Reflections in a Shattered Glass

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You may be looking for Reflections in a Darkened Glass, a Beauty and the Beast zine.

Zine
Title: Reflections in a Shattered Glass
Publisher: Space Rat Press
Editor:
Author(s): Joe Nazzaro
Cover Artist(s): Suzan Lovett
Illustrator(s): Suzan Lovett
Date(s): 1989, second printing March 1990
Medium: print zine, fanfic
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
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Reflections in a Shattered Glass is a mirror universe 76-page gen Blake's 7 novel by Joe Nazzaro. It has an introduction by Terry Nation.

Terry Nation's Introduction

Almost a year ago, I received the opening chapters of Joe Nazzaro's manuscript. In the accompanying letter, Joe asked two things: one, my permission to use the characters and the worlds of Blake's 7 (a courtesy I am seldom accorded), and secondly, he asked my opinion of the work in progress.

I read the opening chapters and found myself intrigued and absorbed. I was hooked. I read on with growing fascination and ever-increasing questions. Where was the story going? What was happening here? Had Joe written himself into a corner from which there was no escape? How could he make sense of what seemed an impossibly contradictory plot? With the questions answered, the manuscript came to an abrupt end -- a cliff-hanger of classic proportions. Desperate to know what came next, I called Joe. His voice took on a confident but enigmatic note as he evaded all of my questions. "Trust me," he said finally, and no amount of bullying or cajoling elicited my answers. Finally, I had no alternative but to do as Joe asked. I trusted him.

You will see that trust was totally justified. The completed work answered all of my questions, and I was finally rescued from the cliff on which I had hung for a year. "Reflections" is inventive, imaginative, and exciting. It is trued to the spirit of Blake's 7, and will take an important place in the literature that the series has inspired. Read it and enjoy it with the great advantage of knowing that you won't have to wait, fingernails clawing at the cliff's edge, to discover how it comes out. Terry Nation, 1989, Los Angeles

Sample Interior: The Chapter Headings

Reactions and Reviews

1992

What if an alternative universe existed where everyone has a twin whose personality is exactly opposite of their own, and what if due to a teleport malfunction those two worlds are mixed up, with an alternative Avon and Vila exchanging places with the original. The original Avon and Vila find themselves in a confusing world that includes an ultra-evil Blake and a heroic Servalan. A fascinating story. [1]

1993

My strongest memory of this zine was Terry Nation's foreward, saying, basically "how nice it was that [the publisher] sent me a copy and asked permission."

I thought to myself: Does Terry Nation (a nice and intelligent man, don't get me wrong) have any idea how much Blakes7 fanfic gets published every year?

Does he really want to read all of it? Does he really want to be the one to tell individual editor/publisher/writers that *their* story, either because of artistic ineptitude, or questionable subject matter, *doesn't* have his approval?

Then what happens...a fannish sh*tstorm of epic proportions, I would guess.[2]
"Reflections" is a long short story, sold separately (batteries not included although stories of similar length appear in collections. It has a very nice B&W cover by Suzan Lovett. Segments of the cover appear at the start of each chapter as an indication of which character will be featured. At least, I think that was what was intended. It uses the premise of the ST ep "Mirror, Mirror." A good idea. Imagine a good Servalan and Travis running the rebellion and a nasty Blake hunting them down. I thought the real Blake was pretty well done -- not overly compassionate, not overly manipulative -- I could see him surviving on his own so I was happy. But...hmmm...too much "science" and not enough fun. Vila's funny lines weren't, and neither Avon rang true (one was Avon the All Wise -- thanks Joan -- and the other was...cute). The women were at least given something to do, which is more than they get in a lot of stories I've read, and I sort of liked the idea of an evil Cally. On the whole, however, there was a certain sameness about the characters -- all good or bad in the same waywithout much sense of the individuals. I felt as if the author was trying to get too much in and sacrificed depth for breadth. It would have been more interesting (to me) if he'd spent more time on just one or two of the characters and how different they were in the different universes instead of trying to cover them all. [3]

2016

Oh my god, where to begin? Yes, it’s written by a fan who went pro, and illustrated by a fan art legend. It had the full approval of Terry Nation, who wrote the forward for it. For all that it’s a typical stapled booklet fanzine, it’s professionally typeset and printed. And the story is absolutely amazing.

A freak teleport accident sees Vila and Avon transposed with their opposites in an alternate reality. In this mirror universe, Blake is the Federation’s top agent, running a crew of the most vicious psychopaths on the Vanquisher II, a captured alien vessel. Their mission is to obliterate the resistance wherever they find it, and now they are seeking the leaders of that resistance: Travis and Servalan. Vila and Avon are hard-pressed to keep what’s happened a secret while they simultaneously try to get back while avoiding being casually murdered by their crewmates. This is complicated still further when they discover their counterparts are actually resistance themselves, putting them right in the middle of the madness.

There are fascinating character differences in here with the alternates, which alone would make the story worth it. Vila is a tough, sarcastic brawler, always ready for a scrap, and Avon is meek and mild. Travis is honorable and levelheaded, Servalan kind and caring. Cally is a full telepath, and like all the Auronar, a spymaster for the Federation (predating Psi-Corps by 5 years!) Gan and Jenna are vicious, conspiring killers. Blake is a terrifying, cold maniac (and the sole reason the crew haven’t killed each other long ago.)

Our “heroes” are disturbing, the story is memorable (if a bit soul-scarring at points) and the interior art is amazing. If you can find it, get it....

#If you're one to buy fanzines you should go get it now #Joe Nazzaro #Susan Lovett #It's a damn pity there are so many legal issues with fanfic #because this deserves a legal reprinting #preferably in hardcover #ah well [4]

2017

here's some more pro-fanfic i read recently. 'reflections in a shattered glass' is sort of fanfic, but it's also sort of not, as it's written by joe nazzaro who wrote 'the inside story' and married gareth's ex wife and there's a foreword by terry nation who authorised the fic. so - in a way, it's more legitimate that the big finish stuff.

Reflections in a Shattered Glass

As usual Sue Clerc, who I have never met but seems to be right about everything, nails the response to this one - On the whole, however, there was a certain sameness about the characters -- all good or bad in the same way without much sense of the individuals.

That's it exactly - everyone who was 'good' in our universe is now a psycho with less depth than Travis, and Servalan and Travis are just goodies - although Travis does sacrifice his enemies to man-eating trees, though I guess Blake would probably do that too. It is a bad dull - although Blake does muse towards the end that it's all to do with choices, Harry - "During the twentieth century, there was a school of thought among many psychologists of old Earth that man was a product of his environment. If you took a set of twin brothers, for example, and raised one of them in atmosphere of crime and poverty, he would turn out to be quite different in personality from his brother, who might have been brought up in a setting of ease and comfort." I feel like that would have been more interesting - the very lack of plausibility de-fangs the whole concept, which is weird because all of these people do clearly have a dark side.

We would also have to accept that Servalan has potentially got the capacity for good - I can see her as a resistance leader, but ... as a means to power, rather than for the good of humanity. Travis is pretty plausible on the other side. He's a man or morality, who has been trained to believe the Federation is right.

Avon (who, along with Vila, journeys to the Mirrorverse) in this universe is the one semi-interesting change - in that he's a spy for Servalan i.e. the good Servalan who is his lover i.e. Avon is a spy on board the evil Liberator trying to bring it down. He tells the real Blake that they are 'kindred spirits' - and it isn't a trick. I assume that Avon is like this partially for plot reasons (it allows Blake to easily get info about what's happening in the MirrorVerse) and partly because it's possible the real Avon is plotting to overthrow the real Blake/his crucial personality trait is that he isn't committed to the rebellion, and therefore it is that rather than allegiance that gets changed. It's kind of weird, whatever it is.

It's also an interesting choice to leave the Federation as the baddies (which is not what Trek did) - because with Blake's speech we've clearly constructed a mirror verse that is driven by individual choices, rather than cosmic ho-hah. So we're positing that given the choice the oppressed would have built an almost identical system of oppression, which looks and is named exactly the same as the previous system of oppression. Either than, or the literal only people who changed during the swap are our heroes, and the Auronar, who are now part of the Federation's PyCore.

The treatment of the Auronar was actually one of the things I liked best - they've been co-opted by the Federation, and enhanced by their scientists, so that their telepathic powers (now used for evil, of course) are far greater than any our Cally knows. Evil Cally can read minds - and this is used well throughout the Mirrorverse section, as even she recoils from Blake's mind, and there's some tension about whether or not she'll be able to work out who Avon and Vila are). Gan has a feud with her people because the Auronar were involved with the death of his wife.

The writing's good and engaging, with various nice worldbuilding elements. For example, we begin with Avon and Vila trading with a giant turtle for a Mcguffin. The turtle and its people/equipment (transdimensional cape - v good) are well described. The characters are in general a bit flat - Vila gets very very little to do except cower. It was very easy to read, and I finished it in a few hours.

Suzan Lovett did the illustrations - and while they're all good because they're Lovetts, i feel like they could have been better. There's sometimes not too much difference between the good and evil looking - very often, particularly the women, just look the same.

Conclusion: If you happen to come across it you might as well read it, but don't hunt it down. More than anything this fic is a good prompt to say - Blake's 7 needs more Mirrorverse fics. I've always liked Elviaprose's kink meme prompt [5]. Maybe one day... [6]

Oh my god, where to begin? Yes, it’s written by a fan who went pro, and illustrated by a fan art legend. It had the full approval of Terry Nation, who wrote the forward for it. For all that it’s a typical stapled booklet fanzine, it’s professionally typeset and printed. And the story is absolutely amazing.

A freak teleport accident sees Vila and Avon transposed with their opposites in an alternate reality. In this mirror universe, Blake is the Federation’s top agent, running a crew of the most vicious psychopaths on the Vanquisher II, a captured alien vessel. Their mission is to obliterate the resistance wherever they find it, and now they are seeking the leaders of that resistance: Travis and Servalan. Vila and Avon are hard-pressed to keep what’s happened a secret while they simultaneously try to get back while avoiding being casually murdered by their crewmates. This is complicated still further when they discover their counterparts are actually resistance themselves, putting them right in the middle of the madness.

There are fascinating character differences in here with the alternates, which alone would make the story worth it. Vila is a tough, sarcastic brawler, always ready for a scrap, and Avon is meek and mild. Travis is honorable and levelheaded, Servalan kind and caring. Cally is a full telepath, and like all the Auronar, a spymaster for the Federation (predating Psi-Corps by 5 years!) Gan and Jenna are vicious, conspiring killers. Blake is a terrifying, cold maniac (and the sole reason the crew haven’t killed each other long ago.)

Our “heroes” are disturbing, the story is memorable (if a bit soul-scarring at points) and the interior art is amazing. If you can find it, get it.

Blake's 7 vintage fanzines There is currently a copy up for auction on eBay in the US If you're one to buy fanzines you should go get it now Joe Nazzaro Susan Lovett It's a damn pity there are so many legal issues with fanfic because this deserves a legal reprinting preferably in hardcover ah well [7]
I own this one now, too, and I second all of the above. It’s slightly shorter than I thought it was, just over 70 pages, and while I wish there were more space to explore the idea, it feels well-rounded nonetheless - it reads very like a TV episode. Don’t even get me started on the absolutely breathtaking art. [8]

References

  1. from Horizon Letterzine #4 (November 1992)
  2. Anglicon?/zine reviews (Reflections in a Shattered Glass) Feb 16, 1993 post to the Lysator mailing list by Sandy Hereld(publicly accessible).
  3. Anglicon?/zine reviews (Reflections in a Shattered Glass) Sue Clerc, dated Feb 15, 1993, at Lysator (publicly accessible).
  4. bruinhilda.tumblr, November 21, 2016
  5. Kink Meme, May 27, 2013
  6. more of the same, review by Aralias, June 4, 2017
  7. bruinhilda.tumblr., November 21, 2016
  8. https://castielslight.tumblr.com/post/162678824076/bruinhilda-reflections-in-a-shattered-glass-by castielslight.tumblr], July 6, 2017