Roads Not Taken (Blake's 7 zine)

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Title: Roads Not Taken
Publisher: Tater Tot Press (Knoxville, TN)
Editor(s): Lorna B.
Date(s): 1991, after September
Medium: print, zine
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
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front cover by Derrin
back cover, Derrin

Roads Not Taken is a gen Blake's 7 what-if anthology with 250 pages. It was a 1992 FanQ nominee. The art is by Derrin (front and back cover), Leigh Moto'oka, Nan Nelson, T.L. Condon, Linda Garlick, Teresa Ward, Leah Rosenthal, and Jean B. Hubb.

From a 1991 Submission Request

ROAD NOT TAKEN: a new B7 zine, is seeking submissions of fiction, art, or poetry. The premise we're shooting for is to have stories that build around turning points in the televises show and then twisting the plot in a different direction; e.g. Jenna sells the crew out in "Bounty", Sula kills Avon in "Rumours" and her rebellion succeeds. Also welcome are stories with original plotlines requiring one or more of the characters to make a choice and how that choice ultimately affects the characters and his/her companions. No slash; R-rating acceptable at editor's discretion. No submission cut-off or publication date yet. Submit or SASE to Lorna B.s [address redacted]. Macintosh users: I can read Macwrite, MicrosoftWord, ASCII, or WordPerfect Mac, so submit disks if possible! [1]


Sample Interior Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

See reactions and reviews for Delayed Reaction.

See reactions and reviews for Necessary Sacrifices.

See reactions and reviews for Rogues.

[zine]: Roads Not Taken is an oldish zine, published by Lorna B.s in 1991. It's long OOP, so you'll have to look for a used one, but I recommend it. Another Blake story that I like a lot is a very short one by Leigh Moto'oka, called "Wish." It's an alternate version of "Orbit," with Vila and Blake. Oh, and there's a nice long story with plenty of Blake (also both Tarrants!) by Rebecca Ann.

[zine]: Roads Not Taken: Interestingly the fact that all of these stories are AUs that spin off from canon at some point means that unlike a lot of zine-era gen, which often reads strangely today, all of these fics feel a lot like modern fic. Which is nice for me as a reader, as I know how to approach them - I hate things being different :p What's also interesting how consistently well-written they are. Even very good editors sometimes let through what I consider to be complete tosh - almost everything in this zine is at the very worst 'a bit dull'. Nothing is outrageously badly characterised or badly voiced, and all the sentences are fluid (but not florid) and the concepts good. Something else almost all of these fics are is incredibly depressing, because you know how bleak B7 can be? Well - turns out that it could easily have been worse! Until GP obviously. It's difficult to get much worse than all your main characters being dead, some at the hands of the others, and as a consequence (of GP being the worst it can get) the few happy stories are almost all PGP. 'Delayed Reaction' is just such a fic - and is easily my favourite in the zine. But I get ahead of myself. Let's go down the list...

Incidentally the art is quite good, but often quite boring i.e. just faces.

If You Didn't Want the Answer by Dee Beetem (6 pages): I really like this as an opening to an AU zine, as it raises the in-canon possibility of seeing the future and averting it i.e. Orac (why does Blake never ask about his future again??). This time it's Avon series 4 - who gets shown that his really is a 'wonderful life'. I don't find the Orac potential future/present that convincing, but that's OK.

Next on My List by Jean Graham (6 pages): Our first Cygnus Alpha AU - lots of stuff to like about this, but I'm not quite sure... what's going on. Are we supposed to think Jenna is lying? If not - I'd like more threatening business from Avon.

Not Quite Terminal by Roxie Ray (10 pages): This story (where Blake wasn't at Terminal, but then arrives) is too close to canon except Blake is also there and Cally lives to interest me.

Judgment Day by Peggy Hartsook (sequel to "Pilot of the Storm" in Forgotten Seven) (16 pages): I didn't read this because it's a sequel to something I haven't read.

Chance Communication by Summer Jackson (3 pages): Another Cygnus Alpha AU - short and basically just conceptual (i.e. what if Avon and Jenna loved money more than Blake?)(Impossible! I hear you cry)

The Possibilities by K. Ann Yost (6 pages): Avon stays on XK72(?) after Breakdown - for most of this fic I was semi convinced it was going to be the Willa Shakespeare crazy pairings fic (that I quite like) before I remembered that fic was slash and this zine was a gen zine. Anyway - the fic is fine. A bit uneventful.

The Machine by Cami (15 pages): Welcome to the depressing portion! A really long fic about what would happen if Avon had got his way and let Muller's android live - short answer is: death and lots of it. It's a well done fic, though draining after a while.

Just Say No by Lee Vibber (2 pages): This is a fic about how Avon tries to sex Vila up, and then - oh wait, no, that was the last zine (i.e. SoCo 5.5). This one fic is another concept-only fic. And frankly shouldn't have been allowed in the same zine as Delayed Reaction, which does the same PGP gimic.

In the Country of the Blind by Jean Graham (6 pages): Another depressing one - but quite good. Blake is being a successful and ruthless revolutionary, and doing all the wider recruitment stuff that executrix always wished he would. It freaks Vila out, and there's some really nice stuff with Vila and his relationship with Gan. I don't really like such a harsh Blake portrayal, but obviously it makes sense.

Resurrection, Part I: There's No One as Free as a Dead Man by Teresa Ward (25 pages), Resurrection, Part II: Extenuating Circumstances by Teresa Ward (11 pages): I started reading this (which is about Travis surviving at the end of series 3), but eventually stopped because it was so long and I couldn't really be bothered with it. It's not bad - it just wasn't good enough for 36 pages.

[See this reviewer's comments at Rogues ]

From the Very Beginning by Marian Mendez (7 pages): Really nice structure for - another depressing fic! (Depending on your POV. I find it deeply depressing) I feel ripped off when this author doesn't write me a happy ending - but I understand that people do have range. Similar-ish premise to The Country of the Blind, which then goes somewhere completely different. I think it's clever. And it's sort of A-V.

Fortuneteller by Ann Wortham and Leah Rosenthal (reprinted with slight revisions from Magnificent Seven #3) (6 pages): This fic goes on for slightly too long, it's joke/premise shouldn't really sustain six pages, but it's OK. Vila sees a fortuneteller in s1 who tells him that only he! can avert the disaster of GP.

Last Rites by Lorna B.s (12 pages): And hey - did someone say 'depressing'? Another well realised fic, though. It's an AU of Star One this time, and the entirety of the human race gets wiped out, except for Jenna and Vila (who do, of course, have sex at some point, because that's what you do when there is no one else left in the universe. There's a rather nice bit after that where J considers, without naming names, who she and Vila would have rather ended up with and how completely impossible that is now). Very effective use of the aliens and their powers as well. But - yes, mindlessly depressing. And rapidly followed by-

Wish by Leigh Moto'oka (2 pages): Orbit AU with Blake rather than Avon. It's short, harsh and basically just conceptual, but really works for me as a characterisation of Blake.

[See this reviewer's comments at Delayed Reaction ]

The Sensible Thing to Do by Jean B. Hubb (4 pages): I started writing my review for the next fic under this title because the plot of that fic (Avon tells the crew that he's going looking for Blake at Terminal) is indeed the sensible thing to do! But that's not this fic - which is a 1st person (not very well voiced, but not bad) Jenna story about how she slept with Riker and teamed up with Avon, and basically screwed Blake over - very much in tune with the other J/A Cygnus Alpha stories in the zine.

Remission by Lee Vibber (10 pages): Another AU and another Terminal AU that is too similar to the original episode.

[See this reviewer's comments at Necessary Sacrifices ]. [2]

[zine]: Lorna's zine is full of goodies! This is a "What if?" zine, containing stories in which the events of the aired canon take a different turn-- AUs, but in a different sense from the AUs of Pattern of Infinity , which feature the B7 characters in historical settings.

Probably my favorite story in the zine is a very short one. It takes up two pages and could have been squeezed into one. In "Wish," the terrified Vila of Orbit wishes that he were with Blake instead of Avon, and we see what might have happened if he'd gotten his wish.

"Last Rites" is the story in which our Terminatrix snuffs the entire human race! At Star One, Cally, Avon, and Blake are killed and Jenna and Vila decide to run, with disastrous consequences. A similarly dire ending is hinted at, less clearly, in "The Machine," in which Muller's android is not destroyed.

For fans of het romance, Alice Aldridge's long and well-written Travis/Jenna tale is strongly recommended. I believe the second and third parts were in Gambit.

And for slash fans, there's a very intense, unusual (gen but with a slashy feel) A-B story by Teri White... On GP, it is Avon rather than Tarrant who goes down with Scorpio, and who Blake finds lying injured in the wreckage. Blake takes a strangely possessive attitude toward Avon. There is, as I recall, a happy-ending slash sequel in The Big B7 Zine, but by a different author and much less dark in tone than the original story.

The zine is very attractively produced and profusely illustrated. [3]

[zine]:"I have read Lorna B.s' very good AU zine "Roads Not Taken,"

(I should've reviewed it for the list, it was great; nominated for a FanQ at MediaWest) and "Trust, Like the Soul," and "Whomsoever Holds this Sword," which has a strong Arthurian AU flavor. But these zines all have this in common: they present marginal changes in universe from the canon. The changes fit close to the canonical story line, and the characters are not lifted entirely from their universe and put into another setting, as common in other fanfic realms. "Trust" and "Roads" mainly take a "what-if X happened instead of Y" approach (like, Tarrant screwing up the memory tubes at Ultraworld so Cally and Avon switch bodies, or Vila losing the chess game and getting electrocuted). "Sword" has some real Arthurian medieval settings, but mainly overlaid on the "real" universe, e.g., the characters are having these weird dreams about Blake as Arthur and can't figure out what's going on. (Don't take this as a bad review, even if it doesn't sound flattering. On the whole I found it entertaining. :-) )

Meanwhile, in other fanfic, especially other slash, there is a ton of *real* AU stuff. There are many "Mirror, Mirror" takeoffs in Trek fiction, and there are the notorious Kirk-as-slave-boy stories that slashfen gobble up. (Hey, don't point at me!) Professionals

fanfic (which appears to be entirely slash --am I wrong?) features a million AU setting for the pair, from medieval to futuristic. [4]

[zine]: General comments: I really liked this zine, lots of good stories.

All the stories are AU (alternate universes) in that they all involve altering the outcome at some key turning point in the series, like Star One or Gauda Prime.

Favorite stories (in order of appearance):

JUDGMENT DAY by Peggy Hartsook. This is the sequel to "The Pilot of the Storm," one of the better stories in FORGOTTEN SEVEN. It's a PGP story with (for once) an unapologetic Blake pursuing Avon and crew because they have Orac and the stardrive. Guest appearances by Avalon and Servalan.

THE MACHINE by Carol McCoy. An alternative ending for "Headhunter." Great for Halloween.

LAST RITES by Lorna B.s. The Andromedans won. Not a happy ending.

DELAYED REACTION by Rebecca Ann Brothers. This was my very favorite even though it's too much of an Avon worship for my taste. But Blake's OK and all the Tarrants are there, and Docholli, and an interesting twist on who gets programmed to do what, and what happened to Jenna, and the story is well told. This would actually make an excellent multipart episode.

Other stories (also in order of appearance):

IF YOU DIDN'T WANT THE ANSWER by Dee Beetum. Orac shows Avon what would have happened if he hadn't met Blake.

NEXT ON MY LIST by Jean Graham. Jenna locks up Avon when he suggests ditching Blake at Cygnus Alpha.

NOT QUITE TERMINAL by Roxie Ray. Blake arrives at Terminal and the whole crew (Cally, too) encounter Dorian together.

CHANCE COMMUNICATION by Summer Jackson. Jenna and Avon left Blake on Cygnus Alpha.

THE POSSIBILITIES by K. Ann Yost. Avon stays on XK72 and rebuilds after the Fed ships blast it.

JUST SAY NO by Lee Vibber. Blake does and GP ends happily.

IN THE COUNTRY OF THE BLIND by Jean Graham. vila is the only one disheartened by the violence necessary to win a war.

RESURRECTION pts 1 and 2 by Teresa Ward. Travis survives, barely, Star One and the story follows him through the third and fourth season as he recovers and plans (with Servalan's connivance) events on Gauda Prime. Servalan turns on him, throws him in with the crew, they all escape and end up joining forces.

ROGUES by Teri White. Avon takes Tarrant's place, crashes Scorpio on GP and is discovered by Blake who takes him away.

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING by Marian Mendez. Jenna, Vila, and a damaged Avon (Zen's defenses do a job on him) leave the naive Blake and his rabble.

FORTUNETELLER by Ann Wortham and Leah Rosenthal. Vila visits a fortuneteller and ends up changing everyone's fate by jiggling Avon's elbow at a critical moment.

WISH by Leigh Moto'oka. Vila wishes it was Blake instead of Avon with him on the shuttle from Malodaar.

THE SENSIBLE THING TO DO by Jean B. Hubb. Jenna accepts Raiker's offer, then she and Avon get away on Liberator.

REMISSION by Lee Vibber. Avon tells the crew what's going on before they reach Terminal.

NECESSARY SACRIFICES by Alice C. Aldridge. Jenna leaves Liberator after Gan's death and later comes across Travis. They team up."[5]


  1. ^ from The Neutral Arbiter #2 (September 1991)
  2. ^ aralias at zine review - roads not taken, Archived version, March 4, 2015
  3. ^ by Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  4. ^ Subject: alternate universe stories by Lynn C. on Lysator dated May 14, 1993.
  5. ^ Subject: Zine review: Roads Not Taken by Sue C. on Lysator dated August 4, 1993.