Relative Secrecy

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Title: Relative Secrecy
Editor(s): Marian Kelly
Date(s): 1997-2007
Medium: print
Fandom: Man from UNCLE
Language: English
External Links: Link to zine flyers
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Relative Secrecy is a slash Man from UNCLE anthology with covers by Rune.

General Reactions and Reviews

Probably my favorite series of MFU zines overall; the variety of authors and stories is wonderful, and the editing is top-notch. Plus the covers are gorgeous. [1]
These are often a darker read then the Comrades or We Have Each Others. The stories can be romantic, but I believe these zines are the darkest of the current crop of MUNCLE zines. [2]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1

Relative Secrecy 1 was published in 1997 and is 195 pages long. Includes: To Live in Interesting Times by Taliesin, winner of a 1998 STIFfie Award (Best Story), nominee for a 1998 Fan Q Award (Best Story); The Baltic Affair by P.R. Zed and The Party Time Affair by Linda White, nominees for 1998 Fan Q Awards (Best Story); and The You Chased Me 'Til I Caught You Affair by Paloma Manchada, nominee for a 1998 STIFfie Award (Best Story).

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for To Live in Interesting Times.
[To Live in Interesting Times & Sufficient Unto the Day] - In Relative Secrecy 1 and Relative Secrecy 2, respectively. These two A/Us have almost nothing in common with MFU canon, although fans of La Femme Nikita will recognize the mood and premise. Nevertheless, they're beautifully written, and a haunting portrayal of a possible NS and IK in a (very) worst-case scenario. [3]
[Sufficient Unto the Day]: Why this must be read: Because it's the sequel of "To live in interesting times"!, already recced, written with the same magic, in the same vibrating, haunting tone and because this dark universe, that we see progressively becoming ours a little more everyday, is my favourite MFU nightmare; this time the author is offering us a tiny, faint blink of light, a while of rest in a murky, chaotic, meaningless fight. like the ancient Taliesin the Bard, who had the power to tell the things that are, the things that were and the things that would be, our Taliesin knows how to call forth the shadows of the events to come. [4]
[Better Late]: There is one other story that Ms. Kyle allows us to witness such moving character development. Simply titled Better Late, this bittersweet story is set after the Fifteen Years Later Affair. And it is, to put it bluntly, brilliant. Time has not been kind to either of them, especially Napoleon, and in (his story one faces the worries of middle-age: cholesterol, calories, heart problems, depression, even impotence.

I should admit here and now that this was the first Theresa Kyle story I ever read. My initial impression was one of horror. The Napoleon and Illya in my mind are young, dashing, invincible heroes - how dare someone portray them as human beings! And to do it in a way which was so believable only made matters worse. The worst thing of all was that the story possessed, as I was to discover in many of Ms. Kyle's other works, an undeniable ring of truth.

Perhaps that was what disturbed me the most - the idea that our heroes could be as susceptible to the ravages of time as the rest of us.

It was only later, after I had read more slash zines, that I realized that this work was not typical of her other stories. Ms. Kyle obviously likes Napoleon and Illya, and she is capable of writing them the way I envisioned in my imagination. She does not have an axe to grind, and she isn't out to 'punish' either one of them for character faults, real or imagined.

No, her goal was far nobler.

But it look me several months to figure it out.

She wanted to flesh them out into three-dimensional, complex characters. To transform them beyond the limitation of stereotype into living, breathing individuals.

I never expected to read a story in which a weary Napoleon states that a man's worth does not depend on the number of women he has bedded. Nor was I prepared for a quietly desperate Illya, barely concealing his feelings in his awkward advances.

They are the characters we remember, but older and much, much wiser, Illya is less cynical, more accepting, with a poignant impulsivity that comes with an awareness of one's own mortality. As for Napoleon, the flippancy and superficiality are gone forever. It is replaced by a poignant gravitas only hinted at in the movie.

In Better Late, they are allowed to mature to a far greater extent than any other story I have read to date. They will never regain the confidence and looks of youth. But they are still heroic. Much as they inspired us with their daring escapades when we first saw the show, in this story they still inspire with their ability to overcome personal obstacles to find each other. They learn from mistakes, they take advice, they forgive in this story, they become individuals I admire and respect. [5]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Relative Secrecy 2 was published in 1998 and is 148 pages long. Winner of a 1999 STIFfie Award (Best Zine). Includes The Broken Man Affair by Linda White, co-winner of a 1999 Fan Quality Award (Best Story) and nominee for a STIFfie Award (Best Story).

From the editorial:
We're a little shorter this year than last. However, though the number of stories is a little less, the number of authors is greater, so I think we're achieving greater diversity. We have a few first time stories, a few established relationships, one "in the beginning" and one that doesn't even really get started. We also have one death story ("Falls the Shadow"), for those of you who prefer to be warned. Several of the stories this time around are sequels to stories which appeared in Relative Secrecy 1. Though even someone who hasn't read the first stories will enjoy these, a few references will make more sense to readers familiar with the earlier efforts. These sequels include: The See Lubyanka and Die Affair", in which P.R. Zed answers the question ofwhat comes next for our boys following The Baltic Affair" and what happens to the U.N.C.L.E. agents who were taken in the KGB sweep which failed to capture Kuryakin. We also have The London Affair" by Paloma Manchada, continuing her series (which is shaping up to be a veritable universe) which began with The Over-Night Sleep-Out Affair" and "The You Chased Me Til I Caught You Affair" — and this time, never fear, they actually make it into the sack. Linda White weighs in with three more installments in her fascinating universe, which certainly needs no introduction from me! Finally, "Sufficient Unto the Day" is set in the same alternate universe as T o Live in Interesting Times." It was written in response to several requests for a sequel, but I hesitate to call it such, as I'm not convinced that the Illya and Napoleon of that universe would ever meet up again. Shall we merely I say it's a possibility?? (How's that for authorial quibbling in an editorial?) In addition to the returning authors, Relative Secrecy 2 also has quite a few new authors (some of whom are not only new to the zine, but to writing in U.N.C.L.E. slash fandom). I'm grateful that they felt brave enough to deal with me and my editorial quibbling and I hope they are as happy with the end result as I am.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[The Fusion Affair]: Napoleon is saddled with a new partner, and he's not too happy about it. There's a delightful whimsical tone to his introspections as he muses on the loss of his freedom....

However, everything changes as Napoleon and Illya seem to forge a mental union in order to escape from Thrush. Or did they? Is this 'fusion' real, or is Napoleon imagining things?

It's funny and intriguing and there's this lovely half-clothed scene in the shower. There isn't much banter, but that's only because they've found a more elemental way to get their point across. [6]
[After Querido]: I first read this story when I was too new to the fandom to really appreciate the depth and detail of this characterization. Even so, I fell in love with the complex, fascinating layers of both Napoleon and Illya in this short rumination. Now that I know the characters better, I appreciate the story that much more.

This piece is part of Linda's Third Level universe, but I don't think you even have to know what that means to enjoy the story. Linda certainly has a very *specific* vision of the guys and their relationship and, as presented here, it's quite accessible and believable.

Linda also writes *beautifully*. After Querido is one of the more "literary" stories I've read in this fandom. The poetic language has a rhythmic cadence that is almost hypnotic, as in this paragraph -- my favorite passage of any fanfiction story:

You count the scars on my body. You touch them with your fingertips and your lips, and you count them out loud sometimes, in Russian. And we remember where I got them. I do the same for yours, and we remember those wounds, too. It pulls us together, it binds us in ways normal people can't understand. The invisible thread of life sewing us one to the other, stitching into my wound and out, into your wound and out, back and forth, until we are wound up together, inextricably woven into the same tapestry of remembered suffering. [7]
[The Ties That Bind]: What I like most about this story is the strength of the camaraderie between Napoleon and Illya. We see them in action, on the run from THRUSH, exhibiting their characteristic ingenuity and aplomb in the face of danger, never losing their senses of humor and always relaying on their trust in one another. The increasing intimacy between them is utterly convincing with a beautifully underplayed love scene. [8]

Issue 3

cover of issue #3

Relative Secrecy 3 was published in 1999 and is 271 pages long. Nominee for a 2000 STIFfie Award (Best Zine).

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[Finders Keepers]: Napoleon's charm, patience, and good humour is tested when he tries to find his way back to Illya and U.N.C.L.E HQ during one hectic night in New York City. Thrush agents want him and the secret codes he's stolen from them, a pretty damsel eagerly offers a change of clothes and her affections for the night...and the men at the gay bathhouse are all too ready to welcome him with open arms and various other appendages.

Poor Napoleon. He's too popular for his own good. But never fear - the ever-dependable Illya is in hot pursuit. And tonight he's determined to get his man in more ways than one.

A crazy, witty and sexy farce from start to finish. [9]
[zine]: Relative Secrecy 3 debuted to a hail of positive commentary this Spring, so I was quite anxious for my copy to arrive in the mail. It did and I read and "Wow!" This is one of those stay-up-all-night-till-you-drop-over-tired kind of U.N.C.L.E. zines.

What a collection of stories! The range goes from ghostly to H/C Napoleon to H/C Illya to dimensional shifting to sweet romance to a rollickingly funny adventure in New York City. This is a truly glorious set of stories.

Um, my favorites:

"Finders Keeper" by Taliesin. Napoleon, returning from a mission overseas, ends up dumped out in New York, far from HQ, with only a few foreign coins in his pockets and Thrush hot on his tail. What follows is a hysterical escape through the city with Mr. Solo one step ahead of the bad guys and Mr. Kuryakin one step behind. Throw in a mix of indignant NYC cops, coffee shop waitresses, frowsy housewives, big dogs and ...uh, I won't ruin the best parts. Suffice it to say I thought it was entirely hysterical. My favorite scene involves a thoroughly-soaked and entirely indignant Thrush fledgling facing down the guys toward the end. If Napoleon has had a bad night, this poor lad has had a far-worse one.

"The Das Vadanya Affair" by P.R. Zed. Minor quibble, very minor, it should be "Do Svidaniya" the linguist in me is screaming to get that out. That said, I'm sad to report that I now am forced to hate P.R. Zed. This story is sublime and I am green with jealousy that 1 did not write it itself. Illya decides he must leave U.N.C.L.E. and his lover Napoleon for the sake of Napoleon's career. The logic makes sense and this decision is very in keeping with Illya's character, so the story flowed. The section where a retired Illya is receiving letters from his former colleagues is superb. A three hankie story for the sentimental definitely (or a stitch-in-the-throat story tough old broads like myself.) Quality work this.

"Standing Stones" by Kate Drummond. A top-grade ghost story. I'm a sucker for supernatural stuff so I set out reading this with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. The guys in peril, a dangerous landscape, bad guys have them on the ropes and then,..and then...??? Bwahaha, you'll have to read it to find out. I'm not ruining this chiller by spilling the beans. It's a good 'un.

"The Costa Rica Affair" by Paloma Manchada. I read this one over, couldn't decide if I liked it or not. Re-read it, puzzled over why it felt strange to me. Decided it must be because the primary plot thread is of Napoleon being the helpless victim for once, of Napoleon instead of Illya facing victimization. Read it through again, decided it was a powerful H/C story. Good genre story, just a bit disorienting due to the mirror-image effect.

"The Dimensional Shift Affair" by Linda White. This was another perplexing story to me. Everyone I've talked to loves this story. Three sets of primary players from three different dimensional realities looping around one another due to a rift in space-time This substantial story sets a very complex set of threads into collision. I found it intriguing and well-written, but haven't yet had the free time yet to digest the plot. (Too much work, too little life). I always like Linda's writing in any case and it is a strong part of the zine.

The other authors are also powerful in their own right and I didn't find any weak offerings in the lot.

Did I mention this is slash? Lots of hot action going on.

Most fine zine, canna wait for the next one. [10]
[zine]: Relative Secrecy #3 is in my opinion the best of the three RS zines — a diversified collection including action/adventure, science fiction, fantasy, good old-fashioned romance, and even a ghost story or two; there is something here for everyone. And, at 270 pages and a $18 plus postage purchase price, it might be one of the best bargains around as well.

In "Discovery in an Alley," by Deb, the writer explores a rather familiar scenario — Napoleon and Illya forced into sexual circumstances as part of their undercover roles — but gives it a delightful twist. I especially loved Illya in this one; there's a tendency with some U.N.C.L.E. writers to make Illya either too tough and unapproachable, or too vulnerable and wimpy, but this writer struck a perfect balance. I could just hear him make his shy admission, "I've wanted to for years."

A really different story is Sarah Lindsay's "A Friend in Need Affair." Award-winning author Lindsay takes a hard-to-believe supernatural scenario and yet makes it believable, in part due to her strong characterization. I loved Napoleon's being protective and supportive of his partner even though he didn't understand Illya's fear, and his soft declaration, "I'm glad that you came all the way from the other side of the world to become my partner." A wonderful ending too. A real gem of a story.

"The Costa Rica Affair," by Paloma Manchada, is a skillfully-done adventure story, with some wonderful h/c — and I loved it that Napoleon was (he one who got hurt for a change! Napoleon's angst over Illya's supposed death, and Illya's concern for his injured partner, make this a great relationship story too. Despite the drawback that this was actually not a Napoleon/Illya story — Illya has sex with someone else, not Napoleon — this was still, all in all, a well-told and satisfying tale.

"Hidden Talents" by Jennifer Lyon was a nice, cozy little short-short with an interestingly different premise - - we see Illya (not Napoleon) using his sexual talents (in this case, with a man) for U.N.C.L.E.. The ending was delicious.

No one who has been lucky enough to read Kate Drummond's work in the past will be surprised to hear that her novella, "Standing Stones," is a fascinating and exciting story loaded with a lot of lovely angst, humorous banter, hot sex — and a stunning surprise ending! One thing I have against established relationship stories is that there's no romantic suspense when the boys are already together, but KD manages to give us romantic suspense anyway by showing the lovers after a long separation and unable, due to circumstances, to be intimate immediately. 1 find KD's Illya especially delightful —just irresistible.

The two stories by Karin Porter were very well done. "The Mediterranean Affair" gives us both an intriguing situation and lots of great dialogue; a lovely, romantic first time altogether. "The Russian Affair," interestingly enough, stars a real person (the Russian ballet dancer Nuryev), who was quite fetching in his role as Other Man. I enjoyed the revelation that Illya never let anyone put him on the bottom — until Napoleon.

"Haunted Soul" by Jennifer Lyon is a very nice "mystery," and a good character study of Illya too — and the revelation at the end was stunning!

"The Rock and a Hard Place Affair" by Clare Chew is another really different story, with an unusual plot which the writer handled very adeptly, merging it skillfully with the first-time scenario. An interesting supporting cast too. I especially liked the humor in the story — it's not always easy to get that breezy banter that N&I exchanged on the show down right, but CC did an excellent job.

"Cupid's Bow" by Blondie was a surprise. The scenario, at first, made me wince — but then I found myself loving what the author did with it, and the story turned out to be one of the most memorable stories in the zine. The note of whimsy/fantasy was maintained very well, never disintegrating into the realm of "cute," and the little twist at the end was a delight. Romance, romance!

"The Dimensional Shift Affair" by Linda White will most likely be the "star" of the zine. A fascinating novella with an intriguingly complex plot about Napoleon taking an unwanted trip to an alternate universe — and meeting a battle-hardened a/u Illya-this one is a real page-turner. Only Linda White could write about three different universes and do each one well, with fascinating alternate histories for U.N.C.L.E./THRUSH and the US/USSR, I especially loved General Kuryakin — a tragic a/u Illya, but still Illya.

"The Das Vadanya Affair" by P. R. Zed explores the premise that Illya, not Napoleon, quit U.N.C.L.E. first — and gives an unusual, but completely believable, reason as to why. The buildup to the inevitable ending was unbearably suspenseful — and unbearably agonizing! Its sequel, "Lovers and Other Strangers," also by P. R. Zed, was a very satisfying resolution.

"Finders Keepers" by Taliesin, an action/adventure slash story, was one of my favorites. An absolutely enthralling plot that kept me "on the edge," and a slash scenario very true to the characters of Napoleon and Illya: subtle, but passionate and loving. The fast pace of the story, and the twists and turns of the plot, plus the dashes of humor, reminded me of a well-done episode.

I would definitely call this zine a winner. [11]

Issue 4

cover of issue #4, artist is Rune
sample page

Relative Secrecy 4 was published in 2000 and is 284 pages long.

Winner of a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine. Nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Zine). Includes: The Dangerous Man Affair by Linda White, winner of a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Short Story); Pirates by Kate Drummond, winner of a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Short Story); Each Our Own Devil by Taliesin, nominee for a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), and a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Novella); Lonesome Road by Kate Drummond, nominee for a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), and a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Story); The Virus Affair by P.R. Zed, nominee for a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), and a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Story); Magic by Theresa Kyle, nominee for a Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Aftermath by Deb, nominee for a STIFfie Award (Best Short Story); Love Is A Battlefield by Gilrain, nominee for a STIFfie Award (Best Novella).

From the editorial:
Several of the stories in this zine are set in their authors' previously-created universes, though I don't think that any of them would suffer if read without prior knowledge of previous stories. P.R. Zed and Linda White have provided new installments in their established universes. Karin Porter has expanded on Napoleon and Ilya's relationship, begun in The Mediterranean Affair" in RS3. Deb's story "Aftermath" is a sequel to her "Discovery in an Alley" from RS3. And Kate Drummond's story "Lonesome Road" is sequel to "Lost and Found Affair," "Roman Holiday," "Here Be Dragons," Standing Stones," etc; only one of which ("Standing Stones") was printed In a Relative Secrecy zine. I plan on using that against her to get more stories for future zines, but don't tell Kate that.

Parts of ACT 1 of Gilrain's "Love is a Battlefield" originally appeared in Kuryakin Files #2 as "The Cabin Affair" although, as will be seen, she has greatly expanded on that beginning.

Finally, my own story, "Each Our Own Devil" might most properly be called an alternate, or maybe parallel, universe. It hypothesizes a first meeting between Napoleon and Ilya which goes on to change all their interactions from that point forward, and cannot be fit (comfortably or otherwise) into the aired canon of the show. Those who are bothered by stories which step outsidecanon have been warned, though I hope not warned off.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

[Teacher's Pet]: a great first-time story. Robert Vaughn's dislike of water comes across strongly in the episodes and this fic expands on that in brilliant style.

The story opens with Napoleon trying to overcome his fear of water, with Illya teaching him in the UNCLE pool. Whilst Napoleon's fear of water is somewhat central to the story, the plot takes a bit of a twist when Illya grudgingly tests a new Section 8 surveillance device on his partner. We get to see the great seducer Napoleon Solo at work.

This story gets Napoleon's demeanor exactly right, down to his flirting ways with the ladies. Top it all off with great humour and some interesting OC's from Section 8 also add a nice touch. Plus the sexual tension seems to build and build throughout the piece to a deliciously satisfying, well written (and extremely sexy) conclusion.

AND finally it's a must-read for those with a water kink, and I'll say no more on that ;-) [12]
[One More for the Road]: In the U.N.C.L.E. organization, you must retire from fieldwork when you reach the age of 40. Because Napoleon and Illya are about a year apart in age (in some stories they're quite a bit more than that, but many writers use the actual age difference between the actors as a guide) this means that Napoleon will have to leave fieldwork for a 'desk job' (taking over for Mr. Waverly in his case) before Illya has to, thus breaking up their working partnership. Although the show ended when the two agents are still in their early thirties, there are a lot of stories which extrapolate how the two of them would deal with this issue. This is one of my favorites. It has an evocative tone that really makes me think of the 1960's, it's emotional without being sappy, and I can hear the characters voices clearly in the dialogue.[13]
[The Virus Affair]: Illya suffers horribly as Dr. Egret infects him with a nasty virus. Napoleon must race against time to find Illya before he dies. The Girl from UNCLE characters, Mark Slate and April Dancer, also join in the hunt.

This is a fine example of a slash story that has cross-category appeal to gen fans as well. There is a 'realistic' edge to the narrative, with tense angst and suspense mixed with some graphic violence and action drama. The established relationship between Napoleon and Illya is warm and loving, but it forms the backdrop to the actual plot. If you were to take away the references to 'lover' and the brief kiss, the story would qualify as hurt/comfort gen.

For fans who are tired of the focus on sex and relationship and want to see the guys working as agents, this is the story for you. Fans of GFU will also get a kick out of the strong supportive roles played by Mark and April. [14]
[Services Rendered]: I love this story and I have recc'd it repeatedly to both slash and gen fans. It's told from the POV of an original character, a young, unnamed male hooker who is picked up one night by a mysterious handsome man who offers the exorbitant fee of one hundred dollars for a quick rendezvous. The narrator is constantly surprised by his customer - by the man's strange mix of danger and gentleness, by his sure touch and ability to please sexually, but also by the gun he wears and the wicked scars that mark his body.

We're not surprised, of course. It's obviously Napoleon Solo, only one who's harder, darker, bitter and more melancholy. Something is not quite right here, and we, like the young hooker, are almost afraid to ask what's really going on. And we should be.

This is an intense, haunting story that not only paints an incisive portrait of Solo (it's authentic right down to the most minor details), but also offers a realistically voiced and thoroughly convincing OC narrator as well. The story packs an emotional wallop that will stay with you long after it's over. It's worth reading for the dialogue alone. [15]
[Acts of Sabotage]: Sometimes I'm in the mood for something sweet, but not too sweet, and sort of funny. Not rolling on the floor funny but where reading it brings a smile to your face. This story fits the bill nicely. Illya is perhaps a bit more naíve than I tend to think of him, and Napoleon a bit more dense, but it works here. It's lighthearted without being sappy, and with just a tiny touch of angst. Just right. [16]
[Each Our Own Devil]: I usually don't care for this much angst, but this story definitely works for me. As the title implies, both men have their demons though neither is a thoughtless jerk, a situation I heartily dislike in a story. No matter what they may have done to one another, that they love each other is never in least, not to the reader. Napoleon, especially, shines as he suffers for a wrong he can't seem to set right. I think my only complaint is that the story ended too soon for me. Though the outcome is not in doubt, I would have loved another scene or two. [17]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5

Relative Secrecy 5 was published in 2001 and is 296 pages long.

Winner of a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine). Includes: The Changing Times Affair by Linda White, winner of a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Bermuda Landfall by Kate Drummond, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Enemy Within Affair by P.R. Zed, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).

The editorial:

Another year, another Relative Secrecy zine. And another #@!**@$%! Editor's Note. I'm really not very good at these things... *sigh*

Okay, let's see. Some new authors, some returning authors. It's as wonderful to see new authors adding their contributions to the zine as it is to have the familiar names return for another go around (or two or three). I'm not sure which takes the greater fortitude — sending me a story for the very first time, or coming back for more year after year. *grin* Some names here will familiar to previous readers of the Relative Secrecy zines, some from other zines, and a few who've been practicing their creative talents on the web. All are, of course, welcome, and 1 hope that you'll enjoy their stories as much as I have.

Now, for the stories and any special notes thereon. Linda White, Kate Drummond, and P. R. Zed have all returned with stories in their respective universes. Anyone not familiar with their previous works, however, should still be able to understand and enjoy the newest additions to their individually fascinating takes on our favorite guys. Sarah Lindsay's "Shelter From the Storm" marks the beginning of a series. The story is pre-slash, but the author assures me that there will be more installments, furthering the relationship between lllya and Napoleon, which will be printed in future editions of Relative Secrecy. Kei's two stories — 'The Wilding Affair" and 'The Wilding Affair 2: Blood Reign" — are timeshifted to the present day, utilizing a modern setting without aging Napoleon and lllya in the slightest.

Also, these stories were previously published on the web, at the File 40 website (, which is well worth a visit.

I realize I'm taking a chance in printing something which has been previously published on the web, so I'd like to take a moment to clarify my policy on that subject. I have in the past printed stories which had been previously published, either all or in part, in other zines. I make it a policy not to publish anything which is currently (at the time of the printing of the zine) and easily available, and I will not publish more than one story which has been printed elsewhere (in Kei's situation, 'The Wilding Affair" stories seemed interconnected enough to reasonably print both).

The authors who contribute to this zine agree not to reprint their stories, in zines or on the web, for a year from the initial publication date of the zine. After that, they are free to do as they choose with their works. I hope that this will ensure (and reassure) that readers will be purchasing at least 90% new material whenever they purchase one of the Relative Secrecy or Gentlemen Never Tell zines, and that they will never feel that they've paid for something they could have gotten for free.

I hope, dear readers, that you will enjoy the zine and, should you have the time and inclination, I'd be overjoyed to hear what you think of it and the stories therein. I have both a website ( and an email address (, and any comments will be faithfully passed on to the authors with heartfelt thanks (to those who take the time to comment). Authors (and zine editors) thrive on feedback.

Thanks and Enjoy!

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[The Naked Truth]: Drugged sex is a major kink of mine. There is nothing more satisfying and funny than having character A half-crazed with lust for a bewildered and confused character B. If drugs can help things along, so much the better.

This time it's Napoleon who is given a new truth serum by Thrush: a fitting revenge for all the times he's been distracted by a pretty woman while on assignment. Illya comes to the rescue and finds himself with much more than he can handle...

There is a lot to love about this fic. The breezy humour and sexual sizzle is effortless and a joy to read. Victor Marton only made a single appearance in canon (Foxes and Hounds Affair) but he is vividly brought to life in all of his smug oiliness. Illya's matter-of-fact attitude as he struggles with an ardent Napoleon is laugh-out-loud funny. Of course, there's a little angst the day after...but true love and truth serum win out in the end. [18]
[Standard Procedure]: It's a preposterous premise, but highly entertaining, and exceedingly...stimulating. I love her take on both of the guys in this one; IK takes charge wonderfully, and NS's bemused fascination is a thing of beauty. [19]
[The Fine and Private Place Affair]: I hate death happening unless it's to a bad guy, but this redeems itself quickly and has a great mystery tale at the heart of it, as well as some yayyummyhawt bits. Ghosts, lost treasure, Mr. Waverly being his beautiful half grumpy/half paternal self, and hey bonus! Two sequels. Give it a try, I think you will like it. [20]

Issue 6

cover of issue #6

Relative Secrecy 6 was published in 2002 and contains 262 pages.

Winner of a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine) Includes: Let Nothing You Dismay by P.R. Zed, and The Ice Man by Linda White, co-winners of a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Cleansed by Deb, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Snow Blind by Kate Drummond, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Innuendo Affair by Graculus, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).

The editorial:

Well, here we are with Relative Secrecy 6 — who knew when I started this that I'd still be at it six years and eleven zines (twelve, once Gentlemen Never Tell 6 comes out in the fall) later! Sometimes I'm not sure if it's a labor of love, or sure and certain proof that I ought to be committed by my loving family to someplace with nice soft walls.

Either way, people just keep sending along the stories. For their trust, I am forever grateful. We have quite a few new authors this year, and I think I can safely say that there's a little bit of something for everyone here. And a great deal for everyone. To the new authors, welcome and thanks for taking a chance on the zine; to the returning authors... what are you still doing here? *grin* I'm glad to see that you're apparently as crazy as I am. What a relief.

So, now to story notes on the sequel front. From Linda White, more of her wonderful stories in the Third Level universe. P.R. Zed weighs in with another story in her universe, which just happens to be the first installment of The Celebration Cycle, a new series within the universe. Her story. Let Nothing You Dismay, is a close sequel to The Virus Affair from Relative Secrecy 4. Sarah Lindsay, as promised, has continued the story begun last year in Shelter From the Storm, with the fine Southern Comfort. And finally, acting upon a suggestion from someone who really ought to have known better, I've written a sequel to my ghost story. The 'Fine and Private Place' Affair. All sequels, I believe, will stand well enough on their own for people who have not read, or not recently read, the previous stories.

I think that's about it. At any rate, there's little more I can think of to say. I think my mind is completely fried. May I recommend that no one ever try to publish a zine and move at the same time? It's an exhausting combination. Hopefully, however, the chaos in my "real" life will not have made it into these pages.

Thanks once again to all the people without whose support these zines wouldn't exist. That includes authors and readers alike. Take care all, and please, let us know what you think! I'm available by email; and at my website: (new addresses, as is my mailing address — please make a note: I hate the idea of dropping out of anyone's sight)

Thanks again!

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

See reactions and reviews for Chiaroscuro .
[The Kissing Bandit]: This is just a fun, feel-good fic. Napoleon's a thief, alias the 'Kissing Bandit'. Hey, I'm maz and this is my first time in the drivers seat. I've decided to start with one of my favourite fics by one of my favourite authors. I know Blondie has been recced here in the past, and for bally good reason! The characters are spot on, the plots swift and delightful, and always utterly entertaining. While not as well known as her other stories, this is just so sparkling and fantastic. Unlike many first-meeting stories, which tend towards angst or hurt/comfort, this is fun, fast paced and delightful; it will have you squeeing like a fangirl and hoo boy, there's candy too! Plus, it starts off with a fancy dress ball. Oh yeah. [21]

Issue 7

cover of issue #7

Relative Secrecy 7 was published in 2003 and contains 218 pages.

Winner of a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine - Honorable Mention) Includes: Prodigal's Return (mistakenly called "Prodigal's Son" on the Fan Q site) by P.R. Zed, winner of a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story) and a 2004 SCREWZ award (Best Story); The Two Birds With One Stone Affair by Graculus, winner of a 2004 SCREWZ award (Best Novella); The Dreams of Vampires Affair by Rari, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Revenge is Mine Affair by Linda White, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Tintinnabulation by Nickovetch, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).

The editorial:

Rlghty-O, here we are again. Thanks to all, readers and authors alike, for taking yet another ride through the wonderful world of Napoleon and lllya.

Though the zine is smaller this year than in years past, we have a great mix of authors: old favorites and new authors sure to become old favorites. Every year, it seems, I'm reminded just how true is the adage that great minds think alike...

Emrys's Long Enough deals with similar subject matter as P.R. Zed's Prodigal's Return; Ceindreadh ni bFrancis's The Casual Conversation Affair bears a resemblance to Nickovetch's Mettle Under Tension, which, though it appeared in UNCLE Confidential File 5, she had never seen at the time she wrote her contribution to this zine; and we have no less than three stories that deal with potentially supernatural subjects, from Blondie's Tattoo, to Rari's The Dreams of Vampires Affair, to my own Dreamed That Man Was I. I'm certain there are other similarities, which escape me at the moment, just as I'm certain that each story has a charm all its own, and something new for the reader.

A few notes on sequels: Linda White's The Revenge Affair takes place in her Third Level universe. P.R. Zed's Prodigal's Return sits squarely between her stories published in Relative Secrecy 3: The Das Vdanya Affair and Lovers and Other Strangers. And I've added a third installment in my ghost series with Dreamed That Man Was I.

We're trying something new this time out. At the bottom of the page, you'll find a list of contact emails for all the authors in the zine, along with the name of their stories in the same order they appear in the zine. If a story moves you to response, feedback will be appreciated by each and every person listed hereafter.

Once again, thanks much to the authors for trusting me with their babies, and readers for trusting me to assemble a good zine (the second could never be achieved without the first, of course).


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

See reactions and reviews for Small Distances.

Issue 8

cover of issue #8

Relative Secrecy 8 was published in 2004 and contains 243 pages. Winner of a 2005 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine)Includes: Fear of Falling by Emrys, winner of a 2005 Fan Quality Award (Best Story). The cover art is by Rune.

The editorial:

Whew! I had no idea when I start this that I would find myself one day at Relative Secrecy 8 and still be going strong. It wouldn't be possible without such wonderful authors and loyal readers. Thank you!

I don't have a whole lot to say this time out. The zine is a lovely mix of old favorites and new, soon-to-be-favorites. One of the things I love the most about doing a zine is the variety. Receiving stories from authors I've worked with before, who I know and whose work I know, and receiving stories from brand new people I've never dealt with before, people whose work I'm being exposed to for the veiy first time. The best of both worlds, I think.

We have a nice range of stories here — something to suit everyone. Veiy few sequels or universe stories this year. In fact, there's only one. The Midsummer's Eve Affair by P.R. Zed is set in her universe and is the second story in The Celebration Cycle. And that, unless I'm losing my mind (which is always possible this time of year. Or any time of year, come to that.), is it. Even Linda White's story is not part of a universe. It is, in fact, part of many universes, none of which are her celebrated Third Level universe.

Finally, at the bottom of the page, you'll find a list of contact emails for all the authors in the zine, along with the name of their stories in the same order they appear in the zine. If a story moves you to response, feedback will be appreciated by each and every person listed hereafter.

Thanks to all the authors and readers. You are truly appreciated.


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

See reactions and reviews for Switching Sides.

Issue 9

cover of issue #9

Relative Secrecy 9 was published in 2005 and contains 256 pages. The zine's cover is by Rune. There are no interior illos.

It zine was the winner of a 2006 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine) and the story "Los Vivos y Los Muertos" by PR Zed was the winner of a 2006 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).


Here we are again. Another year, another zlne, another editor's note.

This year, we've got quite a few new authors. Plus, of course, the old favorites. There's something special about both groups — new authors are new blood, and a fandom thrives on them. But the longevity of the fandom comes from those who've been around for years and aren't going anywhere. 1 love reading a story by an author I know and love — it's warm and comfortable; a known quantity. A new author is an adventure, and there's a feeling of excitement, not knowing where I'll be taken.

Thank you to both those who are working with me for the first time, and those who've been with me through the years — it's wonderful having you both. Just two sequels this year: Deb's Set and Match finishes the story begun in Game in Relative Secrecy 7. Los Vivos y Los Muertos is the third story in P.R. Zed's Celebration Cycle. As (not quite) always, Linda "White's contribution is part of her Third Level universe. Finally, Emrys's offering. The Dark Shadows Affair, is a cross-over. No points for guessing with which show.

At the bottom of the page, you'll find a list of contact emails for all the authors in the zine. If a story moves you to send feedback, be assured that your efforts will be appreciated. If you prefer to send a single email, rather then emails to each author, I would be happy to forward on any comments to the individual authors. Such feedback can be sent to me at

Finally, to those of you who pay attention to the flyers in the back, no, the anticipated publication date of RS10 is not a typo. I have begun finding it difficult to get two zines out in a year (my WWW and my UNCLE), and rather than risk burning out, have decided to instead cut back. My next zine will be Gentlemen Never Tell 9 (a Wild Wild West zine) in May of 2006, and the next Relative Secrecy (can you believe we'll be up to 10!) will come out May of 2007. I will continue doing one zine a year, alternating WWW and UNCLE, until or unless 1 get the bug to start zining twice a year again.

Thanks once again to everyone who makes this zine thing possible!!

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

[The Inhumation Affair]: Buried alive, Napoleon wonders how long it's going to take Illya to get there and rescue him. As he asks himself when he got so certain that his partner would always turn up in the nick of of time, he reflects on milestones in their relationship. This is a relatively short one-shot, clever, pacy and funny, which doesn't miss a beat in its sharp characterisation of Napoleon and Illya. The dialogue is great and Illya in particular is well drawn, although Napoleon doesn't suffer either. Read and enjoy! [22]

Issue 10

cover of issue #10

Relative Secrecy 10 was published in 2007 and contains 198 pages. The two-color cover art is by Rune.

  • With Friends Like These by P.R. Zed (6 pages)
  • Consequences by Emrys (13 pages)
  • Reaching Out by ChannelD (10 pages)
  • A Relative To Truth by Graculus (25 pages)
  • Dutch U.N.C.L.E. by Nickovetch (10 pages)
  • The Footloose and Fancy Free Affair by Sundance and Meredith (34 pages)
  • Courting Disaster by YumYumPM (12 pages)
  • A Dish Served Cold by Blondie (14 pages)
  • Vanya by Emrys (17 pages)
  • Ashes To Ashes by P.R. Zed (10 pages)
  • The Ruby Butterfly Affair by Linda White (13 pages)
  • The Devil In The Flesh by Taliesin (33 pages)


  1. ^ from This is Katya
  2. ^ from Lynn W., accessed March 7, 2014
  3. ^ from This is Katya
  4. ^ a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  5. ^ from Z.I.N.E.S. v.2 n.2, the article "Theresa Kyle: A Retrospective"
  6. ^ a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  7. ^ a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  8. ^ from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.2
  9. ^ a 2006 comment at Crack Van
  10. ^ from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.
  11. ^ from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.
  12. ^ a 2009 comment at Crack Van
  13. ^ a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  14. ^ a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  15. ^ a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  16. ^ a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  17. ^ a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  18. ^ from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  19. ^ from This is Katya
  20. ^ a 2010 comment at Crack Van
  21. ^ a 2011 comment at Crack Van
  22. ^ a 2006 comment at Crack Van