could toss in their 2¢ worth with stories, building on each other's ideas. Something more than a round robin or a collaboration. It's born out of frustration: either reading a story that left potentials unexplored, or looking through my idea notebook and knowing I'm never going to have time to use all that stuff. With a Thieves World-type setting/ nothing would ever go to waste; you could have a novel, short stories, vignettes/ poems, whatever someone felt like tossing into the pot. What has me stumped is the logistics of how to go about it. Just circulate the material among the people involved, print it up in APA/letter-zine format, or try and collect it under one cover as a zine?
Re that book Textual Poachers: Micky knows the author personally, and she says the book is sympathetic to fandom. I've also read a (mostly) positive review of it by a fan on the Internet.
¥es, I have FORBIDDEN ZONES 1 & 2 — someone was kind enough to do photocopies of them for me. I know that's not approved, but what can you do when the publishers of the zine refuse to respond to any and all queries? (Speaking of which: [Ann W] has finally gotten off her duff and begun filling orders that have piled up in the last three years. Hopefully that also includes tribber copies, since even a lot of her writers have been left high and dry. And, supposedly, SOUTHERN SEVEN #6 will debut at MediaWest next year. I hope it's true, although at this point I'm not inclined to submit any material to her for future zines. I need some real indications o£ reliability.) Back to FZ... The stories in #2 are among my favorite B/As; #2 had some good material too—even that very odd one about Blake and the sea entity.
Oh yes, the background music -- puh-leeze, like the plot [of an episode] wasn't obvious enough? Except for the theme, B7 music has some of the worst incidental music in the history of television. Winner, hands down, for the most maddening muzak has to be that tune played on the spaceliner in GOLD. Is it any wonder there's been no hue and cry for a B7 soundtrack album? Where's John Williams when you need him?
When you speak of stories or zines "confined to one character", do you mean with none of the rest present? I can see where a whole zine devoted to one character in that way would be well-nigh impossible to carry off well. On the other hand, a zine devoted to one character, such as one proposed in which all stories had to have Blake in them, would certainly appeal to me. Well, provided the obligatory character is Blake, of course... Especially after so many zines featuring Avon and Vila, and in which Blake is lucky to get so much as a passing mention. Unfortunately, the last I heard about the proposed Blake zine (to be done by Emily Ross), was that she still wanted to do it but just wasn't getting enough submissions. That was last MediaWest though, maybe things have improved by now. I hope!
You knew, I've never seen any B7/ST crossovers, and yet it seems like an obvious pairing. [5] Mind you, I do have it on good authority that the Hellhound universe is something of a spin off of ST's Mirror universe. I'd like to see one that had an actual story, and didn't just compare one set of characters to the other.
A friend of mine made a neat raiment on fantasy romance. I'd just confessed having fallen for Mr. Darcy, she admitted to having a thing for Miles on FRASER, then writes, "It's so comforting to know I'm not the only one who finds fictional relationships more fulfilling than real ones. They take up less time, are always around when you want them, never when you don't, and they always know just the right thing to say." Tongue in cheek of course, but with some truth all the same. And besides, am I going to meet a Darcy, or a Blake, at McDonaTs? I think not...
I expect there's a lot of fanfic out there that isn't widely known. There's a Blake story in BANZINE #1, "What Hours Were Mine and Thine," by M.J. Dolan, that I keep meaning to recommend to you. (And yes yes yes, I will be happy to loan you the zine.) It's not spectacular or anything, and is only about seven pages long, but he actually gets to kiss a girl. "Price of Justice" by EPS was a terrific Blake-Avon, with Avon on trial for — supposedly — murdering Blake (it's 2nd season, not PGP), only it's an alien plot; not too wallowy, but they do worry about each other a lot, and there's a cute scene at the end where they sort of fall asleep in each other's arms (but it's not that kind of story). What I wish is that someone would take a year or two out of their lives to compile a B7 fanfic index, and include crucial information like: is Blake in it or not? (And extend the courtesy to everyone else's pet character. I mean there may actually be some poor soul out there who adores Gan, but doesn't know where to find any Gan stories.)
DUEL vs. ARENA. That's actually one of my favorite Classic STs, and yet I think the B7 version works better. The conflict between Kirk and the Gorn is almost wholly artificial, the entire incident a contrivance by these airy-fairy super aliens to make some lame indictment of everyone else's inferiority. (I wonder if one reason I can never warm up to the Aurons is because they come off like that? It's certainly why I dislike elves, with their holier than thou attitude.) The conflict between Blake and Travis is very personal indeed, and there's nothing disinterested about either Sinofar or Giroc — let alone any notion of them being a superior form of life. The whole point of their situation is that their people were a bunch of genocidal goons.
Re: the RoS story. *ahem* OK, I've gotten a grip and pulled myself together. (I have very mixed feelings about this story, as there were some...'production problems' on it.) Nicholas and Varina are the creation of my co-authors; they're a vampiric couple who've popped into nearly every fandom known to fenkind, and have their own zine. Nicholas is physically modeled on Duncan Regher [6], and Carina's resemblance to Deaana Troi [7]is purely intentional. I'm glad you liked the story, though. I'd have scrapped the happy ending, but that's what happens when you write with other people. (Yeah, OK, so any character assessment of me would be headed by: Does not work well with others.)
Oh, I know STARSKY & HUTCH all right, and would agree about its high h/c ratio. I particularly remember one where Starsky had been poisoned, and Hutch was desperate to find the antidote. Unfortunately after having a chance to see some episodes again recently I found the show didn't do a lot for me anymore. No idea why, since I loved it when it was first on. U.N.C.L.E. still appeals, though. Go figure.
I'd love to read some X-F fanfic one of these days, if they capture the feel of the show. If it's just Mulder and Scully sitting around sharing their feelings *shrug*. Having said that, however, I should confess that a favorite bit from a recent episode, the lake monster one, was them sitting out on the rock in the middle of the lake, just talking, so as usual I'm inconsistent. Am I the only one who doesn't get this —apparent — craze for Mulder/Krychek stories? Bleah. The only adult X-F I want to read is Mulder/Scully, and that preferably with a solid story attached.
And to think four month ago I didn't even know B7 existed. I found a small number of postings on CompuServe about B7, and one of them was a .BMP of Avon looking down at Blake during the dream on Terminal. Downloaded it, dinked with it, and printed it on the color deskjet, and took it to work, where he smiles gently at me. I think I'll load it onto my workstation too. There is a bulletin board listed that has about 100 B7 picture files for downloading, I just need to find a way to call it via some other route than direct dial, since it is lone distance. I've got a friend working on how to get access to Internet thru my company (I work for a communications company that does not believe in either internal or external communications, certainly not on a network) since Sandy is now working at Microsoft and not at the University's computer center. And I really did bite the bullet and bought a new TV - my, but they all look good in 27 inches. Never bought a TV before. Now I just need a new VCR, one that will interface with the PC and do slo-mo and freeze frame at least, maybe in six months. Any recommendations?

Issue 10

Rallying Call 10 was published in 1993, probably July. The collator was Angela Reese.

The APA has 10 members.

  • a poem, "Epiphany Too Late" by Rebecca Ann Brothers
  • a poem, "Dark Water" by Sondra Sweigman
  • "Living in Interesting Times," story by Elizabeth
  • discussion of Teri White's story "Rogues" in the zine Roads Not Taken
  • other unknown content

Issue 11 (January 1994)

Rallying Call 11 was published in January 1994 and contains at least 45 pages. The collator was Angela Reese.

The letters in it were written between October-December of 1993. Deadline for next issue is March 31, 1994.

The APA has 12 members. Gareth Thomas is an honorary member, and the general APA was sent to him. The "Adult Supplement" was sent to 9 of those members.

The editor notes that the issue contains "two vastly different round robin continuations, lots of poetry and (my favorite) input from nearly all members."

  • "Reunion on Gauda Prime," filk to the tune of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"
  • "Roj Blake, the Rebel," filk to the tune of "Frosty the Snowman"
  • "Exaggerated Rumours," fiction by Curtiss
  • "Misapprehension," poem by Patti E. McClellan (reprinted from Gambit #10, June 1993)
  • "The Saga of Blake and Avon: An Interplanetary Myth for All Seasons," poem by Sondra Sweigman
  • "Coyote," poem
  • "Phoenix," poem
  • "TOTALLY TASTELESS FILK: to the tune of "Take Me Out To the Ballgame"
  • comments on the zine Network, see that page
  • a con report for Visions '93, it is a joint report by Amanda Rothman, Catherine Salmon, Sue Clerc, Karen Williamson, and Nicole Vifian that was posted to "one of [Lysator the electronic mailing lists] and the rest of us responded to the report" (this means the report is in chat form), see that page (This was also at Subject: Visions report on Lysator dated Dec 2, 1993, and printed in Tarriel Cell v.7 n.2, Archived version)
  • the editor says her computer FreeNet problems are fixed and apologizes to people who did not get a reply to emails sent over the last few months
  • a fan is thrilled to be typing her trib while in bed on a laptop: "Ahh, technology."
  • comments on Hellhound, see that page
  • one member says she has been distracted by landing her dream job, and due to her "having a another rather unique experience, in that a virtually dead (at least as far as I was concerned) former fandom is staging a revival. And I have been able to borrow uncut tapes of episodes I was missing, so have been busy with that as well. Starsky & Hutch, in case you were wondering."

Slash

I understand slash to mean same-sex explicit or semi-explicit stones. I don't really see a non-explicit story as slash but think some editors define them that way. I believe women like some slash for two reasons - first, we can depict men as we want them to be and know they mostly are not, which is usually gentler and introspective; and second, real gay men are not going to make demands on us so we can be very easy with them - they are almost like other women. The man who continually tries to get his hands on you can be not just a bore and a nuisance wasting your time, but a considerable threat and many men seem unaware that their sexual remarks/gestures are only acceptable if the woman fancies that particular man -- we don't want to be bombarded with sexual approaches, it can be excruciatingly boring/timewasting/embarrassing/infuriating. I am not, as most people well know, very interested in interminable descriptions of the sex act, we all know how it's done and the "artistic variations" don't often impress me. I prefer introspection, passion, romance, adventure and excitement and good conversation. A bit of explicit sex deliberately furthering the plot is fine. Eg, if your plot is Avon being seduced by Blake, the reader will probably be disappointed if you don't have a scene when they actually make it together, and if there's logical space for another such scene you can put in your artistic sex variations then. The rest of the story should be the chase and, even better, an exciting non-sex subplot like being captured, which somehow brings them together emotionally etc. Without the chase, it's no romance. Without the adventure, it may lack drama though I admit that occasionally a love story can succeed with no other input, but it takes a good writer with style and an inspired - original approach. I felt Trust Like the Soul was aiming at the basic all-sex, no plot love story but the writer didn't have the ability to make it interesting, it was all so painfully silly.
I have also only recently discovered slash. I don't know where I've been all these years, but I never ran across it in ST, and I know it was there. Probably, I was so personally screwed up, I wouldn't have known what it was if I'd looked at it. I'm not nearly as nuts as I used to be. I really enjoy the alternative explanations it makes for some of the stories, and I really enjoy the ones that have stories to them, as well as the erotica, although that's fun, too.

General

[from a rare male member of this APA]: Dear Ralliers, First of all, thanks for welcoming another refugee from "Neutral Arbiter" into your midst. By way of introduction, I was infected with the B7 virus by Sondra about 2 1/2 years ago and, eventually, thanks to her connections, outfitted me with a complete set of tapes which I and my family have been through several times. Sondra also introduced me to "Neutral Arbiter" to which I was, in its last year, a frequent contributor. As an anthropologist, many of my interests centered around the social relations in the series, as well as such issues as the view of the "primitive" and future cultures therein. I was (and remain) strongly attracted to Blake's moral idealism, which is closely in tune with my own philosophy... As I understand that I am currently the only male subscriber, I'm really glad the appellation of "Blake's Bimbos" met with disapproval in the last issue!... I I hope my membership in the group will not make anyone uncomfortable; as Sondra can tell you, many of my dearest friends are ardent feminists (though I don't know whether I'd let my daughter, if I had one, marry one!) -- but seriously folks, if it will allay any concerns I will announce that I have no interest in subscribing to the so-called "adult" version of this APA. While I have no objection to eroticism per se, it has its appropriate place and, in my opinion, that place is not in the B7 universe. Where it was tried within reason within the canon (e.g. "Sand") it generally did not succeed. (Servalan as the girl next door! Gimme a break!). So for those of you who enjoy indulging in that sort of fantasy, I will not be a voyeur!
The only one of the actors in the series whom I ever saw was Paul Darrow, but that was back before I'd ever seen Blake's 7, and I was only in that room because Leonard Nimoy was going to speak in there next. The only thing I remember about Mr. Darrow is now very polite he was to an extremely rude fan. Oh, and that smile. I was not, at that time, inspired to find the series. Probably, I was not mature enough, even if I had.
I am one of those people who doesn't think Mr. Darrow knows, about Kerr Avon. It been a frequent experience of mine with actors that they can play a part beautifully, but don't get anywhere near them off stage, and don't waste your time trying to get them to explain the character they're playing. Half that stuff comes from the side of their brain they don't talk to much, and they haven't a clue it's even taking place. That is one reason I stopped trying to meet the actors who played roles I admire many years ago- I didn't want to be disappointed. Besides, 90% of the time, it was the character or role I admired, not the person who played it.
There seems to be a consensus that there's an awful lot of bad fanfic out there. I agree with that, but I guess I'm still so new, that even bad fanfic can inspire me to write some of my own. I'd rather borrow it than buy it though, because I can get pretty ticked at paying $20 + for pages of stuff that wasn't even properly proofread. No, I am not a fanatic about it, I just don't like stuff that breaks the illusion and reminds me I'm reading.
All of these opinions are subject to change. I do not have the first season on tape yet, although someone is in the process of doing that for me. Nor am I fanatical about my opinions. The only thing I am fanatical about is individuality. I have a deep distrust for people who believe there is only one way to view a set of facts, and anything else is heresy. Those people tend to slip into the trap of crusading to make others "see the light," and thence into enforcing their version of truth as The Only Truth. Deliver us from those who are in possession of The Only Truth.
I think we tell people who we are when we tell stories. That's why people get so defensive about their stories, if they've tried to write them from their gut. It's cheaper than a shrink, and serves some of the same purposes, for working out personal issues. But it's also a way to spend time with people we knew for far too short a space. People we came to care for, one way or another, and simply refuse to let go out of our lives. One of the things 1 like best about Blake's 7 is that even though it ended in tragedy, it was about never giving up. It was about doing what was right, no matter what it cost you, even if that was your personal honor. Our society places little or no value on personal integrity, and a lot of the conflicts in Blake's 7 centered around someone's ability or commitment do what was right, regardless of the pressure or threat. A lot of it was also just about surviving.
Well, boys and girls (I can say that because we now have a genuine Hommik amongst us), it turns out that Rebecca and I weren't able to work out the "one or two remaining technical impediments." That means I have some wonderful Blake-Avon music video scripts on hand (well, I like them, anyway—even the handful that aren't B-A), but no video! So what I need now is someone (or, more likely, several someones) capable of turning these scripts into a tape (preferably people with prior experience and cooperative equipment). If anyone this apa is interested, or knows someone who might be, please write phone me (redacted). I would hate to have to keep running all those unborn videos in my head for the rest of my life...
Announcement #2: If anyone's interested in joining a B7 electronic mailing list (ie, computer discussion group), be advised that one exists. In order to join, you need a computer with a modem and access to Internet. If you'd like more details, send me an e-mail message <sweigman@worId.std.com>.
Angie: What's it going to take to get you to publish a list of the membership, girl? You now have 3 of us asking for it. You say we're back up to 13 again, and I can't for the life of me figure out (for sure) who more than half of us are. How time-consuming can it be to list 13 names and addresses? (Phone numbers would be nice, too— though, of course, only if the member in question is willing to have her number included.') I'd be glad to do the list for you--only I can't see how I'd save you any time that way since you'd have to send me the same information you'd otherwise type up yourself. {Of course you could send it to me "sloppier", I suppose.)
The only other thing I've read recently is a short novel called Nemesis published by the Avon club in the UK—a major "forget it" for this crowd, IMO (not only isn't Blake in it, but whenever he's mentioned, he's more or less trashed). That does raise the matter of British vs. American zines, though--and while you and I seem to agree on how they differ from one another, I can't really say that I consistently prefer one over the other. And one of the best zines I've ever read isn't either British or American—it's Australian: the elusively hard-to-find (and costly) Enarrare. (Most issues were multi-media, but there's an all-B7 issue that's a knockout, and the most recent issue--which, sadly, was probably their last issue ever— contains more B7 than anything else.)
An American version of B7? One shudders to think... Of course there would have to be an advisory preceding every episode, that the following program contains violent conflict and politically incorrect content. I honestly have trouble picturing anyone else in the roles, since each actor seemed to fit his/her part so perfectly.
Actually, you know, a high action, plot driven fan story is false to the spirit of B7. The series is not especially high on those two qualities. The bulk of episodes— especially the best episodes—are introspective, character driven. Who dwells on the rebel's raid on Servalan's palace in RUMOURS, after all? It's the interaction among the Liberator crew, and Shrinker, the give and take between Grenlee and Forress—and Avon's discovery of the truth about Anna that grabs us and holds us. It's the people, not the hardware; the consequences of their actions, not the action itself, that makes B7 unique. (OK, we sort of get involved with Orac, Zen, and Slave too, but they're hardly your typical computers either.) The best kind of story has a good, interesting plot, moves along at a good pace—but doesn't stint on the character interaction, even if it may sound treacly to our friends across the Pond. Anyway, Lillian Shepherd/EPS is a Brit, and her stories were as sentiment-laden as anything Sheila Paulson's ever produced.
I, too, loathed Last Stand and the Matthews trilogy (I haven't read Trust, Like the Soul), so it is possible to be a fan and not "dote upon" that stuff.

Just when you thought you were safe from Tarrant fans — I'm b-a-a-a-c-k!

I've been peeking at Angie's copies of Rallying Call since I resigned, and found myself missing all of you and your intriguing discussions of Rebel Leader.

Since I don't have either of the issues (9 and 10) that I missed to refer to, this is going to be disjointed ramblings and some comments on RC#8.

One subject that I've been curious about for some time is the uniqueness
 of Blake fans (as compared to those who favor Avon, Vila, and Tarrant). Based
 mostly on the fanfiction that I've read, I think Blake fans avoid the trend of 
preferring their favorite to be vulnerable. (I could be wrong and would
greatly appreciate response on this from Blake loyalists.) Your basic A, V, T
 fan tends to write stories that explore their fave's softer side, often times 
putting him through various emotional and physical tortures in the process.
 I've not noticed that with Blake stories. While he may face hardships as
severe as those inflicted on the others, the potential for wallow is never 
exploited (or so it seems). Blake fans don't appear as fixated on putting him
through the wringer, on making him cry uncle.

While I'm not entirely sure that my above observation is valid' (I trust that you'll let me know), I also have a theory as to why Blake stories might be different. Is it, perhaps, because Blake is more open than Avon and Tarrant, and even Vila (who is quick to complain but may not be showing us his true inner self)? Since Blake is already willing to admit to more genuine emotions than the others, it isn't necessary to force them out of him (which seems to be the primary purpose of most fan writers when they put their hero through pain and suffering). Or is it that fans who are drawn to Blake want a hero who is strong- and implacable? As mentioned, I'm not sure my basic observation is correct, but I'll reference a couple of fan stories by members of this APA as examples of where Blake remains strong.

Rebecca Brother's most enjoyable Delayed Reaction (in Roads Not Taken) - Blake is cool, competent and firmly in control.

Teri White's chilling and memorable Rogues (also in Roads Mot Taken). This Blake is flawed and unbalanced, but he still takes charge and assumes control of the situation. Avon is the one who is weak and vulnerable.

Sondra Sweigman's much welcomed Aftermath: Blake's Story (in Gambit 10). This is one of the most explicit examples of a very strong Blake. Though he is the one grievously injured (the shooting on Star One), he is also the one who has to be strong when he and Jenna remain on Liberator in this alternate version of Aftermath. He provides comfort and assurance, and attempts to get her into a spacesuit when life support is waning.
British fanfiction being all plot and no introspection? If you read only Horizon zines, that is usually so. Some fans who clearly read only Horizon zines are complaining currently that the stories aren't violent enough! Horizon demand plots and the stories many prefer these days are often curiously emotionless (it wasn't always so). I write in a certain self-contained style for Horizon! Not all British fanfic is like that, not all Horizon fiction was in the early days, but, unless you've been reading our fiction all along, you won't have seen much except recent Horizon-influenced fiction because most other zines disappeared long ago. The trusty Vilaworld Interface which was always a favourite of mine (lovely stories including some from America, plenty of heart plenty of fun) has been mostly missing for years due to Yvette's long illness. Have you never read Yvette's own popular masterpiece, Inheritance? Most of the stories in Orbit were deeply introspective (which the editors favoured) and exciting as well, and Orbit was in its day much superior to Horizon with the exception of the last zines when they were using what they had left before closing down. Unless you have a huge collection of old British stones and still think they are all plot and no introspection, I think you'd like a good many of the treasured stories in my collection even if they might not be quite sentimental enough (or wordy enough) for some Americans. We have one new, excellent series of zines - Avon club. Heavily biased to Avon, full of heart, lovely stories so far as are the short stones in their newsletters, as this club always receives and selects the kind of story I like, but a specialised interest of course. I'm likely to send most of my future work to them.
Yes, there may be a fundamental difference in what kind of fiction we and you want. I think many of us here want something better than Horizon offer nowadays but not quite what you want. Horizon's stories will probably become even less emotional, more violent and adventure oriented now that we have a preponderance of male members over here. Horizon have to try and please everyone - the newsletter is becoming less attractive to me personally, rather more commercial and impersonal. Lengthy articles on model-making, many worthy but not particularly "exciting" technical articles, much briefer analyses (big on font styles, low on content), more cons, fan activities, committee member activities, bitty anomalies, knitting patterns. A APA is more fun. HOWEVER, the Horizon letterzine is excellent!
Yes, Textual Poachers is sorely a must for you Americans. I am a bit less enthusiastic because Jenkins doesn't seem to have contacted any British B7 fans and so his criticisms of B7 are very limited - I can accept he chose not to develop the British aspect of B7, but am surprised he didn't state why. His interest in slash is marked and it's a shame he didn't put as much enthusiasm into his weak chapter on mainstream fanfic which concentrated too much on one ST story (I am not interested in ST and the mainstream fiction is more interesting to some fans man interminable, often repetitive discussions of the sex act). He is too uncritical of fanfic generally and slash in particular. His section on filks is very limited, 'the early part of the hook is excellent!

Issue 12

Rallying Call 12 was published in January 1995. There are 17 members. Sue Clerc is the new collator.

  • a filk called "We Three Blakes"

Issue 13 (April 1995)

Rallying Call 13 was published in April 1995 and contains 82 pages. Sue Clerc is the collator.

cover of issue #13

There are twenty members listed, seventeen of which have contributions to this issue. Since there are now twenty members, there is no room for other members, and a waiting list will be created.

This issue contains a short fic called "Aftermath," a poem called "Fanatic," and two clippings about the play "Educating Rita."

Topics of discussion:

Suzan Lovett's Art

Have you seen that "Sleeping Beauty" illo by Suzan Lovett? Isn't it gorgeous though? Funny to see it gracing a slash zine though. Well, okay, they're both nude, but it doesn't hit me as erotic — innocence, more like. Like that one where she has Blake curled up with a unicorn.
You mentioned the "Blake and a Snake" cover of Songs of Experience, What is this with Blake, Avon and snakes? Were the writers whose stories are in that zine shown the cover as inspiration? Was it coincidence that Sondra did something similar in her novel Beloved Adversary?
[comment by Sondra]: Well, I haven't seen the Lovett cover of Songs of Experience "in person" (so to speak], but Rebecca sent me a Polaroid snapshot of it. From what I can make out (admittedly any work of art is going to lose a great deal when thus reduced in size and clarity), it's not, in and of itself, worth buying the zine for. I do like the change of title, too, though. Kind of demands a third issue to complete the triple reference, doesn't it?

Adult Supplement, Sending the APA to Gareth Thomas?

Many letters are addressed directly to the fan who dislikes the idea of having adult material and has threatened to leave the apa. These discussions are also entwined with comments about fan's comments in a previous issue about wanting to send this apazine to Gareth Thomas.

Since I'm a newcomer to Rallying Call, I took no part in the discussion of whether to have an adult supplement. I was willing to go along with whatever suited those who were already participating. While I d be sorry to see the APA lose members over this question, let me explain why your arguments actually had the opposite effect on me from what you intended, I don't agree that matters of morality, politics, and philosophy are best discussed in an atmosphere from which "sexual nuance" has been pre-emptively banned. In any conversation, one participant may tell another "That's irrelevant" or "You're arguing beside the point." Such statements, which are context specific and are themselves subject to discussion and clarification, strike me as far more likely to contribute to a good exchange of ideas than "You're not allowed to talk about That." I'm also puzzled. You say that your objections to slash are neither moral nor religious, but you declined to take over Rallying Call in part because you couldn't "in good conscience" have continued with the Adult Supplement. My bafflement is one reason I'm grateful not to have to puzzle out which parts of my tribs you and other people would consider "adult." While you are willing to discuss slash stories in the general section, for instance, I get the distinct impression from the e-mail list that other people would find that offensive if not actually traumatic.
Concerning Gareth receiving copies of Rallying Call...I do not feel that any mundane non-fan is quite capable of understanding the deep, on-going interactive relationship I feel with fandom —and that includes actors! I don't pretend to "get" where the Elvis fans who faithfully visit Graceland are coming from. But I do know that anyone in media fandom shouldn't throw rocks, 'cause this is—quite probably —a different room in the same glass house. Also, what does this aging (but still handsome) Welshman care about us or what we think about a character that he played to pay the bills 17 years ago? Really, let the poor man be — everyone has hobbies, but we shouldn't inflict them upon those who aren't truly interested.
I appreciate your support for my position on not mixing "adult" and general material in this apa, but I'm afraid you're far more tolerant in what you're willing to live with along those lines than I am. I'm not sure what you mean by "slash chat", though. It's not discussion of slash I object to, it's slash material (make that any type of erotic material — what Jean Graham describes in her Gambit guidelines as "any detailed anatomy lesson/description of the sex act"). In other words, if its appearance in a zine would require that zine to request an age statement from prospective purchasers, I don't want to see it here. (That's another potential class of subscribers barred from this apa that I didn't think of before: fans who are under 18.)

As for your decision to opt out of the entire APA if you aren't given a censored version of Rallying Call...you have to firmly take responsibility for that decision. No one is forcing you to leave — if you do so, it is of your own free will. As stated earlier, I prefer an integrated format for several reasons, not the least of which is convenience. The second reason being that there can be no serious discussion of a complete character study of Roj Blake without at least the possibility of adult sexuality coming occasionally into the fray. I resent strongly the implication that you are being morally wronged by being forced to leave the APA. If this were the case, I would be morally outraged with you and would immediately come to your defense. But that is not the case...you are making an ultimatum based on an integrated APA that didn't even exist at the time you wrote your APA submission. I would like to state that I greatly enjoyed your APA trib, but I am reluctant to delve into deep commentary as I don't expect you'll be here next issue to answer. I'd like to sincerely urge you to stay on, especially since your reasons for leaving are not "religious, moral or based on prudishness". Indeed, why leave when skimming a trib that isn't exactly to your taste is so easy? People aren't in the habit of throwing out their televisions, just because they don't like that 30 second commercial.

Hope to see you next issue, but best of luck if not.
I'm afraid you loose me, however, with much of what you have to say about slash stories. People who issue absolutes always worry me. I, for one, do not just accept slash stories just because they are slash. While it is not generally my policy to reply to criticisms of my work (either in fandom or the professional arena), I feel as if a comment here would not go amiss: Perhaps the characters in CARELESS WHISPERS did not comport with what YOU saw on the screen and you are certainly entitled to say so. However, rest assured that the Blake and Avon in that story fit precisely the characters that I saw when I watched. They were not "unreasonable facsimiles" they were the logical extensions of the men I found so fascinating. Your concern that the day will come when slash is all there is puzzles me; no one is saying you or anyone else cannot write and/or read gen stories. And if you make the stories good enough, interesting enough, compelling enough there will be an audience for them. If the gen fans simply purse their lips and withdraw delicately, then gen fandom will not flourish. Speaking for myself (and issuing no absolutes) I often find that the writing is better in slash and the characters are more carefully drawn. I think this is because to write GOOD slash, you have to think a lot more than if you're only interested in doing another G-rated episode of an old TV series. I think that some of what you have to say about PGP stories has the same problem apparently you want just more of the same. While many times, too many times, the experiments that people try when writing their stories don't work, when they do, it's great. And I'd most often rather read a flawed effort at something new than a perfectly executed yawn of a story that doesn't even try to be different. If I want TV, I'll watch TV and I do, of course, often.

As for your concerns about the inclusion of the adult supplement into one homogeneous issue — why need this be an issue at all? As you say, the supplement was very small, isn't is more reasonable to incorporate a tiny amount of material into a larger format, then it is to continue with all the trouble of a separate supplement? I like having only one book to hunt for and reply to when it's time to write my APA; this format is very convenient for me. As for your concerns over B7 fandom becoming another PROS fandom...! believe your main claim for concern is there's nothing but slash available in PROS, but that's not true! I have several friends who write gen PROS who are widely published, who both read and enjoy PROS slash...they just don't (often) write slash. In fact, I can think of several (non-slash) humorous and some heavy hurt/comfort stories about Bodie and Doyle that are among my favorites. Also, people are going to write what they want to write...if there is a plethora of B7 slash coming up, I think we should all sit back and enjoy the bounty! And hope that these tales contain fine plots and good characterization.

I don't quite understand your desire to discuss Blake in a sex-free environment. Blake was a man...his very identity is tied up in his masculine presence. Blake was not a woman, he was not an alien, but a flesh and blood man who had hopes and dreams, and hopefully desires. To gain a more complete understanding of the character, I think it would be unfair to our discussions to exclude anything that could cast light onto his motivations and inner-self. On the other hand, I have no intention, at this time, of talking at length about any graphic sexual practices he may participate in —quite the opposite! There are times when the telecast character seems almost castrated by his mind-wipe. Now there's a topic I would like to see the APA wrap itself around!

In any case, I would like to urge you to stay beyond your self-appointed two issue trial. Blake didn't quit, no matter what the Federation did to him and I suspect Rallying Call will be a lot more pleasurable than Federation tortures.

RC 12 confused me. I had no clue that Sue - or the APA - was trying to immorally exclude people! Huh?? Fandom is for fun. We are adults, We should be tolerant. Joining or leaving an APA is a matter of personal taste. I like slash. I'm liberal. But I don't believe my opinions are rules set in stone. I'll abide by majority decisions. I like mixing gen, adult, and slash together. If this changes, fine.

Does there have to be a certain number to make an APA work? Can the people who only want gen have their own APA???? Perhaps we could label our entries gen, adult, slash and then people could avoid the sexual content. I frankly don't see why there even is a problem. But then I really don't understand people who have hangups about sexuality, even though the majority of people do. IMHO, it's an individual's problem--not the APA's. And I certainly don't see it as a moral issue.
Now, I'll admit that for B/A, one just has to accept that concept in fanfic. In the series there is NO indication, despite all those wonderful music videos I've seen and loved. I realize B/A is a subdivision of two minority divisions (B7 / and Roj Blake fen) of a minority fandom (B7 in general). I consider all B/A to be alternate universe B7 actually. But I like B/A, and in this instance I'll just let characterization "suffer."

We have widely different personal views and different fan fiction tastes. I see your possible "exit" from this APA as your personal choice, your problem — not a moral dilemma. It's not Sue's fault or the APA's fault if you dislike the "new" RC.

Whether you leave or not, good luck with your writing. I in general enjoy it.

P.S. Did you ever get your music videos made? I saw a list sometime somewhere (a HORIZON n/l ?) of songs you wanted someone to do. I love music vids. I even exercise on my stationary bike to them as it makes the time pass quickly. Someone once told me it takes approximately forty hours to make one music vid--that's one song! What dedication! But IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY (and I probably don't), I think you put B/A beside some of the songs, some of which were love songs? That made me think you liked slash, but from reading RC 12 I see that was definitely a wrong impression.
I didn't think I was going to take this side, but I think the division between generic material and slash is a good idea. It beats sending stuff you may be sensitive about to start with to be read by people who'll look at it and think, "I must cancel my subscription at once, lest I be polluted by this garbage." And aren't there few of us SUBSCRIBERS already?!

I don't care whether the adult material is in a supplement or not, except if it determines who stays with the apa. I'd rather save my thoughts on sexual aspects of the characters for a supplement than lose the chance to exchange comments with a serious Blake fan like yourself.

This being said, I just want to make clear that:

(1) I'm seriously puzzled by the idea that "'adult' dialogue comes down to... conversations about people's private sexual fantasies about the characters in B7." For one thing, there's a difference between my thoughts about the place of sex in the characters' lives and whatever lustful thoughts might stroll through my brain. A sex fantasy is a utilitarian train of thought designed for a specific (personal) purpose. Why would I be discussing those in an APA?

(b) Why would anyone be embarrassed for Gareth Thomas to receive a copy of this apa, if not because it will be full of people's private sex fantasies, you ask? How about: because I might say something about his acting (in some specific scene; overall I think it's marvelous) that I wouldn't say to his face, because it would be rude. Maybe he doesn't want to hear that some of us think he looks silly in an environment suit, or that we love the Bizarro cartoon for "Seek-Locate-Reduce!" And though I'd quite like to know whether all that head-grabbing was a deliberate effort to show us how certain stressful situations brought back the pain associated with Federation aural conditioning, if in fact it wasn't, I'd rather not let him know that I wondered about it. In fact, I'd rather have him reading my sex fantasies about some character he played, which he's no doubt heard plenty of from private fanmail and has long since learned to ignore, than treat him to my random thoughts about nuances.

(c) I have to lodge a formal objection - by which I mean that I know I won't change your mind, [name redacted], but I need to state my disagreement to the notion that sex is not one of the more "philosophical, political and ethical aspects of the series", especially that last. What it isn't is one of the more obvious canonical facts in the series. If there were an adult supplement to this apazine, I wouldn't object to its being called "Wild Speculation" - but "Naughty Nookie?" Gag me with a teddy bear.

I wanted to let you know that I am in favor of discontinuing the adult supplement and integrating it into the apa as a whole. I felt more than a hint of unwelcome pressure at some of what you wrote, especially your assertion concerning the morality of the situation, and yet felt a certain amount of sympathy. You are uncomfortable with the integration and will leave if it continues. I am uncomfortable with the idea of a separate supplement and the self-censorship involved, but I will not leave if the decision is reversed. I also do not see how this forces you out of the apa. It is your decision. Since you haven't read the adult supplements, I suggest that you might not have the complete picture.

I would also remind you that majority rulings are the norm Why don't you give us a chance and see IF we indeed revert to slathering and drooling salacious-ness or descend into mindless discussions of the S-word. Which makes me wonder why you assume that "adult" and "slash" would be synonymous.
As for the comments on slash, I find genzine material to drift as far, if not more so, from the characters (which are seen in variable and personal ways to individual fans in any case) as I see them. Genzine portrays can be equally unreasonable facsimiles. Individual stories in either variety can be excellent or horrible; it's the writer that makes the differences.
Not surprisingly to those who know me, I don't agree with your views of the change in the apa's format. The issue of Gareth receiving the apa with slash content being embarrassing seems a little beside the point (unless he wanted to provide a trib). I, for one, wouldn't be embarrassed. My interest in slash does not embarrass me. Just because one doesn't agree with something does not mean that it should be banned, even from this forum. I dislike characters and stories that do not fit my image of the characters. That doesn't mean that I should demand that they never be discussed in this apa. The format change is not excluding people. Everyone makes their own decision on what to read and what not to, whether to be a part of a discussion or not. I'd like you to stay with the apa but I think Sue made the right choice.

You opened your trib up with a rather lengthy monologue regarding the decision to meld the two supplements. I'd like to reply to this because I really feel like it's important. I'm one of the ones who supported Sue's decision to call for an integrated APA. I've read your reasons for wanting to keep it separate and while I hear what you're saying, 1 think you've jumped to a huge conclusion without any evidence. The reason I like the idea of a unified APA is mainly one of convenience. Without boring you or anyone else, I work a full time, 40 hours per week job and have a full and active personal and fannish life. I enjoy being part of an APA but I, realistically, have a minimal amount of time to devote to doing my trib. It's much easier for me if I only have one set of tribs to respond to and it means I can pour myself fully into it. without having to worry if what I'm saying will pass muster!

As for sending a copy of the APA to Gareth.... I don't understand why we'd want to? I'm not ashamed of anything I say in my tribs but I really don't feel that it's any of Mr Thomas' business. I met the man and genuinely like him but I don't think my mental gymnastics about a character he played 15 years ago are of any concern or interest to him. I fully support the decision to exclude him from the club.

Finally, I'd like to address your fears that we will all be suddenly sharing personal, intimate items or fantasies in this forum. Please let me assure you. that thought is the farthest thing from my mind. What I think is being confused is the word 'adult' and though it's not something I want to spend issues discussing or defining, I would like to say one thing. I don't think 'adult' necessarily includes slash, what I think it does mean for me is a serious examination of the character's ideas, feelings and motivations. And as we're discussing an adult, fully functional human being this will occasionally include a sexual thought or idea. I don't think you can discuss any adult male without admitting that they are occasionally motivated by sex!

It is not my goal to 'drive' you from this APA — this is only my second trib and I don't really know you. I'm sorry that you feel in some way excluded from the APA but if you're not willing to give it a chance then you must take full responsibility for your decision to leave. Ultimately, whatever your decision, I wish you well.
** MEANDERING RANT WARNING ** Rebecca mentions a 'growing emphasis on adult material' and the rudeness of The Professionals fandom. Au contraire. I went through a GAZ from last year to collect statistics about what kind of B7 zines are currently available, when the rabid anti-sex contingent on the Internet Maillist started whining about 'slash driving out gen'. If I remember correctly, of the 143 B7 zines listed, less than a third were labeled 'adult'. From my viewpoint, fans are anarchists who write what they like to write, and read what they like to read. This is not a 'supply and demand' market economy; if I write, it's because I want to write it (supply), not because you want to read it (demand). We don't exist for each other's entertainment. Within Pros fandom (whatever that might be!), there are some intolerant fans, there are miles of unedited, free stories out of the circuit library, and very little 'gen'. In my opinion, there is nothing else to write about in PROSac, except the two characters. (In the GAZ, there were two current Pros genzines listed. So someone thinks there is more to the series than guys in tight pants. I don't. I don't read much Professionals fanlit, either, because it's boring.) And furthermore, in regards to this apa, I certainly am not interested in trying to read anyone's mind as to what the allowable content of my trib should be. **MEANDERING RANT END **

Meanwhile, I'm reading about past cons and zine reviews in "Federation Archives" and "Pressure Point" but more and more people were talking about slash v. anti-slash and everything seemed to be erupting at once.

At first I reassured myself, the K/S crowd paved the way for the rest of us, right? Now we're enlightened and no longer mired in '50's prudery about sexuality. Slash isn't a good thing or a bad thing, it simply is. Well, as it happened, some people and certain actors believed slash was a bad thing and sought to have it purged.

But when the dust settled, it wasn't slash that was purged, it was the fans, it was the conventions, it was the love and energy and excitement. That was purged, that's what happened, everyone bailed and everything STOPPED.

The effects were long-lasting. I began to feel like Indiana Jones, picking through the ruins of an ex-fan's collection, so many times hearing the same dismal litany. "Well, I was a fan until it all went to hell", "Well, I used to love B7 but then the actors started telling us what to think." "Well, the conventions stopped being fun because everybody wanted to argue" and on and on and their negativity toward B7 managed to live on while they bed-hopped into the next fandom of the week and re-attached their love to one more worthy of it.

And what do we do? With the wealth of detail in the B7 universe to pick apart (and I'm guilty for doing the same thing), all we can do is bicker about slash. Look at what, this has cost us, people! The B7 fandom is so burned out it will never again support the golden conventions of the past, the guests, the costumes, "Vila-Delphia", "The Paul and Michael Show" and "Liar's Panel", all of it gone forever. Corn won't grow on this scorched earth, people. The rest of us must huddle together for warmth. Because it's a cold universe out there and slash or non-slash, if we keep tearing ourselves apart over this issue, there won't be any of us left to care.

The ones of you who've been in B7 long enough to see it all happen, treasure your good memories, remember how wonderful it used to be and the fun you had. And preserve your tapes. Not all of us have memories.

Hurt/Comfort

You asked about hurt/comfort. Is it more than slash without the sex, you asked. Well, it's different. I think the two tastes appeal to different constituencies, though there's a big overlap. And then there's the question of which part of h/c the reader prefers, the hurt or the comfort. Many people swear they only really like the comfort, but I prefer the hurt myself. Who do I want to see hurt? The obvious one, of course. That's why I love Judith Seaman's stories even though her name is anathema to Blake fans. She does such wonderfully awful things to Avon.

For some h/c fans there's a definite sexual kick to watching the object of desire suffer; I suppose it's a kind of vicarious sadism. (And no, this certainly does not mean that we want to see anyone suffer in real life! It's a purely fictional preference.) And there are some slash fans, though I think they are a minority, who actually prefer romantic stories without explicit sex.

Ahhhhhh...do I sense a kindred spirit? Do I hear the sincere strains of someone seriously inquiring about hurt/comfort? Yes, I think I do! This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope you don't have cause to regret your questions, as I have every intention of answering them in as great a detail as possible. Here goes!

1) Is H/C more than slash without the sex? In and of itself, H/C (IMHO) is not slash without the sex. The crucial elements of a H/C story consist of a wounded character and an unwounded character who finds himself compelled to care for the injured party. It is entirely possible to have a H/C story where the main characters are a boy and his dog. I think that no one would suggest an improper relationship in such a setting and those who insist upon seeing "slash" that isn't present in a H/C story should be reminded of the hurt-comfort classics like Lassie and Silver Chief.

2) If you take the sex out of slash, does it become H/C? No, for the same reason as stated above...you can have a story that is both H/C and slash, but if you remove the combination of (at least) two interdependent characters, one of whom is injured, then you do not have a H/C tale. I can see where this issue could get murky, especially when one places no barriers on the specific type of hurt being experienced. I consider mental, physical or emotional pain as qualifying for the "hurt" in a H/C story, but it's confusing when a character is injured emotionally versus physically— but some of the best fan stories have featured mental pain that rivals any mere physical torture.

As for favorite H/C scenarios—well, it's greatly dependent upon the type of hurt involved. Why? Certain characters (once again, IMHO) are more suited to certain roles. Also, the depth of the project and the amount of wordage an author wants to devote to a topic greatly affect my selection of certain types of H/C pairings. Then there really is the slash element to consider! Are the two characters sexually involved? Casually? Or deeper? Do the love each other? How do these issue effect the actions and outcomes of the H/C story?
Speaking of suffering, you asked about h/c, I consider it gen. I like it. I don't care who suffers. In B/A I don't care who's on bottom. My requirement for both h/c and / is that it involve Blake and preferably Blake and Avon. A good example of h/c is " Road to Hell." (Sorry! I guess I really really do like that story!) A good example of B/A h/c is "Stranded" by Matilda Willard in AVON CALLING 3.
As for h/c... OK. The reason some h/c works for me is that it can be a way to peel away someone's mask, to explore a facet that might not otherwise be accessible. The achievement of emotional intimacy is a strong attraction too. I think it can be a good deal more than slash without sex. Look, say your best friend gets hits by a bus and you rush over to him/her, quite naturally offering whatever comfort you can. On the way to the hospital are you going to lean over, and tenderly whisper, "I just realized how much I love you. When you're out of hospital let's have lots and lots of sex." Or as another member of this APA once asked me, "When you see two people in the 'real' world with a close relationship, do you automatically assume they must be sleeping together?" (My answer in both instances is: No, of course not; that would be ludicrous.)
Re hurt/comfort: I don't especially care for it--and I've been "accused" of writing it! In fact, I've been praised for writing it (irony of ironies). Several fan friends who should know better (or know me better) insist that Beloved Adversary is "hurt/comfort." Look, the way I see it, any realistic story set in the B7 universe is going to have people getting hurt. And any story that posits a modicum of caring between the characters is going to have people responding to that hurt. But that's just human nature and the nature of life. Hurt\comfort to me connotes fiction written for the purpose of "hurting" some particular character and then having some other particular character "comfort" him. The whole relationship is predicated upon the power of suffering to generate intimacy—and it'll be a cold day at the center of the volcano on Obsidian (to quote myself) before I write anything with that premise in mind. As for the relationship between h/c and slash—well, both genres seem to attract the same subset of fans, but I must confess that the basis for their appeal totally eludes me.

General

Well, not only does our new membership roster differ radically from the one Angie (finally!) put out a year ago, it differs radically from the one Sue sent around when this reorganization first got under way. It was particularly disconcerting to discover that I'd addressed lengthy comments to several people who will likely never see them (all of whom, I hasten to add, were still on that second list—lest some of the newcomers think I make a habit of talking to absent fans). On the plus side, I do recognize most of the new names from either the Net, or old letterzines, or new fanzines...
I find blatant Mary Sueing and psychobabble fads as distasteful as you do, hut I can't agree that readers shouldn't be able to garner significant personal information about a competent fan writer from her work. That depends very much on the psychological acumen of the particular reader. Heaven knows I'm as transparent as glass in my own fan fiction to those who understand how to decode it. I'm not really sure that that's happened yet to any great extent, though, because of the two individuals I know who definitely possess that kind of skill, one doesn't need to apply it (he already knows me inside-out), and the other doesn't read fan fiction!

It's very obvious that you're bothered by the amount of what you see as Blake bashing in fandom. Of course, we all want our particular "hero" to be heroic and I have to admit that there is a tremendous amount of truth in what you're describing when you list the myriad ways Blake's character is represented in fan stories. Quite honestly, the only way to stem this tide, or even reverse it, is to buckle down and write, write, write!

The types of stories most needed (IMHO) to illustrate Blake's admirable characteristics are those that are soundly set in the series. And by that I simply mean the action/adventure/love story takes place in circumstances easily recognizable as belonging to the originally aired show. Case 'n point — I've read several long B7 stories that were very nicely paced and plotted, but were written in a planetary setting so blatantly original as to warp the characters. The author, in a heroic attempt to take Blake and Avon to a setting never seen on the series—no doubt with the desire of expanding our interpretations of the characters — lost me in the shuffle. I was unconvinced by the reality of their setting, therefore I was unconvinced when Blake and Avon ventured into circumstances/dialogue that moved them even further away from their aired personas.

I'm all for original interpretations on the characters — why else read fan-fic when you can pop a tape in the VCR? But I do want to be able to recognize the characters...take all the time/words you need to convince me, 'cause I'm willing to be convinced. Now please don't mistake my position... I like original stories with new and challenging settings; I just think if we'd like to see an influx of Blake sympathy, a stack of good Blake stories that take a little time to explain why Blake did some of the baffling things he did on the series would be comforting and converting to those who would like to love Blake, but don't understand him.

You're correct when you say that Blake isn't evil, but you must admit, he would be a terrible tough man to be around if your morals didn't match his.
Telepix. With the exception of shots from "Blake" and two from "Redemption," most pictures of Blake make him look doltish and/or constipated, or emphasize the horrors of BBC wardrobes. Why this is true is a case worthy of Unsolved Mysteries. Blake looks damned good in a.lot of scenes in the series but you can never find pictures of them at cons or in magazines. At least I can't, so I decided to try taking telepix of the Best In Blake Moments.The photos are still a little dark and the differing proportions of the lens and TV screen make it hard to eliminate the sides of the set, but on the whole I think the results are OK.
Casting Blake is similar to, but not exactly the same as, the B7 avatar topic that gets hashed and rehashed on the B7 list. If someone else tells me "this is supposed to be Blake," that sort of commits me ahead of time, particularly if the author has admitted a connection. Given that the "Blake" that shows up in pro fiction is even worse than in fan fic, I'm stuck with two reactions: "if she thinks this is Blake, we were watching different series" and "it's not TOO obvious she's in love with Avon, is it." I'm just not going to have a good time with these books. Pro fiction is more hurtful for this Gentle Reader because it takes Blake-bashing into a place where I can't argue about it. The author may be part of fandom but her work has left the community ("Elvis has left the building"). On the other hand, if I don't know that the author has acknowledged a connection or is a fan of the series or whatever but another fan says "this character reminded me of Blake," I can accept or reject it and argue with the person who said it if I disagree, the same way I can argue about fan fic. What brought all this up? After the most recent revival of the B7 Avatar thread on the list, I finally read "Black Sun Rising." Some people think the characters are either B7 avatars or at least very like Our Heroes. Now, I liked thinking of Damien as Blake and Gerald as Avon because it added something to the characters for me even though it was an Avonocentric narrative. At least Damien isn't trashed. Considering the way Blake is treated in works that admittedly use avatars (I'm thinking in particular of the dreadful Art in the Blood) that's probably definite proof that the characters in BSR have nothing whatever to do with B7.
I just received my first copy of Rallying Call, my very first apa. For a creature of e-mail, this is an odd way to communicate so please indulge me.
Well, I'm not quite ready to sit down and scarf a heaping plate of crow, but the first issue of RC under its new management was a pleasant surprise. I'm still not happy B7 genzines are becoming rarer than an altruistic Ferengi, but that's a whole other issue; the level of discussion in this APA is pretty close to what I was hoping for—and such a lovely change from certain other APAs which shall remain nameless, where Blake's name is frequently taken in vain. And a belated welcome to all the new members; I hope we'll be hearing from all of you eventually. (I could scarcely believe my eyes when I opened the APA and found an actual membership roster. Wow. It was always something of a mystery in the past as to who all exactly was reading RC.)

I know, it's enough to make you wonder sometimes if there were two versions of B7, and that most of fandom's seen the one where Blake's a hapless git who can't rub enough brain cells together to tie his shoes. I don't particularly like Vila, but I haven't expended time and energy writing stories where he's portrayed as pond scum. Wouldn't it be nice if fandom operated according to the Golden Rule? Fat chance, I know, but a person can keep hoping. Then, too, there seems to be something about Blake that gets on some fen's nerves. He's too passionate, too intense. It can be a pain though, when factions favoring Avon or Tarrant, or whoever, try to pretend Roj Blake never existed at all — or, If he did, he was inconsequential.

The resentment against Blake making anything but a token appearance in zines is another mystery, especially on the slash front. You'd think hordes of B/A fans were roaming the countryside, forcing Tarrant and Vila fans to read FIRE & ICE, the way some carry on.

Oh geez, what determines whether a story is good or not... That probably varies wildly from person to person. For myself, after ten years of consuming B7 fanfic I need something fresh, not just going over the same muddied ground. This doesn't mean that someone can't breathe new life into an old idea. It's not neos who bug me as a rule, but complacent veterans who trot/out the same paint-by-numbers plots they've been using for years. I've heard a theory that fen do not like innovation, they like the comfort of the familiar, which is why something like JABBERWOCKY pleases/more than LOG OF THE HELLHOUND. I don't happen to agree with anything in that statement though, and sincerely hope it is not true. (Because if it is I may as well erase all my stories and gafiate at once.) A recent stand out for me was Pat Terra's story in AVON CALLING #3, to that "Sleepinq Beauty illo. There were some structural flaws, and I wish she'd stop having Avon and Blake spout poetry at each other, but there were enough good elements at play for me to overlook that. Ideally, I'd like stories that balance all the essential elements: character interaction (aka the relationship stuff), with action/adventure/intrigue — somethinq interesting going on; capturing the characters in a way I recognize; and free of personal bias, agendas. That doesn't mean a story should have no particular viewpoint, no... attitude. Only that there is a world of difference between a story, and a polemic diatribe by a fan out to prove something (which usually means a bash of anyone who isn't her pet, or an expressing of outrage at a philosophy she dislikes).

Essentially I'm looking for the same things that draw me to pro fiction: a good, interesting story. If it enlightens along the way, terrific; if it sparks ire to write something that either follows up on a theme or rebuts it, also terrific. If it only entertains, that's no small achievement. It would be nice if more fen would remember B7 is science fiction, not a soap opera. Which isn't to say I look down my nose at soaps, but the concerns of the 7+3 are a little more complex than: Will Bo and Billie ever marry?

Issue 14 (July 1995)

Rallying Call 14 was published in July 1995 and contains 81 pages. The collator was Sue Clerc.

cover of issue #14

This issue has eighteen members (two down from last issue); thirteen of these members contributed. One of the two members that left was one who had large disagreements regarding the scope and content of the APA.

This issue has a reprint some updates about Blake's 7 news that was originally printed in Horizon Newsletter #32.

The informal Topic of the Month is discussion about the episode "The Way Back."

There are reviews and comments regarding these zines: Shades of Grey, The Chronicles #56/57/58, Love and Sacrifice, Log of the Hellhound, Careless Whispers, Jabberwocky, Star One, Down and Unsafe #5, The Mind of a Man is a Double-Edged Sword, Checkers, Whomsoever Holds This Sword, and others.

a fan employs some photocopying skills and provides some images of "Blake"

This issue reprints a copy of a letter by Bjo Trimble which proposes a fan campaign to have Gareth Thomas (the actor who portrayed Roj Blake) cast as the next Doctor in Doctor Who. The letter was also printed in the Several Unlimited club April 1995 newsletter. An edited version of it appears in Dreamwatch #9. A fan who comments on this letter is pleased that Bjo Trimble is a Gareth Thomas, but is grumpy about the fact that the letter spells his character's first name as "Roger" (rather than "Roj") as well as "Cadfae." Trimble's enthusiasm appears to be based on the fact that Thomas looks the part, was really nice to people at a con (especially nice to Trimble), and that he thought the part would be fun. See Open Letter by Bjo Trimble to Doctor Who Fans.

This issue contains the fic "Welcome to the London" by Elizabeth B. as well as "Aftermath" by Lorna P.

Several fans commented about MediaWest*Con, see 1995 MediaWest*Con Comments.

Several fans commented on the Oblique Publications zine series. See Reviews and Comments.

Slash and Het

All fanfic is a/u. And even tho' I like /, there is no basis for it in the TV series.... I think the / element is totally a/u and as farfetched as any post GP story is. Some think Blake coming back from the dead is "realistic," but Blake having sex with Avon is not. And others write about unicorns and ghosts, yet call / stories unrealistic. It's all a/u fantasies meant to entertain.
To me the difference between 'intense' hurt/comfort and slash is that, after the hurt person has been turned over to professional healers - whether at a hospital or the med unit - the two who were just so 'intense' have to find a way of winding the 'intensity' down and getting their relationship back to 'normal,' whatever THAT is. In some fandoms, this can involve one of the men going off for a night of casual sex with a woman he's just met, while the other cheers, because his friend, partner, brother, or whatever is 'all right' now. See, they seem to be saying, we're still all important to each other, but we're both men, so our being all important to each other can't be all that important. It bothers me a lot less when they go to bed together.
Lately I've noticed that supposedly adult-content conversations in apas and other media often wander off onto completely non-smutty topics. I remember particularly an e-mail discussion that started with sex but then got into a discussion of what, exactly, Blake's profession was, with consideration of all the various types of engineers— about as innocent as anything could be! So I don't think that talk of sex automatically contaminates any conversation; it seems to me, from experiences like this, that the back-and-forth between gen talk and sex (straight or slash) talk is as likely to go one way as another. I still think the best plan for you would be to stick it out and just ignore anything you're not interested in. But it's your decision.
I didn't say genfic is perfect; 90% of it bits, too, IMO. What bothers me is an impression -- correct me if it's wrong -- that just as some dislike slash for the sake of it, what some fan object to is genfic is that it isn't slash. Those strike me as being equally loopy viewpoints. At the moment it looks like the B7 zines currently available and taking submissions fall into a dead even split of gen and adult, which is as it should be: something for everyone, and no one camp thinking it's superior to the other.
I write fanfic, usually slash, as [name redacted]. [Redacted] was my name before I divorced, I keep it as a writer because my ex-husband disapproves of all fanfic, and it annoys the hell out of him. I have written one story under another name, but I'm keeping the identity and the story a deep, dark secret. To those of you who saw me at Who's 7 (I was the one on the stage at the opening and closing ceremonies, the one who looked as if her next request was going to be for one of those lovely comfortable boxes with brass handles on the sides) I'd like to say: I AM MORE INTERESTING THAN THAT! A block of wood is more interesting than that!
Lastish you said you were concerned about dark h/c and slash which "depicts two men destroying each other, and damning themselves... I worry about the harm such material does to those who create and consume it." Are you actually acquainted with anyone you consider has been harmed in this way?
I like the new RC policy of not separating slash and gen and adult. To be frank, I love slash, my personal favorite being B/A.... I am extremely tolerant. Sex has been a problem since the first fig leaf was painted over genitals. We won't solve it in this APA. I don't intend to worry about it.
I like the idea of having material which you call "garbage" integrated into the general pages. However, you're entitled to call it "garbage," and I'm entitled to like it.... As a concept I think labeling is a nice compromise. But I am finding I cannot do it. It would require more effort and personality adjustment than I care to do. People who are upset by adult or / material (I'm not assuming you are one) will just have to skip my entries.
It's not that I dislike sex - straight or otherwise - in zines, but if I pick up a zine that has the same two people coming together (for the first time) in twelve different stories by twelve different writers and those stories are all of them ninety-five-percent sex and five-percent dialogue and no plot - it's boring.
I want to get a few things clear up front, and then hopefully not have to keep going over all this stuff, as there's a heck of a lot more interesting things to be getting into. My preference for a separate adult supplement was not a desire for censorship, much less exclusion. During the Controversy I firmly supported the right of fans to enjoy fandom as they liked not having to abide by the edicts of some Czarina who thought she knew what was and was not appropriate and acceptable. (Trust me, there were such creatures.) My objective was, and is, inclusion: everyone allowed to state their views, in whatever language they choose — barring outright abusiveness. Separating gen and adult is one simple, painless way of doing that, if not 100% fool-proof. All a moot point now, but at the time I had no way of knowing anyone would get so bent out of shape over this issue. For myself, the content of the previous two issues has been exactly what I'd hope for: lots of diversity. That Blake's sexuality is one of the topics covered does not have me upset. An extended natter on his regard for the Decimas would bore be just as silly, OK? Can we move on?

The Blake's 7 Wars

See more about this topic at The Blake's 7 Wars.

Don't talk about slash - Don't talk about sex - There's someone out there Who's bound to be vexed. Darrow isn't coming to town.

We're making a list of things to avoid, The things to be missed. Lest Paul be annoyed. Darrow isn't coming to town. Forbidden Zone's forbidden. Resistance will not do Such stories must be hidden from We all of us know who.

He isn't alone. Our own little lot Holds those who condone His 'Certainly not!'

(Darrow isn't coming to town).
Ho, another historian! We should get together and compare notes, [J]: When I started to vacuum up any and all references to Blake's 7, I stumbled into the center letter section of a couple of old Horizon zines that puzzled me mightily. At the time I knew nothing about the Controversy, although I was aware that one local fan con organizer had had some kind of falling out with one of the actors who had appeared at a con here, and would no longer have anything to do with B7, or B7 fandom. I naively asked around on the Internet, and either got an earful or nothing. So I started my own research project, and have pretty much fleshed out events and motivations to my satisfaction. And collected about 4 inches of paper. It's still a very touchy issue with many people who were around at that time, but I'd be willing to discuss it further, either privately or in the apa. I too, was very saddened by the realization that I would never get to participate in conventions like the Scorpios. For all their flaws, I treasure the fanfic stories The Totally Imaginary Cheeseboard, and The Other Side of the Coin because they are as close as I'll ever get. For the time being, I think that the whole affair initially seemed to have far more to do with egos and convention control than slash. ([S]: What 'was' the name of the woman who was discussing this with us in the bar at Who's 7? I remember you, [L], [S], and [C], and a tall dark haired woman, whose name I never got.)

Fanworks

I'm sorry if my dismissal of CARELESS WHISPERS ruffled feathers. Clearly a lot of people did enjoy it — I just didn't happen to be one of them. If we're going to discuss fanfic here, maybe we need to lay down some rules so no further noses get out of joint. I'd far rather be frank than fawning, but that's just my view. What does anyone else think?
Bryn Lantry's early stuff wasn't bad, but she lost me when she swallowed a dictionary, and put lavish absurdities in the mouths of Blake and Avon. IMO, a crisp, sharp style is best suited to B7, especially when it comes to dialogue. Like everything, it's a balancing: just as you can be too extravagant, you can also skimp too much. Good writing is choosing the exact right words, no more or less. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. Exposition should be kept to a minimum, too. I do get weary of writers telling me what's going on, explaining the character's motivation. Cut to the chase— we'll figure it out.
Oh yes, HELLHOUND'S been vilified in some fannish quarters: for not really being B7, for changing things, for having too much originality, for being immoral... Me, I think a lot of it's sour grapes and jealousy as HH is so much better than some of the stuff out there. I mean, I like JABBERWOCKY, but it's just the same story over and over again. HH always surprises me. You may as well plunge into now: every HH that has been written is currently available. That list of HH stories in some SOUTHERN SEVEN is kinda deceptive, as some of the stories are only projected, and some of the titles have been changed.
Suzan Lovett's done a set of Blake-as-Arthur prints? Ooh, sounds lovely. I've only seen one she did of GT as Owain Glyn Dwr— the inspiration for "Spirits from the Vasty Deep."
But how would you advertise a zine filled with vile character mangling... CHECKERS, rated PR (for Preposterous Rubbish)? Seriously, you're not suggesting sexually explicit material be made available to anyone (meaning minors)? Because that's all it signifies; alerting the buyer as to content, and stating it will not be sold to minors. I'd be for a violence rating, if that sufficiently disturbs a lot of people. I think the movie ratings are fine; the problem is the irresponsible nitwits who don't see anything wrong in hauling toddlers along to see the latest gorefest with Arnie, Sly, or Bruce. I agree it's a bizarre culture that pitches a fit over cursing in prime time TV, or just a glimpse of breasts or buttocks, but is peachy keen fine with the most gratuitous violence, but that's the way it is.
Just as media violence is a contributing factor to real life violence, I can't help thinking that, on sane level, fanfic that wallows in hurting fictional characters could make someone less sensitive to real life suffering. It's not a direct correlation of course, but it reminds me of the "Christians" who can't abide abortion and yet see no conflict in valuing an unborn child and gunning down abortion doctors, or being pro capitol punishment. I'm not coming at this from some lofty perch: I love killing Servalan off, for instance. But it bothers me that I like to too much. So some of my protest against that kind of fanfic has its source in a fear some part of me might I really like it.
Getting the basic story from music videos is different, but could certainly work. They helped me notice some things; and what might be really obnoxious in a 20 p. story can be just dandy in a video.

"Why I Hate Susan Matthews"

I didn't half mind DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD musing on the B-A relationship, and thinking how disgusting and dreadful it would be if two such strong and masculine men were sexually involved. (Can you say homophobic?) I just could not believe that, and the implications were equally appalling, given the themes that crop up in her stories: chiefly, severe physical abuse. Apparently it's perfectly spiffy for two strong, "only men to beat the hell out of each other; but, ooh-ick how gross and horrible if they were to make love to each other.

Matthews' style is also an example of a certain type of h/c that aggravates me. Where scenarios are set up to bring the fellas close, lots of touching and holding and emotional declarations, but taking pains to make sure no one thinks they're implying that nasty slash stuff. I've said it before: if someone sees a B/A relationship in my gen stuff, I'm not gonna have a hissy fit about it.

I do exempt Sondra's novels, before anyone asks, but admit it could only be due to to knowing her intent from the outset.

CHECKERS is also exempted, since it clearly wants to be slash, and isn't vaguely subtle about it. That's not why I don't like it: it's that we're meant to believe Blake would put up with that Jenna and Avon for five minutes.

A couple of people asked why I assume adult means slash... First, because 'adult' means sexually oriented, graphic material in the popular culture. If you go to rent an adult video I have a hunch you're far likelier to get DEBBIE DOES DALLAS than HOWARD'S END. As it applies to fandom: the contents of most of these zines is exclusively slash, and even in the ones that include hetero, slash is the majority pairing. I hope STRAIGHT BLAKES is doing well, and that Pat Nussman gets flooded with tribs for the next issue — but SB#2 was en the slender side, as compared to the latest Fire & Ice.
Zines: I decided to work my way through the hundreds of zines making the floorboards bow in my house in reverse alphabetical order. It was a psychological ploy—there are fewer zines with titles beginning with X,Y, and Z than with A, B, and C and every time I cross off a letter I have nice feeling of achievement. I'm all the way back to the Ts now. Several will go in the sale box, and more would join them except that they're photocopies made when I'd borrowed things and didn't get around to reading them by the time the owners wanted them back. Top of the sale heap is The Web. Blake's not in either story and the second one is nearly unreadable for an Avon-atheist. On the other hand, I quite enjoyed rereading Whomsoever Holds This Sword. I like several of the stories but especially Rebecca's "Spirits from the Vasty Deep" and Teri's "After the Sword." Rebecca's is my favorite, but it's a close thing. Uses of Adversity is the only other zine of the ones I've gone through that definitely won't be sold off. It was better the second time through, I think. I was prepared for the Avon bias and forgave it because all of the characters are treated reasonably well and it's one of the few zines I've read where Blake suffers really well. There are a few too many "eewwww" moments where it gets downright sappy but I like it well enough that they don't matter. Must-gos: Velvet and Thorns, Vila, Please, The Void Aflame Like a Bonfire. Unfortunately, only one of them is an original I can sell. The other two will make nice recycling. If only I had a fireplace. Actually...Vila, Please has one story I quite liked even though it lacks the essential ingredient (Blake) -- "In It for the Fun" by Pacer McCoy. The rest require a much greater affection for Vila than I have (I like him but that's it). The other two zines are Avon-worshiping tripe IMHO, FWIW, YMMV.

One of the reasons I'm so attracted to fan fiction is partly due to the frequency in which caves appear. When I've gone camping, I've always pretended that the canvas dome was a cave. As a small girl, I remember peddling my bike for hours just to explore a likely looking rockface for that most mystical of places. All my life I've been looking for a cave, and the only ones I've ever found have been in the lovingly crafted stories of fandom.

Most of my heroes have had adventures in the shadowy recesses of rock hewn rooms—often while recovering from various forms of injury, punishment or privation. A cave has come to represent many things to me: a place of safety,a place to gather strength, a place of rest and recovery. But most importantly, caves have come to symbolize the best of what I look for in series television and fan fiction—an almost magical transformation can happen to my beloved characters once in the confines of a cave. Often, my heroes will let down their carefully cultivated walls and transform into the characters I truly desire to view and read about. An atmosphere of warmth and exchange can be more believably established. I want my men to care...and a cave is one damn fine way to make this happen.

A quick run-down of my some heroes includes: Bodie and Doyle, Starsky & Hutch, Kirk and Spock, the Cartwrights of Bonanza fame, the Bolt Brothers from Here Comes the Brides and last, but certainly not least, themes of Blake's 7. It's an eclectic list, but I'd be surprised if nearly everyone reading this didn't have some of these characters on their list of heroes, too. All of these men, either in the aired series or in fan fiction, have had journeys of emotional transformation that happened in the cool confines of caves. [This fan reviews the story Stranded by Matilda Willard, see that page]
I agree that the Sylvia Knight stories in Resistance 2 and 3 were real standouts — I've noticed that they turn up on almost everyone's list of favorite B/As. I even know one person who's not much into slash generally who liked them a lot. I didn't much care for the [Melody C] novels, though. The ornateness of her writing style put me off (though I'm not sure why, since I like Susan Matthews, whose writing is even more elaborate). Also, I didn't like her portrayal of Blake and Avon as such superhuman, godlike beings, whose union would be a cosmic event. I prefer them human and appealingly flawed. Favorite writers of Blake, yes. Sheila Paulson does a good job on all of the characters, I think, which is one reason why her stories are so deservedly popular. I've noticed that Bryn Lantry is a favorite of many Blake fans, but although I certainly admire her work, she's not one of my personal favorites. I never thought I'd say this, but I think her stories often have too much talk and not enough action to suit me— and I like witty conversations!
Oh, yes, isn't Those Who Favor Fire a wonderful zine! I particularly like the Suzan Lovett story, which has the neatest time-travel paradox I've ever seen applied to B7 and the kind of appallingly tragic ending that I love to wallow in. Someone once suggested (I think it was Jean Lorrah in a long—defunct apa) that the reason why time travel was never used in the canonical B7 universe was that in this grim universe (as opposed to, say, the Star Trek one), you can never undo your mistakes. Lovett manages to preserve that idea and have the unavoidable tragedy play out in a slightly different way instead.
I've noticed in talking about future stories with several new fans of my acquaintance that their ideas seem to be pretty evenly split between gen and slash and sometimes straight adult content as well. So I think there's definitely a future for gen stories and zines, though possibly we may see more zines that mix the of stories, like Evasive Maneuvers, I think that slash will always be with us, since it pushes the hot button for so many women? but I also predict an increase in f/f and m/f stories in B7 fandom, just because those ideas haven't been done so much yet. I was a little disappointed with Fire and Ice 3, and I'm not sure why. Could it be that I'm getting jaded about B/A?!! So far my favorite slash story from my MediaWest zines is the "Near Dark" trilogy by Baravan, in Love and Sacrifice — and that's Tarrant/Vila! (My favorite new B/A so far IS an AU, "Compassion" by Irish, in the same zine.) And somewhat to my surprise, my favorite zine of the batch was not slash at all, or gen either, but Straight Blake's 2! But maybe that's just coincidence.

General

Like you, I can't bear the idea that everyone's dead on GP. I was very upset when it was first shown - and as far as I recall so was everyone else who was watching it. It was shown just before Christmas, it was the last day of term at University and I had arranged to play a D&D game with my friends that night. We were given a blow-by-blow account of B7 by the people in the TV room next door. We all crushed - and I mean crushed, that TV room was packed to the seams - in to watch it from the point where Tarrant crashes Scorpio, because we got too interested in B7 to carry on playing. Then afterwards we were all too upset, and went downstairs to the bar, so we could express our disbelief properly into our beer, and curse the producers.

It's the first time I can remember actually really caring about a TV show. I mean I (like everyone else) hid when Doctor Who got too scary, but it didn't affect me in the same way B7 did. But I do remember thinking, 'How are they [the producers] going to get them out of that one?' I never for a moment thought it would be the last ever episode.
The print is $15. (Confession time: Since I'm such a Blakie, I xeroxed my print [of the art I bought from Warren Oddsson ] and then preceded to "eliminate" Avon so I really do have a very nice BLAKE xerox/print. Of course, I didn't mess with the actual print or the Tee. Avon may be "expendable," but I am not "stupid.")
The question of Gareth Thomas receiving the apa came up a couple of times, leading me to suspect a few of you didn't know the previous editor, Angie Reese, did send it to him, sans supplement. That's a change in format I'm all for, by the way, as it's my opinion our discussions here, whatever they entail, are no concern of the actors. That's what fan mail is for.

IF I COULD CAST MACBETH as a B7 "reunion":

Macbeth: Gareth, Duncan: David, Lady Macduff: Jan, Lady Macbeth's Doctor: Jacqueline (I would change the role's gender.), a Porter: Michael, Malcolm: Steven P., Ross: Peter T., Hecate: Sheelagh Wells (in fantastic makeup), Lady Macbeth: Josette, Macduff: Paul (He kills Gareth yet again!) Witches: Sally, Glynis, and Janet, Lennox: Brian, Banquo: Stephen G., Siward: Terry Nation (Siward and Hecate are somewhat cameo roles so I think Nation and Wells could probably manage? And Nation could "tailor" the play to fit the B7 cast better, too.)
I liked Vila well enough until I read a few A/V stories. That spoiled him for me. There was something about Vila as Avon's true love that made me as uncomfortable as Darrow's assertion that Meegat was Avon's dream come true.
Could be hurt/comfort is more Avon is hurt and Blake comforting because Blake's the one who knows how to endure pain? (Avon isn't. He's always so SURPRISED! Except when he knows he's brought it on himself, as with Shrinker) and Blake gets through his own pain so much better when he has someone else to help and worry about. Is this one of those 'feminine traits' I've been hearing about?
Freedom cones with responsibility; to avoid barbaric anarchy it has to be coupled with a sense of ethics and morality so that one doesn't push someone in front of an oncoming car because you know that's wrong. What I mean about qualified freedom is political correctness and censorship; being told what to think, what to believe — with the implication right-thinking people wouldn't question being told what's good for them. That's how TREK'S Utopian future looks to me, and why I find it every bit as appalling as B7's Federation. (DS9 excepted; but then it's so un-TREK it's small wonder the Trekkers don't like it.) I mean, if Blake or Avon, any of them, existed in that universe, don't you think they'd have a horde of Deanna Trois out to "cure" them?
A lot of the accusations made against Blake have their origins in fanfic, with no canonical support at all. A nit over in the Avon apa is going on about how Blake abused Avon, betrayed him over and over — not bothering to provide any evidence, of course, because there is none. Sometimes it's trivial — Avon's allergies, for instance— but the stuff that gets flung at Blake can get pretty vicious. And when someone is locked into a negative view of Blake, they don't want to hear about anything that runs counter to their vision. A BNF friend virtually told me to stop talking B7 with her, because my rose-colored perception of Blake was wrong — and I was, therefore, implying her opinions were in error, which she interpreted as a personal attack. *shrug*
I have to say, I haven't noticed nearly as much Blake-bashing as you have, but that may be because, for obvious reasons, I'm not as sensitive to it. (It may also be because I tend to hang out with Tarrant fans, whose fave gets as much bashing as Blake, if not more; so they tend to be very generous toward other people's favorites.)

Issue 15 (October 1995)

Rallying Call 15 was published in October 1995 and contains 77 pages.

front cover of issue #15
"The Legacy" is a poem by Mary G.T. Webber, and was printed in this apa. It was originally in Powerplay #6 in 1989 and Panning for Pyrites in 1989. A fan in the next issue of "Rallying Call" said: "[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."
many fans gave their trib sections titles -- this example is from issue #15

At this time, there were nineteen members.

It contains some fanmade photocopied pictures and captions. Also a clipping from "Strange Worlds" with the headline "I really didn't understand everything that was going on..." plus some other unidentified clippings.

The Topic of the Month episode reviews were for "Spacefall" and "Cygnus Alpha."

This issue has a fan review of the pro book by Adrian Rigelsford called "The Making of Terry Nation's Blake's 7."

This issue has a 7-page monologue play written by Teri White called "Interview with a Monster." She said she wrote it with Gareth Thomas in mind. The main character is a man named Owain. Gareth Thomas apparently loved this play, as per a fan in the next issue. To read those comments, see 1995: Con Reports.

The Blake's 7 Wars

See more about this topic at The Blake's 7 Wars.

Oh well, I suppose [J] and I should prepare to get flamed for being critical, (Note to the Controversy Historians: Did you know some of it had its root in fans daring to criticize Mr, Actor, remarking that his range was rather limited, and that his singing—he was playing Elvis at the time—was a little less than spectacular?) The plain fact is though, it can't be good for his career, and it sure isn't good for his health.
About that fan Controversy that you were researching, this was the starting point: it blew up in late 1989 when a New Zealand fan who put out DOWN & UNDER broke confidences and told the Darrows the real names of some of the B7 slash writers -among them [A W], [L R] & [L T]. As the Darrows knew these three writers they didn't hesitate to tell the writers what they thought of them for writing that "obscene slash". Increasingly rude & litigious letters flew back and forth. Some fans began loudly taking sides, generally divided by what they thought of slash and/or the actor. My favorite button that it spawned was "I'm NOT on Your Side Either!" or "Just Shut UP About It!"

Slash

You ask if I know anyone who's been harmed by negative fanfic. Yep: me. It's why I was so resistant to B7 slash for a long time. My first exposure to "/" was K/S, some very nasty stories where rape was the norm, and seemingly presented as just the neatest thing that could happen. It turned me off badly, and pretty well ruined TREK for me for a long tine. True, I was barely out of my teens, and came from a relatively sheltered background, and of course it didn't do any long term harm — but if someone had been looking over my shoulder, so to speak, encouraging me to keep reading the stuff because it was the best and ultimate fannish experience, who knows? I realize my spiritual views on things is a matter of absurdity to some of you, but I didn't take them up to impress anyone and am certainly not going to tuck them away out of sight because it may mark me for a moron in some eyes. It's one thing to deal with the reality of pain and suffering in a way that illuminates or enriches—e.g. what doesn't destroy us makes us stronger—but something else to take pleasure in that suffering and degradation. The stimulus may be fictional, but the reaction is not. If you were in a theater watching Schindler's List, and some half-wits were cheering the Nazis on, wouldn't you find that offensive/deplorable? How much more offensive is it if someone makes a film presenting the Nazis as the good guys, reveling in their evil, endorsing their views? The 'dark side' should be explored, and there's always a risk some sicko will twist things around to suit them, that can't be helped; we do have a choice, though, as to whether we deliberately set out to nourish an appetite for darkness. I shall now prepare to be soundly hooted down—but it won't change my position.
I too enjoy B/A; I like slash but am picky about the combinations. There really isn't any other combination in B7 that appeals to me. I don't have any problem about mixing gen and adult material either, and if everyone else is going to, it would be difficult to not do it that way. I agree with you that all fanfic is in a sense a/u. It's my opinion that in the "real world" of the aired series, they all ended up dead. So there. Well, everybody but Orac.

Fanworks

Re Oblique slash, I have problems with it too. One story I read had some late 2nd series interaction between Blake-Avon. Imagine my shock to reading a reference to Gan still very much alive and kicking. Sometimes the pair of them would rather talk than fuck. Whatever happened to the reticent Brits on the show? Sometimes they talk just before they fuck Several pages worth. Please shut the hell up, I'm begging them, I'm trying to sustain a mood here. To be fair, when the stories work, steam rises from the pages. I mentioned "Night Watch" last time and praised its integration into the realistic universe. Others I like are "Glass House", "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton," anything by Jane Baron ("Witness", "Fugue") and there's damn near something in every issue I go bonkers for.
I head straight for the slash when I'm in that mood but what do you do when all that's left is some A/T or worse, A/V? I read them, optimistic that Blake will come along and spirit Avon away from the less desirable (to me) pair up but when he actually does come along, he's repulsive, a bully and stupid to boot, enslaved to his cause and trodding all over delicate Avon's sensibilities One story made him both fat and a drunkard Wasn't one of these bad enough? Blech.

You thought Checkers was "vile character mangling" (to pick a passage at random during several pages worth of discoursing)? There was a passable Blake The one in "Beloved Adversary" had me pitching fits. Here we have Avon lasering himself in the shoulder all because Blake placed him into an irresolvable situation (no torturing for information, no killing, etc) and left him to figure a way out of it. I suppose the point was made as to the lengths Avon would go to obey Blake. Later, in the sequel "A Delicate Balance", it happened again. Avon locks Blake in an underground room for 3 days, a sort of monk's cell. Does he brood, does he get hopping mad? I remember the Blake of old had a temper. No, this one goes on with the plot and it's relelentless heroics as usual and the subject never comes up again I can't see him for the halo he's wearing.

I apologize if it seems I'm always picking on [the author]. That is absolutely not my intention I did rave about her short story in "Dark Between the Stars" Maybe I feel deeply threatened by people, even fictional ones, who are perfection incarnate. If only he had some flaw, some teensy little thing I could get my grapplers on, then I'd feel a sense of "That's the Blake I know" It'd be a beginning anyway.
So Judith Seaman really and truly despises Blake, well, well, well. <pause a moment for thought> She must be shown the error of her ways. All we really need is a room. We'll lock her inside with Sondra Sweigman - - and shaZam! Two already skilled fan writers now able to write properly flawed (but not excessively so) Blakes.
I back up wholeheartedly Joyce's recommendation of 'Love and Sacrifice'. I thought the 'modern day' a/u especially good, and re-read it several times. Had someone described it to me before reading it I'd have been very suspicious indeed, but it works very well.
[B] mentioned Oblique slash, and the fact that the characters have a 'hothouse isolationl from reality. I love M. Fae's writing, but I do see what you mean. I think it's the style she adopts, which can be suitable for the subject, but isn't always I can't help thinking of 'Other Side of the Coin' where Avon, whom we discover was abused as a child, is blackmailed by Blake and then decides to take the forgotten alien ship and disappear into the wide blue (black?) yonder. While in it's own terms its a brilliant piece of writing I couldn't help feeling that going off like that wasn't a very wise decision, and the Avon in that universe has less than a year to live if that much.
You made a comment to [D] about Oblique slash sometimes having a "certain hothouse isolation from reality." Lovely may or putting how I feel about it as well. I too have that same reaction to it, sometimes a very strong reaction in fact! There are times when I don't see anything of the characters I watched at all. Of course, it's common knowledge that there were several versions of the show that were shown. There's no way we all saw the same one!
[Careless Whispers] was not my favorite either. I didn't recognize my own personal picture of Blake and Avon in it. Sort of like Oblaque, where I might enjoy... can one say THAT about M. Fae's dark vision? the story, but not see Blake, Avon, or Vila in her characterization. I am always amazed at how different my taste is from everybody else's.
I've read some OBLAQUES, and have been unimpressed overall. The chief failure is not capturing the characters in any reconizable form, having nothing to do with B7 as I know it.
As you like Blake on GP, have you read "Down and Out" by Wortham & Rosenthal in B7 COMPLEX #11? It begins after GP, when Servalan takes a recovered Blake and Avon, whose injuries have him in an onboard cryo unit, in a pursuit ship to return to Earth in triumph - though by a very surreptitious route. The ship crashes on an undeveloped world. She has a broken arm and the crew is dead. She grimly realizes she must awaken Blake, who is strapped down, as she'll need help in surviving until, if ever, rescue arrives.
You raised the question of a/u fan fic. I have to admit, I like it, in Pros and B7, with some qualifiers. The characters should remain the characters. This is extra difficult in B7 because the characters are so much the product of their universe. I enjoy the Authurian ones but willingly admit that the fit isn't always that good. Fantasy stuff I can read but no elves or unicorns please, that's a little too much. I think Pros lends itself more that way as I see Bodie and Doyle as being a fair bit in the warrior brothers mould, in the past, present, or future seems to matter little to me as long as the characters remain the same. Beware the pseudo romance that feminizes one of them too much! But I think it's harder to do that in B7, though I've enjoyed several peoples attempts.
I read that story 'Stranded' you spoke of, in a borrowed copy of the zine so I don't have it here for reference. That one bothered and puzzled me a lot. It almost felt as though it were started by one person, and finished by another. It was a nice, warm, sexy and loving story--until Blake gets religion and turns into a sanctimonious jerk. You give thanks to an allegedly loving god by taking the person you have just painstakingly taught to love and trust, and volunteer to hurt him in the worst way possible? Does this make sense? The "fates" you spoke of were pretty obviously to me the Christian god; Blake did not hear a voice from somewhere demanding that he make this particular sacrifice, he apparently came up with it on his own. This suggested to me that the 'ending Blake' had the idea that his loving Avon was offending this god concept and that's why he 'bargained' to give it up. By the time I got to the end of the story as written, what I found myself wanting to see happen was Avon saying, "You say you renounced our love to save my life?" (Cool Avon smile here.) "Call and raise you," and with that, he raises his gun, places the business end under his own chin and blows his brains out. I would find that immeasurably more satisfying than the ending the author gave us.
In general I agree with your h/c comments to various people. On the other hand, since almost everybody has Avon suffering, sometimes I like to see it be Blake just for the novelty. The handling of the h/c element was one of the reasons I personally didn't really care for Beloved Adversary. The 'h' was there, but precious little 'c' Avon seemed to remain determinedly oblivious to his reactions and motivations with respect to Blake, and I give the man credit for more intelligence and honesty than that. I also don't see him as being as self-destructive as the arm injury would make him out to be, and I have a much higher opinion of Arlen than the author showed us here. All of which is not to say it's a bad story, this is just my personal reaction to it. Different interpretations.
My favorite Bryn Lantry story is an early one, something like "In Porophria." I read it in "touched" years ago, but can't find it around anywhere now, so will not swear to the accuracy of the title. Anyway it had Avon tracking Blake down in a gay bar, with mutually pleasing results, and little of Bryn's OTT style.
I can second your recommendation of LOVE & SACRIFICE, it was a very pleasant surprise, even the 
V/T trilogy (nice to see B/A weren't ignored though). Of course the chief appeal were the three B/A
 stories, with "Sacrifice of Self" and "Compassion" being my favorites. The latter really surprised me, 
since it's something I wouldn't have expected to work: bringing the B7 characters into the present day.
 Irish pulled it off nicely, however. It makes me want to see more B7 AU of this type, gen and adult.
Tara wrote "Legacy" and "Trusting to Fate" in FIRE & ICE 3. In RED ROSE 1, a m/m slash zine, she wrote my favorite story of hers, "Wilderness." In other m/m zines she has the stories, "Myth," "Substitute," and "Destination." I like her writing style, and the way she portrays the men. Some of her stories are happy, and some aren't. In "Wilderness" for some reason she has really captured my imagination as she has Blake and Avon taking a night "bath" in a pond of water as they assume this might be their only opportunity for sex (the situation is dire). It's a wonderfully erotic story, and I personally love it. This is one I've probably read ten or more times already and will return to again and again.
I hope you won't be disappointed in the Hellhound Blake. I read the first few installments, but eventually found the landscape becoming so cluttered with extraneous original characters that the people I knew and cared about were getting lost in the shuffle. So I gave it up--right when the ubiquitous Martin Shaw clone turned up, now that I think of it.

General

I don't know anything about 'this Who business' but I think Gareth would be great for the part. My other choice is Rutger Hauer. Sad! [8]

I'll go out on a limb here and say the character Blake appeals to a certain idiosyncratic individual who likes to be in control. So don't we all. Blake fans are upfront, outspoken (hence the moniker "Blake Police"), individualistic and tend to dominate situations and people and run things their own solitary way In fact, Blake fans may be difficult to put together in a cooperative venture such as this apa because every single one of them has their own view of how Blake "really is". Unfortunately, few Blake fans are able to show us how he really is in story-form. Compared to Avon, Tarrant and Vila, Blake is the 'Forgotten male". Tarrant went through a period of being neglected in fanfic and now he's enjoying a renaissance. Perhaps it's time to bring back Blake!

I also have profiles for the typical Vila fan and Tarrant fan and if I get enough dead rodents sent to me for my hubris, I just might cough them up, (What about a typical Avon fan? Well, can you think of anyone into B7 who doesn't like Avon?)
The big news is: Space-City is the new B7 slash list in town. The bad news is the "Blakies" seem conspicuously absent from this forum. (Can I refer to us as "Blakies"? Well, "Blake Police" sounds so storm-trooperish somehow. Wearing size 15 Blake boots We wouldn't...stomp anyone with these boots, would we? Naaah. So "Blakies" it is then.) To be fair, occasionally a reference to Blake crops up and in one case a full-fledged B/A-nette, as in a page and a half. This is a goofy fun mailing list and worth getting online for this alone, especially if you like getting blitzed with messages. Anyone wishing to give Tarrant a run for his money, contact [redacted]@world.std.com (Susan B. Schnitger) with the pertinent info that you're over 18, etc etc. Anti-slashers be warned, it gets rather explicit at times. Speaking of that, no pink pages this time. Anyone reading this is just going to have to take their chances <evil cackle>.
About MediaWest... Although [the panels] weren't as bad as the year before, I had a hard time sitting through any of the B7 panels, even the ones I was on. I think it's just me -- I don't like that format as much as I do talking on-line or here, but I'm not sure why. What I love about cons is getting hysterical with friends, laughing so hard I can't breathe and am in peril of losing control of bodily functions.
You're brave to reveal one of your pen names! Since I got blasted to my face (And how do you spell "sucky"?) in a group somewhere, I'm happy I keep my pen names secret.
Supposedly this October there's a one day con in England (perhaps called Nemesis) where both Thomas and Darrow will be. I hope someone gives us a report-if it happens. And perhaps, maybe, and with lots of luck thrown in, Thomas will be at this November's Visions, Nov. 23 or 24-26. Rumors are Darrow was invited, also. NOW, I will absolutely kill SOMEONE (and YOU do know who you are), if I don't get a personal report, some Gareth "goodies",and, also, a con video if indeed Gareth does show up. I bet a lot of you RCers are going???? NEXT (not this) October-October 26-7,1996, Gareth will be at Who's 7. I hope it happens, and some of you go. Escapade, the slash con for fans will be Feb. 18-18, 1996, in Santa Barbara... We should have a B7 party. Unfortunately, we'll have to invite the A/Vers, T/Vers, and Blake bashers just to get a sizeable group. I don't really mean unfortunately. My '95 roomie and great friend [R] is an A/V person! But then, SHE doesn't bash Blake. She just prefers that "other couple," and I can live with that. [Pat T] told me last Escapade that I needed to wear a button that said, "I'm the one and only member of the "I LIKE BLAKE, SO THERE! fan club." We Blakies and GTers are such a minority!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, some people are very down on Gareth. I've even read one nasty published item in a DWB. I think "dissing" the actors is in poor taste. (And I am talking about the actor here which is different from Blake bashing.) I'm not pro Gareth and anti Paul. I like them both. I'm sure Gareth is no saint and has problems. But don't we all? No matter what, Thomas is a fine actor and has brought Roj Blake and other roles alive. I enjoy watching him. He's probably my favorite actor. (I'm sure some of you are choking right now, saying, "What the hell does she mean....PROBABLY!") As for discussing actors in private.... Everyone is entitled to an opinion. And, hey, I like "dirt" as much as anyone else. But I really do hate it when someone goes on and on in a negative way about someone, no matter who it is, but especially if it's Gareth. In other words, people have the right to dislike Gareth, but they have no right to expect me to agree with them. Let's all lighten up. In B7 the issues and people weren't clear cut. In real life, they aren't either.
The history of B7 fandom in the States was pretty depressing and I only brought it up in the earlier issue because I didn't want to see it happen again, I already belonged to one fandom that never took off ("Logan's Run") and I'm not entirely sure of the longevity of this one. Now that I've been in it over a year now, it hasn't died off yet nor is it showing any signs of doing so in the future. In fact, we've even got our own slash email list (in addition to the lysator one which is mostly gen). And new zines are always premiering. So I think I over-reacted last time and I apologize to everyone for coming down deadly serious like that. I think I can relax my vigilance and just enjoy B7 for fun. Isn't that why we're all still here?
[R] comments that when discussing fanfic she'd far rather be frank than fawning. I tend to agree with her. Though (in my opinion) a review, a letter of comment and a passing remark in a forum such as this one are different, serve different purposes and we may need to be clear what these are. A review is intended to give a potential buyer some idea of whether they would like to buy the zine and should therefore include a frank but not dismissive discussion of the contents and an address where the zine is available, a letter of comment is intended for the authors and publishers, should be as frank as the writer deems appropriate and can be dismissive if the writer does not wish to speak to said editor and writers again. A passing remark is just that, and it possibly assumes that the readers have some familiarity with the zine already. Of course, 'your mileage may vary'. As for hurting people's feelings I've had my stories criticised in person by some of fandom's more trenchant speakers. (One said that one of my stories 'should never have been printed' - how's that for dismissive?!) Did it hurt? Yes it did. Did it improve my writing7 Yes, it did. So the pain was worthwhile It's not worthwhile if it's done just to hurt, with no thought to improve standards and no suggestions about how improvements might be made. It's equally unhelpful in a letter of comment just to say something was good, with no ideas about what made it so. It strokes the writer's ego, but nothing is learned. That's just my tuppence worth, anyhow.
How about an h/c resolution where the characters do come away with a greater realization of their importance to each other, with implications that will effect [sic] their future actions, just not in sexual terms? Again, why must intimacy = sex? I can't speak for anyone else, of course, but I don't go to bed with everyone who matters to me, and I don't think that devalues my caring.

Issue 16 (January 1996)

Rallying Call 16 was published in January 1996 and there are 71 pages.

Sue Clerc is the collator.

cover of issue #16
the tribber titles from issue #16

There were nineteen members, and fifteen of them sent tribs. The next deadline is April 1, and fans were asked to make twenty-one copies of their tribs.

  • the editor says bad weather has made this issue late as she couldn't get to the print shop
  • the editor says the apa has gained a new member (someone she recruited in a stairwell at MediaWest*Con, but that another member has dropped out ("At least, I think she has. I haven't heard from her since a cryptic e-mail message several months ago.")
  • the editor notes that the cost to her is $1.30 for the covers and envelopes, and $2.50 for the postage for each issue
  • "Next up -- "Mission to Destiny" (10 entire minutes of Blake), "Duel" (hubba), and "Project Avalon" (Fun Fur-a-Rama)"
  • a fan includes the lyrics to a song by Rush ("Time Stand Still"), saying it would make a good Blake vid
  • some con reports for Visions '95, see that page
  • "Aftermath," fiction WIP by Lorna Payne
  • "Wind Up Toy" by Jacqueline Taylor

The Blake's 7 Wars

See more about this topic at The Blake's 7 Wars.

As I remember the controversy, which I think of as The Fan Wars, in general the east coast seemed to side with a couple of American BNFs who represented one side, the west coast sided with the actor and producer, and both coasts seemed to expect that we in the geographic middle should of course be on their side. So I had a button made up that read, "Neutrality means getting shot at by both sides."
The Controversy was sort of inevitable, as there had been a lot growing unrest in the fandom, the bootlegging stuff and just a generally hostile atmosphere. The actor was irrelevant as far as I was concerned, it was the way my 'friends' used me that annoyed the hell out of me. It was so much 'fun' being caught between a rock and a hard place, with friends on both sides. When the New Zealander threatened physical violence, and a Californian informed me I was on a list, I was not a happy fan. Siding with the Gang of Three in Florida wasn't a hard choice after that. Now, though, I can look at STAR ONE, where the New Zealander had her name removed from the credits, as it were, because she found out the editor was chummy with Wortham and Rosenthal, and chuckle. And feel a little sorry for her, too. Alas, she'd just threaten to punch me out again if she knew that. They were interesting times...
As I understand it, the BFTAKB7 (Big Feud That Almost Killed B7) was a gigantic mess that escalated into an incomprehensible nova because a bunch of "egos" got hurt. My source said all sides were wrong in some way, and that no one really understood what was going on, much less what the "truth" was. Slash was just a part of it, but became the scapegoat. Everyone lost in this Gauda Prime of B7 fandom. I just wish all the participants, both stars and fans, would forgive their "enemies" and allow fandom to be free of personality problems and sides. I realize that's not very realistic. However, I came in after the feud, so I refuse to be bothered by it. I think random should be fun, a relief from reality. AND if Visions 1995 was any "proof," haven't the stars decided to forget about the feud and other problems??

Slash

I had always understood that the reason there wasn't much B/A in those zines was because the editor didn't care for that combination, being an admitted A/V (ick!) fan. Then she was puzzled as to why she wasn't getting Avon|B/A submissions? I'd rather see B/A published by someone who appreciates it and would know what works and what doesn't. In the couple of SC's I own or have read, the B/A tended to be of the 'brave stalwart Vila protecting poor helpless Avon from mean, vicious Blake' variety. Selfishly, I wouldn't want to have good B/A start turning up there because I don't want to (and won't) buy a $20 zine for just a couple of good stories. But I don't want to miss them either! Since B/A is the only B7 slash combination that appeals to me, 1 am much cheered by the increasing number of all-B/A zines. Now, that's a trend I would like to see continue!
Before I begin, I apologize for any wandering in my trib. A weekend of gay porn with Sue and several ciders have left me a tad... scattered. What Blake really needed was a Zak Spears of his own!

I think you misunderstood my question. I asked whether you knew anyone who'd been harmed by what you call "negative fanfic" because in previous tribs you'd been fairly apocalyptic about "the care of our souls," the defense of your moral integrity, and so on. So, I was curious as to whether you knew anyone you thought had become less compassionate or less honorable or less happy as a result of reading darkside fanfic. Or, indeed, whether it seems to you that people who read and write it are any less moral in their real-world behavior than those who prefer sunnier fare.

The fact that when you were younger you read some material you considered distasteful, said "yuck" and stopped reading, doesn't strike me as being in the same ballpark. If that's all you mean by "harm" I could argue that my immortal part is endangered whenever I'm confronted with a badly written Mary Sue.

You said that you expected to be "hooted down." I really don't mean my disagreement as a personal insult and I hope you accept my sincerity as I accept yours. But I'm profoundly skeptical of any attempt to pass moral judgment on other people based on their fantasies. The relationship between fantasy and reality is far too complicated for that. Why people enjoy fantasies about things they'd avoid in real life is a question that has drawn responses from everybody from Aristotle to Stephen King, and I don't claim I have the One True Answer. But I think it's a question that should be approached with humility rather than in a spirit of righteous indignation. Human beings are a lot more complex than you seem willing to credit.
First time stories. Ah, one of my favorite topics. Semesters ago, I wrote a paper comparing slash to romance novels. Slash borrows from other genres and adapts them, too, but a lot is borrowed from romance and the dismissal of the connection in academic works on slash irks me because it's treated as if we ought to be embarrassed about it. One of the conventions the genres share is the virginity of at least one partner. I think there lots of reasons for why it's used so often: It makes the occasion more special, it's more potent emotionally, more intense, a unique event. It also allows the partner with more experience to be protective and gentle and for the first-timer to be vulnerable, so both let their emotional guards down or have them stripped away and find the other accepts them. There's more at stake for them both. It isn't the reactions of others that matter, it's the way finally being together after a long and stormy courtship feels to each of the partners that makes first time stones so hot. Well for me, anyway. All this doesn't mean I like them to the exclusion of all other story-types, but I do think first times are among the tastiest fan fic.

Re "hothouse isolation" in some slash: - as love and sex are the themes of the story, they tend to be intensely important to the characters, perhaps more important than one would infer from canon, Avon's response to blackmail being to leave, for example, at risk to his own life, rather than some more practical decision. Or Blake's using sex, rather than any other means, to destroy Vila and Avon in "Unravelment". Or (though this is a bit of a leap in style and theme from M. Fae).

London Bates, where the whole universe seems to exist as a place for everyone to have incredible soul-shattering sex and passionate romances with everyone else. Everyone is the most seductive person in the universe, or nearly, like a chessboard (I did type "cheeseboard!) that's all gone to queens.

Even rape, even death, are (unusually clumsy) romantic overtures. This is not the way any world I can believe in works, but I find it a pleasant place to hang out. The laws of the universe are different in sex fantasies than they are in reality, and M. Fae in particular loves to deal in alternate universes where the characters are just a little different, even while working hard to preserve their connection to canon. (Not everyone will agree that she succeeds, but I think she does.)
The relationship should be germane to the plot, but the sex is almost always gratuitous. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just that very few of these plots require bonking, if you see what I mean. That can clarify the relationship, enhance the enjoyment of it, but generally we aren't writing about sex. I'm getting weary of the sex, frankly: regardless of the particular set of characters, there's a sameness to it — and the variations tend to be far too perverse and exotic for my tastes. What would be nice is some stories, with or without explicit sex, that go a little further, really deal with the relationship, the day to day reality of it and how it impacts life in general. One reason given against Blake having that kind of relationship with anyone is it would invoke a certain favoritism — suppose Vila noted, and complained, that since he's been playing snugglebunnies with Avon, Blake hasn't included Avon in any dangerous missions? And that such preference is an inevitable aspect of physical involvement. Can Blake run a revolution and worry about Avon's safety at the same time? Isn't Avon likely to resent being protected? That's a theme that turns up in PROS fanfic a lot, and to some extent even in the series, and I don't see why it can't be explored in B7 realms as well — playing cops and robbers isn't any more inherently dangerous than engaging in acts of violent sedition. Something like that could be a lot more interesting than these endless first time stories. Sure, it can be important to establish the beginning of the relationship — but what happens next? That's what most of them leave me wondering.
Thanks (?) to Joyce, I've gotten to sample a couple of "/" stories from the OBLAQUE folk, confirming that I really don't want to read any more of those. The one where Avon's amnesiac was so-so, but "Open All Hours" by M. Fae Glasgow, and "The Night Watch" by Erzbet Bathory... nope, never again. I really don't enjoy reading stuff that leaves me feeling grubby and nauseous. It's stories like that which get me thinking, "Y'know, maybe the Anti-Slash Brigade has a point..." A thought recently reinforced by a report on the goings on at Mountain Media con in Denver this summer. A friend told me that while she was looking at the art on display she came across illos someone had done of Brother Cadfael in bed with Hugh Beringar. She was upset seeing them, I was flabbergasted hearing about them. Now there won't be any new Cadfaels I could be interested in seeing the occasional fan story turn up, but if anyone is out there doing Cadfael slash I sincerely hope the ghost of Ellis Peters comes back and haunts them. (Yeah, so, I have a little vindictiveness in me.) Well, I've often been floored, going through Bill Hupe's listings, to see what all the slash addicts are doing, but my goodness you'd think they could keep their horny mitts off a few things.
Re slash: I agree with all your picks [of fic]. But speaking as someone who does a lot more talking than fucking, I'm only too happy when our reticent Brits act normal (that is, like me) rather than hopping into bed with a perfunctory, "Damn you, Blake" and "Right, whatever, Avon." I like your plaint over Blake's depiction in A/T and A/V: not only doesn't he correct the situation, he's so ghastly that you can see why it isn't an A/B story.
Blake's choice of celibacy being respected... again, interesting, but... the Bryn Lantry stories where Blake is gay but celibate and Avon is neither but fascinated, and they sort of chase each other down, please me greatly. (No one has ever accused me of disliking OTT.) I respect a Blake who could choose celibacy, but that doesn't mean I want him to get away with it in too many stories. I fear this is my version of wanting the good guys to win: the real world is full of villains who succeed, and it is also full of lousy sex lives. But I realize that my caveat applies here too: it has to be done fairly, or it doesn't persuade. Cally may choose celibacy if she likes -- she makes a lovely warrior maid -- but I never seem to write her that way, except in that Valhalla story that's never going to get finished because no one is asking me for gen.
I hate computers. I'm roadkill on the information super highway. I'm truly sorry to hear there's B7 slash available on the net (or whatever). I'm afraid some highly moral person will stumble onto it and raise a stink. My husband was surfing (?? Is that the term??) the net and discovered a B7 list or lists. Did he have fun sneering at the comments! I absolutely hated it! I feigned disinterest. At least with this APA and fanzines, there's PRIVACY!!!!!! I don't want my 13 year old daughter looking over my shoulder at a computer screen— or my husband- and discovering EXACTLY what I mean by ADULT fanzines. Oh, well, I know I'm in the minority....AGAIN. And what am I writing this on? The damned computer—and I honestly really would rather have a typewriter!!!!!!
Why so many first time stories? I know I find the first time sexual experience (within the framework of Blake and Avon's developing relationship) to be very exciting. Yes, established relationship stories can be interesting, but for me, at this stage in my life anyway, I'm not afraid to say that I like stories revolving around bonking. I also like stories dealing with how they handle this new aspect of their relationship. But once it's established, it loses a bit of the luster for me. Maybe when I grow up (!), my tastes will change.

Fanworks

At the charity auction, Catherine (with donations from Debbie and me) won the Suzie Lovett "Your Fantasy Here" drawing. Although the drawing came with the stipulation that mix and match pairs were not allowed, Catherine talked her into our collective dream — Blake and Bodie. She seemed quite keen on the idea, actually, and I think asked to see Debbie's story. We ail have copies of the drawing now and they're gorgeous.
I was at a Blake's 7 panel at MediaWest last May when Jane Mailander was one of the panelists. She was talking about a fan she knew in southern California who was so well off that she had one room in her home for her zine collection which was displayed in glass fronted cabinets and on the room's walls was her fan art, This fan had commissioned a B7 piece from Suzan Lovett: it is a scene from the planet which contains the Guardian of Forever; Blake & Kirk sit at a table playing chess in front of the Guardian. Standing by their respective captain's shoulders are Avon & Spock, Oh. I wish that I had at least a print of this.
Your preferred ending to "Stranded" with Avon blowing his brains out was perfect. A hell of a downer but wonderfully in character. You prefer PGP stories with Blake in them? So do I. I've tried reading the others, giving them a fighting chance, but it can be really tough sometimes. I like the ones where Avon goes slowly insane at the end. A Blake-less one I liked had Vila taking care of an Avon who was becoming steadily more disconnected from reality until finally, Vila had to take a gun in his hand and do the ultimate kindness. He could no longer take care of Avon and keep him safe. Incredibly awesomely bleak story. There was another PGP where Avon is the one taking care of a blinded, scarred Blake and has to turn to Vila for help. And Vila demands Orac in payment, finally wanting his revenge on that miserable "rat in a box". Of course this is the one possession Avon has resisted selling because it was the one thing keeping him (and Blake) alive. Naturally I can't lay my hands on that story now. At the beginning I thought this story was yet another Blake-less PGP so really, he can turn up anywhere. I don't rule out any author's PGP because even in J. Seaman's stories her very dead Blakes have been known to show up to torture Avon (sort of like Marley's ghost in "Scrooge"). And I'll read anything by Lorna Breshears which rarely has Blake in it but her style carries it off so beautifully, I don't care.
"Down and Out" in B7 Complex #11 was one of those hidden classics that leaped right off the page. Avon paralyzed, Blake mean, tough and deadly with a gun with Servalan as his huntress mate . . ay carumba! Wortham and Rosenthal know how to put on the Blake. Ironically there was a story in the New Zealand zine "Down and Unsafe" by anti-slasher Kathy Hanson and I'm so glad I didn't rule out her work because of her politics. She wrote a novella called "Sanctuary" which I recommend with my highest possible rating. Get it, read it, flip out over it. Mostly Avon but her Blake matches him punch for kick. I hope she's still writing though I haven't seen anything new for a while.

Re: the reprint of Mindfire, I heard that it was done without the author's permission, and she was a bit upset about it. I actually met EPS at the Glasgow WorldCon, but it was under her mundane name, I was jetlagged, and I didn't find out who that had been until much later. Arrgh!

Re: Teri's stories, I particularly recommend "Rogues" in Roads Not Taken. A strange story, I thought, and I'd be curious to know what Blake fans think of it.

I've read and enjoyed "Down and Out" by Wortham & Rosenthal (in B7 Complex 11). That strikes me as a sinister but believable Blake. There's a companion story ("Hawkwind," in B7 Complex 16) about the concurrent adventures of Jenna and Vila, and I've heard that the authors plan eventually to write a third story and publish all of them together.
You don't like the dark side of B7. Different strokes, I love S/M, extreme h/c, rape scenes, slave stories, and harsh sex stories. For the rest of you, Rebecca and I are friends and like many of the same things. We just vary on some and are tolerant of each other's views. I do realize I am in the minority in liking such dark stories. Hey. what can I say? I'm just strange. In real life. I'm Mrs. PTA MOM. I just like my fantasy life and fanfic reading to be really dark.

Unlike you, I love CARELESS WHISPERS. But like you, I'm not really into "elf stories and other sappy type things. Vila as sage/elf probably tops the list of my "hand-me-the-barf-bag-please" story list.

And speaking of "barf bag" stories. You A/V people can shoot me--but I frankly did not like THIEVES IN TIME. I gave my copy of TIT away because I was embarrassed to sell it, even after I paid $18 for it! (This doesn't mean it's bad; it just means I didn't like it. I really didn't.)

And I have, also, just read another zine that pushed all MY wrong buttons. Since I can't be kind or even tolerant, I'll leave this one nameless. It should have been called MISS MARY SUE LIBERATOR. And not only was it a Mary Sue, but it was a Blake basher, too! I found it nauseating, See, I told you I couldn't be "fair." I'm keeping it, though. No, I won't explain.

By the way, I've never seen any B/A dolls like the infamous [Gayle F] K/S ones. Could someone drag that lady back into fandom!!! Actually the art in B7 has only become "wilder" recently. There's a drastic difference between drawing Gareth Thomas as an actor or a person and drawing Blake for a fanzine, using Gareth's likeness as a model. Blake is NOT Gareth Thomas. Avon is not Paul Darrow, even if some artist is talented enough to capture a reasonable likeness of Darrow and put it on that gorgeous nude she's drawing who's doing "unspeakable" things to an equally gorgeous Blake who sports Gareth Thomas's big nose and big hands. (They sure are big, aren't they.)

GAMBIT 14 (Jean Graham has it slated for late 1996) supposedly will have Blake and Avon paper dolls. They will be wearing swimming suits or something to protect the zine's general G rating. The only B7 doll I've seen published is the Tarrant paper doll from, I believe, STRAIGHT BLAKE'S 2
Oh no, don't bring up paper dolls. Or the guys in drag. I don't want to have to grin and bear that here, not after enduring years of it from the Tarrant Nostra.
I just don't read stories without Blake or ones that bash him terribly. Well, sometimes I read the latter. I just can't work up the interest to read Blake-less stories. Mercifully I was warned about the Arnold series by someone. The person who told me about it, said she screamed and threw the damned zine clear across the room when she realized what had happened!
Ah, but what's honest and tactful to one person is a brutal, mean-spirited critique to someone else. We all have vastly different ideas of what makes a good story, for one thing, consensus impossible — and why should there be consensus anyway? Assuming I had the kind of clout that influenced opinion — which I surely do not — I would hate to think anyone would skip something just because I say it sucked. An open, tactful discussion of stories could be helpful in determining what someone might like to check out; I'm after, not so much reviews and critiques, but just fanfic chat. What have you read lately? What was it about? What did you/didn't you like? That sort of thing.
I dunno, this wanting only stories with Blake — or Tarrant, or Avon — also leaves me scratching my head. I like Blake best, not exclusively; it's the whole wonderful, varied tapestry that draws me. In gen stories especially I don't like any one character hogging the stage, and even in adult stories variety is appreciated. I just got FORBIDDEN STAR, and while there are a couple of good stories — "Ballad of Reading Gaol" in particular — I mostly wound up wishing for some variety, some Tarrant/Avon, more hetero material, anything to liven it up a bit. Something I'm very curious to see is some Blake-Tarrant stuff, gen or adult, with them achieving a resolution without benefit of Avon. There aren't a lot of Blakeless stories in my someday-to-be-finished pile, but there also aren't many where he's the only character who matters, because that's bloody boring.
But you can also come down with writer's paralysis if you give too much thought to pleasing the 'critics,' whoever they may be. I'm having to do something I swore would never happen: pull a story of mine and, in effect, go off in a huff, because the zine ed's just been tearing the story apart, trying to put her imprint all over it, to the point that it feels like she's taking it away from me. To be perfectly mercenary about it, if I'm going to work that hard on one story, I want to get paid for it in the end. Something in me rebels at being forced to conform to someone's arbitrary standards in fanfic, because the appeal of fanfic is that it doesn't obey any particular rules. I don't mind patching up plot holes — there's one story of mine I especially cringe at, because it's riddled with them — and I don't mind changing things, provided the revision is of my own devising. In this particular instance, the zine ed's telling me what to write, and while I see her point it's stuff I just don't want to do, that only moves the story further away from what I intended. It annoys me to get in a snit like this, but I just don't feel like being flexible in this instance — all it's done is make me hate the story and question my ability to write a sentence as complex as, "See Spot run." And I think that's the crux of any criticism: it's worth listening to and considering, but in the end it's only worth as much as you let it be. No one's opinion matters that much, if you're doing something that gives you satisfaction.
My goodness, we have a lot of elf-bashers here. Phew! that's a relief, used to think I was the only one. And oh my, those Ray-Doyle-is-an-elf stories...! Puh-leeze. With B7, obviously it wouldn't be B7 as such, but facsimiles of those characters in some other situation One way around it, though, would be the use of time travel, teleport accidents, and such, although there seems to be a prejudice against those plot devices in this fandom which I've never understood. Of course with a little effort it's possible to put the canonical characters in any number of romantic/fantastic settings. I refuse to believe that every single planet the Federation colonized prior to the fallback to Earth fell into barbarism, with nothing but hairy halfwits running around. So I've stolen an idea from my own SF universe, a sort of take off on the Society for Creative Anachronism, carried to extremes: very wealthy groups would take possession of a planet, and then call in Designer Worlds and create the society they chose to live in; in the B7 universe, these worlds were left on their own, and several generations later what started out as fantasy role playing has become reality. In one other instance, I use the idea of a colony mission simply going astray, presumed lost, and so developing on its own from day one, affected by local conditions. I try not to get absurd about it, although of course that's in the eye of the beholder. It's an easy way to have all the benefits of time travel, without having a TARDIS handy.
It's amazing how many fans, doing stories, haven't watched the episodes all that often, relying on other fanfic to guide them — a dubious method, to put it mildly. Or, the ones who only watch certain episodes, with their favorite character(s). And then presume to be experts on everything B7. Sometimes I feel goofy because I do watch B7 on a regular basis: if I want to do semi-decent fanfic, I have to do my research, though.

Stories about the women...This is one of those things I feel alternately guilty and belligerent about. I have a double standard. I want tough, smart, independent, funny women on screen as well as an interesting male/male duo. I will watch series with just the guys but I can never really get into them — Due South is fun, sharp dialogue, but the attitudes toward the women characters keeps me from really warming up to it. Forever Knight, on the other hand, I love (more on that below) because of Natalie, Janette, and even Capt. Cohen (I refuse to acknowledge Tracy's existence). Jenna played a significant role in hooking me on B7; if she hadn't been there I might not have come back. I liked Blake and Avon right away but they, as wonderful as their sparks were and as attractive as I find them both, didn't provide me with a way into the universe. The inclusion of women in the crew and as guest characters in almost all of the first and second season episodes (after the introductory "rebel roundup" ones) was crucial for me. The wussification of Jenna and Cally pissed me off, but the infrequency and nature of other women in the third and fourth seasons bothered me more. At least with Jenna and Cally there were early episodes to let you know they were capable of much more. I wonder about Jenna's adventures before and after the series because she, more than any of the other women, seemed to have a real life beyond what we saw and was self-directed. Soolin is my other favorite but I can't whip up a lot of enthusiasm for stories based around her; she's best as an observer IMO.

Having said all that, I don't particularly want to read about the women characters. It's the men who obsess me. Part of it's the libido thing. Part of it is the way the show is written-the guys get most of the action and the best lines, they're the ones who do things. In spite of its openness to women, it's still a guy-centered series like most visual mass media. I'm interested in learning if others feel the same way-give me decent women on screen but don't give me a hard time for not cutting them an equal slice of my fantasy life. I see something like it in the X Files groups. Many women are attracted/encouraged to talk by the character of Scully; she's a woman they like and respect, who's treated with respect by the writers. In spite of long, sometimes wonderful conversations about Scully, it's Mulder or the actor who plays him who gets talked about the most. There are 3 David Duchovny Estrogen Brigades (all women) plus the duchovniks (mostly women) and one small but active Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade (all men). It doesn't mean the women like Scully less, just that they feel differently about Mulder and have a greater need to explore him. That's my opinion, anyway; I think two different forms of desire are at work and one leads to more fannish activity than the other.

A critical look at Blake could be justified, but very little fanfic, or even discussion, is devoted to understanding the characters. Most fans, like most people in the mundane world, have an agenda: to make it clear their view is the only correct one, and to indoctrinate others. But then fandom has always borne a resemblance to the cultish, religious fanaticism I was exposed to early on, where questions and challenges were met with a distinct air of frost. I always figured fear was at the heart of that, that debate wasn't permitted because they knew their position had been taken on very shaky ground, and it's likely much the same in fandom.

Oh yes, and then there are the folks who can't separate performer from performance. *sigh* To me, a con appearance or interview is only a different kind of performance, and being interested in that doesn't make someone a ga-ga fangirl. I suspect it can be very disillusioning to meet the star only to discover he bears little to no similarity to the character — but, you know, that why it's called acting. What gets me is the absolute vitriol that has been heaped upon GT (and PD). I know why, at least in a few cases, but geez, folks, let it go.
Yes, why is there so much emphasis on the hurt and not the comfort? Not just in BELOVED ADVERSARY, but stories in general. SERRATED COMFORT was a big disappointment that way. It could go back to people wanting to be careful about suggesting anything sexual going on, that if the guys are all concerned over each other it makes them suspect, because Real Men don't do that. Ever look at the sidelines of a football game, though, especially the losing team in a big game? Anyone gonna tell a 6'6", 300 lb. linebacker he's not a real man because he's crying with/hugging his team mates?

General

Due South: Not exactly Blake's 7 but a show (and pairing!) that is now near and dear to my heart. Anyone else see them as a kinder, gentler B/A? Yes, they admit to liking each other but they also act like they can irritate the hell out of each other. And bits of Fraser remind me of Blake in much the same way that bits of Ray remind me of Avon (although I like him a lot more than Avon!).
I agree with you, actually, about Blake's empathy for others being a "feminine" characteristic. Of course, one thing that makes the B7 characters so interesting is jumble of assorted qualities. I'm kind of dubious about Joanna Ruse's whole "Spock is a woman" theory, and anyway I don't think it applies very well to Avon. He's not an alien, and not very supportive of Blake either (at least outwardly). My own theory is that the cold, unemotional characters like Avon and Spock are fascinating to many women because they are extreme examples of a kind of masculine behavior that women often have to deal with. Which means, I suppose, that it's much healthier to like Blake or Vila or Tarrant the best! Not that rationality has much to do with it.

On meeting actors: I liked Blake much better after I met Gareth Thomas at the first Who's Seven back in '92. For one think, GT is obviously extremely intelligent, a quality that I'm always a sucker for. I wasn't a bit surprised to find out that he'd done a year at Oxford on scholarship before he dropped out and went into acting. I think that among the actors (as opposed to the characters) he was unquestionably the brains of the bunch (with the possible exception of Josette, who I've never seen in person). It's hard to explain why I'm so sure of that, but it has something to do with the way he puts sentences together.

I think that Blake was far from stupid, but IMO that aspect was played down on the show itself because Avon was the one who was the official, designated "brain." Since intellect in and of itself is not a greatly admired quality these days, it was assigned to the second lead rather than to the hero. I thought it was wonderfully outrageous that later on, after losing the official hero, they actually let the nerdly smart guy take over as lead. What a concept! I haven't seen it anywhere else. Meeting Paul Darrow was not a problem for me even though he himself is not remotely in a class with Avon intellectually. But neither that nor the fact that he's not so pretty any more mattered to me in the face of the amazing Sex Object vibes the man radiates (well, at least in the perceptions of those of us who are attuned to that particular wavelength). Of course, I first saw him under spectacular circumstances— playing Macbeth, which was in many ways a perfect role for him. He was pretty over-the-top, but I (and the rest of the audience, it seemed) really liked it that way. As my friend Charlotte said, "It's not exactly a restrained play, after all." And I think he was still to some extent in that performance high when we encountered him in the restaurant afterwards.
Would I want to be a crew member on Liberator? Hell no! Those people are obviously going to come to bad ends. In fact, one thing I like about B7 is that their lives are so much worse than mine that it makes me feel a little better. I really wonder whether I would have liked the show as much when I was younger and less disillusioned. Star Trek is a young person's fantasy show, IMO. Like many other unhappy teenagers, I fantasized about beaming up to the Enterprise where people were decent and not crazy and I might have a chance of being appreciated. But as you get older, you start to realize that there's no such thing as a perfect environment, and that the present unsatisfactory world is actually not as bad as it might be. That's when something like B7 starts to become appealing.
The B7 material in Textual Poachers was what brought me into the fandom, so yeah, I'd say it's pretty good! Lots of stuff on slash as exploration of non-stereotypical power relationships, with generous dollops of classic fanfic, and a Leah Rosenthal cartoon. Henry Jenkins is a real fan - his wife Cynthia was at the last Escapade; he must have been tied up teaching.
Re the excessive vehemence in the cell [in a discussed episode] -- yup, I cringe at the almost Shatneresque phrasing. But I smile when Gareth lets the Received Pronunciation slip, just slightly, in "There is no way I'm a-gonna...' That "a-gonna" shows up on my con-tapes, somewhere in Gambit, where he's pounding his fist on the table in very Blakish fashion, calling for unity. Sigh. ("Better make up your mind quickly, then," has that running purr which doesn't sound exactly RP even though I couldn't claim it shows evidence of an accent. Just Garethness, I guess.)
About Torturing Blake. I'm still waffling on it. Rebecca asks what the point would be. I sort of agree, but there are times for it. Setting aside, for now, the scenario of Blake having to watch someone else tortured and then rescue/comfort him/her (which I adore), the times when Blake Torture works best for me are when 1) It happened off stage and we just hear about it later. There's a story I really liked that had a title that I can't think of...it's long, like The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover [9], but that's not it. Someone help me out here! Anyway, in the story, Blake talks about a lot of harrowing experiences he suffered thanks to the Feds, and his legs are covered with scars. The Uses of Adversity told about Blake's torture after the fact, too, and I was glad because I didn't want to read about those things being done to him without knowing he'd made it out alive and more or less sane. 2) It makes Blake sympathetic but doesn't make him look weak. This is a tricky one. Having seen how he acts in "Horizon" and on the London and with the Altas, I don't really buy Blake broken and helpless no matter what. Yes, he definitely feels pain and avoids it if he can. but he always thinks through it and finds a way out. Uses of Adversity fell down for me because I couldn't really see Blake not getting himself out of trouble, and I really couldn't see him submitting to anyone as he supposedly did to the other prisoners. The story also annoyed me because the author wouldn't let the reader sympathize with Blake without prodding them to feel Avon had suffered more in his own way. God forbid any of the other characters should be allowed to suffer as much as Poor Diddums. And I liked the zine. 3) It's followed by some nice, warm comfort that doesn't shift attention away from Blake onto the magnanimity of the one offering comfort. I'd rather the other realized that s/he has not gone through nearly as much as Blake has and is right to be awed by the immensity of his sacrifice compared to their minor scrapes and bruises, so there. Of course all of them have suffered to some degree, but the sheer scale of the harms visited upon Blake has got to be more significant than what the rest of them have gone through. 4) It isn't supposed to be erotic. I have a hard time explaining why torturing Blake is different from torturing Avon in this way. It just is. For me, anyway. Maybe it's that trying to make Blake-Torture titillating trivializes it. Blake should be tortured because of who he is, for political reasons, because he's fighting for something that people have died for, not because the torturer has the hots for him, like Avon and Servalan stories. I mean, compared to the kind of political torture Blake has undergone, the other is just kid stuff. Which I can certainly enjoy on its own terms. It's just that it doesn't float my personal boat when it's done to Blake. Blake as a bottom is right out-no way after what he's been through would he be turned on by being tied up. Blake as a top, though, that I will suspend disbelief for.
The origin of the name Blake Police, if you're interested, was Visions 93. Amanda Rothman was sort of rooming with Nicole, Catherine and me and I forget who else; she actually stayed in a separate room with another Avon fan but we all hung around together in our room, watching first and second season episodes, alternately moaning enthusiastically over Blake, rewinding and rewatching especially droolable Blake scenes, booing Avon when he picked on our Poor Baby, oh and saying "he's begging to be fucked" whenever Avon looked at Blake That Way. We also watched Morgan's Boy and then immediately followed it with Drake's Venture — because watching "Avon" get his head chopped off cheered us up. Afterward, Amanda posted a con report to the Internet list joking about how the Blake Police had forced her to watch these things and how she'd even found herself joining in choruses of "awwww, poor baby!"...and then asked me for a copy of Star Maidens. Humor-impaired list readers may have missed that it was ail in fun and Amanda enjoyed it all as much as we did.

One thing Sue got for me was the audio tape, "Together Again: Blake's Back." I don't know how much it'll cost from Horizon because of the postage, but I do think it's worth the money-whatever it is. Yes, it's rather the "same ol, same ol'" stories fold yet again. BUT, since I don't go to cons as a rule and will never ever meet these people, I appreciate having an audio tape. And I, of course, am DYING to get the con video tape of Visions 95, IF I CAN. If vicarious is the only way I can get my "B7" fix, I plan on being as "vicarious" as I can!

The tape doesn't contain entirely old material, for me, at least. Some things I hadn't heard before, but that doesn't mean you haven't heard the story, especially those of you who do go to cons. Some of the quite familiar stories were retold in slightly different ways so it's not exactly the old "Avon's Teddy Bear Story" word for word again. Joe Nazarro asks the questions. He sounds rather wooden to me. Naturally Darrow and Thomas are quite "loose" and casual. Sheelagh Wells talks, too, and is her charming self. All three -- well, four-seem to be having a good time chatting. The tape is about 40 to 45 minutes long. (It's hard to time when you get ten interruptions while listening,) There's a really cute part to it on the first side that I won't spoil for you by mentioning. Darrow and Thomas duel verbally throughout and make several wonderful remarks, kidding each other.

I love Gareth dearly, but the man is somewhat oblivious at times. He tells a story about being in a video store when the London's Burning videos came out, and HE frankly misses the whole point which is very obvious (painfully) to us. Again, I won't give details. If you're gonna fork out the bucks, you might as well get some "new" material,

Darrow comes across rather well, but then doesn't he almost always??? (Remember I'm a Garethophile, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate Darrow. He's a charmer. Quite smooth. Nor does it mean I am blind to Gareth's flaws, crudity being one of them.) Darrow tells an amusing story about being in a bookstore that was selling his novel. All in all, I wish it had been longer, and that Nazarro hadn't directed it so much. But then, if Thomas and Darrow had been without supervision, the tape might have been too meandering. If more tapes come out, I'll buy them. Perhaps someone can persuade them to do some dramatic readings together???? There are a lot of possibilities.

One thing Sue told me about Visions that surprised me was the lack of B7 merchandise available. I can't understand why people who like B7 don't do more to promote it. Somedays, I wonder if I am the only one out there dying for more stuff! The 1995 MARVEL B7 ANNUAL even got cancelled. This is the new annual that was supposed to take up some of the void left when the poster series got cancelled at seven issues.

On a totally different subject.... I strongly suggest you don't lend any thing to anyone you don't know or can't verify through a friend. There seem to be people with free xeroxing (or near free xeroxing) who like to borrow things and copy them, thus getting a $12 to $25 dollar zine for just the price of postage. Sometimes these people, also, make multiple copies, thus giving them extras to sell or to trade.
I don't understand people who are rude and cruel. I bet your story (the one that shouldn't have been written according to someone who obviously talks with God and is therefore wise enough to pronounce judgments) didn't make Avon out to be the magnificent hero some fans think he is??? There seem to be several Paul Darrow/Avon fans who are nasty about anything less than glowing about their favorite actor and/or their favorite character. And some of these people can't even separate the character from the actor.
I am totally blown away by the people who think their opinions are gospel! True, I have "my barf bag" list, but I assume people know that I'm saying i don't like it-and not that it's bad. I am not saying they are bad writers. I am just saying I don't like the story. Even Suzan Lovett couldn't write an A/V story where Blake was made out to be a stupid asshole that I'd like - even if there was some hot and heavy B/A in it. Come to think of it, Suzan couldn't have the bad taste to even contemplate writing a story like that. Let's see. Even M. Fae Glasgow couldn't do it. (Now that I think of it....my description sounds like her Dome cycle, and I don't like it. And she knows it. BUT that doesn't mean it's bad or that she's a bad writer, since she's obviously one of the more talented ones.
And before I close- let me say how glad I am that Visions was a good experience. I am enjoying this APA. It's my way to enjoy B7 with people who even if they don't adore Blake [or even Gareth Thomas for that matter], at least, don't think he's has the IQ of pond scum and the personality of a toad. Sue, you're doing a good job. I look forward to seeing some of you at Escapade. I hope all of us have a better year in 1996 than we did in 1995. I hope 1996 brings more B7 fanzines with Blake not bashed, mashed, or trashed. Let's hope Thomas and Darrow and the other cast members get some good roles. And if we wish really hard perhaps Marvel will do some more B7 items, but I won't hold my breath nor "fire" my money off until I see the "whites" of the pages. My best wishes to you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR.
So, then, no one should nominate you to lead the Vila Restal Appreciation Society? And I thought I was tough on the little weasel... He is amusing, and I don't really fault him for putting his own skin first, at all costs, and yet that is precisely why 1 have no sympathy for him in ORBIT. I'm glad Avon didn't pitch him out the airlock/ but mostly because I wouldn't like to see Avon do that; as it actually effects Vila, though: big fat hairy deal. He'd jettison Avon, any of them/ in an instant if it was up to him. It's one of those things I set aside when doing fanfic, although it's likely what prevents me from doing much with the alleged Avon-Vila, Tarrant-Vila bonds. That's just too big a stretch.
Oh come on, Blake wouldn't be Blake if he wasn't a tad over the top at times. I was amused to read in a Brit l/z that some of the fans over there, the guys at least, feel he lets the side down by not being all cool and stiff upper-lipped all the time. But then I often wonder where this idea comes from that Avon's stoic. Compared to what? Tarrant, now, is the epitome of British reserve, and that's likely why many fans have been unsympathetic towards him: he masks his angst with that megawatt smile, and not everyone can be bothered to look beyond it.

Issue 17 (April 1996)

Rallying Call 17 was published in April 1996 and 54 pages.

Sue Clerc is the collator.

cover of issue #17

There were nineteen subscribers, and tribs from fourteen of them. The next deadline was July 1, 1996 and fans were asked to make twenty-one copies.

  • "More goodies this time! Joyce has generously shared her sticker collection with us all. There are 4 different pictures so we don't all have the same one on the opening page. Thanks, Joyce! Debbie has made gorgeous copies of our gorgeous Blake/Bodie drawing by Suzan Lovett, suitable for framing. Thanks, Debbie! Check out our MediaWest door for a larger (we only wish it was life-size) version"
  • two poems, "Avon," and "Blake" by Elizabeth
  • "In This Lonely Place," fiction by Rebecca
  • con reports and comments for Escapade, see that page

Slash

I haven't read the Oblaque stories that you mentioned, but I have never been able to reconcile M. Fae's dark vision of Blake's 7 to anything I ever saw on screen. It's not just uncomfortable for me to read, it's just not a fit. I have never read any of Erzebet's stories, but her personal history (as confessed on public lists) leads me to believe that her stories would make me equally uncomfortable. There are people who prefer M. Fae's stories; I am not one of them and have told her so.

My comfort level with slash goes up and down. I admit to wanting some positive emotion between Blake and Avon before they fall into bed. I prefer hurt/comfort or first-time stories and I don't like rape stories — I can hardly resent a gratuitous rape when the victim is a woman and condone it if the victim is a man, can I? Besides, I sat on a jury for a male rape case (the first tried in California) and the damage done to the 20 year-old victim was heartrending.
As for people slashing characters you don't want slashed, or writing stories that venture too far into darkness for your tastes - well, I don't see how to get to that particular kind of wisdom without the occasional bit of excess. If there are stories that are too tame for you — where Blake is too pure to notice Jenna's good looks, perhaps, or too virtuous to kill - there are bound to be stories that displease you for the opposite reason. You don't seriously think that there's an objective borderline, luminously visible to all, that separates the people and ideas slash "addicts" may reasonably play with from those that are too fine and noble, or too wicked and dark, to touch - or do you? I don't want to slash Brother Cadfael, or indeed pair him, with anyone (not in the present, anyway) but if it'll get me haunted by the ghost of Ellis Peters, I might try it.
I can't help but stick in a little comment about the \ trouble at Mountain Media. That type of con, with slash and gen forces out in full (and the gen people being quite anti-slash), is bound to run into trouble with things like that. Slash art will be mixed in with gen art if it's by the same artist (because the artists tend to want their art all together). Re for Cadfael slash, I don't want to see it either, but then again, to each their own. Not everyone likes pro-wrestling slash art but I'm determined to find an artist to do one for me.:-) find yes, I'm a sick puppy!
Don't you know Blake/Tarrant violates the curl rule? Only one member of a slash pairing is allowed to sport curls.:-) I must confess, I haven't seen more than one or two such stories.

Fanworks

Some months ago, we bought a 4 drawer filing cabinet, and I claimed it for myself. Finally, in January, I filled it up with B7 gen zines. Amazing what I've collected in just 3 years. I remember buying anything I possibly could find, off zine sale lists and at cons. I decided to reread a zine or two, and worked my way through the Southern Sevens. At Escapade, I picked up several zines, including Fire and Ice 3. I found that each zine had maybe 4-5 stories that I really liked, but that the rest were just not worth rereading. I think that my best option will eventually be to copy the stories I like and sell off the zines. In fact, I might just have some for sale by Media...

Barbara's comment that there aren't enough B/A stories in the Ashton Press zines reminded me of a list of favorites that I made up a while ago for someone I was corresponding with. Since I'm short of time this issue, I'll just stick it in here. A couple of the stories are indeed from Ashton Press zines. I would have guessed that the overall winner among the publishers on my list of favorites would be Oblique, but in fact it's Kathy Resch for Fire and Ice.

I emphasize that this is an OLD list! I made it just by flipping through zines and making notes, but it was a while ago, and I have read lots more since then. Maybe I'll do an updated version in future. But for now, just for fun:

Favorite B/A stories, in no particular order:

Natasha Solten, "Drowning," Resistance #1. Avon teaches Blake to swim, and Blake teaches Avon about other things. Sweet with an undertone of sadness. However, for some reason I haven't liked anything else by this author nearly as well.

Sylvia Knight, "Descending Horizon," Resistance #2, and "On the Edge," Resistance #3 (there are also two other stories from the same universe in #3). Among my very favorites. I don't usually like Avon-was-an-abused-child stories, but these work for me.

Also by the same author: "Certain Changes," Fire and Ice #1. Another favorite.

The Fifth Amendment, "A Feast of Bacchanalia," Resistance #3. A long science-fictional PGP. Not as well written as some of my other favorites, but I liked the long-delayed consummation in the ceremonial pool.

[Shoshanna], "Decisions," Southern Lights Special #4.5. Prequel to "Trial." Similar to the Sylvia Knight stories in the way that it works the A/B romance into the interstices of the aired canon.

?, "Most Embarrassing Predicament." Avon, Anyone? Starts with the explosion in "Redemption." Blake simply insists, and Avon grudgingly lets him do it. Not very sophisticated, but there's something appealing about it anyway. I particularly liked the remark that Avon "resented anything" that wasn't his idea, and sometimes he resented it when it was."

Riley Cannon, "Noli Me Tangere," Fire and Ice #1. Not really a story, or a poem either; I guess you'd call it a dialogue.

Rose St. Clair, "Gratuitous Eroticism," Southern Comfort #6.5. A first sexual encounter between B and A as seen from each side, printed in parallel columns. I like both the grimly amusing misunderstandings and the loving, superheated descriptions of the less-than-perfect bodies.

Sebastian, "Interjunction," The Other Side #3. Improbable but sweet. B & A are locked up in a room together, knowing they will be released in a week but with absolutely nothing to do in the meantime. After fighting for a couple of days, they more or less dare each other to try sex, out of sheer boredom. By the time they are rescued they have managed to fall madly in love. A nutty idea, but I liked it anyway.

Jane Baron, "Fugue," in three parts in Paean to Priapus #s 1 & 2. Probably my top favorite at the moment [well, as of a year or two ago— I'd have to think about it now]. The suppressed parts of Avon's personality are accidentally released, with remarkable results.

By the same author (?): "The Blink of an Eye," Oblaque IV. A snide remark by Jenna causes Blake to see the light about his own interests.

Adrian Morgan and Brendan O'Cullane, "Human After All," Different Destinies #1. They write a properly sharp-tongued Avon. I also like the B/A parts of their "Something to Live For" in Oblaquest.

Thomas, "Splendid Isolation," Fire and Ice #2. starts out as Avon/Avon, but then Blake comes in.

Airelle, "A Trip down Memory Lane," Fire and Ice #2. This is one of those they-were-lovers-in-the-past stories. The other well-known example is [Melody C's] two-novel set, but those just don't appeal to me as much; I'm not sure why.

S. Lewis, Careless Whispers, and various short stories, many in The Big B7 Zine. The sex scenes between B & A are red-hot. In fact, this author may be my very favorite for pure unadulterated sex. She sees B/A as an irresistible grand passion. Yeah.
I'm almost over the cross-eyed confusion re fanfic that meeting Gareth [at Visions] put me into. For a while I was
 certain that any Blake I tried to write would be Gareth, but rewatching a few episodes helped considerably.
 I may even be able to get Blake to seduce Tarrant instead of giving him a lecture on the nature of live
 theatre. Or to gaze into Avon's eyes rather than tiptoeing his fingers over his bald spot. Ah, but
 remember: Avon has no bald spot...
Don't let Joyce's excerpt keep you from reading that Pat Terra story The Gift: FIRE & ICE 3) if you have or can borrow the zine. I thoroughly enjoyed the earlier part of the story. A well-muscled, half naked Blake chained to a wall? Yum! While Avon walks around covered in leather and studs and hostility. Guess who ends up dominating whom in the scene that follows? As I remember, it's after they start talking about insanity that you can stop reading. This writer is a former B/A person who converted to A/V? Talk about needing a shrink!

Aha, you've been reading BENE DICTUM: HALF 'N HALF. I just got that one on loan from a friend. Yeah, I've read a couple of (borrowed) Oblaque zines and found I didn't care for them either. Unlike you, though, I did quite like Clean Slate in BD. Well, except for the ending, but even that was better than I gather most of M. Fae's usually are. Didn't care for her other B/A in this zine, didn't bother to read her A/V, and would strongly recommend taking a pass on Erzebet Bathory's The Night Watch. Unless, of course, Blake-As-Happy-Rapist is your cup of tea, but I doubt that would apply to most of us.

... Though the above is all I've read recently in B7. Then again, my taste can be so different from most people's, even in fandom, that my saying I didn't care for something might be taken as a recommendation for some other readers.
Since I'm a rabid—oops, AVID-Blake fan, it really irritates the hell outta me when I get an anthology and find little Blake, no Blake, or bashed Blake. I just got a load of cheap used zines. Also, I did pay the usual 'big" price for some zines from Bill Hupe. SOUTHERN COMFORT 6.5: I wanted to finish my set. I knew there wouldn't be much B/A-and there wasn't. (But this is a keeper because I'm trying to keep the series intact, and overall SLS & SC have some nice B/A, even if it's not a lot.)

There are no prints of that lovely ST/B7 crossover Lovett picture that Mailander described [in the last issue] and never will be. It was a special commission, and it IS magnificent.

I'm all for someone writing a classic ST/B7 crossover. How about a slash one?

If I recall correctly, almost all of the crossovers have been gen. Captain Kirk and Roj Blake are my two favorite heroes, and K/S and B/A are my fandom vices. 1 do like gen ST and B7 as long as my two heroes are in it. Actually, I'd like any crossover-gen, adult, or slash. I can see B/S (Yes, I know Carnell did it already) and A/K more than I can see B/K and S/A. Blake and Kirk are just not a believable pair. It's easier though to keep the slash separate and keep it K/S and B/A. For adult, if we really crossover the pairs I see B/U, A/Chapel and K/J, S/C. if we keep our fandoms separate, then it's B/J, A/C and K/U,S/Chapel. If anyone could revive Chapel's other role as # 1 ,I think she's more suitable for both Avon and Spock. But that adds more difficulty, and doing this is already difficult enough. Somehow I just don't see using Rand, who is another female possibility.

And for those of you who think MULTIVERSE might be a good place for crossovers, it is, but Blake is not a major player in most of the stories with B7. MV is mainly OOP except for the recent ones. I only had a few MVs and have since gotten rid of them. I have no clue if Kirk were a major force in the ST involved because the editor in a letter laughed at how brave I was to admit liking both Shatner/Kirk and Thomas/Blake! She was sweet as she xeroxed off the Thomas interview in an OOP MV for me.

Other zines I've gotten recently without a lot of Blake in them are PLAIN MAN'S GUIDE TO ALIEN INVASIONS 1 & 2 and INVERTED BLAKE 1 & 2. Frankly, INVERTED BLAKE in my opinion was an awful series. Different strokes for different folks.... (I "gutted" all four zines for Blake and will either bury the remains in a trash can or donate them to someone else to pick through.) I do cannibalize zines now. I have now successfully combated my obsessive compulsive streak to collect and save everything in my four fandoms: ST, K/S, B7, B/A).

Two novels I got, FATAL COLLISION and SECOND CHANCE, have no Blake. Need I say, these two will soon be getting a new owner (sell/trade/give away) or see the inside of a round file (if I'm feeling really lazy). I try not to waste zines, but sometimes it happens. I am not criticizing these two since I never bothered to read them. It's just that there's no Blake so I don't want them taking up space, space which I do not have to spare. A zine I skimmed through and read part, an anthology called OUTER WORLDS, has a novel (WHY in fandom is any story longer than 20 pages called a novel?) and stories by one lady, D. Millitello. My copy has two added stories tucked in the back. This is post P.G., and Blake is dead. That should have been my first clue I wouldn't like it. He's barely referred to, and there are next to no flashback anecdotes, (s/t/g)

AVON'S GADGET WORKS is a silly, stupid adult & / zine; I love it, despite there being
 not much Blake in it. The one long B/A story in it, I had read before somewhere. It's possible
 someone xeroxed it off for me. (keeper).

Of course, DELTA BLUES I didn't expect to have Blake in it. And it didn't. It's great for a Vila fan, though, (gutted) A friend wrote several pieces, so I saved those few things out of loyalty, but the rest is landfill somewhere.

Margaret Scroggs is a writer I've decided I like. I got HORIZON 17, and she has "DUEL OR THE FOLLY OF MADNESS" in it. It's the episode "Duel" written as a Shakespearian play, and it's delightful. I tore "Duel" out and gave the entrails away, (another gutted zine) It's really amazing to me that HORIZON as a B7 fan club produces so much more Avon oriented material than Blake oriented. The mix should be close to 50-50. I'm only conceding that because I know most people like Avon, and Avon did star in two years of B7. For me, the perfect "ratio" is 100% Blake and Avon.

I managed to get Scroggs post PG series which starts with FIGHT BACK 1, 2. It goes SELF SEARCH 1,2, DOUBLE IMAGE, BLOODLINE and FRAME UP. (keeper). These are really just one long novel and should be read in order. Does anyone know if there's more? I just stayed up to 1:30 A.M. last night finishing the series. She has tie-ins to other stories she's written. The character Anselm is in it. I remember that story "For Jenna" from HORIZON 11 and have even kept that issue. Another character is from a story in HORIZON 6 which is long gone. # 6 is one of those Blakeless zines. I don't even remember the teeny weeny bit part in her story where Avon meets the clone. It's not necessary to read these two stories, especially the one in 6, to understand the series.

I do remember that "For Jenna" [in Horizon #11] was good, so if you have it you might consider rereading that before you start the series of small novelettes. I wouldn't go out and get the zine on purpose, though. Anyway, I was thrilled to be reading some new B7, even if it is gen, that has a lot of Blake in it. Actually, it has everyone in it, except Jenna, Cally, Gan, and Zen (if you count "him" as a rebel). All of the characters are treated well. Even Tarrant and Vila get juicy roles. Avon is wonderful, though slightly psycho once briefly. Blake is great, well, is great after some major brain surgery which gives him extra powers. I have a quibble with that, but I don't want to give away too much. I may like Blake, but I don't have to have him be "super." I prefer the more fallible Blake. Her Blake does get into a lot of trouble, though, and does make mistakes, so he's still a believable Blake. As for plot and characters, I do get terribly tired of the brat from the HORIZON 6 story. And of all things there's an "effing" elf in the story. Sheesh! If you like h/c, Blake gets hurt a lot, though the comfort is definitely missing. This is not a thinly disguised B/A story. I'm under the impression that Scroggs either likes both equally or likes both with Avon having a slightly bigger bit of her affection. My only problem with this series is that the font is reduced, and the print quality is poor. We are talking major eye strain.

Most of the Scroggs stories were written in the late 80's. I only bought these because they were dirt cheap. Actually, I had never heard of them. It's just when something is for sale for $1 to $2, it's worth a risk. How many of you have read this series? Did you like it? I realize most of the people in this APA are more critical than I am. Can you think of some other Blake works that might be worthwhile that aren't widely known?
Joanna Russ said that Spock was a 'feminine' character? She got that idea from some friends she'd introduced to K/S, and only partially accepted it, saying that one of the most notable aspects of the genre was BOTH characters determined androgynous (or words to that effect). And, by the way, it's possible that Kirk could view Spock (unconsciously) as feminine because Spock is a subordinate and Kirk (let's face it) is a fine old fashioned sexist pig. It's equally possible that Spock could view Kirk (more consciously, surely) as feminine because he is weaker than Spock, more emotional, more impulsive and less logical than Spock and because he's the child of a planet that is Spock's literal mother-world. And could any of that have anything to do with Avon's ongoing problems with Blake, on Liberator and - beyond. Maybe he was afraid that if he didn't make things difficult for The Great One, Blake would go from seeing him as a perfect subordinate to seeing him as a convenience to not seeing him at all, which would have been hell for Avon.

Being a member of the Enterprise's crew was the dream of many an adolescent, but no one could want to join up with the Liberator lot? Leaving out the fact that six or eight of us might make all the difference (especially if we could clue Blake in to Nation's ideas about heroic losers) it's just too easy to get lost on a ship with four hundred (or a thousand) crewmen, and signing up under Kirk (so to speak) seems to involve becoming a Mary Sue, which is definitely a fate worse than death.

Also, looking back, I can see that while the series Blake is a tragic figure, the series Kirk is a sad one. He grows up wanting nothing but to captain a starship, gets one, wraps his entire identity around it, loses it to his 'superiors' and undergoes a midlife crisis, regains it, thanks to an intersteller crisis, loses it again, regains it (or a copy of it) retires, losing that same ship one more time, and dies heroically because there's nothing else left for him to do but die heroically or turn into a grumpy, lonely old man and THEN die. Blake had it better.

Apocalyptic or apoplectic? Same difference probably... Listen, the only answers I have are for myself, and on that basis — and that basis only — I can swear by their effectiveness- I am well aware of the complexity of human beings, just as I am intimately acquainted with pain in several of its guises. I choose to channel that constructively, to value the strengths I've discovered in surviving this long — not to use it as justification. And that's what I see in a lot of fanfic, and not even what might be called the 'darkside' stuff. How many stories are there where the nastiest of Avon's actions are excused, by the authors, because he's had such a tough life?

For the last time: it is not the sex I object to in these stories — it's the attitude. I don't care if Blake and Avon are verbally sparring all through The Act {they probably would); certain kinds of powerplays are acceptable (to me). I'm not necessarily put off by violence, including rape/torture/assorted mayhem. It depends on how it's done, what effect the writer is going for, which of course comes down to what I project. Something that warps characters I like and care about into twisted, unsympathetic caricatures doesn't grab me. That's what put me off those K/S stories I ran into 15 years ago. If other get off on that, peachy keen terrific. I don't. Should I should shut up about it? Maybe, but nobody hold their breath.

I agree that why we enjoy something is very much open to debate, but I don't think we can dismiss fantasy's impact on reality. Garbage in, garbage out surely applies to ourselves as much as to any mere machine. And when a fandom routinely reveres a fantasy figure like Servalan, while reviling one like Blake, yeah, I wonder if there isn't something a trifle askew valuewise. If I seem intolerant, I'm sorry. I's hard to tell how something will sound in print. I certainly don't mean it to sound as if I'm passing moral judgement on anyone.

You know what, though? Despite being told otherwise since I was in diapers, I happen to think most people are fundamentally decent; that the psychos who make the news do so preciously because they are the exception, not the rule. I was taught to trust no one, to do unto others before they do it to you -- and didn't buy a word of it. And that may well be the chief source of my dislike of darkside fanfic: that, once again, someone's trying to convince me life sucks, there are no good guys and positive, life-affirming ideals are for idiots. It's a philosophy I'm extremely weary of, whatever the context. If that's naive and foolish, so be it. If it annoys anyone, that will just have to be our mutual tough luck.
Rebecca asked about the h/c potential quotients in the various fandoms. This is an interesting thought; I was rather shocked by the amount of Mulder-bashing in the X-Files netfic (my, but that boy does suffer!) until I got ahold of some episodes. In the second ep, he's captured, drugged, and his memory revised about certain recent events, then he's let go to stagger confusedly into Scully's car. He's killed twice, shot at least twice, overcome by fumes, beaten, manipulated, paralyzed with fear - he's got that Energizer Bunny quotient that I much admire in Blake. Nothing will get between him and The Truth. In Man from Uncle fiction, Illya gets the treatment; but if you remember the episodes, he's badly used onscreen, over and over, so some of a fan's desire to beat them up is inspired by how they were actually treated in the show.
Can an established relationship story rival [the tension of first time stories]? Sure, but it has to usually go outside the relationship for the tension - the guys against the world. And one reason I think that we don't see a lot of this type of story in B7 it's hard to see Blake and Avon united against the world or living happily ever after. One of the draws of B7 to me is it's darkness. I just don't see nor want to see happily ever after. The series didn't end that way and the fanfic that works best for me has Blake and Avon (there can be only one pairing) getting together, admitting sometimes grudging admiration and attraction, then screwing like there is no tomorrow, because, well, there IS no tomorrow for them. Circumstances force them apart and either they meet fatally at Gauda Prime or spend the rest of time looking for the other. Tragically bittersweet. When I want picking out the curtains or love ever after, I'll read Pros.

This Thing Called the Internet

What bothers me about fandom moving to the internet 'is that it would cut a lot of people off (me, for one). I'd hate to see fandom become some elitist thing that only the technologically hip and financially well-heeled can take part in. As it regards fanfic, I want a zine in my hands, something that someone has taken pains over as to layout, typos, art, etc., and that is exclusive to fandom. Like Joyce, I don't like the ideal that, on the internet, anyone could come browsing through my fanac.

General

Rate fandoms according to h/c quotients? The actual episodes? Are you familiar with Starsky & Hutch? I've always said that was one of the most uneven as to quality of any series I've seen, and any relation to actual police procedure is accidental at best (think of it as a fantasy). But it has the most and best on-screen h/c of any series I've ever seen! As well as a fascinating partnership/friendship, very different from the Blake-Avon, not to mention just plain being a lot of fun.
We've had computer net related problems in my other active fandom, people being entirely too free in passing around other people's names and addresses without their consent. All with the best of helpful intentions, unfortunately. I am strictly off line and will probably remain so, but I love writing with a computer and take an Avonesque delight in learning the tricks and shortcuts of WordPerfect.
The B7 aired series h/c quotient was lamentably lacking, in my opinion, i
If you weren't killed outright on the spot, then 5 minutes in Liberator's marvelous I
miraculous medical unit and you were good as new. The only way to pull off h/c in "J
this universe is generally to get them away from the ship. Though for me, emotional:
and psychological h/c can be equally satisfying. A great example of that is the
 Starsky & Hutch episode 'Pariah,' which is one of my top favorites.

I read the two medieval mysteries by Candace Robb that Sue recommended, and enjoyed them. I can't decide whether I think Owen Archer is a Blake avatar or not. The physical description is certainly perfect, but still, he might just be the generic handsome Welshman. The scarred left eye does seem unlikely to be something that someone would dream up by coincidence, though.

I also read the L.J. Smith "Vampire Diaries" that Rebecca mentioned. For the first three books I couldn't decide whether the Blake-Avon resemblance of the vampire brothers was coincidental or not. Then I read the fourth book, which lifts such obvious B7 lines as "That makes it all worthwhile" and "Make me die, it's the only thing you can make me do" and "I don't need you... Anyone who follows me, I'll kill." Definitely too much for coincidence there! Rebecca, do you know the author? You mentioned, as I recall, that she's a big fan of B7.

For B7 avatars other than Blake, I heartily recommend City of Diamond by Jane Emerson. This is an excellent space opera, well worth reading even for those with no interest in B7. There's an Avon avatar that I would never have known about if the author hadn't mentioned it (but once you know, it's obvious) and a Vila avatar that I blush to admit I didn't recognize the first time around.

I've also just acquired Pat Wrede's The Raven Ring, which the author herself says has a Vila avatar in it, but no other B7 characters. I haven't read it yet, though.

Then I was handed the netfic story 'Oklahoma'. I'm lost now in the feeding frenzy of watching episodes,, reading stories, begging for eps from friends far and near. My husband asked, "Does this mean you're leaving Blake's 7?" And I replied, "No, B7 is home. I'm off visiting right now." I got caught by Sandbaggers in the same way about 18 months ago, and I knew that since it was only 20 episodes and there is next to no fanfic for it, that I would recover pretty quickly. But X-Files has produced nearly 60 episodes, is still on, still going strong, and even if there are few zines, the volume of netfic is overwhelming. (I'm not reading it all! I'm waiting for people who have more patience than I to tell me what's worthwhile.) The episodes are similar to old Twilight Zone eps, in the tone of horror/gothic/spookiness that is established. There is also a backstory, a 'mythology', that runs through many episodes, giving continuity and depth to the main characters and their nasty, claustrophobic, bureaucratic world.

So what do these shows - Blake's 7, Sandbaggers, and X-Files - have in common? Darkness, hopelessness, despair, seasoned with a wry black humor at times. Malevolent forces beyond the control of the protagonists to influence, much less conquer. Flawed characters, who are interesting and extremely compelling, whose characters are allowed to emerge slowly and change over the course of the show. Events have consequences: a story line where sometimes what happened last week isn't ignored in future episodes. Characters that the viewer comes to know are killed or disappear, and it effects the other characters. Tragedy, mental suffering. Distrust between people who must trust each other to survive. Characters who keep on, in the face of overwhelming odds, who are driven by a goal greater than themselves, who put their lives on the line for whatever it is that they serve.

There seem to be two (at least two!) major camps of fiction lovers: either what you read provides you with an escape into goodness and light, because there is more than enough darkness in your reality, or you fall for despair and desolation because...because... Sigh, I just don't know. I do think that Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" is not fiction but prophesy, and that Blake's 7 and Sandbaggers and X-files operate in universes that seem familiar to me. What I really like in fanfic is INTENSITY. I can find intense stories more easily in Blake's 7 zines than any other show; this is considering gen as well as slash. And lo and behold, since intensity is a trademark of X-files, some of the fiction works for me in the same way. (I must admit, I find a higher percentage of stories hit that intensity mark for me in the realm of slash in most fandoms, but it isn't required.)

Anyway, I'm having a great time absorbing X-files.
Since I wasn't a fan of Blake's 7 living in England when it originally aired, all of my conceptions of the series have been colored by a certain foreknowledge of events. In fact, the first episode I ever saw was the episode BLAKE. Talk about a bummer! (I've heard old fans tell tales of their British friends taking the extreme measure of making a transatlantic telephone call of warning to the States right after the 21st December 1981 airing the last episode.) Becoming a fan ten years after the fact has kept me from speculating too much on WHAT IF??? Most of my speculation in that department is confined to reading and writing fan fiction. But it is an intriguing thought—did the contemporary fans really think there might be a fifth series featuring a scarred embittered Blake? Those of you who have been in the fandom longer may have contemporary contacts who can address Darrow's comments I've listed above.

Reading your comments to Rebecca made me want to answer your question about women. You said, "give me decent women on-screen, but don't give me a hard time for not cutting them an equal slice of my fantasy life," and wondered if any of us felt the same.

I personally do not yearn for the Bonanza Days, when a woman passed through - doomed to death or departure. But you're right: even now the men get the best lines, the best action, and the most interesting backgrounds. One of my favorite shows has always been Cagney and Lacey, but despite the fact that the women got ALL the best scenes, best action, etc., I never found myself drawn to know more or create more than what was presented onscreen. I always attributed this both to being heterosexual and being a woman. It is a rare woman on tv (or in the movies for that matter) who maintains any mystery in my opinion. This may be because, as women, we share our lives and aspirations with other women easily. What's that book about men being from Mars and women from Venus? I haven't read it, but it seems true enough. As the mother of a son, I can tell you, they are different from the day they are born. Women are not mysterious.
What keeps me from really getting into DUE SOUTH is that the Mountie's such a stiff. I have a double standard where female characters are concerned, too. In all honesty, it is the guys I'm interested in, in any given show. That's changed somewhat in the last few years, because we've finally gotten some programs that feature women who are as complex as the guys, and who get to do interesting things. Mulder-Scully is every bit as satisfying as Blake-Avon, because it has all the elements of a 'buddy' relationship: they save each other's lives, trust each other when they can't trust anyone else, and whether you read it Platonic or sexual, you know they care about each other. Now, shift over to FOREVER KNIGHT, where I loved the buddy team of Nick and Schanke, but cannot stand Tracey. I don't think it's chiefly because of her gender, and yet suspect that's part of it, as it automatically changes the tone of the partnership. Not being as interested in the women as the men is perfectly understandable. What makes me scratch my head is actively disliking female characters, particularly those perceived as not being properly deferential to the fella's. In B7, the classic example is Lobotomy Cally in almost any Avon/Cally story: the inference being that even Cally isn't good enough for the Poor Darling unless she gives up her identity/goals in life, to dote on him. An all-female program wouldn't appeal to me, in all likelihood. I mean, CAGNEY & LACEY was critically acclaimed, won heaps of Awards, but was of zero interest to me: who cares about the lives of a pair of middle aged police women? Which is, no doubt, an unenlightened attitude, but what can you do? I'll happily watch a series featuring a middle aged, slightly paunchy, Oxford-based detective, though (Inspector Morse). I want strong female characters to be featured, but I also mainly want to watch, and read about, the guys. And I don't see why we can't have that particular cake and eat it too.
You mentioned wanting a good set of RoS tapes. I got mine at Escapade last year and paid $60 for the entire set of copies. They are not the best, but they will do. I understand Bill Hupe will make you a set for the cost of tapes and postage and there is a place called Vintage Video that makes pro quality copies for $360 — that's way out of my budget these days. I have the address if you're interested.
Hi, everyone. I'm looking forward to getting this issue--# 17. I love RALLYING CALL. Of course, getting "zapped" by ALTA-ZINE 0 didn't hurt my appreciation of this APA. Can you believe the editor of A2 called my entry "pointless" and me an "extreme fan"?!? Who me, little ol' me who believes that one can never ever have too many photos of Gareth Thomas!! Me, who is spending a fortune compiling videos of old GT shows. Moi, extreme? I mean, everyone needs an obsession. It's part of what keeps us sane.

In the last few months, I unsubbed from the Blake's 7 list on Lysator in favor of the Space City list and frankly it's been a real disappointment to me. The mail has primarily consisted of a Round Robin story that branches off into a dozen directions, with each episode followed by anywhere from six to twenty-six messages saying essentially, "Hot story, keep up the good work." Occasionally a spark of discussion appears in which the participants congratulate each other on their insight and wisdom, name-dropping like crazy. I usually feel like I have stumbled into a private party that I am not completely welcome to attend. Why don't I unsub? Because I keep hoping against hope that some brave soul will venture to spice up the conversation with a little disagreement, some debate. I know there is quite a contingent here who participates in Space City. If I have offended you, I apologize, but I call 'em like I see 'em.

(Since writing the above, I have unsubbed from Space City. The entire tone bored me to tears and I decided that, since I was killing the posts unread, why bother. More often than not I got the feeling I had stumbled into a slumber party, comprised of very young women who just found out they could talk dirty. Perhaps after five years, the gild is off the fannish e-mail lily?
Teri, YOU DIRTY RAT! (I'm doing my Cagney imitation.) You spend HOURS with Gareth [at Visions] and only write two pages! You must have pity on us Gareth lovers who will never ever see him except on the video screen and give us some anecdotes, details, and impressions. Well, not ALL your impressions, I suppose, since Sue doesn't want this APA to start sizzling and burn some poor postman's fingers.
Some of you want more Blakemarks. IF any of you have good quality color photos or a magazine with a good quality color photo in it that I could use of Vila, Jenna, or Gan, I'd like to know what it is as I may have it, but not be aware of it in my stacks of chaos. Or I could borrow yours. (I have a good Cally.) The figure should be clear, 6 to 9 inches high, and complete or almost complete. Since I color laser the original, I can do additions and fixes on the laser. For those of you who want to do your own Blakemarks, you simply get a picture and have it color lasered to the right size. Then you make needed additions. Both my Blake and Avon needed their boots finished. I spray glue my lasers to magazine backboards and then cut them out with cuticle scissors I have donated to the cause of art. I'd like to do Vila next. I think I will do everyone for my own use and share with some friends, but I'm not planning on putting everyone in the APA. Well, not at this time, at least.
There's a huge difference between holding and expressing an opinion, and insisting everyone else agree. I probably sound like I'm doing that, at times, but nothing could be further from the case. I insist on expressing my views, but after that — big, fat, hairy deal. What's funny are the people who have seen the series once, and are suddenly experts on everything. It wouldn't be so bad, except they're always Avonaniacs, with a sprinkling of Tarrant Nostra, who presume to possess the Ultimate Truth regarding Blake, when they haven't paid the least bit of unbiased attention to him.
I like first time stories — off hand, all the B/A I've done has probably been first time — but a zine that's nothing but that can start losing my interest, especially if that's pretty much all there is to the story. (Some of this is likely because that's been the majority of what I've written. So the stuff I'm working on now is trying to be a little more complex and textured. Whether any of it will succeed, is of course a whole other matter.) There are some similarities between slash and romance novels. Is that where the image of Avon-in-distress comes from, do you think? Actually those elements are at play in any work of fiction with romantic elements. There's a scene towards the end of SINS OF THE WOLF, one of the latest William Monk mysteries, where he and Hester — the woman who was a nurse in the Crimea — are trapped, left for dead, and finally admit their feelings about each other. It's just a kiss, but it's a whopper of a kiss because of everything that's gone before, the build up. That's something I'd like to see more of, and do more of, in fanfic: not just tumble the guys, or guys and gals, into bed, but build it up through one crisis and conflict after another, so that it really is a climatic moment (in every sense if need be) when they get together. Something I've noticed in the romance novels I've read recently is that, unlike ones I tried ten years ago, the sex is a lot less pervasive. In some of those earlier books, it seemed like the characters were goin' at it every other chapter, and that just didn't grab me. Now it seems that there is a lot more attention paid to the courting, to the build up. There's a lot to be said for foreplay.
One of the things I've wondered about, re: TEXTUAL POACHERS, is if it gives any history on slash. I've always assumed it started with K/S, and have wondered who were the brave souls who first wrote and published it.
Unfortunately I've had to drop out of the Tarrant apa. We could discuss masculine and feminine elements here, of course. It's not a subject I've studied in-depth, but from what I understand we all have a combination of traits that can be clinically labeled masculine or feminine. And isn't it peculiar how both genders get slapped down for displaying non-gender-appropriate behavior? What I'd like to think is that, in any future, trivia like that becomes irrelevant. That's the only road to equality. Then too, the majority of male bashing annoys me, as I perceive whopping double standards at play.
What's strange about Tarrant-bashing is that, unlike with Blake, who can't help but be irksome to some fen by his very nature, is that Tarrant is thoroughly inoffensive. I may make fun of him, but it's never with malice — which, unfortunately, is not the case with the treatment he's gotten in other quarters. BTW, if anyone's interested in a B/Tarrant story, keep an eye out for one called "Beyond Trust" by Linnadel Cameron. No idea what zine it's slated for at this time, but I've seen a preview copy and thought it turned out really well.
My web pages are growing and will continue to do so until comp services tells me to stop adding things. I'm about to load a dozen text files and data tables this week, along with the new caption contest photo. Joyce's cartoons "inspired" me to put up a photo and ask people to suggest captions for it, with a new photo and the last one's results posted every month. The files include lists compiled long ago for the mailing list — animals, food and drink, games, bloopers, filming locations, a brief essay on population size and resistance, recycled props, and Nicole's wonderful essay about Blake's training from issue 15. More will follow as time permits. I hope to add some con photos of the actors, too.
Media West: Four of us and another fan are rooming together in one of the small suites. We will once again be hosting the Nonsectarian Blake's 7 Party on the Friday night of the con. Drop by and see us (room and time will be posted by the elevators as usual) then or when shopping for used zines. We'll have lots. Maybe we can have an RC party, too, if enough of us are attending.

Issue 18 (July 1996)

Rallying Call 18 was published in July 1996 and contains 40 pages.

cover of issue #18

Sue Clerc is the collator.

There are nineteen subscribers, and tribs from twelve of them. The next issue's October 1996, and there will be twenty-one subscribers.

  • con reports for MediaWest*Con, see that page
  • a very detailed, lengthy review of Beloved Adversary, see that page
  • ten pages of primitively-photocopied screenshots and coupled with humorous phrases
  • "Gold," fiction

Slash

As far as I know, slash started in Sherlockiana (the first media fandom, and still one of the best.) Again, it's kept very quiet from the outside world, and dogmatic pronouncements tend to infuriate people, But it does exist. Of course, I could be wrong, but I don't think Shakespeare/the young man in the sonnets really count as a slash couple. Although there's certainly been plenty of speculation!
What a neat idea [that the ghost of Ellis Peters could haunt a slash Cadfael writer]! Write slash about a dead author's characters and maybe the ghost will come to complain and stay to advise. What a pity Roddenberry wasn't upset by slash and Doyle disliked Holmes too much to care what was said about him.
I've been having simultaneous discussions with 3 separate people about the nature of slash, and it's connection to gay male sexuality. IMO, there is none. Slash is for women, geared to (broadly defined) female sexuality and any concerns about what real gay men do, like in bed, think is sexy is extraneous. Slash is for women fen, not for gay men...although if they like slash, bully for them. How much reality one needs to keep one from being jarred while reading differs, of course. As long as there's lubricant and no one is assuming a position only Jo Jo the Human Pretzel could get into, I'm happy. As for the romance v. explicit sex...I want it all, at different times, in different stories. Sometimes you feel like a fuck, sometimes you don't. I like variety. I'm glad the discussion here has not, as so often happens in slash fora, turned into a morality issue: I'm better because I'm interested in the loving relationship and not just sex v. I'm better because I don't have hang-ups about sex, like you always want one thing or the other and not both, together or separately. I like stories with some build up, as Rebecca said, before the sparks but tomorrow maybe I'll want them fucking each other into the floor without a lot of preamble, and the day after I might want something where they don't do anything sexual beyond exchanges smoldering looks with the promise/threat of what they'll do with/to each other when the story's over. I've heard several complaints that all the slash coming out is too explicit without enough interaction and characterization, but I imagine that will change (and then change back again and so on). I think what happened in romance novels, which Rebecca mentioned, is that for a long time there was no sex at all in the books or if there was, it was euphemistically described. And then the trend swung to the other extreme where the couple were rutting like crazed minks from the get go. And now there's a trend toward more build-up than recently but also more sex than there was originally. But I'm just guessing about the trade overall. I'm sure there are lots of variations between romance publishers about what formulae to follow. I'll shut up about this now...
You know I haven't read a single bit of slash in about four months and I don't miss it. I think this is coming hard on the heels of my disenchantment with the Space City list. Rebecca mentioned disturbing aspects of fan fiction, but what seems to have put me off is boredom. If a story has little or no plot, beyond a device to get Blake and Avon into bed, then it can be any piece of erotica. I tend to reread the same pieces over and over ~ ones that really put the characters across AND include sex that I find believable. For a while all I was reading were skillfully crafted sex scenes that seemed to be written to shock or disturb or titillate and it got dull. When I read something completely disturbing, I always wonder if, given the opportunity, the writer would participate in what she writes. Maybe I'm just getting cranky in my middle age.

Fanworks

Last time you recommended "Beyond Trust," the B/T story by Linnadel Cameron. It came out in Southern Comfort 9.5, which debuted at MediaWest. Now that I've read it, I definitely second your recommendation. So, are there any other B/Ts published besides that and "BATs"? I can't think of any offhand.
It's always seemed odd to me that there's not more Blake/Servalan. I think you were the one who pointed out to be the B/S bondage scene in a London Bates story. I assume that it's because people think Blake is too principled to sleep with such scum as Servalan, whereas Avon has obviously at least considered it.

I'm glad, actually, that your debate over dark fanfic has
 continued, because I think I'm finally starting to comprehend your position. I
 also don't like stories that seem to me to be saying something bad about the
 characters I like best. Since I'm basically an Avon fan, the prime example of
 that for me is "Love and Necessary Discipline." I read it early on, and it
really put me off my enjoyment of B7 for a little while. I would hate to think
that my favorite character would behave like that, and I wouldn't like him if I
 thought it were plausible. (I know some people see his behavior in such aired
 episodes as "Sarcophagus" and "Power" to be reprehensible, but I interpret it 
differently.)

Where I differ from you, I think, is that I don't object to the really dark stuff as a kind of fantasy, even if it's not exactly how I see the characters (most of M. Fae's work falls into this category for me; they're not quite right, but they're very hot). IMO, if that stuff is rolling around in the head anyway, better to take it out and have a good look at it than to suppress it until it pops up in some weird, inconvenient, unexpected way.
Yes, it would be nice to see more use of Blake's engineering skills in fan fie. Ironically, one of the main examples I can think of is The Totally Imaginary Cheeseboard. [Barbara T] called that zine "shameless Avonolatry," and she was quite right; but it' s Blake, back on Liberator where we never actually see him (well, until the sequel, but that isn't nearly as good), who rebuilds the teleport to get Avon back.
ALTAZINE, the new English letterzine, really doesn't turn me on. Actually, I have yet to even thoroughly read the first two issues - whereas I devour RALLYING CALL! (Speaking of RC does anyone have issues (& X supplements) 1-12?. I'd love xerox copies of them or originals. I'll gladly pay.) I find the sarcasm of the few things 
I've read in AZ quite off putting. I guess I have trouble with the English sense of humor?? Or
 perhaps it's the fact some English B7ers really look down on us American B7ers??? (This goes
 for the HORIZON letterzine, too, of which I have 6 issues and have yet to read one issue
 completely. I must say, though, that the people in charge of the HORIZON LZ are quite nice.
If anyone wants to borrow my copies, let me know. It turns out the LZ is as expensive as the n/l and as far as I'm concerned not 1/100th as interesting.) Oh, well, that's life. You can't 
please all the people all the time.
No, alas. Textual Poachers doesn't have anything about the history of slash. Neither does Enterprising Women. I wish somebody would do a history. It's been discussed a little in another of the apas I'm in; maybe I should send you copies of what I said? I think the first slash story published in a zine was a short, non-explicit K/S story by Diana Marchant of Australia, in Grup (if you remember that!) back in [1974]. So slash fandom is 21 now — all grown up and legal. :)
Well, I write crossovers nearly as much as I do Mary Sues but I haven't tried an ST/B7 (with any version of ST) because I just can't figure out how to make it work as anything more interesting than an excuse for "Kirk and Spock meet Blake and Avon and they all get very confused and then they figure it out and they get in some danger together and then everyone ends up back where he/she belongs and everything goes back to normal." Any workable crossover would end up totally AU (in both universes). I had an easier time fitting my GURPS Fantasy character in on the Liberator (think Cher from Clueless with a talent for throwing fireballs) than I do most Star Trek characters. Doctor Who could work, but I'm afraid Our Heroes would have to be the heavies for that. Still, it might be interesting. I've read very few very good crossovers.
It's possible that Avon is tortured (in stories) more often than Blake because he suffers more... prettily. You can imagine him becoming so lost in his own pain that he has to be more or less led out of it by the hand. Pain seems to sharpen Blake's focus, where it weakens Avon's. Blake, under torture, can be admired, sympathized with, even pitied, but he isn't like to arouse even Servalan's lust. I can see her torturing him, while Avon looks on, to get off on Avon's pain, though.
I, as a total Blakeomaniac, must remember that some in this APA are Avonites or have other favorites. I love Blake. For me, B7 works best when it has both Blake and Avon. I despise Mary Sue's, elf and unicorn stories (but I love "What Are Legend"), stories with tons of original characters & just a dash of B7, the "Avon-as-a-god-who-can-do-no-wrong" stories, the "Blake-as-stupidier-than-a-turnip" stories, and Blakeless stories/zines. Yes, give me S/M any day over Vila as elf who saves the day. Give me "Open All Hours" anytime over THIEVES IN TIME (Blake is stupid and eventually dead - although the clone survives and does get a page or two at the end, as well as Jenna as a possible replacement for the dead Rashel) or Shawn Wigton's FOREVER LIVE AND DIE series (Can she really be writing 13 zines where Roj Blake as Blake the First is worse than Servalan? And, he's BALD!!) LONE STAR is another Blakeless zine. There's a loverly color Parnes cover with both Avon and Blake. But, inside there's no Blake. It's post G.P.; Blake's dead.
Roads Not Taken is an oldish zine, published by Lorna Breshears in 1991. It's long OOP, so you'll have to look for a used one, but I recommend it. Another Blake story that I like a lot is a very short one by Leigh Moto'oka, called "Wish." It's an alternate version of "Orbit," with Vila and Blake. Oh, and there's a nice long story with plenty of Blake (also both Tarrants!) by Rebecca Ann.
The first character I ever made up and wrote about wore black leather and rode a motorbike. He had very long black hair and was rather... feminine, despite the bike. "Nuff said. How little I have changed!

This Thing Called the Internet

... a topic several people mentioned last time: net fandom. My feelings on this are ambiguous. On the one hand, I wish all of you were on line so it would be easier, faster, and cheaper to keep in touch. If the apa was online, I'd be able to illustrate my trib with color pictures (although Debbie's gorgeous trib has convinced me that my next purchase will be a color printer), no one would have to pay postage for sending tribs or receiving issues, and we could include parts of what we're responding to when doing mailing comments. The compiled web page could be safeguarded with a password so only APA members would have access. On the other hand, we wouldn't get cool things like stickers and buttons. I've been running hot and cold about mailing lists and newsgroups for a long time. I think they're great, (particularly when you first get online, for meeting new people, sometimes for getting ideas worked out (once you've been on the same group for a while the frequent repetition of topics gets tedious), and building a sense of community. Now that so many people are online, the first groups are beginning to splinter into more and more little ones, but they're still interconnected (all life is linked) so the loose community of fandom survives. The X Files thing I was working on is about that. But, now I'm starting to worry about the high profile fandom has achieved because of its visibility on the net, specifically in cease and desist orders from studios who find out about fanzines online, and the chilling effect of members of the productions teams interacting with fans on open lists. But what happens is that fans start separate small lists to get around that, like the B5 fan fic group kept separate from the newsgroup JMS haunts. It's great that fans have so much access to writers and actors and producers online, although any effect on series is negligible, but their presence can stop certain kinds of discussion as essential to fandom as chocolate and cats. Suck-up posts also seem to drive out deeper discussions, maybe no one wants to look too interested in the series (and risk being told to get a life) but many do like to curry favor. This is hardly unique to online fandom, however.
I have a rebuttal to the Internet killing traditional fandom; Usenet is directly responsible for getting me active in fandom again. And I had never heard of B7 until I noticed that people on rec.arts.drwho kept arguing about this guy named Avon in this other show . . . and the rest is history. Traditional fandom may diminish (people don't read newspapers as much as they used to before TV news, for example) but it will be around for a long time yet, because it fills roles no other media does. I believe the "studios" are a bigger threat to fandom than anything; look at the way Star Trek fandom has changed since Paramount realized how much money they could make off of it and began merchandizing the show(s) nonstop. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I'm not too sure about it) we in B7 fandom have little to fear on that account.
Count another vote against fandom moving to the Internet. I'm roadkill on the information highway. Seriously, I'm sure I could arrange to get online if I really wanted to, but I don't. It's all far too public for my comfort. You never really know who you're talking to, or who's 'listening,' as you say. We've been having a flap over this issue in S&H fandom, with well-meaning innocent new fen feeling insulted and misunderstood because some of us don't want our real names and addresses published by them on the boards. I know of one case in which one of the main offenders is now telling a new online friend all about a former friend — never suspecting that her 'new friend' IS that same former friend! Seems like poetic justice, somehow... What I foresee, and I think is already beginning to happen, is a split into online and old-fashioned offline fandoms. My main concern is that the on-liners will bring fandom in general to the unavoidable attention of the people who hold the copyrights on these various characters, and mess it all up for all of us. I gather this is starting to happen already with Star Trek, with Paramount and whoever demanding approval and a cut of everything anybody does that even mentions the name.
I think there have always been several levels to fandom on the net, as there are off-line, from the deeply committed for whom FIAWOL to the casual passers-by. The passers-by can pass by more easily online and just by reading a newsgroup or joining a list have already gone a step further than they would have before, when just watching the show would've been their limit, but most won't become part of the community and start writing/ reading fan fic, going to cons, making vids, etc. There's a lot more bad fan fic out there because online fan fic doesn't go through an editor; many authors don't spell-check, proofread, or ask for feedback about characterization before posting (at the last Cleveland bash we had a hilarious reading of an online Kung Fu story; tense changes in the middle of sentences was the least of the problems). At the moment, it seems like online fan fic threatens print zines and lists/newsgroups threaten APAs, letterzines, etc. but I think there's still a place, and always will be, for print: You can't take your notebook computer everywhere you'd take a print zine, and the nature of current online discussion groups (as opposed to an APA on a web page) isn't conducive to in-depth analysis because of the speed and spontaneity of the conversation, two things that make it so much fun to be online. Of course, I could be wrong. Online fandom used to be more distinct from off-line fandom than it's getting to be. More and more veteran fans are coming online and the tide flows in the other direction, too, with more people getting more into fandom via the net. So it looks right now as if the two spheres are merging into one. But that may change. The medium is so dynamic that there's no way to tell what will happen in the future.

General

Glad to hear you're enjoying X-Files; hope it won't displace B7 too badly. I kinda like it, the same way I kinda like Sandbaggers and Wiseguy and a David McCallum vehicle called Trainer that Dawn introduced me too. But nothing has come along yet that has anything like the impact of B7. I'm sure that eventually something will, but to judge from previous experience, my media passions last for about a decade each. So sometime around the turn of the century, I'11 start pining for a new fandom, but probably nothing will strike me until then. The odd thing is, the next fandom may well be something that's already around but that I just haven't noticed because the time isn't ripe.
Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Space City. Re: the junior high school atmosphere, well, yes, but that's one of the things I find enjoyable about it. Sometimes it's very relaxing just to be silly for a while.
I didn't interpret Neil Faulkner's comments on your letter to Altazine as that much of a zap. Yeah, he was snide, but he's that way to everybody. It sounded to me as if what he really wanted to hear was more detail as to why you like Blake. I think you should write back and tell him. Who knows, there may be other Blake fans among the readers of the zine who are keeping quiet because they are afraid of Neil's sharp tongue, so you can speak for them.
Women in t.v.? I think we be crossing over the Great Divide. Scully and Ivanova get just as many good lines, have equally complex (and angst-ridden) inner lives as their male comrades, and are just as slowly revealed. (Is this what you meant by the mystery of the characters?) Pity the women are still outnumbered, but I for one wouldn't want the variety of yummy (or scary) male characters diminished.
Would you rather be on the Liberator or the Enterprise? Well, long-term job prospects are a lot better on the latter. So are your chances for emotional health. I guess it's a matter of taste. There's no question the Star Trek universe has gotten a lot bleaker in the last few years. Also a lot more dramatic. I do wonder, though, whether, as you said, eight or ten more people would have made that much difference. If they were the right people, maybe. Some trained fighters, more scientists, a doctor. . . a larger crew would certainly have taken some day-to-day stress off Blake and the others, freeing them for "larger issues," but that would have completely changed the focus and feel of the series. I like them being on the run and fighting their own shortcomings as much as the Federation. It makes them suffer more. [smiley emoticon]
I knew L.J. Smith (Vampire Diaries author) for awhile and can assure you that she was most definitely a Blakes, and Blake 7, fan. She also wrote some of the best B/A stories I've read, under a pseud, of course. And no, I can't tell you what it is, since I'd promised to keep it to myself. You'll also find familiar quotes and fannish inside jokes in the subsequent series about the witches, which I liked even better than the vampire ones. I have the impression that she got so wrapped up in her commercial writing that she gafiated some years ago now. I don't know for sure, having lost contact with her about that time. Unfortunately, she misinterpreted something I'd said in a letter, took offense based on her misinterpretation, and rebuffed my attempts to explain because she "didn't want to talk about it"! I dunno, is it something about Californians? In any case, I regret the loss of what I had thought to be an enjoyable and rewarding friendship, but couldn't see what else to do under the circumstances. Admittedly, part of my definition of friendship is communication; you don't shoot someone before giving them-a chance to explain!
So you too have been subverted into another fandom? It's insidious, even to "visit"! Our tastes tend to run the same, as you know, so I was fascinated by your summation of the Blake's 7-X-Files-Sandbaggers commonalities, "Darkness, hopelessness, despair, seasoned with a wry black humor at times. Malevolent forces beyond the control of the protagonists to influence, much less conquer." Excellent and succinct. Makes me hope and pray that when the X Files finally draws to a logical conclusion, both Scully and Mulder are still standing. I saw the last episode of Sandbaggers two weeks before I saw "Blake" for the first time. I was depressed which makes me wonder why I am drawn to this type of series. Perhaps it's time to analyze the darker side of my personality. Naw...
... another fannish topic from the last issue, that feeling of being out of sync. I figure this is a generic thing among fans; I know I've felt it, too, in various fannish settings. Just being a fan means stepping outside the mainstream to a degree. The sense of not being part of the herd can even become the basis for more-out-of-sync-than-thou contests because everyone wants to believe they're special. It's interesting to me that many fans think that the thing that makes them out of sync with the real world makes them out of sync in fandom: a friend turned to me and said "Oh, I've always been known for liking the second lead (rather than the hero)." And this distinguishes you from 99% of women fans in what way, dear? I wasn't aware that fandom was inundated with women who prefer Kirk to Spock, Napoleon to Illya, Blake to Avon, Nick to Lacroix, and Fraser to Ray. It gets a bit topsy-turvy, until liking what's perceived by the majority within your fandom as the dominant mainstream position actually becomes the opposition choice within that fandom: e.g. some of us are special because we prefer
WARNING: Be careful of people you can't verify with longtime friends who write (snail mail or computer) or call. One infamous fan is using various pen names in different fandoms to try to get either information or fanzines on loan. She's not using her real name because a lot of people, including me, don it want to have any dealings with her. Be especially careful of OREGON addresses.
Why you even take your husband to slash cons is beyond me. I love being with the girls, in my case, being hyperbole...or even downright lying. I'm probably old enuff to be your mother-as well as most of the others in this APA.
Re: h/c and S&H. I agree with you about the impact of the Starsky and Hutch ep "Pariah", one of my favorites too. I guess I wish there had been a lot more of it on air in B7. I feel that may about almost all the shows I match (except wrestling, there I get enough h/c to satisfy even me, sometimes :-)). matching a partner's reaction to his partner's pain is ever so much more satisfying than the torture/injury itself in most cases.
Interesting what you say about romance novels having less pervasive sex than formerly. I have found just the opposite, there seems to be more sex in many modern romances - but maybe we are buying different ones! I find that it is often differently presented these days. On the other hand I never cared for romances when there was no sex at all, it rather seemed to defeat the object - all those pages spent getting the characters together and then they didn't do anything!
Yes, as far as I recall contemporary fans were fully expecting a 5th series. The news that the whole project had been called off came as an unpleasant shock. I don't think we expected Blake to be in it though, we knew Gareth wanted to bow out. However I could be wrong that was a long time ago, longer than I like to think about!

Issue 19 (October 1996)

Rallying Call 19 was published in October 1996 and contains 60 pages.

cover of issue #19

There were twenty subscribers, eleven of which had tribs in this issue. The deadline for the next issue was January 15, 1997, and the membership had risen to twenty-three.

Sue Clerc is the collator.

Slash

SLASH: Fanfic slash has nothing to do with gay men (well, almost nothing). Slash is 90% (or more) written by women for women. Gay sex is not that romantic or talky or kissy. There's emphasis on the asshole and various activities involving that orifice BESIDES traditional penile penetration. It's cruder. And sometimes more brutal. Slash, even heavy S/M slash, is more relationship oriented. We slashy types are more interested in the men behind the cocks. Also, women writers use more interesting and complex adjectives, vocabulary and sentence structure.

CUCUMBERS: (Bet that got your attention!) A gay porno book (I use porno as a label - not as a condemnation) would cram several encounters into the space one encounter takes in slash. Real gay stories are much more action oriented - more nuts and bolts, so to speak. In slash, it's the dynamics of the two men and their personalities or the plot that make the sexual encounter interesting. To make an analogy, the difference between slash and actual gay literature is the difference between having the man of your dreams nested between your thighs or having a cucumber from the frig. You can get the same action from both, but you'll like the first choice much much better. ....I got off the subject, I think.
Re slash, I seem to tread a fairly fine line between what's too real-life realistic and what's so unrealistic as to be also unbelievable. I once had a married non-slash fan friend complain, "Men don't really talk/act like that." No doubt true; if I were that enamored of the way real men really talk and act, I'd be reading gay porn, or husband-hunting, or something equally unappealing. On the other hand, a big problem I have, especially with S&H slash fanfic, is the tendency of female writers to have these two tough street cops talking like love-sick teenage girls, and bursting into tears every few pages. Especially the water-works! Maybe I have more patience with B/A because there just isn't so much of it. I also bought several UNCLE slash zines at last MW, there not being much else new of interest. I've now read most of them, and so far all are going back for re-sale too. Not a 'keeper' among them. Sex is OK, but unless it's an exceptionally well done PWP, I want a plot to go with it.
I liked your comment about a slash history. I sorta did one on K/S far my own enjoyment a while back. I sent it to a woman who had helped me with info - and she criticized it royally, ending up with, "Needless to say, I'm not impressed." (Yipes! Pardon me while I put ointment on the claw marks!) You're right about the first actual PRINTED K/S being by Marchant in GRUP 3 in 1974. Someone earlier in RC 18 talked about Sherlock Holmes being the first / fandom, but I don't know anything about that. Was the first B7? In E-MAN-UELLE or TOUCHED??? 1 think it was E-MAN-UELLE.
Boredom, yes, that's it! That's the problem with too much of slash. As I've often said, there's only so many ways to do "it," and I've read them all. So a writer needs to come up with some other way to grab my attention. Some do.
Enjoyed your in-depth review of BELOVED ADVERSARY [in the last issue) I gave it a miss simply because it was non-slash. I feel so superficial when I tell someone that I read only slash. Many times I've been told that I'm really missing out "limiting" myself this way. That gen/adult zines have more impact, more meaning because they don't rely on sex to dig a way out of tough plot, I've yet to be convinced of that and sounds like this one wouldn't have changed my mind.

Fanworks

Brooke's review of "Beloved Adversary" in the last issue [of Rallying Call] interested me, even revived a memory of some claw-sharpening of my own, I remember the novel annoying me enough to acquire its sequel, "A Delicate Balance." About this I moaned about a Blake who was "perfection incarnate" and improbable situations showcasing "relentless heroics."

Then I looked for the rest of the series.

Almost two years later, I've seen nearly all the other Blake-fiction out there: bad Blakes, stupid Blakes, manipulative Blakes, scarred and crippled Blakes, shouting Blakes and ones RIP. Blakes with and without belly hair. Blakes loving Avon, Blakes vengeful, Blakes forgiving, clone Blakes, mutoid Blakes, telepathic Blakes, ghost Blakes. Saint Blakes.

Similarly, PGPs come in all shapes and flavors. In Sondra Sweigman's [A Beloved Adversary], Avon never shoots this Blake so there is nothing for Blake to forgive. Some angst potential missed there, probably intentionally. Sondra has explicitly said elsewhere BA is not hurt-comfort. Don't be misled by the misleadingly so cover by Lucia Casarella Moore. It's the bloodiest I've ever seen, a hurt-comfort fan's wet dream — but entirely suited for the aftermath of the scene depicted therein.

Excepting some of Susan Mathews' work, a more harrowing torture scene doesn't exist in B7 fan-fiction. It was too real to be "fun." Probably not a wallow either. She isn't writing for titillation, not her own or the readers. I remembered being irritated at the implicit superiority, the "Go look elsewhere for sleaze and sadism, if you want that" attitude, even while knowing I generated this out of my own defensiveness. And who wouldn't be defensive after being teased? This Wet Blanket at the Party co-opted the elements of hurt/comfort and wallow and didn't give me what I wanted, even after that juicy cover.

I chose not to hear the rest of the message, "But if you want to see something better, something ... ennobling, read on " Need I say, her stories - all of them - are an acquired taste and not for every Blake-Avon fan - - or Blake/Avon fan, for that matter. But I digress...

[much snipped]

I can't help but be struck by a certain irony in discussing "Beloved Adversary" within these pages, especially if it continues beyond mine and Brooke's reviews. Sondra's no longer here to respond to any of the points we've raised And then I wonder, would we have raised them at all if she were still a member of this apa? [see the rest of this fan's comments at Beloved Adversary]
THE DECLINE IN B7 FANDOM IN AMERICA: If American fanzines and newsletters keep on dropping by the wayside, pretty soon our English connections will be all we have left. Graham seems to think CEPHLON now will not be continued by another editor. Do you realize that unless someone decides to become CEPHLON's editor that after December there will not be ONE B7 newsletter left in America??? Phooey. And, no, I can't do it. I just don't have the required skills. The last TARRIEL CELL had no B7 in it. MEDIAWEST saw only two new B7 zines-SOUTHERN COMFORT 9.5 and THE SEVEN LIVE ON 10. (I haven't gotten the latter zine yet.) Since I'm not ONLINE or computer oriented, I miss out on all that. I'm so happy to have RALLYING CALL. Sue, don't you dare quit!!!!! (By the way, I understand Sondra has started an APA of her own. I wonder how it's going? I don't intend to join it though. I like RC and think it'd be hard to be in two APAs. Plus I'd probably have to watch what I said in Sondra's APA, and I'm too used to the freedom this APA allows.)

STORY IDEA: Rebecca's unfinished story [in the last issue] reminds me of the worst "tease" that ever happened to me. Someone sent me an unpublished story where Blake and Gan exchanged bodies with two lovely women. Unfortunately, it was just the even pages in what I assume was, at least, an 11 page story. Blake (in lovely female form) becomes ONE of Avon's lovers (that page is missing), and on page 10 in a fit of jealousy shoots and evidently kills Avon. What happens next I don't know. Since this story will never be submitted [that's what the lady said), maybe someone in the APA might like to take this idea and do it?...

ORAC'S ODDITIES: I might start a small fan service (nonprofit) called ORAC's ODDITIES using my home address. I am talking about mainly giving information (like prices & addresses of zines), selling a limited amount of things from my own collection, perhaps producing a few things such as stickers (but not zines), and selling things for other people. Perhaps it'll just be a temporary way to fill CEPHLON's demise? You might even consider it a "Poor Woman's Guide to B7 Fandom" since I don't believe one exists now. I'm mainly thinking about being a service for Americans. I wouldn't want to intrude on Janet Ellicott's or Horizon's territory. Perhaps on the net, though, this service exists??? Does it? Maybe I should call my service NOT THE NET (or Don't Click Your Mouse Around Here, Babe). I may scrap the cutsie name and just use my own. I don't have it planned out now (which I'm sure is painfully obvious). This "good deed" will probably meet the usual B7 end!!!!
I've been waiting for the sequel to CARELESS WHISPERS ever since the original came out. Though I was hoping the sequel would be long enough to merit being a zine unto itself. Then again, my major complaint about the original was that it was physically much larger than it needed to be, because of all the excess white space.
Wow! Nothing like an in-depth zine review [of Beloved Adversary in the last issue]. I think I agreed with most of what you said. I hadn't analyzed it in anywhere near that much detail, I just knew that I found it unsatisfying, not feeling 'real' somehow. Or put another way, I bought the zine but it has long since been re-sold. I'm starting to run out of storage space, and am having to get pickier about what I keep. I should go through my older ones and do a serious weeding as well, but there are a fair number I still haven't read yet. I do tend to read a new Blake-focus zine as soon as I get it though.

My main fannish activity lately has been a kind of busman's holiday that some of you know about already: I'm compiling a bibliography of B7 smut. This came partly out of dissatisfaction with Bill Hupe's Blakesindex, which leaves out a lot, and partly out of a need for something simple but absorbing to do when I'm not working.

Instead of playing solitaire, these days I type out lists of zine contents and alphabetize them.

The smut zines are pretty much done, with only a few exceptions that I still haven't found or found out about.

The results have been posted on Space City, and I hope to have a hard copy version for sale at Eclecticon in November, with the contents of all the B7 smut zines I could lay hands on, and an alphabetized list of stories by author. Eventually I'll tackle the gen zines in the same way, but that will be a much bigger job.

At the end of this trib I'll attach the latest version of the grand zine list, which several of you have already seen. Please let me know if you spot anything that should be corrected or added.

In the meantime, just for fun, I took the smut listings and went through them to see how many pairings I could find of Blake and people other than Avon. I also left out A/B/V triangles and menages, since there are a lot of those, but I included other menage stories, orgies, etc. A few stories with more than one Blake pairing are repeated under the different headings. I arranged the stories by date, as far as possible, just to see what trends there were, if any. Here's what I found. But I make no guarantees as to the quality of these stories or the treatment of Blake! And I'm sure there must be more Blake stories— this was just the result of one quick skim, so I may easily have overlooked something.

General

In July, we went to New York to see "An Ideal Husband." For a few minutes, I could understand what Pros fans see in Martin Shaw, then he ruined it by barreling out of the exit afterward on a bike so fast, I didn't even see him, and disappointing fans who were hoping for an autograph. It started to pour a few minutes later and there was much rejoicing as we imagined the Actor of Rare Genius soaked to his miserable hide.
You have 100 to 200 people visit your web site a week! I'm impressed. That's about what HORIZON fan club gets, isn't it? I wonder how many Proctor gets, especially since she advertised her home page in the back ads of STAR THREE. Maybe some eon, I'll ask my husband to help me make a hit (or whatever it's called) on your web site. Right now the modem doesn't work, though.

I'll never be ONLINE. I think one reason you haven't been reading slash recently is that there's so little NEW slash out [10]. I do plan on Escapade in 97. If you come, we can BLAKE OUT together, but no way will I be able to come close to Sue's marvelous B7 parties. Who knows, maybe I'll bring my Sutherland's Law tapes, and we can have a Gareth Thomas appreciation party in the video room? Or we can watch Gayle and Tashery's B7 music vids together since I know you like the other guy better? Nicole, are you coming? Actually, IF luck holds, there might be five or more B/A oriented people there. True, I think Nicole, Denetia, and I are the ONLY Blakies, but you guys that like Avon and, also, like B/A are AOK in my book. Or I could bring STAR ONE or BLAKE. Let's do try to do something B7 together. At the very least, let's have dinner or drink/chat up a storm in the bar....

Some days I wonder how many Gareth Thomas fans exist in England anymore. I've a suspicion that they could all meet in a telephone box just a few blocks away from the one where your Eroica fans meet. One of my Star Trek friends is mystified why I'm a B7 fan. She says B7 is dead in England, and that Babylon 5 is the big rage. She said there must be more B7 and Doctor Who fans in the USA than in England. Our larger population would make that true, though, of any fandom??? Perhaps you might care to give us an evaluation of B7 fandom in the UK someday when you've recovered from the con??

The same was happily untrue of the wrestling event Catherine and I went to in Toronto during August. I was pleased to see that so many of my favorites are even better looking and more fun in person. A few observations (feel free to skip to the next paragraph): The wrestlers read the signs fans hold up during ring entrances and will aim action in your direction if you're supportive (we were in a vocal heel section and got a lot of mat action right in front of us); the Undertaker is actually quite attractive without his makeup (who'd have guessed); Roddy Piper is aging very nicely and looks darn tasty in snug jeans; Caribbean strap matches would a lot more fun if the opponents were hot; Stone Cold Steve Austin is starting to grow on me; Lief Cassidy is way groovy; Mr. Perfect is hung like a horse; Hunter is gorgeous, his chest is covered with light blond down (I thought he was silky smooth, like Blake), and I was close enough to lick the scar on his back but didn't; Owen and Davey did a great hug at the end of the match—Owen leapt in Davey's arms and wrapped his legs around Davey's waist — and Davey led the crowd in a-chant of "Billy sucks Bart" to annoy their opponents in the tag team match; Paul Bearer held the urn mere feet from me and played the crowd brilliantly; and, in an excellent ladder match with Goldust, who I suspect pads his jumpsuit, we got a glimpse of heaven as Shawn bared his beautiful, round, smooth, perfect butt. We have pictures. (You can see lots of him, but not that, in the current issue of Playgirl. The picture on p. 28 is my favorite although the cover is cute, too.) These boys work hard to put on a good show for the fans. I was amazed at how many of the blows (especially with heavy props like chairs and ladders) actually made contact, although much of the effect depends on the recipient selling the move) and the number of bruises and welts visible on the ones without shirts. Pro wrestling is like a combination of stunt work and a contact sport: it's choreographed (although not as much as TV and movie fights) but real injuries do occur and even if everything is done right, the guys still take a lot of bumps.

....

To take the sting out of the night and the dump we were staying at (to be fair, it wasn't nearly as bad the Who's 7 hotel and as it turned out, WE were the disreputable neighbors who kept the respectable truckers on the other side awake all night with our hooting and carrying on), we ordered pizza and got plastered. My memory is hazy, but at some point during the party, we composed a witty, insightful, brilliant (did I mention we were drunk) letter to Vince McMahon about how to improve the WWF. Debbie took notes on the pizza box since we had no paper and in the morning I used the paper bag the wine came in and wrote it all up, intending to leave it in the mailbox at Titan Towers. There wasn't one, so I brought it home, spruced it up, enclosed one dollar toward the purchase of a personality for one of my favorite wrestlers (he suffers beautifully but he has no sense of humor) and mailed it off. There are portions I'd like to retract now — Mankind, for instance, has gone way up in my estimation because of his outstanding interviews and the angle with Undertaker and Paul Bearer -- and I'll admit the current Mr. Perfect-Hunter angle is probably more practical than my "trailer park baby switched during tornado" scenario, but Vince really ought to take to heart our repeated main point - get more hot guys. And the Boys of Wrestling issue of Playgirl, inspired by Shawn, was a darned clever idea, painted nipples comment or not.
There was discussion about why we tend to like male characters the best. I now conclude, for me at least, it's just the way they're presented, with the television male characters generally being more fully developed, and therefore more interesting. 'Complete people' as against 'characters'? There's no denying that in B7 my favorites run Blake, Avon and Soolin, in pretty much that order (tho in fourth season, Soolin definitely took precedence over Avon.) I like Avon second-best provided Blake's around? Yet in Babylon 5, Ivanova is my far and away favorite, and only one I even find very interesting. And in mysteries, I'm finding increasingly that I prefer ones with female protagonists. Well, given my taste in mysteries, mostly female cops, though I do make an exception for Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone. Otherwise, though, it's currently a toss-up between Lee Martin's Deb Ralston stories, and Laurie King's Kate Martinelli. These women are people I can in one way or another relate to.
I wonder how Peg Kennedy & Linda Knights are handling their assumption of Bill Hupe's zine business? Their online catalog indicates that they sell ROADS NOT TAKEN which I don't want to read, but I'm rather leery of ordering from them as they have no track record on handling orders on their own.
Illya Kuryakin in black leather? Scenic maybe, but not necessarily effective otherwise. I find part of the appeal of the character is that he is so much more dangerous than he normally looks. Ivanova is certainly tough (I'm not familiar with Kira, or at least the Kira I think you're thinking of), but not deliberately temperamental and difficult, as I perceive Avon to be. And I would think that's the difference between "tough cookie" and "bitch."

I've seen two B7-ST crosses that I can think of. One from Horizon, just OK, and another I picked up at MW a few years ago, reasonably decent as I recall, except Our Boy gets killed off before the end. I can deal with the full-scale DoD (Dead on Deck) ending of the series, but I don't want Blake picked off while the others survive. I'd give you the titles of these, but that would mean rooting through the hall closet, and I don't have time for that right now. I think that second one was from a Canadian publisher, however.

A strong second on your recommendation of 'The Road to Hell' by Suzan Lovett in POWERPLAY 1. I seem to remember the earlier POWERPLAYs having quite a lot of good stuff in them — and the last couple showing clear evidence of being rushed into print without benefit of even rudimentary proofreading. Whole chunks of stories missing or out of sequence, that kind of thing. The example I particularly remember is two characters having a conversation, and then one losing sight of the other in the choking smoke. WHAT choking smoke? It's never explained.

I definitely didn't like Nearly Beloved Rogue. (That is the Linda Terrell one. isn't it?) Like you, I just couldn't see any of the characters behaving that way. For awhile, there seemed to be quite a spate of stories in which Blake, for one reason or another, willingly or unwillingly, raped someone or other. Had me wanting to get a button that read, MY BLAKE IS NOT A RAPIST! But where would one wear it, given that seemingly all B7 cons are actor-cons? And I don't go to those anyway.

Maybe your problem with S&H is that cop shows nowadays are at least somewhat more realistic? I always thought of that one as a fantasy, wondered how many cops watched it secretly wishing they could get away with some of the stuff S&H did. Then again, there are apparently some in real life who get away with a lot worse!
COURTESY AMONG FANS: Something that bothers me is how some fans are so awful to other fans. I believe in tolerance and courtesy. I think we can all have our opinions and allow others their's, too. PROCRASTINATION (and courtesy): Another thing that bothers me is how some people never reply to letters, and others who take up to a year or more to fill an order. I don't mind warts, though, if the person lets me know about how long the wart is. I understand real life interferes with fannish pursuits. I'm shocked, though, some people don't have the simple courtesy to send a brief note or a postcard in reply to inquiries. As for those who don't EVER fill orders that are paid for, they are actually thieves. The nice fans and the honest ones outnumber the others, so I shouldn't complain.

Issue 20

Rallying Call 20 was published in February 1997.

Issue 21

Rallying Call 21 was published in May 1997.

Issue 22

Rallying Call 22 was published in August 1997.

Issue 23

Rallying Call 23 was published in November 1997.

Issue 24

Rallying Call 24 was published in February 1998.

Issue 25

Rallying Call 25 was published in May 1998.

Issue 26

Rallying Call 26 was published in August 1998.

Issue 27

Rallying Call 27 was published in November 1998.

References

  1. The Robin of Sherwood publication, Cousins, is an example of a letterzine that, for better or worse, included much commentary from one of its producers/creators.
  2. hermit.org
  3. Lysator, comments by Terry Owen, September 1998
  4. This fan is likely referring to File:Avoncalling3back.jpg
  5. Oooh, oooh, I know one! A Question of Trust.
  6. actor in the TV series Zorro
  7. character in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  8. from a fan in the Blake's 7 APA Rallying Call #15 (1995)
  9. This fan is referring to The Angel, the Saint, the Rebel, the Dead Man, and Me, a story by Natasha Solten in Resistance.
  10. One reason for this is the new slash was now appearing online rather than in print zines.