Risk (Wiseguy and Blake's 7 zine)
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Risk is a slash 140-page anthology with fiction from Wiseguy and Blake's 7. From the zine flyer: "Stories from different fandoms with common threads. Lies that can destroy. Hidden truths. Trust. And betrayal."
Summaries below from the flyer :
- The Last Lie by Keiko Kirin (WG - S/V). When Sonny put Vinnie in bed with Patrice, he didn't mean literally. Can Vinnie regain Sonny's trust without revealing his most deadly secrets?
- The Treatment by Bryn Lantry (B7 - A/B). Discovering that Blake was gay before the Federation's tampering, Avon resolves to undo the conditioning. But his own suspect motives prove dangerous.
- The Way the Game is Played by Twisted Sister (B7 - A/G). The potential for an unusual pairing, presented believably.
- Jingle All The Way by Peabody & Emerson (WG - V/F). Frank finds himself in a melodious predicament.
- Twisted Inside Out by Gayle F (WG - S/V). Amnesia brings Vinnie the freedom to love Sonny without reservation. But can it last?
- Tomb by Katharine Scarritt (B7 - A-V). Immediately after Gauda Prime, Avon and Vila are prisoners in the same cell. Not slash, but with lots of character interaction, this play was written in 1987 for performance by Paul Darrow and Michael Keating at a con that never took place.
- Shadow of a Shadow by Kenna McGuire (X-Files/WG - M/R). Mulder's investigations take him to a backwater burg called Lynchboro.
- Tease by Gayle F (WG V/F). A romantic and very erotic interlude between Vinnie and Frank.
- In Copenhagen Harbour by Vanessa Mullen (B7, A/B). Orac and Zen test whether self-sacrifice to protect the other is a characteristic of male/male relationships. A tragedy of convoluted fate.
- Conversations (Shaving the Barbers) by Michelle Christian (WG - V/F). Vinnie and Frank both need to hear some hard truths.
- The Lure by Tashery S (B7/WG - A/S). Terra Nostra boss Sonny Steelgrave has a greed for neutrotopes. Only Avon can help him lay hands on one--but Avon has doubts when Sonny wants to lay hands on him as well.
Reactions and Reviews
[The Treatment]: The Treatment (published in Risk! a WG/B7 mixed 'zine. Another excellent treatment of the idea that Blake's sexuality has been messed-about-with. The sex is awkward but hot, exactly what I mean in the comment on my general recs page about 'not too perfect'. The angst is heavy but believable, and there's one of the best subtly-underplayed Jenna-finding-out scenes I've ever read in an Avon/Blake story. 
[In Copenhagen Harbour]: Why this must be read: Big angst in a small package, and every word bites hard. This is really an "Orbit" variant--i.e., Blake and Avon are in a deadly situation with only one life capsule,and they each react idiosyncratically, doomed to be their sweating selves but worse. Extra angst points because the mess is even more gratuitous than the ones they got into in the aired episodes. 
I finally made time to read Risk. Good Zine! It was nice to have a zine based around a theme rather than just a fandom, and what an interesting theme to base a zine around. As always, all story comments just my opinion.
I wouldn't have thought that Blake's 7 and Wiseguy would have married as well as they did, either, but they seemed a natural match. I didn't love all the stories, but I didn't actually dislike any of them (and I can't say that about too many zines, personally).
- The Treatment by Bryn Lantry. I *loved* this story. One of my favorite themes in slash is characters not knowing their own motivations, and she does a wonderful job with an Avon that *thinks* he knows why he's doing certain things...until suddenly he starts to question, possibly after it is too late. (It also made me wonder: I haven't really been a B7 fan in years, and it may be more of an achievement to get a former fan of a show excited than it would be to interest a new fan in a show they haven't seen.) It was clever of the editor to put this story first of the B7 ones: it made me more interested in the other B7 in the zine than I otherwise would have been.
- Pretty Avon art, by Keiko Kirin; sheesh, is there no end to this woman's talents? She writes, she vids, she draws...
- Tomb by Thomas; It's hard for me to read a play/screenplay and get the same emotion I would from a story. Also, the repeating question of "Why did you shoot Blake" (one of the most frustrating and hotly contested questions of the entire fandom) left unanswered over and over was enormously frustrating. On the other hand, both Avon and Vila are so spot on in character that I could visualize this as the first episode of Season 5, and the ending was Perfect!
Others of Note:
- The Last Lie (WG:S/V): "He was trapped within a lie within a lie." Keiko Kirin takes one of the most intense sequences TV ever gave fandom, and then decides to add even more torment to it. (Bureaucratic note: though it was nice to see the "Sequel to..." comment at the beginning of the story, it would have been even more useful if it had given the name of the zine where the first story appeared.)
- Conversations by Michele Christian: I sincerely liked this story (especially the nice use of secondary characters, Uncle Mike and Father Pat) but it didn't seem to go with the other stories in the zine.
- The Lure: It is entirely possible that if Sonny had been in the Terra Nostra (rather than in the Terranova?), that it would happened just like this! Very nice WG a/u x B7.
- Shadow of a Shadow. Wow, another fascinating concept! This is a charmingly written crossover; these two men *deserved* to meet. But though there were things I *loved* about this story, there were things about this story that drove me crazy. Frustrating things: I thought that the beginning, though very funny, led the reader astray; since the show itself has had parody episodes, starting the story with lines that could have from Synergy set me up to expect a very different story. I also thought that starting the story at what could have been the beginning on an XFiles plot made me expect that I would get more plot; I wanted to know what the other people haunted had to do with Roger, why Roger was targeted...why the guns worked...and on a completely different level, *to* *me*, one of the frustrating things about crossovers and a/us is that 99 times out of a 100, they just meet, feel that mystic bond/lust, and are in bed together by dinner. This story is a very well written and characterized version of that. I easily believe that Roger would be fascinated by Toothsome Morsel Mulder, and that our boy Spooky would find Roger (and Lynchboro) compelling from the get-go...but... On the other hand, this story has more support for the two of them falling for each other than a lot of crossovers, and the setup is compelling and interesting. All of the quibbles would make you think I didn't like it. Not so; there is lovely stuff in here. I especially liked: Just getting a chance to see these two wary, highly intelligent, gorgeous guys interacting; Scully's reaction to Lynchboro (and her characterization in general), and the way her concern about Loccoco was portrayed; the slightly older, wiser Roger (described at one point thusly, "The man in black uncrossed his feet and gradually slithered out of his chair, drawling, "So, the cavalry has arrived," as he slowly, gracefully spun around to face the newcomers." and a later description of Roger, after they've been caught in the rain, gave me dream fodder, "He was clad in a short black Kimono-robe, handing slightly open at the bottom, giving Mulder a tantalizing glimpse of softly furred thighs." Be still my heart. Nice work.
I didn't review all of the stories, sorry.Boring details: Although Tashery S name is in the zine, there is no address and no price. (Though I think it was $15, in person, at Escapade), 138 pages, no word count given. The layout is clean and simple; there is very little art; and the zine needs one more proofreading pass; there is rumor that the second printing will be a little more tidy. 
Risk is a combined Blake's 7 Wiseguy slash zine edited by Tashery Shannon. Although I've never seen Wiseguy, I did enjoy the stories once I'd worked out what was actually going on. The inherent tragedy and twisted trust in any Sonny/Vinnie story appeals to the part of my brain that drools over Blake/Avon. Sonny's a mobster, Vinnie's a cop working undercover. Their love, though real, is doomed from the start. Sonny finally commits suicide when the cops have him surrounded.
The Last Lie - Keiko Kirin (Sonny/Vinnie): I think all sequels should be compelled by law to have a synopsis of the original story. I did find it rather disconcerting to start the zine with a story that was not only in a fandom I didn't know, but a sequel to a story I'd never read! However, once I got into the story I enjoyed it (although it made much better sense in retrospect after Tashery told me the series background)(and I did misunderstand some parts initially through not knowing the background) Vinnie has been working for Pat-the-Cat as part of a set up for Sonny. Pat forced him into bed, and also divined Vinnie's secret desire for Sonny. Pat keeps making moves on Vinnie and this makes Sonny jealous and suspicious, resulting in an intense sex scene between Vinnie and Sonny.
The Treatment - xBryn Lantry (Avon/Blake): An old comrade of Blake's tells Avon that Blake is gay. Avon is suspicious, but decides he owes it to Blake to discover the truth if his sexuality has been suppressed by Federation conditioning. This (as is so common in xBryn's work) is a story with shades of half-truths and self-deception. How much is Avon lying to himself about his own desires and intentions? A good story that well repays re-reading.
The Way the Game is Played - Twisted Sister (Avon/Gan): Avon knows there are ways of surviving in prison. Find someone strong, give them your sexual favours and get them to protect you. What he forgets is that not everyone shares his own sense of morality. I did like the end to this one, a nice twist. And Gan in this story fits very well with the way I see him.
Jingle all the Way - Peabody and Emerson (Vinnie/Frank): A short story with a funny punch line.
Twisted Outside In - Gayle (Sonny/Vinnie): Gayle, is probably betterknown to Blake's 7 fans by he pseudonym of Syliva Knight (don't worry, I do have her permission to say that) fans may remember her B/A stories in Resistance. Probbly my favourite story in the entire zine. Vinnie loses his memory after a head injury and forgets who he is. He is able to love Sonny without hesitation or reservation. The sex scenes are brilliant! Then he gets his memory back again...
Tomb - Katharine Scarritt (Avon-Vila): A gen play set immediately post Gauda Prime. It's very well done, the characterisation and dialogue feel spot on, but it didn't greatly grab me.
Shadow of a Shadow - Kenna McGuire (Mulder/Roger): Although this one is well enough done, it didn't work for me. I think that's because I don't particularly like the X-Files and Roger Lococco is a Wiseguy character I know precisely zero about. Two guys whom I have no interest in simply failed to create any spark. Essentially, they get it together while Mulder is investigating a murder.
Tease - [Gayle F] (Vinnie/Frank): This is good, but didn't work as well for me as the Sonnie/Vinnie story earlier in the zine. If piercing turns you on, then you may go for this one. This is essentially a sex scene set around Frank's nipple ring while Vinnie contemplates getting one himself. Very hot sex (I suspect I'd enjoy it more if I had some mental identification with Frank)
In Copenhagen Harbour - Vanessa Mullen (Avon/Blake): This one is my 'revenge on Walt Disney' story. It was written some time after my kids went to see The Little Mermaid and I realised what Disney had done to ruin Hans Christian Andersen's original story. It simply asks the question, 'what price are we prepared to pay for someone we love?'. (I like the picture of Avon by Kay Teel):
Conversations (Shaving the Barbers) - Michelle Christian (Vinnie/Frank) Frank's in hospital. He and Vinnie discuss their feels for one another with third parties which brings them to realise what they want. Nothing special.
The Lure - Tashery Shannon (Avon/Sonny): Sonny has been promoted to a Terra Nosta boss. He's got problems. He's in love with Vinnie who sold him out. Avon's in shock from Anna's recent betrayal. Avon gets a message from a resistance group which may be a possible lead to Blake. Should he follow up on it? I liked this one. Both men have similar gaps in their lives. They've lost both trust and love. Avon still wants Blake, Sonny still wants Vinnie. They can't solve their problems together, but they can forget them for a little while. Exciting sex (although I wasn't so keen on the dream sequence where Avon visualises Sonny as panther).Overall, this is a pretty good zine. The Blake's 7 stories seem to be heavier on plot and characterisation and the Wiseguy stories have some wonderfully explicit sex scenes. There is no art apart from one portrait of Avon.