Rebel Desires

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Title: Rebel Desires
Publisher: Peg Kennedy and Bill Hupe, then perhaps Linda Knights
Editor(s): Peg Kennedy
Date(s): January 1995
Medium: print, zine
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
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Rebel Desires is a slash and het Blake's 7 161-page anthology. The front cover is by TACS, the back cover (a very are portrayal of Avon/Tarrant) by Randym, and the cartoons are by Audrey Weirdsley.
front cover by TACS
inside page sample of text
-- "Well, I can't say I'm surprised, Blake. I've always maintained you were a big prick and totally impractical."
back cover by Randym, portrays Avon and Tarrant in an embrace

There was an ad in a 1993 flyer from Bill Hupe's catalog, but the zine was not published until 1995.

From the Flyer

a flyer, printed in Bill Hupe's Winter 1993 catalog
From a 1993 flyer:
We are pleased to bring you the first issue of what we hope will be a long-running anthology of choice Blake's 7 stories. Between the covers you will find [story titles and excerpts snipped]. Sizzling stories from writers like Mystral, Catocala, Khylara, Audrey Wierdsley, Sheila Paulson, Cathering Salmon, Riley Cannon & Sami O'Tool and MORE. And check out those slightly-familiar-cartoons-with-a-twist from Audrey Wierdsley! Rebel Desires offers a variety fo erotic scenarios, pairings with those you might expect... and some you might not. We hope it will have something for nearly everyone's taste in adult fantasy. Issue #1 is approx 160 pgs with a beautiful cover by TACS.

The Editorial

At last! In your hands you hold the culmination of several years work, sweat, inspiration, computer hours, missed deadlines, assorted mutterings under one's breath and the hope that these stories will bring enjoyment to all of you who read Rebel Desires #1.

It is always my intention to offer variety in a zine and in this case I believe we have delivered. I also want to thank each writer for their patience as this project slowly grew, evolved, and finally came to fruition.

Somewhere among the stacks on my desk and within the occasionally cantankerous bowels of my computer, reside the first few stories slated for Rebel Desires #2. Yes, as long as there is interest (and sufficient submissions) there will be more issues forthcoming. So let me know what you think really, what or who, you would like to see on these pages and spread the word that Rebel Desires #1 is out there!


Reactions and Reviews

See reactions and reviews for Quest for Fire.
See reactions and reviews for Jealousy.
See reactions and reviews for Slaver.
See reactions and reviews for Sentiment.

An aptly named zine, covering a broad spectrum of rebel sexuality, both slash and adult, some of it predictable and some of it distinctly unexpected.

The zine kicks off with "Quest for Fire", an excellent PGP story by Riley Cannon and Cami O'Tool, in which Avon and Tarrrant are stranded in a country cabin on their way off-planet. When Avon discovers Blake's journal on the bookshelves, he is forced to reconsider his guilt about Blake's murder - and his relationship with Tarrant. The dialogue is spot on, the sexual tension is almost palpable and the suspense is heightened by some genuine character-based misunderstandings. I'm not an Avon/Tarrant fan but by the end of the story I was hoping like mad for them to get together.

Leah S.'s "Stalemate" represents another of my pet hates - stories where Avon (a) won't sleep with Blake unless he gives up the revolution but (b) wouldn't remain interested in Blake if he actually made that choice - although once again, Starsky won me over with her accurate characterisation, wry humour and smooth pacing. In contrast, Paula's "Feedback" had an intriguing central concept (sex between Tarrant and Vila enhanced by their linkage to the supercomputer Jabberwocky) but since I'm not familiar with Paula's Jabberwocky series, I felt as though I was missing out on a lot of the resonances in the story.

"Bottle of Wine" by Vanessa Mullen is a wicked piece of work, packing in as many sexual manoeuvres as eight pages could possibly hold (D/V, A/V, A/S/V) and ending with the delightful image of Soolin gazing at "the dark head and the light head resting upon her", which, I suppose, makes it a Mary Soolin story - in other words, a sophisticated and tongue-in-cheek version of the usual Mary Sue.

Then there is an abrupt shift of tone in "Fool's Interlude", Catocala's account of Vila falling apart after an alternate version of Gauda Prime, set up by Avon and Blake to fool the Federation. Vila's anguish, indicated by some rather clumsy phonetic stammering, wins Avon's heart and left me feeling intensely irritated - but then, I see Vila as more resilient and Avon as less compassionate than this.

In Claire's "With this Ring," Jenna hopes Blake is going to give her the ring she has seen him buy, until she notices Avon wearing it - a plot device that comes close to Jenna-bashing, not one of my favourite sports.

Pat Terra's "Jealousy" revolves around a double deception, where Vila takes Tynus's place because he wants to know how Avon will react sexually to a fellow Alpha and then discovers that Avon actually recognised him all along. Terra combines hot sex with a deft handling of Vila's bedroom masquerade and then uses the situation to propel Avon and Vila through their class barriers into a more honest and satisfying relationship.

In "Slaver", Avon and Blake are sold as sex slaves to a high priestess and her virgin daughter but since Mystral never really decides whether this is a pleasant romp or an exercise in humiliation, the story remains uncomfortably superficial.

Khylara's "Forgiveness", set straight after Orbit, takes Vila through a bewildering series of mood changes in three short pages, centering around the premise that being stalked and almost killed by your lover can bring the two of you closer together, as long as your lover apologises nicely ...

After that, it was a relief to turn to Irish's "Sentiment," another of her knowledgable stories about Avon and Blake, where Avon starts flirting with Blake to annoy Jenna but finds himself caught by his own manipulations. While Irish doesn't shy away from the inherent A/B angst, she always manages to steer her protagonists through their conflicts to a convincingly happy ending and she keeps an observant eye on the rest of the Liberator's crew as well.

Leslie Boucher sets up a potentially heart-wrenching situation in "Return to Life", when Vila is called back to the Liberator to take care of Avon while he waits to see whether Tarrant, now his lover, can be resuscitated after an accident. However, the emotions underlying the events don't come through very clearly, possibly because Boucher's story seems to be part of an ongoing series.

Rhapsodie's "Tripping the Light Fantastic" starts well, with Soolin and Vila involved in a dance that gradually mutates into sex, although the style of the story doesn't really match its subject matter, being too down to earth and too dependent on comic backchat to bring out the poetry inherent in the basic concept.

And there's a different kind of clash between style and subject in Claire's story "Workout", when a session in the Liberator's weight room ends with tears of joy and vows of eternal love, rather than some opportunistic sweaty gym sex for Blake and Avon.

"Cat and Mouse" and "Cat Flap" by Audrey Weirdsley are a pair of related fragments, based around the idea that Avon and Vila met at the Thieves" Guild on earth, before ending up on the same prison ship. In Cassandra's "A Chance You Have to Take", Avon and Tarrant decide to sleep together in order to relieve their sexual frustration - a perfectly realistic premise but IMHO nowhere near as interesting to read about as either mindless lust or unabashed romance.

And, speaking of unabashed romance, Rebel Desires ends with a good example of that particular genre in Catherine Salmon's "To Trust a Friend," a classic A/B hurt/comfort love story, rounding out a zine that really does seem to have something for everyone. [1]


[See aralias' comments for Quest for Fire]

Stalemate (B/A) - Leah S. (I actually think the character/plot device that Nova mentions hating in her review (i.e. Avon wanting Blake to give up the rebellion, but not wanting him to) makes a lot of sense as a way of B and A interacting, so I was looking forward to this fic - which does almost nothing for me. The dialogue is insipid and nothing happens.)

Feedback (V/T) - Paula (part of The Jabberwocky Universe) (I like this fic a lot, but it'll do little for you if you don't know Jabberwocky.)

Bottle of Wine (A/V, then V/Soolin/A) - Vanessa Mullen (This is very good - I like the way the A/V escalates, with A being playful yet threatening. It's somewhat of a shame that Tarrant has to be homophobic, but... not unimaginable.)

Fool's Interlude (A/V) - Catocala (Weepy Vila.)

With This Ring (B/A, implied B/J) - Claire (Kind of fun. Blake and Jenna go shopping together, which is cute! Although I think it would take more than presents and rather soppy letters to win Avon round - even though he is avaricious, obviously. And does love Blake.)

[See aralias' comments for Jealousy]

[See aralias' comments for Slaver]

Forgiveness (A/V) - Khylara (As we know, I don't read post-Orbits no more.)

[See aralias' comments for Sentiment]

Return to Life (A/T, implied A/V. Middle of a series?) - Leslie Boucher (Must be the second in a series (it definitely ends 'to be continued...') but doesn't make it clear to the reader - we just learn that Avon and Tarrant are on the Liberator alone and everyone else is gone. I stopped reading after a while, but basically they get Vila back and he spends a lot of time pining after Avon. The dialogue seemed to be not bad, really. Quite good Orac.)

Tripping the Light Fantastic (V/Soolin) - Rapsodie (Pretty good V/S fic. Due to what is essentially sex pollen it's not even a sad PGP taking comfort in each other fic, either, which describes most of the pairing output (unless Avon is there). Fun. Some good crew dynamic stuff in the background, too.)

Workout (B/A) - Claire (Avon's wearing silk shorts and is the most buff; Blake is out of shape and awkward. When these are your characterisations of our heroes, we are probably not going to get on. Epic declarations of love, although Avon didn't even begin to imagine Blake fancied him before the fic began...)

Cat and Mouse (A/V) - Audrey Weirdsley [and] Cat Flap (A/V) - Audrey Weirdsley (Two rather fun fics about a thieves guild that both A and V are members of - good comedy Vila-ish tone. It's worth mentioning that it's likely the relationship is unrequited (Avon is the one who does not requite, obviously).)

A Chance you Have To Take (A/T) - Cassandra (Probably my favourite in the zine, though Bottle of Wine and Quest for Fire are also good. I really like how grown-up and capable Avon is - unexpectedly, yet plausibly.)

To Trust a Friend (B/A) - Catherine S. (I kind of like the beginning with Avon accidentally becoming interested in Blake, but as soon as he goes to Blake's room to comfort him it all goes downhill as far as characterisation is concerned. )[2]

[zine]: Thanks very much for "Rebel Desires #1", I thought B7 fandom was dead when I discovered it early last year so I'm glad to see zines are still being made and writers are still being inspired.

I really like the way it's bound, spiral binding often destroys the pages and the cover is very nice too especially with the plastic cover. I tend to carry the zines around with me while I'm reading them and it's nice if they don't look like a dog's had them when I've finished ...

I look forward to the next issue of Rebel Desires and Rebel Destinies #2 [3]. I do intend to write a LOC for the latter, hopefully I'll get it off soon but I find it harder to write thinking the writers might read it, I'll guess I just won't mention those stories I dislike, after all it's mostly a matter of personal taste. [4]

[zine]: "Feedback" by Paula is one of the most erotic pieces of adult fanfic that I've read. It takes place in the Jabberwocky universe in which Tarrant is mentally linkedwith the ship's human brain computer. When Vila and Tarrant decide to share sex with each other and invite Jabberwocky to join them, all of their emotions and sensations reverberate through the link. Hot.

"Return to Life" by Leslie Boucher is a sequel to a story in Resistance 8. The action takes place in an alternate universe in which Tarrant and Avon are lovers and the only two rebels left on Liberator. In "Return to Life," Tarrant's dead body is in cryogenic storage in hopes that it can eventually be repaired. Meanwhile, Avon's mourning has brought him to a debilitated state where his life is also threatened Summoned by Orac, Vila returns to rescue both men. A twist at the end indicates that he might have ulterior motives for his acts of kindness. (To be continued...sometime...somewhere.)

"A Chance You Have to Take" by Cassandra. Tarrant, feeling lonely, gets uncharacteristically drunk. Avon offers him sympathy and companionship. A story that manages to be both sweet and pragmatic.

There are two pieces of art: a color Blake front cover and an intimate A/T by Randym on the back cover. Perfect bound, the zine is gorgeous: crisp, clear print that is neatly displayed. But the fully justified narrow columns sometimes made reading it a bit distracting, with some lines offering too much white space and some lines appearing to be cramped. Some formatting problems with indented material in the original printing have been corrected. There are 161 pages of adult pairings, most of which are slash. [5]

[zine]: Poorly produced zines are annoying to me, too. In this age of desktop publishing, there's really no excuse for not making the zine look as nice as possible. My latest disappointment in that respect was Rebel Desires. I was very, very unhappy with the typefaces and layout chosen, especially for "Quest for Fire." I love that story, but the decision to make the italicized flashbacks and quotations extra-large and indent them made those passages, which were so

important to the emotional tone of the story, almost unreadable. Very irritating indeed. [6]


  1. a review by Nova, undated
  2. review by aralias, March 12, 2015
  3. odd, confusing phrasing
  4. from an April 1995 mailer from Bill Hupe
  5. Carol McCoy, focus is Del Tarrant, in IMHO* #2 (1995)
  6. Rallying Call #13 (1995)