Resistance (Blake's 7 zine)

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Zine
Title: Resistance
Publisher: Mkashef Enterprises
Editor(s): Wendy Rathbone
Date(s): 1987-1994
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links: online flyer with story summaries
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Resistance is a slash Blake's 7 anthology.

General Reactions and Reviews

A fan's 2015 comments regarding issues #1, #2, #3, #6, #8:
... in general few to none of these fics light my fire, as it were. and those that do are on the internet already. it's definitely the poor man's fire and ice - although F&I is significantly later, and i do think that having time to think about the pairing and to have access to the VHSes does help, even as it helped to get that group of really good 2nd wave writers. anyway - let's talk about resistance. it's also got A/V, A/T and even, gasp, a V/T in it. but mostly it's A/B. as is only right and proper..... And that's the end of the Resistances I have - my resistance is at an end, etc. I would read the rest, I would even purchase the rest, but as I opened by saying - I don't think it's as strong as the other slash zines in this fandom. That said, it boasts two of my favourite awful, unembarrassed covers in this fandom. [1]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1 by Dragon

Resistance 1 was published in September 1987 and contains 134 pages.

Fiction:

Poetry:

  • Carol Turner, "Storm" (A/B)
  • Natasha Solten, "Avon's Sign" (A/B)
  • Dallance McCasland, "Burning Steel" (A/B)
  • Natasha Solten, "Impossible Words" (A/B)
  • Natasha Solten, "Redemption" (A/B)

Art:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

[Drowning]: 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. [2]
[zine]: Very much the romantic end of A/B slash: nothing like the explicitness or the psychology of Oblaque, and also feels different from the cheerful inclusiveness of a Southern Comfort. Reads as if it's the work of very few people, which may or may not be the case, but the tone is fairly similar throughout.

Artwork A [Gayle F] Avon which I was surprised not to like, as I've seen another one by her which I thought was beautiful. This one was just a bit too "sweet" for me. Otherwise, there are a few line drawings by Dragon, including a couple of rather nice Blake ones.

Poetry As usual, I refuse to discuss the poetry.

Stories

  • A Matter of Trust (A/V) -- Dovya Blacque: The A/V stories in this 'zine suggest that Vila is very much Avon's second choice (and if Blake were still on the ship Vila wouldn't have a chance). Vila fans will probably not find much to entertain them in this 'zine. Vila can never trust Avon again after _Orbit_, and Avon has lost his Blake, but can they share a moment of affection?
  • Absolution (A/B) -- Dovya Blacque: PGP. Avon killed the clone because he knew it wasn't Blake (they had a recognition code). He meets Blake again, and gives him Silent & Tortured Glances until Blake drags him into bed.
  • Lay Your Bet (A/B) -- Catherine Bell: My favourite story in this 'zine, and only partly because it's in a nice proportional typeface instead of the monospaced "typewriter" of the rest of the 'zine. Blake wants Avon to stay on the ship. Avon wants sex with Blake. Are either or both of them to get what they want? An Avon who will admit to wanting sex with Blake but not to anything more affectionate is much more believable to me than the fragile quasi-virgin that appears in some of the other stories.
  • Drowning (A/B) -- Natasha Solten: Avon teaches Blake to swim and Blake teaches Avon about sex, trust, love &c. Not bad, although a trace of American accent gets in the way for me (but then I'm a picky Brit).
  • My Middle Name is Misery (A/V) -- Natasha Solten: Why is Avon being nice to Vila? It just makes Vila nervous. Another "moment of affection" story: i.e. Vila wants Kerril and Avon wants Blake, but they find each other anyway.
  • Fifty-Fifty (A/B) -- Natasha Solten: Avon & Blake are about to share a prostitute until she discovers that they are both wanted rebels. To no slash fan's surprise, they then decide "who needs her" and decide to go ahead on their own. [3]
Dovya Blacque, "A Matter of Trust" (A/V, strongly implied A/B) I haven't got much to say about this. I'm not sure why the genre of A/V that is actually about A/B exists (whereas I really like it in A/T). This is also a post!Orbit, although interestingly (to some extent, this fic is largely not that interesting) Vila is mostly comforting Avon, who won't talk about his problems. His problems are that he loves Blake who is missing, although he doesn't know he loves Blake (just what no A/V shipper wants to read). The ending vaguely implies that Avon loves them both - but the sequel (below) knocks that one on the head. Also - Avon's POV, even as he's kissing Vila, says that he loves him (and Blake!) in a brotherly way - which should have been edited out.

Dovya Blacque, "Absolution" (A/B, sequel to the previous) Actually they could be read independently, but it has the lingering A/V relationship in the background. This fic is 100% weird as it's a PGP that assumes that Servalan just lets them all go (???) because they're not a threat to her, meanwhile the real Blake (the one Avon shot is the clone - absolving Avon of GP is a big theme in this zine) is living in a mansion or something on GP, lying low (???) then he and Avon have sex (very briefly). Emotionally it is far too easy. And weird.

Catherine Bell, "Lay Your Bet" (A/B) This fic, on the other hand, is brilliant (I've got it on my list, I've got it on my list, etc). It's also deeply unusual (at least I think so), as it shows A deeply invested and B actually not responding (even during sex, which is really intensely and effectively described), but then also being invested. It's so awkward and tense it's almost painful to read, but has an ending of such hope - and yet, even as I know it's wrong, I desperately want a sequel that turns that ending of possibility into known facts of it being all right. I would write such a sequel, but this isn't my fic. Great dialogue, great sex writing, highly unique. Do read.

Natasha Solten, "Drowning" (A/B) I feel this thematic idea, which is essentially about B trusting A to save his life (disguised as swimming lessons), could have been pushed a bit more - but as it is the fic is pretty disposable and never really resonates. Also, Predatrix noted in her review that the zine is highly American-English, rather than British-English. It's true, and I think that comes across particularly in these Natasha Solten ones. Obviously a britpicker would help, but I also think increasing exposure to the source material (which I'm assuming was limited in 1988) helps writers today.

Natasha Solten, "My Middle Name Is Misery" (A/V) Not a promising title, but actually I think it's all right? Given that it's not my pairing. Vila is depressed about losing Kerril (which is a premise I don't like because I think he's quite chirpy at the end of 'City') and Avon bullies him into being happier. Bizarrely also has Vila make the claim that Avon loves Blake and that's who he's using Vila to get over (though Avon claims it's Anna) - will you stop doing this A/V fic! It never works.

Natasha Solten, "Fifty-Fifty" (A/B) So, I basically like this one - where a prostitute thinks A and B want each other (they don't realise they do), and they both get embarrassed/dared to take part in a threesome. Then she finds out who they are, Avon gets defensive about Blake not being a child molester, and they confront their feelings for each other! It's fun, I like it, although Avon says what he likes about Blake is his 'compelling naiveté', which is just... is he talking about someone else? I know it's a popular Blake characterisation. Towards the end Blake also freaks out because he was raped in prison and hasn't otherwise had anal sex - which did not need to be in this fic. It's such an extraneous bolt-on to the central idea (which, as I said, I really like). Prison rape/other rape is another theme of 'Redemption' btw (which is also ludicrously fluffy on the whole), so brace yourself, as we go into: 'Resistance 2'. [4]
[zine]: Resistance seems to be one of those zines where there is always at least one or two very enjoyable fics, but also a substantial proportion that are not that good. That said, I’m quite fond of Resistance 1. Maybe that is because, even in the weaker stories, there a bit less of Avon and Blake exchanging sugar sweet endearments? Now that is something that I’m really glad to see the back of in modern fic. [5]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2 by Lynne Alysse Witten

Resistance 2 was published in January 1988 and is 149 pages long. The art is by Lynne Alysse Witten (front cover) and Anja Gruber.

It was dedicated to "Avon, who is definitely not expendable!"

Fiction:

Poetry:

flyer for issue #2 with story summaries, click to read

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[Descending Horizon]: 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. [6]
[Descending Horizon and On the Edge]: 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. [7]

[zine]: This series tends to lean towards A/B (not that I'm complaining) and this one has several quite enjoyable stories (and some rather strange poetry). My favourite story was 'Descending Horizon', a A/B that takes the combative side of their relationship right to the (decidedly bitter) edge, loading it with a lot of intensity and passion, a bit of love and quite a bit of hate. There's a bit of A/C in there too (unfortunately, Cally is rather wet), but it's mostly about the darker side of Blake and Avon's tangled relationship. I also enjoyed 'Tranquilized Dreams'; although the writing is simple, it works, and the plot being tied to one of the episodes, 'Voice From The Past' didn't hurt. Blake is being de-conditioned, with Avon taking Jenna's place as monitor and getting rather more involved (quite literally as well as emotionally) in Blake's nightmares - it's plainly told, but keeps interest right through to the end (where Avon unfortunately turns rather soft...pity).

There's two stories by Natasha Solten. Sometimes this writer works for me, other times, like this...'The Conquering Touch' is not bad, it's well written (though I prefer Blake not as thick nor as platitudinous as this) and there's patches of good dialogue, but I found it unsatisfying. And both Blake and Avon seemed wrong in 'Reaching For Death' - even if you allow for Avon going bonkers. I also found the assumption that the Scorpio crew were so much more wonderful and close and supportive than Blake's people more than a little off-putting (but then I always do - I also disliked the portrayal of Deva).

'Lover's Quarrel' is again not bad, but nothing out of the ordinary. And 'Covenant' - A/V, something I can't properly judge - is post-Orbit, with Vila weeping all over the place, and it just doesn't work for me. [8]
[zine]: "Resistance 2 is old and American but not too bad. Id rather read these fics than stab myself in the face." Katy's High Praise. [9]

[zine]: Sylvia Knight, "Descending Horizon" (A/B) OK - so, like 'Lay Your Bet' this is much better than anything around it. Really great dialogue, including Blake making a joke about Avon that Avon laughs at during sex, which is so important in establishing Blake as clever and equally cutting and also this a relationship that could actually work/isn't just all about hatesex. Avon domming Blake by bottoming is super hot. So much of this is good - although it has some big turn offs for me too - Blake's massive cock is an issue (like - we have to deal with it and the problems of having it - which is good in a way because there probably are problems etc, but also annoying because I don't think this is Blake's problem); they both desperately want to penetrate the other, which is good because I like dominance struggles but also a bit stupid because it isn't even about dominance until then, it's quite nice and equitable sex and then they both ruin it through this (though it leads to the sexy domming we talked about above); and there's a lot of weird emotional swings, most notably when Avon seems to realise he loves Blake, and looks at Blake who isn't quite looking fondly enough at him - then he storms off. It's - interesting, and the sex writing is great, but I feel like I'm being thrown about in a car with no seatbelts. And not in a good way. Then Avon storms off and has pity-sex with Cally - which I also find weird. And then a first mention of Avon's rape!brother (he has so many), which also comes out of nowhere for this fic (though on AO3 this one comes second, so we know all about the brother). In conclusion - too many ideas, too many emotional curveballs - plenty still to like.

Quale and Scorpio, "Covenant" (A/V) Post Orbit (sigh). The others lock A and V in a room together (if only they'd asked first they would have known how inappropriate this was), Avon thinks Vila wants sex, but Vila thinks it's rape (!!! What the hell is up with you post-Orbit fics??), and the end of the fic is Avon thinking - Blake will take care of Vila, so I'd better fine him. It's weird from every angle you look at it.

Natasha Solten, "The Conquering Touch" (A/B) The first of a run of slightly similar, fluffy and inoffensive (and forgettable) A/B fics where Blake says something like 'you hate me' (and seems to have no understanding that this isn't the case) and Avon is fantastically emotionally insecure. This one is a cave fic where Blake's jacket malfunctions and they huddle for warmth before having sex back on the ship. There's also some stuff about godhood and disciples (which will come up again). It's quite nice, if not amazing. She's written better.

Kami Saiid, "Lover's Quarrel" (A/B) Weird title - the fic seems to mostly be about Avon protesting about being grabbed, so they have to take it very very slowly. Again - highly unmemorable, but I didn't dislike reading it.

Andrea Arat, "Tranquilized Dreams" (A/B) Much better. In fact, this fic reminds me (in its opening line and its thoughts about Voice from the Past, which I didn't realise someone else had had first) of my own most recent fic... Never mind. It's all about Blake needing to be deprogrammed after 'Voice from the Past' (you see) and Avon being the new Jenna and ending up wandering around in his nightmares (including rape, but only very briefly). Some very interesting stuff about Avon being able to influence them and talk to Blake in them, although it goes on a bit too long and Blake gets upset with him for no reason i.e. to give us tension in the narrative. The sex comes a bit out of nowhere/feels really extraneous to the main action, and the emotional understanding and the premise could have been worked harder, but overall it's good. This is a bit over the top, but I quite like it as a dialogue exchange/play on words (Avon speaks first)

"I'm afraid."
"Afraid of what?"
"I'm afraid I ..." He swallowed. "I am in love with you."
"What is there to fear about that?"
Avon closed his eyes and trembled. "Everything. Just about everything."
Natasha Solten, "Reaching for Death" (A/B) A Blake-set-it-all up story (and the second of two in this zine to be inspired by Kate Bush songs). Really weird stuff about Deva (who gets shouted at a lot - poor Deva) and the rest of the base democratically choosing to get rid of Avon (N.B. This is weird because it's like a fix-it for the usual Blake's base rapes Avon or murders him for shooting Blake, but one that still accepts the hatred for Avon) and then Blake is like - OK, well I'm leaving then. And nobody changes their mind. Other than that - fine, but not great. [10]

Issue 3

Resistance 3 was published in January 1989 and contains 140 pages.

-- A fan in 2015 said it "is [one of my] two favourite awful, unembarrassed covers in this fandom." [11] Another fan responds: "That ... cover made me burst out laughing firstly for Avon's cossie (no wonder he looks a glum) but really for the fact he is standing in front of a giant washing machine!" [12] Another fan writes: "Those covers. those covers. The first one is like Loki and Avon got trapped in a washing machine together and this weird barely clothed mishmash mix person of them popped out and stood posing sexily in front of the scene of the crime. [13]
sample page from issue #3 showing text
sample page from issue #3 showing text
art from issue #3, Coyote
From the editorial:
RESISTANCE #3 is finally done. It's been a year since Res.#2 and I've had the time to beg and patiently collect stories from many of the best of you writers out there. Though many, many fans who've read Res. #1 and #2 have expressed an interest in future issues, I can't continue to publish without material. I would love to do this zine more often, but there aren't that many writers and I have to be patient and that means everyone else must be patient as well. I am willing to do a fourth issue, but only if I get enough quality material to print. If I have to wait longer for it, then that means everyone has to wait. I think it's worth it. Let me know if you do, too, when you finish the stories herein.

And speaking of stories, the ones in here are, in my opinion, top-notch works that explore character in-depth in serious, thought-provoking ways. (With one exception: M. Fae's "Prick Up Your Ears" ain't that serious....) Among these gems you will notice three consecutive stories by Sylvia Knight. It will help the reader to note that these three are part of a series entitled BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER. The first section of the series is comprised of "Shards" (set pre-series), "Love And Other Betrayals" (an Avon/Anna Grant story - in progress), "Descending Horizin" (which appeared in Res.#2), "A Friend in Need" (after "Countdown"), and "On The Edge" (set just before "Star One.") "Shards," "A Friend In Need," and "On The Edge" appear for the first time in this issue and I think you will agree that this series is as compelling as it is well written. I have urged the author to keep writing. Fingers are crossed.

Another story of note is "A Feast Of Bacchanalia" by the Fifth Amendment (which is the right to remain silent so as not to incriminate one's self further, I guess....)" This story came to me totally unexpectedly and, in the form you see it. That deserves note, you see, because I did not have to edit one word. It is a rare day when editors receive a story of this caliber without having begged, cajoled, bribed and/or sold souls to get it. I'm sure you will agree after reading it that it is one of the most moving of Avon/Blake stories. And I hope to receive more by this talented pen-wielder.

Northwest Smith, Quale (whose "The Final Run" previously appeared in a British zine called "Touched"), and M. Fae Glasgow (the were-Glaswegian who by day is a quiet, efficient nanny and by night becomes a wicked word-processor wielder) are not to be overlooked, either. Their stories are superb and I only hope they will continue to submit stories for future issues of Resistance.

Fiction: (summaries from a flyer)

  • *Dovya Blacque, "Those of Darkness" (A/B) (4) (poem)
  • Dovya Blacque, "Confession, After a Fashion" (A/B) (4) (poem)
  • Sylvia Knight, "Shards" (A/oc) ("Young Avon's childhood takes a drastic turn when his parents, uncle, and sister are murdered by Federation troops right before his eyes.") (5)
  • Sylvia Knight, "A Friend in Need" (B/V) ("In this sequel to the popular "Descending Horizon" (Res #2) Blake, still dealing with his feelings for Avon, rejects Jenna and ends up spending the night with the sympathetic Vila.") (18)
  • Sylvia Knight, "On the Edge" (A/B) (sequel to "A Friend in Need," "Blake and Avon visit the night life of Edge Ciy in search of Vila and have several encounters that force them to face their feelings for each other and deal with their past mistakes.") (27)
  • Kami Saiid, "Pressure Point" (A/B) (51) (poem)
  • Robin Hood, "The Enigmatic Man" (Avon) (51 (poem)
  • Northwest Smith, "A Price to Pay" (A/B) ("Blake's obvious "interest" in Avon [is] curious but uneasy, and tensions mount...") (52)
  • Kami Saiid, "Voice from the Past" (Blake) (67) (poem)
  • Quale, "The Final Run" (A/V) ("In this sequel to "Rumours of Death," Vila goes to Avon's cabin to see if he's all right and things move rather quickly from there...") (68) (also in "touched" #10)
  • Taerie Bryant, "Vila" (A/V) (72) (poem)
  • M. Fae Glasgow, "Prick Up Your Ears" (A/V) ("Vila comes on to Avon in this comic [indecipherable word] friendship and love.") (73)
  • Lysi Strata, "Arrogant Alpha" (A/V) (76) (poem)
  • Lysi Strata, "Devious Delta" (A/V) (77) (poem)
  • Ty Downs, "The Terror of Love" (A/V) (78) (poem)
  • M. Fae Glasgow, "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" (A/V) ("After "Orbit," Vila leaves Xenon base for [indecipherable word] and the rebels' entire future is changed as the Events on GP happen quite differently.") (79)
  • Robin Hood, "Crush the Lily" (A/B) (94) (poem)
  • The Fifth Amendment, (aka Melody C.) "A Feast of Bacchanalia" (A/B) ("Avon is more bitter and unhappy than ever, despite the fact that the Refederation (Blake's new government) now exists and Blake has given him position, money, even solitude...") (95)
  • Dovya Blacque, "One Word" (A/B) (124) (poem)
  • Dovya Blacque, "Joined" (A/B) (124) (poem)

Art:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[Descending Horizon and On the Edge]: 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. [14]
[A Feast of Bacchanalia]: 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. [15]
[zine]: 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. [16]

[zine]: There's some excellent writing in this volume - not all of it to my taste, but certainly of a high standard. Following on from 'Descending Horizon' from Resistance #2 there are three interconnected stories by Sylvia Knight - 'Shards' (set pre-series), 'A Friend in Need' (after Countdown - B/V, a very rare item, and not bad at all, though poor Vilakins is so blatantly second-choice), and 'On The Edge' (pre-Star One, A/B, and even more explosive and intense than the earlier story). All three men are well, if quite harshly, portrayed, and the emotion between Our Heroes is a satisfying mix of passion and vitriol, though I did miss the humour of the series. Recommended, especially the last.

M Fae Glasgow has two stories, 'Prick Up Your Ears' and 'Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder' both A/V. Unfortunately, though I recognise the exceptional quality of her writing, I have the same problem as in her stories in Oblaque - I don't recognise the characters. Much of the dialogue is clever, but the voices never ring true for me, especially Avon and Blake. This is, however, a very personal reaction based on differing views of the series, and lovers of A/V should get a lot out of these two stories.

'The Final Run' (post-Rumours A/V) and 'A Price to Pay' (A/B, post-Horizon) are quite good PWPs, readable but not out of the ordinary.

The final story, 'A Feast of Bacchanalia', is a rich A/B set on Destiny after Blake has won his revolution. The character called the Margravine' is a bit off-putting for me (I get annoyed by sages of any age or description) but Blake and Avon are well done, older, perhaps a smidgen wiser, but still definitely themselves, and I really liked this story. [17]

[zine]: Generally a good 'zine, although Sylvia Knight's stories are far & away the best things in it. Pity about the typefaces, this is one of those "dog's breakfast" 'zines where each author can choose the font, no matter how repulsive, and I don't find either monospaced Courier or very compressed typefaces comfortable to read.

Shards (A as child) -- Sylvia Knight: Stunningly powerful & wrenching story that despite no overt sex is more adult than most sex stories. This author has a lucid style (with occasional lyrical touches) and an ability to write internal description without drifting into bad writing. She also never lets the POV slip (not faint praise at all after the "wobbly" POV all-too-prevalent in other zine stories, including some from this). The implicit child-abuse plot is chilling, and A's evil brother is a worthy villain: a nascent puppeteer with decadent tastes, he treats the family circle as a private brothel. Don't miss this story whatever other 'zine you miss. Also fits in a cycle with two other stories in this issue and *Descending Horizon* -- Resistance 2.

A Friend in Need (B/V) -- Sylvia Knight: Very few people can make this pairing work, but Sylvia Knight puts in enough accuracy and characterisation to do it. Again, rather a lot of internal character-describing-his-emotions stuff but she makes that work, too. The friendly half-drunken tumble is surely handled, and Knight doesn't put a foot wrong throughout (apart from the occasional Americanism, but that's personal taste: as a Brit, I can't hear "I like most everything" in Blake's voice. It's just not idiomatic anywhere but the States). But despite that, and despite using a relationship that won't be central for most readers, this story works. Same sequence as the last. Don't miss.

On the Edge (A/B) -- Sylvia Knight: A fitting, and wrenching, climax to the sequence. It's much more painful to watch Avon's dark-and-twisted psyche at work knowing the backstory from *Shards.* Dark psychology and hot sex: rather like an *Oblaque* story really. Which is, of course, praise. One for tragedy fans: through no fault of their own, the characters have fallen in love with the wrong people -- each other -- and any closeness can only be temporary. I'm not a tragedy fan, but I love these stories anyway.

A Price to Pay (A/B) -- Northwest Smith: Suffers inevitably from comparison with what went before, as Smith is (IMO) a competent rather than a brilliant writer. This is a h/c story where sex leads Avon to show rather more of his vulnerability than he's comfortable with to Blake. The story's a PWP with, strangely enough, blink-and-you'd-miss-it actual sex: the impetus of the story is in the dangerous swoops and swerves of emotions, vulnerability and power-dynamic in the seduction, there's a tucked-away sentence to the effect that They Did It on the next-to-last page. This will only matter to Irremediably Shallow readers like me, who like to see the characterisation carry on while They're Doing It, but there we are. The strength of Smith's writing is that she's one of the few writers who can carry off a friendly give-and-take in the A/B relationship father than everything being neck-or-nothing dominance battles. This isn't what I'd call her best story, but I like it. The pacing doesn't seem perfect, which I notice in a PWP -- could have been more convincing, and the POV slips between the characters, but all in all a good workmanlike story with a strong hurt/comfort element.

The Final Run -- Quale (A/V): Didn't get round to reading this, which may not have been its particular fault. I'm an A/B fan and also cannot stand the poor typography in this zine.

Prick up your Ears -- -M. Fae Glasgow (A/V): A rare early fluff by M.Fae, but has its moments. The idea is that Vila has dominant tendencies & likes talking dirty in bed, particularly because it drives his prim-and-proper Alpha so spectacularly demented...

Absence makes the Heart grow Fonder -- M. Fae Glasgow (A/V): A good, plotty, optimistic PGP is the next early work by the Miscellaneous Caledonian, in which Avon has been conditioned by Servalan to betray and try to kill his friends. These stories don't have the gloomy psychological Oblique feel, so I wouldn't advise Ob fans to buy this zine for them, but they are good.

A Feast of Bacchanalia -- the Fifth Amendment (A/B): Another basically optimistic PGP (also involving a conditioned Avon) with a strong lyrically-romantic quality. She's picked up on the agricultural planet Destiny (_Mission to Destiny_), and since we didn't see the planet she's free to invent a social background and a religion with Apollonian and Dionysic aspects. Avon is a very repressed near-virgin while Blake is straightforwardly bi and in love with him. Can he overcome A's tendency to crawl into a computer every time intimacy threatens? Can A accept that his fear of intimacy is blocking his ability to do his work? Can they both sort things out in time to enjoy a very Bacchanalian festival? An excellent story, especially considering that it was this author's first. Less difference between this and her later stories than in M.Fae's work in this 'zine and _Oblaque_: the basic tone of lyrical romanticism is fairly similar. Both she and her sister Bryn take liberties with the language, but I find Bryn a far better stylist. [18]

[zine]: Sylvia Knight, "Shards" (A/oc) Sylvia Knight is a good writer; this is a well written fic and some of the stuff, particularly in the Joban section, about how the Federation treats treachery is interesting. However, at the end of the day I just don't like fandom's obsession with Avon's rapey Alpha Elite family backstory. It's not cool.

Sylvia Knight, "A Friend in Need" (B/V) I like this a lot better than the Cally pity sex, even though it is essentially the same thing (double standards - get this het away from me!), I think because Blake is so clear with Vila about what is going on/so friendly about the sex - also we're in Blake's POV (we were in Cally's for the A/C) so we get to hear his sad thoughts about Avon - which makes it more interesting. Vila's dialogue is a bit off/too cockney.

Sylvia Knight, "On the Edge" (A/B) This has plenty of problems too (including the reappearance of rape!brother), but I really like it. I am kind of weak for the B/A go to a hotel/visit brothels genre to my shame, and I love the fighty sex here. Really well written and hot. I like that the fact that Blake slept with Vila comes back and is the instigation both for Avon to be really angry, and then really amused.

x_los is turned off by the fact that, for her, this fic makes it clear that Avon isn't really that into Blake, he's just using him to work through his issues (which, she argues, are issues that we know the effects of IRL and so shouldn't be treated so casually by fic - she probably has more and better to say about this). I agree that Avon presses this issue really strongly, but given what we learned in 'Descending Horizon' I think he's using the brother thing to push Blake away. Blake is nothing like Rav (Avon says this, and he even says of the similarity that Blake pushes for - the fact they are both manipulators - that Blake doesn't consciously manipulate), except that he also made Avon love him against his will (although in Blake's case, as we know, it was unconscious) - basically that's like connecting Blake to any partners in Avon's past i.e. Anna. And I think ultimately yes that's true - but it's not the big problem of this fic (which is why it would be good if the brother stuff could just be lifted out and not here), which is the stuff about Blake himself and his own interest in dominance. If anything, Blake is Avon's revolutionary uncle who looks like a bear - who he loved purely, and who betrayed him by doing things he couldn't possibly understand and then being killed/abandoning Avon.

Anyway - what I'm saying is, there's a lot going on in this fic, and a lot of it is very interesting. This is the best of the series for me. The editorial at the beginning of the zine suggests that there was going to be an A/Anna in this series too, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Thank god, really - see above.

Northwest Smith, "A Price to Pay" (A/B) This feels very much like it belongs in the previous issue - pretty forgettable (though better written, I think, than the others) and ends with Avon realising he's been raped in prison and taking it out on Blake. Ends with a really weird discussion of Vila probably being an Alpha grade, as though that has any business being in an A/B fic.

Quale, "The Final Run" (A/V) Really weird fic that casually implies A and V knew each other around the Anna time and were sleeping together, and now Vila's comforting him after 'Rumours'.

M. Fae Glasgow, "Prick Up Your Ears" (A/V) I also find the premise for this weird too, as it's PGP, Avon shot the clone as a set up - and then doesn't bother to use it at all. It's a jolly PGP A/V fic about Vila's coarse cockerney dialect turning Avon on... PGP. I just don't know what to do with it. Obviously not my thing, although I do quite like the idea of Avon being forced to engage in sexy talk against his will. But the Vila dialect makes it feel like someone else anyway - so.

M. Fae Glasgow, "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" (A/V) I only skimmed this as it's long. Another PGP Blake is alive thing - I think Avon has been conditioned so it wasn't his fault, and then he has to go and find Vila and tell him he loves him. Very much not my thing.

The Fifth Amendment, (aka Melody C.) "A Feast of Bacchanalia" (A/B) I was a bit wary of this, but it's much more Last Best Hope than Long Way Back - and it's a lovely Blake is president fic, of which they are too few. Basically, it's good - Avon has to (with the help of Blake's mystic friend) work out what is going on in his own mind so that he can work out why he can't fix a computer (it's all to do with letting Blake down - you can see why I eat this stuff up). I do worry about the sex at the end which is in a pool - and why Avon doesn't drown, but never mind. It's also not that Bacchic - but I've read a fic like that before and it involved Blake raping him. This is much better. There's a sequel apparently in a 'Resistance' I haven't got. Alas, because: would read. [19]

Issue 4

cover of issue #4 by Adrian Morgan
flyer printed in Fire and Ice #1

Resistance 4 was published in June 1990 and contains 115 pages.

Fiction:

Poetry:

  • Cybel Harper, "Freedom" (A/B)
  • Cybel Harper, "Gamesmanship" (A/B)
  • Cybel Harper, "Why Me?" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Proposition" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Childe" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Inga" (A/B)
  • Robin Hood, untitled (A/B)
  • Robin Hood, "Wind Rising" (A/B)
  • Robin Hood, "Morning Fire" (A/B)
  • Robin Hood, "Wait for the Future" (A/B)
  • Ty Downs, "Avon, Why Me?" (A/V)
  • Robin Hood, "Night Winds" (A/B)

Art:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

For me, this is one of the better volumes of the series, with two absolute gems, and several other good stories.

First, the gems. 'Fealty' by xBryn Lantry, is one of my favourite stories, simple but quite beautiful. It's mostly PGP, A/B and quite lyrical - it breaks my 'Avon Does Not Cry' rule and does it wonderfully, without sentiment. Both men are perfectly in character, and I'd keep the whole zine just for these 12 pages.

Completely different, but also good, is Melody C.'s 'A Story That Doesn't Have an End'. It's a sequel to 'A Feast of Bacchanalia' in Resistance #3, and is set some years after the series, with Blake President, and Avon his Chief Adviser. They're lovers by now, but at odds (so what's new?). Very satisfying, especially if you're in the mood for a happy ending to the whole saga. I also liked 'Together Again For The First Time' - I won't give the plot away, but it's A/B and great fun.

Two stories by Cybel Harper, both trying for heavy Avonish angst, but neither of which work for me - 'Absolution' (A/B) was okay, but I found Avon's post-GP trauma somewhat uninvolving. And 'No Promises' (A/V) has post-Rumours trauma resulting in a sort of attempted suicide, a little more involving, but still lacking something (quite nice portrayal of Vila in the latter, though).

'Domesticity' - A/G, which usually makes me giggle, and the entire cast seem slightly off, but it's a good stab at something different. 'No Way In' will appeal to those who like A/V without sentimentality (and with a bit of a sting at the end). 'Come Together' (post-Killer) has Vila and Blake competing for Avon, and everyone talking and thinking too much for my taste and doing far too little. [20]

Classic lounging Avon cover - ah, old Fandom. I thought that Whitby67 had done a version of this pose as well, but I can't find it, so perhaps I just made that up. Fanlore does tell me that this image was reused (much worse quality) for The Terra Nostra Underground though. That's not what I was thinking of, though. It's the nicest cover of all the Resistances anyway. Otherwise there is one Leah Rosenthal A/B artwork inside and nothing else. It's OK.

The fics are generally not.

Catocala, "No Way In" (A/V) For an early A/V fic this isn't bad. Vila is a relatively strong character, capable of both lock-picking and taunting Avon who is, of course (this is a theme of the zine) unable to admit his feelings - a very plausible Avon characterisation, but irritating in large does. The sex when it comes is over really quickly, which is also a theme of this zine, which does not linger on the shagging at all.

Cybel Harper, "Absolution" (A/B) PGP, weird plot where Avon is suicidal and keeps wandering around on the moors because he shot Blake's clone. It all ends well. Forgettable.

Natasha Barry, "Together Again for the First Time" (A/B) This story (which involves Avon being duped by a male prostitute who ties him up) is all about it's 'did I just blow your mind??' plot twist, which is a bit silly. The characterisation of Blake isn't good, but then it's not good throughout any of these fics. Maybe I will flag it up when it is good.

Shoshanna, "Do-It-Yourself Slash" (A/V) This is the best bit in the whole zine! Very funny, excellent satire. It has lots of blanks, and then a selection of options you can choose to use to write your own adventure. For example "Vila is .... (Possible answers: 'a) on watch b) drunk c) eyeing Avon d) secretly an Alpha'). Despite Avon's frequent insults, he feels strangely drawn to ...." (Possible answers: a) the dark-haired tech b) the idea of tossing Avon out the airlock c) another drunk d) goosing Dayna)."

Then there's a section that reads "If a plot is not desired, skip the following paragraph". Ha ha ha.

The sex scene (this whole story is only a page long) reads: "They go together to an empty cabin and, after kissing, licking, and stroking each other all over, .... (Possible answers: a) Avon fucks Vila b) Vila fucks Avon c) they go on each other d) they shut off the artificial gravity and perform acts scarcely describable on a planetary surface). With cries of joy, they ... (Possible answers: a) come simultaneously b) come simultaneously c) come simultaneously d) come simultaneously)".

Ahahaha. Anyway.

Adrian Alexander, "Domesticity" (A/G) Such a weird fic, and not only because it's A/G.. which it barely is. Blake's 7 are all on a camping holiday, and Jenna and Gan are off together, and Blake and Cally - Avon propositions Vila, who says "oh I'm straight!" and Gan consoles Avon, they go off to the warm springs that Gan went to with Jenna earlier, and start to get it on except Avon says 'I won't be faithful to you' and despite Gan cheating on Jenna with Avon this is such a turn off for Gan that they don't finish. I literally do not understand what is going on, and nobody is in character except for perhaps Vila.

xBryn Lantry, "Fealty" (A/B) One of Bryn's less incomprehensible stories. I prefer a Blake who hasn't given up, and an Avon less willfully fae, but... there's lots to like about this story. Nice two-act structure, and it's interesting that we the audience are let in on the secret of Blake's identity immediately, and so the whole story is about how Avon will react not the twist.

Cybel Harper, "No Promises" (A/V) I only skimmed this story, but it seems to be about Avon getting shot... and being horrible.

Natasha Barry, "Come Together" (A/B) Even though short and relatively inoffensive really, this story is hard going. Both Vila and Blake want Avon (the author uses the term 'same-sexers' instead of homosexuals in this story, and another one in the next zine, which I find really odd), who is oblivious - they both ask him to dinner and Avon has no idea what's going on. Cally suggests Avon should choose Vila and still Avon has no idea what's going on; then eventually he goes for Blake, because Blake doesn't need him as much (that's what he thinks!!!). I didn't like it. All characters are portrayed as stupid, even (for once) our beloved Avon.

Melody C., "A Story That Doesn't Have an End" (A/B; sequel to "A Feast of Bacchanalia") Last time on 'Resistance', I liked Bacchanalia. x_los read ahead of me, and said this sequel was unreadable, but... you know what, maybe I'd just been worn down by this point but I sort of liked it. It takes place in an early 1990s land where Blake's ability to be president is actually compromised by him being gay - again, a lot of the fics in this zine (though I haven't mentioned it) do have this strong sense of stigma attached to homosexuality even in the future. Avon wants to stay on the planet of acceptance and won't tell Blake why; Blake wants to go back and be president. The story ends happily - Blake stays with Avon. This sounds like a sucky plot, but I'll tell you why I liked it - two reasons. One: Avon goes to the wise woman from story 1 to complain about his problems. She tells him he needs to open up to Blake, and he's like - but I already went on my spirtual journey in story 1! And she says - this time you need to do something much harder: actually talk to him, not just soul bond. Which was pretty funny. Secondly - while Avon's reason for Blake not going back is pretty crap, Blake eventually concludes that's Avon's right, and he stays for this reason, rather than for love.

"What would have happened if you'd decided I was wrong? (asks Avon) Would you have gone?" "Yes, but I would have taken you with me." Avon's eyes narrowed. "And if I didn't want to be taken?" "Asks the man who just requested I sacrifice sovereignty of the Refederated universe for his love?"

Lampshading perhaps but I like it. Then the actual ending is:

"Well now, Blake, and here I thought we were always on our way to La Mancha." "I'm through with windmills, Kerr." Avon's smile became a laugh, the laugh of one who knew Roj Blake better than anyone else in the great, expanding, never-ending universe. "Yes, Blake," he said. "I've heard that one before."

No story can fail to win me over if it concludes that Blake is going to continue fighting impossible battles, and that he makes his decisions based on whether he thinks they are right, rather than for love. All I want is plausible characterisation. [21]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5, A.G.

Resistance 5 was published in January 1991 and contains 152 pages.

It contains no interior illustrations.

Fiction:

Poetry:

  • Robin Hood, "Eternal Day" (A/B)
  • Gene S. Delapenia , "Alpha Time" (A/B)
  • Cybel Harper, "Suffer a Fool" (A/V)
  • Gene S. Delapenia , "Delta Time" (A/V)
  • Robin Hood, "Voice of the Prophet" (A/B)
  • Gene S. Delapenia , "Heart of Fire" (A/B)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Bribery and Corruption" (A/B)
  • Cybel Harper, "Tyger" (A/B)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Rape" (A/B)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

Into the Fire (A/B) - Catocala: PWP. Blake is annoyed that Avon won't tell him about his love-letter from Anna that he carries about everywhere. Avon tries to frighten him away by kissing him, with the inevitable result.

The Light of Other Days (A/V) - Alex T. MacKenzie: Long h/c stranded-on-hostile-planet story. I'm not really the right person to review this (let other pens dwell upon tears and soppiness...). Suffice it to say that if you are the type of person who likes this sort of thing, this will be the kind of thing you like.

Post Pandemonium (A/B) - xBryn Lantry: Lovely dark, complex mood piece (with splendid dialogue). A & (wounded, laser-blasted) B in a rather dilapidated doss-house, struggling with irreconcilable differences of approach in philosophy, politics, and their ambiguous relationship to each other. Impressive.

Found Wanting () - Natasha Barry: All crew (except Cally) incapable of sex. Avon & Blake want each other, Jenna wants Blake, Cally wants Avon, and Vila wants Avon and Cally. The only satisfied being is Orac, who wants Avon, but only for his mind.

Best of Show (A/B) - Natasha Solten: PWP. The crew are about to teleport down to Playworld for sexual entertainment, except A & B, who want something other than casual sex. The first half of the story is A & B falling in romantic love, and the second half is A & B being accidentally teleported down in the middle of oral sex. I don't think the 2 parts mesh very well, but maybe the author is going for the extra "ouch!" embarrassment factor. [22]
Two stories by xBryn Lantry, both A/B, both excellent (speaking as a Lantry fan, to be fair). 'Confessions of a Right Bastard' is only two pages, consisting of scribbled notes from Avon to Blake and vice versa, but I loved them (I could *hear* those two gorgeous voices reading these aloud...yum.) And 'Post Pandemonium' - Avon does find Blake after Star One, still injured and now unwilling to go back to Earth. They fight, make love, argue, make love...all with xBryn's wonderful rich dialogue. This is a splendid story.

I also loved Melody C.'s 'The Other Half of the Sky' - a A/B with the whole of the 4th season turning out to be a 'drug-induced and electronic dream'. Blake is especially well portrayed, somewhere between his Star One self and the battered man in 'Blake', and with little needed to push him either way - something that is true also of Avon, who is well done as the man in Terminal, before the ice got to him. For fans of these two only, however - as in her other stories I've read in this series, the rest of the crew are adroitly but firmly shuffled off-stage before the story even starts.

There's two stories by Natasha Solten. 'Falling' has Blake as sexual innocent (the mind-wipe, of course) and victim (during Federation torture). Given that he's by far the earthiest of the male characters on the show, I always have problems with the former idea. Add to that the view that he is unusually naive and poor at understanding other people (especially Avon) and you have someone I don't recognise at all. Which is a pity, because the plot isn't bad. 'Best of Show' works fine as a straight romantic little story (she does the intensity rather well), but the 'surprise' ending was a mistake, in my opinion.

'Into the Fire' is a good PWP, not overly original in the little plot there is, but with very nice characterisation and dialogue (emotion without sentimentality). There's only one A/V, 'The Light of Other Days' - it's long, somewhat slow, and suffers from an Avon with amnesia and without much character (and even less of it recognisable). I don't care for the pairing anyway, so I found it hard going. And 'Found Wanting' - where everyone on the ship wants someone they can't have - reads more like the synopsis for a set of stories than one in its own right (mind you, they could have been very interesting stories.)

Again, one of the better ones in the series, and recommended for A/B fans. [23]

No art at all. Something else I'll comment on, although I think other reviewers have said it - 'Resistance' is an odd zine series in that all the authors seem to have typed up their own fics. Everything is in different fonts. I don't find it too distracting, but clearly... it is noticeable.

This zine is heavily B/A, but the one A/V it has is actually pretty good. In general, it's much better than Resistance 4 and most of the other zines in this series. Though no stories stand out, everything is generally pleasant.

Melody C., "The Other Half of the Sky" (A/B): I like this one a lot, though it feels like a guilty pleasure. Blake is working with a non-Carnell pyschostrategist - the two of them lured Avon to Terminal, and the psychostrategist constructed series 4 in a dream machine as a way of working out whether Avon would help them take over the Federation. Perhaps surprisingly, given that it ends with Avon shooting Blake, this projection does convince all. Meanwhile Avon wakes up and is looked after by Blake for a bit. There's also another virtual reality machine that accesses your fantasies - Blake's already used it, and Avon uses it during the fic but realises it isn't real and goes off to the real Blake. The fic is already long, but ends far too soon. I would have liked - lots more sex, and the two of them taking over the universe together (and some explanation about Soolin/Sula - an idea that presented and then dropped), but hey ho. The sex itself (69-ing, very popular in early slash) is pretty good.

Natasha Solten, "Falling" (A/B): This fic is too long, and Blake spends most of it as a bumbling and wide-eyed innocent. Which is a shame. Avon works out Blake has been conditioned not to respond to anyone sexually.... with predictable results.

xBryn Lantry, "Confessions of a Right Bastard" (A/B): Two pages, epistolary, quite fun, but very Bryn.

Catocala, "Into the Fire" (A/B) (also in "touched" #11 and Southern Lights #8.5): I've read this before in Southern Comfort, where its part of a 3-story arc, but I like it better on its own. Cave story, Avon accuses Blake of manipulation. Blake is more irritated by Avon's bullshit than in most of these fics, which is relieving. Nice sex, although no lube/anal penetration.

Alex T. MacKenzie, "The Light of Other Days" (A/V): So, as I said, this is pretty good for an A/V. It has an interestingly different premise, in that Avon and Vila crash-land together on a random medieval planet instead of 'Aftermath'. Avon has partial amnesia, allowing Vila to take most of the initiative throughout, though Avon isn't entirely useless either. They do have sex on several occasions, but there's also a plot involving their escape from this planet, which takes up most of the word count.

xBryn Lantry, "Post Pandemonium" (A/B): I thought I hadn't read this one... but it is on AO3. Another unusual premise in that Avon tracks down Blake post series 2. They exchange a lot of confusing dialogue about their previous relationship, and I assume conclude that they want to be together. Nice premise, but I find the execution too difficult to actually enjoy.

Natasha Barry, "Found Wanting" (unclassifiable): Interesting-ish idea in that it hypothesizes that not just Blake has been chemically castrated by the Federation - all of the characters have. We move from character to character as they talk about their sexual frustration - the fic concludes that B/A is a thing, but they can never act on it. Surely they could be together, even if there was no sex? Ah, never mind, I forgot this was a slash zine.

Natasha Solten, "Best of Show" (A/B):

Another one I sort of like, despite myself. The crew want to go to a pleasure planet, and Avon is surprised Blake agrees! Blake confides to Avon that his fantasy is to fall in love, which is also Avon's fantasy. In a flash - they realise they are in love with each other, and can only wait for the others to go down to the planet. The awkwardness of waiting for everyone to leave is really well done, and the sex is nice. It's just the sudden realisation (and Blake, particularly, being distorted by the plot) that ruins it. Funny ending. [24]

Issue 6

Resistance 6 was published in 1992 and contains 142 pages.

cover of issue #6, Susan E. Williams. A fan in 2015 said it "is [one of my] two favourite awful, unembarrassed covers in this fandom." [25] [26] A fan comments: "On the big version you can tell there there's no dragon behind the head, and Blake doesn't look upset. Obviously another dull day on the Liberator enlivened with a little b&d (Bondage and Dragon) cosplay, it took Avon *days* to build the erupting dragon head and install it on the wall in one of the empty cabins." [27]

Fiction:

Poetry:

  • Robin Hood, "Dreams Unspoken" (A/B)
  • Natasha Solten, "Prophecy" (A/B)
  • Gene S. Delapenia, "At the End" (A/B?)
  • Robin Hood, "Born to Fire" (A/B)
  • Robin Hood, untitled (A/B)
  • Gene S. Delapenia, "And He Laughed" (A/B)
  • Natasha Solten, "Retreat" (A/B)
  • Gene S. Delapenia, "What If?" (A/B)
  • Natasha Solten, "Dreamcall" (A/B)
  • Emily C. Ross, "Mindgames" (A/B)
  • Catherine, "Avon's Love" (A/B)
  • Robin Hood, "In the Mirror" (A/B)

Art:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

[The Last Time]: As always, very enjoyable reviews. I enjoyed what you had to say about "The Last Time." It's a great fic. I love that it's funny but also genuinely angsty. [28]
[The Last Time]: i also love the last time - i dont know if i say enough of that because i just go into how much i would like to read a fic about blake and avon having sex on servalan's pursuit ship. but you see i WOULD like to read that :p [29]
[zine]: What a wonderful writer Melody C. is! Like M. Fae Glasgow, when I pick up something of hers I can be sure it's going to be a good read, and indeed, 'In Another Time' is probably the best thing in this zine. To describe it too closely would be to give away the plot, which wouldn't be fair. Suffice it to say that it is an unusual story, expertly plotted, and well told. Also very good, but perhaps lacking in the depth of Melody C.'s piece was Natasha Solten's 'The Last Time.' And excellent basic idea which I felt needed a little more fleshing out, but then I'm a sucker for lots of words and lots of dialogue. [30]
[zine]:

Artwork Cover in some a/u classical myth setting: possibly Avon as Perseus and Blake as Andromeda. Does nothing for me at all. No other artwork.

Stories

  • In Another Time (A/B) --- Melody C.: PGP. Is Blake Blake? Is Avon Avon? Who is testing whose loyalty? Lots of bleak bitter imagery and angst.
  • Coyotes (A/V) -- Jane Mailander: One of Mailander's splendidly psychologically healthy stories. Much less romantic than is the norm for this 'zine. Not a story for Tarrant fans (not a surprise for this author).
  • December Dreams (A/B) -- J. Meridith: This one is, if anything, a bit over-romantic. I don't think the tone quite succeeds (but soliloquies are a difficult thing for any writer to manage), and the rather American-accented dialogue puts me off.
  • Re-Entry (A/V) -- Morgan/O'Cullane: PGP. Avon and Vila find each other again. Does Vila trust his new best friend Janneg? Is Janneg his friend? Can he trust Avon? Fairly explicit sex scene: the pun in the title is no doubt intentional.
  • Something Tangible (A/B) -- Natasha Barry: A much less "sweet" Blake than is normal with this author. Reads slightly as if it's an attempt at an Oblaque twisty-psychological thing (though without the overt sex). For me it doesn't work: I have the impression it's telling rather than showing. Sebastian or the miscellaneous Caledonian could make me feel that I'm getting into Blake's head, but this doesn't. I think the at-the-bedroom-door ending makes the story feel unfinished (no, not *just* because I have a filthy mind...): they've spent the whole story asking what would happen if Blake made a real push to seduce Avon, and now we don't get to see the result.
  • Ship's Soul/Bitter Prize/End Game (A/B) -- Merlyn: Three short connected vampire stories. I like them, but feel they read more like sketches than full stories. Includes a rare Blake/Tarrant scene, but Blake's heart, needless to say, still belongs to Avon...
  • Sweeter than Wine (A/B) -- Emily C. Ross: PWP. What would Avon do if he drank a little potion (provided by Vila, of course) that enabled him to lose a few of his many inhibitions? A sadder story than you'd think from this outline, though.
  • The Tale of the Penetrator (A/B/V) -- Alex T. MacKenzie: This is really, really silly and a complete hoot... Imagine Avon knocked himself out and everything since Terminal was a bad dream. Not silly enough? Imagine they're on a ship called the Penetrator whose computer has this Little Problem: it used to run a Dirty Words booth on the planet Pornia, and it's finding its conditioning catching up to it. Getting silly? Then Jenna turns up with this massive dildo to punish Blake for preferring Avon. Then things get *really* silly...
  • When the Heart Rules the Mind (A/V) -- Wortham/Rosenthal: The Malodaar incident was a bad dream of Vila's. Avon didn't *really* try to kill him.
  • The Last Time (A/B) -- Natasha Solten: PWP. I really like the premise of this. A & B fancy each other like mad but they're quite aware trying to have a relationship would be a silly idea. They keep alternating between saying "this is mad" and pouncing furiously. Nice. [31]
[zine]: Of the A/B stories, my favourite was a serious little PGP by Melody C., 'In Another Time' - Avon, in the hands of the military, is being asked to betray Blake (the real one - yes, it's an 'it was the clone', but that doesn't distract). No sex, but plenty of deep feeling and one rather fascinating original character in the military commander using Avon. I also liked 'The Last Time' - an short, totally plotless piece that *almost* sends up the 'irresistible-force-meets-immovable-object' aspect of their relationship, and does it very nicely. Great fun, and the sex is good, too. 'Something Tangible' veers between story and essay, with over-large chunks of exposition and little actual plot; 'Sweeter Than Wine' is simple and unmemorable; 'December Dreams' by J Meredith has nice language but an almost total lack of setting - is it on Scorpio? Then what's Blake doing there? There was no sense of place, which spoilt it for me.

There are three A/V stories. 'Re-entry' is PGP, cool and bittersweet, and would, I think, appeal to those who like the pairing. 'Coyotes' has an interesting theme, but drives it home with a heavy hand, and the actual relationship comes over as an afterthought. 'When the Heart Rules the Mind' is post-Orbit, and is quite good, but it's a little hard to judge in this by now over-mined area.

There's a trio of slight but quite nice vampire stories by Merlyn, 'Ship's Soul', 'Bitter Prize', and 'End Game' - however the first story comes *chronologically* after the second; I think it's put first to heighten the rather flimsy mystery within, but I found it (and the attempt to *make* a mystery of what was fairly obvious) distracting. 'The Tale of the Penetrator' (which ends up involving just about all of the 2nd and 3rd season casts) is a long, humorous piece, rather less than subtle, and it just doesn't work for me. [32]
[zine]: Melody C., "In Another Time" (A/B) Lots of stuff to like about this - the ending is very clever. The beginning (what is going on regarding who is a clone of who) is quite confusing, though, and not I think in a productive way. I'm also not sure whether A and B were lovers before, even though the kiss is very important. Some slightly confusing lyricism as well - but as I say, lots of good stuff too. We don't often get themes of trust around shot-the-clone stuff, even though it's clearly important and relevant.

Jane Mailander, "Coyotes" (A/V) I didn't read the A/V in this zine. Moving on.

J. Meridith, "December Dreams" (A/B) Weird. First person Avon, that bleeds into first person Blake, then Avon, then a dialogue without dialogue tags. It's very readable, and sounds nothing like them - big problem in first person and dialogue-only. Also, they give way to each other too easily in the argument.

Brendan O'Cullane and Adrian Morgan, "Re-entry" (A/V) Didn't read.

Natasha Barry, "Something Tangible" (A/B) Another pleasant but not particularly well characterised and highly forgettable fic. I've just re-skimmed it (so I've now read this three times), and I still couldn't really tell you what happens.

MerLyn, "Ship's Soul" (A/B, with B/T), MerLyn, "Bitter Prize" (A/B, prequel to "Ship's Soul"), MerLyn, "End Game" (A/B, sequel to "Bitter Prize") A series of three vampire!Blake fics, interestingly set in series 3 with Blake a secret on board the ship (though it turns out that absolutely everyone knows he is there, which makes several plot points not really work). Avon's possessiveness really works for me as does the non-linear narrative and Dayna and Tarrant tracking Blake; Blake shagging/feeding off everyone doesn't, and Tarrant becoming a vampire is so ... not relevant to the narrative. Also - Blake is found on the planet 'Lestat'. Snerk.

Emily C. Ross, "Sweeter Than Wine" (A/B) Weird anti-Blake Vila POV beginning, but then a rather lovely Blake and Avon get (accidentally in Avon's case) aphrodysiaced, which results in Avon stroking Blake's hair and then (despite having no inhibitions) running away when he sees everyone looking at him. I like this very much. And this stuff is nice, even if it could use a polish:

"What do you want from me, Blake?"
Blake's voice was none too steady either. He made no attempt to conceal it. "Anything I can get. As usual. I always want more from you than you can give. But I keep asking. I always keep asking until you tell me to stop."
"That sounds like a very one-sided arrangement."
"I don't mean it to be. Is there something you want from me, Avon? I will give it if I can."
"Will you?"

Alex T. MacKenzie, "The Tale of the Penetrator" (A/B/V) [and] Ann Wortham & Leah Rosenthal, "When the Heart Rules the Mind" (A/V) Didn't read.

Natasha Solten, "The Last Time" (A/B) Really, really good - written five year later than 'Drowning' and it shows. Tightly and elegantly written on a structural level, even as it's also lyrical and engaging writing (with some slightly weird unsexy bits, but whatever). Sad without being ridiculously over-the-top angsty.

With a combination of horror and delight he thought, //I could become addicted to this.//
Later, when he could think more coherently, he thought, "This'll be the death of me.//
"Damn you, he said aloud, voice muffled in the sweat-slicked skin of Blake's smooth chest where his damp head lay, cheek against tender bud of nipple, ear pressed to the area where, beneath mere skin and bone, beat the delicate core of the man: the heart. He whispered it again. "Damn you."
"Don't," was all Blake said, and Avon could feel the slight shiver of the lungs as if Blake were laughing, or weeping.

Also - the final paragraph has a list of unlikely places they had sex (on stakeouts in Federation strongholds, cramped together within the innards of Zen, on the shuttle, in the cargo bay, in burned-out, abandoned rebel shelters, in the underground caves of Horizon, in the shower, on the flight deck, and once in a scout ship owned by Servalan) - would definitely read. Would read all of it.

While watching 'Powerplay' last week actually I thought it would be a good idea to set more fics in those under-deck tunnels - Red Dwarf has a whole episode like that (not a good one, but still). I like inside Zen even more. [33]

Issue 7

cover of issue #7, Alayne

Resistance 7 was published in February 1993.

From a flyer: Due to lack of submissions, this will be a half-issue this year, weighing in at approx. 80 pages."

The art is by Alayne cover design, Anja Gruber, and Willa Shakespeare.

  • Natasha Solten, "The Seraph" (A/B), poem (3)
  • Catherine, "Prometheus Bound" (A/B), poem (4)
  • Brendan O'Cullane & Adrian Morgan, "Pastorale" (A/B), fiction ("After shooting Blake's double on Guada Prime, Avon finds the real Blake on a pastoral planet where he tries to convince him to come back and join the rebellion.") (5)
  • Andrea Arat, "Prison" (A/B), poem (8)
  • Derriny Dark, "Things Like This" (A/B), fiction ("Things like capture, torture, and rape -- think like these -- are bound to happen when you're a rebel fighting the massive, evil Federation. But when 'things like this' (rape) happen to Avon as a result of Blake's weak planning, Fearless Leader's guilt-ridden personality comes to the surface and he puts the entire ship at risk for an obsessive, ignoble purpose of revenge.") (9)
  • Natasha Solten, "The Rebel" (A/B), poem (15)
  • Catherine, "If You Love Someone" (A/B), poem (16)
  • R. Olivia Brown, "You Wouldn't Understand" (A/B), fiction ("A mysterious alien influence helps Blake remember some things from his past, and Blake and Avon discover a deeper trust and commitment to each other than they've ever known.") (17)
  • Brendan O'Cullane & Adrian Morgan, "Reflections" (A/B), fiction ("After Avon and Blake survive Guada Prime, they discuss private matters previously unspoken between them", reprinted in Double Vision) (43)
  • Andrea Arat, "Red Leather" (A/B), poem (46)
  • Khylara, "Learning Process" (A/B), poem (49)
  • Natasha Barry, "Blake's Sin" (A/B) ("In this off-beat story, with Blake gone, Avon and Cally find unexpected love. But the telepath is disturbed to find that all Avon thinks about, no matter what they're doing, is Blake!") (49) (also in The Other Side #8)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Furtling Through Space" (A/V), fiction ("Vila and Avon discover a unique compatibility in this humorous and serious long story.") (63)
  • Khylara, "A Woman's Touch" (C/J), poem (77)
  • Andrea Arat, "In My Arms" (A/B), poem (78)
  • Romilly Kerr, "Twilight on Gauda Prime" (A/B), fiction (79)
  • Andrea Arat, "In the Dark" (A/B), poem (81)
  • Khylara, "Idealist Flame" (A/B), poem (82)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

[zine]:

Artwork

Line drawings by Anja Gruber which I don't particularly like.

Stories

Pastorale (A/B) -- Morgan/O'Cullane: Odd, very short, PGP. Sort of role-reversal: Blake has lost all faith in the rebellion & Avon is trying to convince him to take it up again.

Things like This (A/B) -- Derriny Dark: Short no-sex hurt/comfort: Avon has been raped and he & Blake have to confront their complicated feelings.

You Wouldn't Understand (A/B) -- R. Olivia Brown: I like this, although I find Jenna's sudden about-face unconvincing. Fairly daft premise: aliens who spend their lives mentally linked decide to "heal" Avon's mind by linking him to Blake. I like the interaction and the way Avon isn't too fragile or too soppy.

Traitor (A/B) -- Andrea Arat: Short hurt/comfort. Avon "betrays" the crew because Servalan shows him an extremely convincing fake of Blake under torture & he's convinced. Then he tells Blake what happened, Blake forgives him, and they fall into each other's arms. I find the half-page sex scene unconvincing (no lubricant and multiple orgasm).

Reflections (A/B) -- Morgan/O'Cullane: Another short PGP. Can they forgive themselves/each other?

Blake's Sin (A/B) -- Natasha Barry: Hey! What's a het story doing in here? Short PWP - Avon in bed with Cally, although they spend most of their time discussing how he'd rather be with Blake. Well, that's not enough for me to consider it slash, but YM May as always V.

The Angel, the Saint, the Rebel, the Dead Man and Me (A/B) -- Natasha Barry: I rather like the multiple images Avon has of Blake in this story - does a good job of showing how Avon might find him attractive. Nice sex scene.

Furtling Through Space (A/V) - Willa Shakespeare: No, I'm not going to explain "furtling": you'll need to read the story. Splendidly good-humoured, and affectionate without being soppy. I like this author's work, although I've only read two of her stories so far.

Twilight on Gauda Prime (A/B) -- Romilly Kerr: A very short (1 and a half pages) PGP. Avon & Blake meet, rather despairingly, for the first time since he shot Blake. [34]

[zine]: A slim volume, 82 pages, with mostly rather short, lightweight stories, quite a few of which I thought could have been expanded into something really good - but then, better short than too long, and there were several I enjoyed. 'Things Like This' - Blake and Avon are captured, Avon is raped before rescue, Blake goes back for revenge - is simple, but the relationship, *just* to this side of the A-B or A/B line :), is intense and enjoyable written. 'The Angel, The Saint, The Rebel, The Dead Man and Me' - don't care for the title, but I liked the story, a PWP from Avon's POV and very nice too, especially the shaded view of Blake's character and the very good dialogue from both. 'Furtling Through Space' - I have a complete blind spot where A/V is concerned, it leaves me befogged, but this piece of unabashed nonsense from Willa Shakespeare is fun.

'You Wouldn't Understand' has a good idea (a mental link between Blake, Avon *and* Vila) but doesn't seem to go anywhere - the whole thing is a little flat, even the sex. 'Blake's Sin' - a nice if rather too sweet version of Cally, but Avon simply didn't work for me, and both talk rather too much (mostly about Blake, of course...)

The other stories are really only sketches - 'Pastorale' (PGP A/B, 'it was the clone' with the dialogue a bit overdone for my taste), 'Traitor' (good opening, then everyone's behaviour lurching around to fit the plot), 'Reflections' (well, I don't believe the premise, but the writing is good), and 'Twilight on Gauda Prime' (1 1/2 pages of pretty description but not much point - this one really could have been expanded to give it some punch).

All in all, I wouldn't pay a lot for it, but it's quite nice if you can pick it up second-hand, for the three stories I mentioned first. [35]

A mixed zine, but almost all B/A. Interestingly unlike other 'Resistance's, each fic has a little intro explaining who the writer is or something about the fic - I quite like this. It doesn't appear in any other Resistance.

Brendan O'Cullane & Adrian Morgan, "Pastorale" (A/B): Avon convinces Blake to come back to revolutioning - which I approve of from an Avon POV, and think is semi-justified by 'Trial' and other Blake sulks. The business with the clone taking Blake's place was rather confusingly described, but clearly I got the picture. This is all right.

Derriny Dark, "Things Like This" (A/B): I quite like this, which is actually smarm rather than slash (pre-slash at best). Avon gets raped to save Blake, and while he's recovering Blake tries to go and kill the man who did it even though he knows Avon will be furious. I am a sucker for heroic/stupid sacrifice as we know, and their confrontation after Blake returns is really nicely and simply done.

R. Olivia Brown, "You Wouldn't Understand" (A/B): Strange but v appealing fic where aliens mentally bond Blake, Avon and Vila (what the hell? I thought to myself - it didn't say this on the label), but then fortunately Vila manages to get free! Blake and Avon mindmerge, and Avalon (who appears towards the end, and who previously shagged Blake) is a homophobe. There's some really random stuff about Avon's past as well, just thrown in, and a random Jealous Jenna moment before she realises she's thwarted and just happily gives up (weird).

There's a rather nice lampshading of the mindmeld device and its affects between Blake and Cally:

"I want him to want me, not just be forced into it by something we can't help, and had no choice about."
"Love among humans i always somewhat like that, or so I understand." Cally smiled. "Does it matter so much to you how you came by it?"
"Not when you put it like that."

That sort of answers my complaints about 'Mindfire'. The sex is brief (thank god), and nice. Also - alien-mindmeld is a good device, although still not pushed as hard as it should be! The ending is too abrupt. Still - glad I read it.

Andrea Arat, "Traitor" (A/B): This is... hm. Well, it's OK. Everyone turns on Avon who betrayed loads of rebels because he thought Servalan was torturing Blake - when Blake finds this out, he instantly forgives everything! (though presumably it's still pretty bad)

Brendan O'Cullane & Adrian Morgan, "Reflections" (A/B): This story (which is perfectly competently written) depicts a Blake who was genuinely planning to sell Avon for money, to further the revolution, and then changed his mind. It's difficult for me to then emphathise with his love for Avon...

Natasha Barry, "Blake's Sin" (A/C, A/B): Cant imagine this story satisfies many people! Cally loves Avon, who loves Blake (who is missing, this being series 3) but wishes he didn't. Cally talks about how she is like Blake, and Avon thinks she is someone he would like to love and they have sex. The summary for this fic is only vaguely accurate: "In this off-beat story, with Blake gone, Avon and Cally find unexpected love. But the telepath is disturbed to find that all Avon thinks about, no matter what they're doing, is Blake!" The implied fic sounds much funnier - involving Avon not knowing he is gay for Blake, presumably, and Cally getting quite irritated with him.

Natasha Solten, "The Angel, the Saint, the Rebel, the Dead Man, and Me" (A/B): I really like this fic - like Fanatics, it's one of my favourites. I just wrote a review of it again here, but it was almost the same as what I'd written on my list just in a different order (at least I'm consistent), so - waste of time.

I didn't read the others in this zine. Unlike B&A, 'Resistance 7' doesn't have great art, though the fics are much better! By the time I'm complaining about Blake's motivation, you know that at least it is an actual story... [36]

Issue 8

cover of issue #8 by Sabrina Stone

Resistance 8 was published in August 1994 and contains 180 pages.

Fiction:

  • Tounge N. Cheek, "Duet for Emmanuelle" (A/B)
  • Irish, "One Human Heart" (A/B)
  • Brennan Lori, "If It Comes Down to That" (Ta/V)
  • Amethyst Lane, "Drunk" (A/B)
  • J. Mercedes, "A Poor Reward" (A/B)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "One I'd Love" (A/Tr)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Good Intentions" (A/V)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Gremlin" (gen)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Getting Lucky" (A/Ta, sequel to Gremlin)
  • Drew Flynn, "And Then There Was One" (A/Ta)
  • Patti E. McClellan, "Second Chances" (gen, included by mistake, was supposed to have been in Raising Hell #6, see that page)
  • Catherine, "To Worship the Devil" (A/B)
  • Irish, "A Familiar Companion" (A/B)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Vila Rides" (A/V)

Nonfiction:

  • Sabrina Stone, "Playrebel Data Sheets"

Poetry:

  • Sabrina Stone, "Answers"
  • Robin Hood, "Immortality of Innocence"
  • Robin Hood, "All the Worlds Are Stardust"
  • Robin Hood, "The Careful Friend"
  • Sabrina Stone, "Doubts"
  • Catherine, "The Final Gesture"
  • Catherine, "The Double-Edged Sword"
  • Catherine, "Confessions"
  • Catherine, "Demon Lover"
  • Khylara, "Freedom"
  • Khylara, "Barriers"
  • Khylara, "Ties That Bind"
  • Sabrina Stone, "The Bridge"
  • Sabrina Stone, "My Love, Not Through Rose Colored"
  • Amethyst Lane, "If I Had a Soul"
  • Amethyst Lane, "Last Sounds"
  • Amethyst Lane, "Blanks"
  • Amethyst Lane, "Melancholy Dreams"
  • Amethyst Lane, "Rebel Doldrums"
  • Amethyst Lane, "Rebel Love"

Art:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

[Getting Lucky]: Sequel to "Gremlin," a gen story in the same zine. In "Gremlin," we find out why Avon had such bad luck. In "Getting Lucky," he and Tarrant make their escape. They fight, and while they're rolling around on the floor one thing leads to another (this seems to be a very common device for A/Ts). Great dialogue, hot sex. [37]
[zine]: WARNING: This is a review of a slash zine. If you don't want to think about slash, don't read this post. Also, this review gives away a few plot points that were supposed to be surprises in various stories. If that bothers you, buy the zine and suffer, *then* read this post....

I've been so starved for new B7 slash that I nearly cut off a few fingers opening the package from Bill Hupe that contained Resistance 8. It would have been a damned shame to shed blood as well as $20 over this zine.

In addition to a lot of <choke> poems, the zine contains (I'm going by the keys in the table of contents here) six A/B stories, two A/V, one Tarrant/Vila, one Avon/Travis, and two Avon/Tarrant. There are several *gen* stories in this zine. And the sex in them is even more exciting than most of the sex in the slash stories. Now, I know I'm weird, but one of the things I read slash for is *SEX*. Many slashfen profess that they can take or leave the sex--what matters to them is the *relationship*. Well, the two go hand in hand (or <other body part> in hand) (or whatever) for me; unless reading a very short PWP, I look for convincing, perceptive, compelling development of characters and relationships. You ain't gonna find any here.

(This reminds me of a strange paragraph in the intro to Susan Matthews's "October Story" in Powerplay #3: "Unlike mainstream B7, in [this set of stories] there are no major plot progressions, no particular developments in characterization, and no terminal events." That's pretty descriptive of Resistance 8, too--the few attempts to explore the characters are utterly un-believable, and about as thrilling as the sex that is, in at least one story, portrayed by a series of asterisks.)

Right--So we've got a story where Avon gets pregnant, and gives birth to and nurses Blake's baby. From what I could tell, this was intended as a serious story. I haven't read any earlier "Emmannuelle" stories, and I'm grateful. The wedding sequence reminded me of some K/S stories I read long ago, what with the simplistically drawn planetary society (Vulcan is several orders of magnitude more complex), the ritual fighting over the "bride," the gown, etc. It didn't feel like B7 to me at all, and it was surely free of any "developments in characterization" despite the fact that it's just sort of *announced* that Avon is a hermaphroditic alien. The stuff about pregnancy and nursing made me sicker than any hardcore catheter story ever concocted. Now that I think about it, no catheter story has ever made me sick at all, and actually they kind of turned me on, but *babies* have no place in a slash story, as far as I'm concerned. (They can be anywhere else they want, as long as it is far away from me.)

We've got a story in which Avon huddles weeping by the toilet because he's so upset that he almost shot Blake on Horizon. This is characterization all right, but it's about as accurate in feel as the hermaphrodite one. Less, in fact--the Avon in the "Emmannuelle" story at least sounds like Avon some of the time. We've got a lot of Avon telling Blake he loves him, which is another guaranteed vomit-launch for yon Bloody Countess. The A/V story that concludes the zine, "Vila Rides," is probably the best thing in it--certainly the most memorable. It's a light, sweet, humorous story; not very original, and not very erotic, but pleasant. The funniest thing in it is the way the title keeps popping up at random in the text--somebody's wordprocessing software got out of hand. (This is a technical complaint I have about the entire zine--the production values are terrible, with stories in wildly differing fonts and formats, some of them in a near-unreadable narrow sans-serif font, and typos galore. Not to mention the staples sticking out the back that I had to tape down so that they didn't lacerate my hands. None of this makes me any friendlier toward the zine.)

"Good Intentions," the 5-page PWP in which, post-Malodaar, Avon makes things worse by trying to make them better, could have been a terrific angst story if it weren't so sketchy. (And if it weren't in the first person. I can't "believe" that this is Avon talking.)

Two other stories had potential:"One I'd Love," Willa Shakespeare's Avon/Travis story, has a couple of excellent ideas propped up on a foundation of absurdity (the Blake-stranding-Avon-on-Horizon premise). The stuff about Travis's origins is nicely horrific, and the mutual accord that develops between Avon and Travis as a result is pretty well-supported, though I prefer stories without "devices" like this--in this case, explaining the differences between Travis 1 and Travis 2 by saying that Travis 1 got fed up with the corruption of the Federation and left (NOT believable) and that Travis 2 is a ringer created by cypbersurgeons and psychostrategists (nice premise, could have been used more effectively--I would have enjoyed being the editor on this story, because there was so much potential in it). I would have liked it better if Travis was just Travis, but then the writer would have had to work much harder to convince us that Avon and Travis would pair up. The sex in this story is probably the best in the zine, for whatever that's worth. But the whole story is undermined by slapstick moments that disrupt the tone and spoil the whole thing, at least for me, not to mention the fact that in this one, Gan and Jenna are lovers (yecchhh), and the whole thing ends with a sort of romper-room silliness that piddles away into nothingness. But it does have some good moments.

"Getting Lucky" (also by Willa Shakespeare): This one is Avon/Tarrant, another pairing that I enjoy, and the whole story is more or less "just" a sex scene, which is fine with me, and there are a few moments in it that are hot, in a formulaic sort of way. But what really annoyed me was that after tying Avon up (Yes! Yes!), Tarrant almost immediately unties him (No! No!). There is humor in this one that actually works and doesn't jar, and some of the dialog is quite good (i.e. in-character). A lot of it is quite bad (i.e. not-in-character, and unintentionally silly), too, and careful editorial attention might have helped. In all, however, this one was OK.

None of the art or poetry did anything for me, but then, it usually doesn't. The poetry wasn't, and on top of that, the saccharine content was dangerously high. I don't like maudlin. (Which is why I have no further comments on the A/B stories in the zine, either.) I was left wondering what the hell happened--some of the earlier Resistance zines had spectacular stuff in them, like Sylvia Knight's stories. I know that this was the last issue of Resistance that Wendy planned to publish; now I hear she's decided to do another one. I thought that burnout and a lack of good submissions might have explained the poor quality of Resistance 8, so if there's going to be a Resistance 9, I hope that somebody sends her some decent stuff. And now the zine goes into the pile--being a completist, I had to get it, and I have to keep it, because there are those little moments where an interesting idea gets through. But if you can only buy one slash zine this year, I suggest that you wait for the next one from Manacles or Oblique. [38]
[zine]: Tongue N. Cheek, "Duet for Emmanuelle" (A/B) I didn't re-read this, because it's long and it's mostly about the alien society that Avon the hermaphrodite alien hales from. While I think a modern reader might have more sympathy for MPreg in general, I do agree with the 1994 reviewer cited on Fanlore in that after a while this is barely B7 (although, I would argue, no more so than something like the Long Way Back). It just goes on and on and on. What's also weird (I did re-read this part, gentle reader, so I could be informed) is how quickly they decide to shag (decide is probably a strong word - it just seems to happen since they're stranded on a planet), and how Blake doesn't so much as blink when he discovers Avon's trousers do not contain what he expected. One can be too understanding.

Irish, "One Human Heart" (A/B) As I've said before, Irish stories are either very good or a bit rubbish. This is the latter, unfortunately. Blake is both (very good and a bit rubbish). Avon is told he's in love with Blake by Vila (who is in love with Cally, who slept with Avon while he was with Blake) and then A and B have a long conversation about how Avon fears love, which results in Blake saying 'OK then - let's kill ourselves' (they don't - although he does mean it). Very odd. Some nice stuff in it, but basically it's all over the place.

Brennan Lori, "If It Comes Down to That" (Ta/V) Quite nice Ta/V actually - in which Vila uses sex as a weapon, and Tarrant doesn't act as Vila expects (i.e. he is nicer, but not too nice).

Amethyst Lane, "Drunk" (A/B) Really weird. Blake spends most of the fic wanting to go and drunkenly masturbate, and for some reason Avon is interested in him as he stumbles around leering. I don't get it. Although I would like more drunk!Blake fic.

J. Mercedes, "A Poor Reward" (A/B) The first of two post-Deliverance god-related A/B in this zine - Avon is very inhibited. Blake tells him he's magnificent. It has potential, but ultimately is kind of forgettable.

Willa Shakespeare, "One I'd Love" (A/Tr) This one is genuinely good, hooray for that. Really almost unbearably harsh beginning where Blake abandons Avon on Horizon to teach him a lesson, that then moves into some pretty fluffy Avon/Travis 2 (who is not the real Travis). This conditioning plot makes a lot of sense, and the stuff with Avon skidding around Travis's ship naked and then falling over is adorable and lovely. Also Blake is jealous, which I eat up with a spoon.

Vanessa Mullen, "Good Intentions" (A/V) Post Orbit (and Avon raping Vila without realising that's what he's doing - see above. I told you this zine had themes). Even this author can't make me like it.

Sabrina Stone, "Playrebel Data Sheets" I really like these (where is Vila's data sheet? And where are Gan and Tarrant? This is a concept I feel has more to give). Blake's turn offs include "eye patches, people who say 'I bet you don't remember me'". Also amusing to imagine Blake forcing them to do this as part of a rebellion fund-raising venture or something.

Willa Shakespeare, "Gremlin" (gen) I assume this is using concepts from some other text about gremlins (?) - I don't know the reference. It's weird, anyway. The point is Avon and Tarrant escape.

Willa Shakespeare, "Getting Lucky" (A/Ta, sequel to Gremlin) Having escaped, they argue, then Tarrant accosts him into rough sex. Which I guess Avon likes. It's not bad.

Drew Flynn, "And Then There Was One" (A/Ta) What is with all these non A/B stories? Is this Resistance or not? Anyway - I legitimately do not understand what is going on in this fic (it's not just that it's about Tarrant and not Blake). I think they're in a BDSM relationship? Possibly. And it's part of a universe that I think I've skimmed before and not understand where everyone else has left the Liberator. If you are going to do this sort of thing in zines, remember children: always put a 'last time on' at the beginning.

Patti E. McClellan, "Second Chances" (gen, included by mistake) How could it be included by mistake?? Did you not read it? Anyway - this is quite gay, so I think it's fine. And even if it wasn't, it would be fine. Blake is pretending to be dead and to haunt Avon (interesting premise - though harsh. Actually this Blake is a dick in general, which I don't like), but then Soolin catches him and makes him sorry. Avon is surprisingly in touch with his emotions, and he and Blake reunite (though not sexily). It's... all right. I suppose. Apart from the awful Blake and (perhaps) over-sympathetic rest of crew.

Catherine, "To Worship the Devil" (A/B) Usually not that keen on this author, but I quite like this (second Deliverance) fic - as we know, I'm weak for Avon domming Blake to try and get over his insecurity. It's a bit all over the place, a bit under explained, and we start talking about love very quickly, but... ultimately I like it.

Irish, "A Familiar Companion" (A/B) This is another not-great Irish. It feels like a few short fics sewn together, very loosely, and it has Avon being absolved of GP, and being unable to admit to love because Blake might die - and loads of other stuff. Writing is good, but not good enough to distract from the fact that the plot is non-existant.

Willa Shakespeare, "Vila Rides" (A/V) This is probably one of the best fics in the zine, but it was long and it was A/V and I'm sorry, but I didn't want to read it.

Interestingly this zine features TWO naked Blake shots. We almost never get that - naked Avon yes, Blake and Avon together - yes. But naked Blake? No. I don't like these images, but it's worth flagging them up. As it were. [39]

References

  1. comment by liadbunny at Aralias' review of "Resistance", August 9, 2015
  2. from Rallying Call #17 (April 1996), from a list of a fan's favorite Blake/Avon
  3. from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  4. Aralias' review of "Resistance", August 9, 2015
  5. comment by burntcandlemas at Aralias' review, August 10, 2015
  6. from a fan in Rallying Call #14
  7. from Rallying Call #17 (April 1996), from a list of a fan's favorite Blake/Avon
  8. from Sally Manton at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  9. Twitter: Erin Horáková, August 3, 2015
  10. Aralias' review of "Resistance", August 9, 2015
  11. The other being the cover of "Resistance" #6.
  12. comment by liadbunny at Aralias' review of "Resistance"
  13. comment by clocketpatch at Aralias' review of "Resistance"
  14. from Rallying Call #17 (April 1996), from a list of a fan's favorite Blake/Avon
  15. from Rallying Call #17 (April 1996), from a list of a fan's favorite Blake/Avon
  16. from a fan in Rallying Call #14
  17. from Sally Manton at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  18. from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  19. Aralias' review of "Resistance", August 9, 2015
  20. from Sally Manton at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  21. Resistance 4 and 5, and Checkers; WebCite, review by aralias, November 13, 2016
  22. from RB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  23. from Sally Manton at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  24. Resistance 4 and 5, and Checkers; WebCite, review by aralias, November 13, 2016
  25. The other being the cover of "Resistance" #3.
  26. comment at Aralias' review of "Resistance"
  27. comment by executrix at Aralias' review of "Resistance"
  28. comment by elviaprose at Aralias' review, August 10, 2015
  29. comment by Aralias' at her review, August 10, 2015
  30. from The Zine Connection #16
  31. from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  32. from Sally Manton at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  33. Aralias' review of "Resistance", August 9, 2015
  34. from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  35. from Sally Manton at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite
  36. scroll down for comments by aralias at Blake-focused zines - Procrastination Central, Archived version, June 9, 2016
  37. Favourite Avon/Tarrant Stories
  38. Lysator, Erszebet Cronenlynch Bathory, dated September 11, 1994.
  39. Aralias' review of "Resistance", August 9, 2015