Scotch Doubles

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Zine
Title: Scotch Doubles
Publisher: Nunn-Better Press
Editor(s):
Date(s): 1993-1997
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: multimedia
Language: English
External Links:
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Scotch Doubles is a slash crossover multifandom anthology.

Image 1

cover of issue #1

Scotch Doubles 1 was published in 1993 and contains 172 pages. Numerous pieces of artwork, selected by Sue Powell.

From a flyer:
This first issue is a complete novel. While on assignment, and flying over the snow-covered mountains of Tibet, Bodie and Doyle crash outside the hidden City and arc rescued by the Champions. Endowed with the same psi-powers as Craig, Sharron and Richard, the pride of 05 now must learn to accept and adjust to this odd twist of fate. Learning to shield their thoughts and emotions could be the most difficult thing they've ever had to do — in fact it could prove impossible. When you have five people with such powers under one roof someone's bound to be affected by the emotional 'backlash' and relationships can move in new and unsettling directions. Also in issue #1 is a short called "In Sprite of Himself' a new alternate universe for Pros involving Bodie as a Sprite, the completed story will be in in Scotch Doubles II.
  • Scotch Doubles by Ty & Paige (Pros/Champions) (Described in the editorial as: "This first issue is a novella by two authors who've written stories for other zines in the ST-NG, SW and Pros universes. This is the first time they've written under their newest non de plumes.") (1)
  • In Sprite of Himself by Paige Garnett (Pros/Champions) (Described in the editorial as "a sneak preview of Paige's newest story called In Sprite of Himself. This tail is an opener to a new A/U for Pros involving Bodie as a Sprite... The completed story will be in Scotch Doubles II which will be a mixed-media partners zine.") (172)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

I bought Scotch Doubles: A Professionals & Champions '/' Zine second-hand (it was first published in 1993) in September, knowing nothing about it beyond the title. I have now finished it, and am not terribly likely to keep it. But, before I get rid of it, can anyone who has seen this - or perhaps Champions, the other half of the crossover - tell me what I am missing? I cannot work out how seriously I am to take it.

Scotch Doubles: A Professionals & Champions '/' Zine was published by Nunn-Better Press in 1993, and reprinted in 1994. It contains the title story, and then some miscellanea at the back: a recipe for Bodie's Brownies, a sneak preview and advert for In Sprite of Himself, a list of "You are reading this zine because" tickboxes and some more pictures. It is a crossover between Pros and something called The Champions, which is a 60s series described to me as "like The Persuaders", not that this helped me.

There is one long story and it's a lot of text. A quick word-per-line count resulted in a guess of about 900 words per page: 60 lines in very small font on a page. Of the 172 pages, 40-odd are illustrations, but that's still a lot of writing. Even if we subtract arbitrary numbers for half-pages with illustrations, we are surely talking 90-120,000 words? So someone spent a lot of time on writing this. The artwork is credited as 'selected by' rather than 'by'. I am not sure what that means, but even if it was picking things out from a CD of designs, there are so many that someone spent a lot of time on that, too. (See right down at the bottom for more on this.) I also spent a lot of time on this zine - reading it - but by the end of it, it was just through stubborness that I finished the zine.

I started off thinking it was a serious story, despite the fact that every single secondary character is apparently named after a brand of whisky; then I thought it was a poorly-written attempt to be a serious story with notes of attempted levity in both narrative and dialogue; and in the end I decided it was intentional humour but that I was missing the jokes by a mile. I am aware that my sense of humour is a bit crap, but the humour didn't work for me at all. Before long, I was thinking "What the hell was this Champions programme? It must have been written on LSD". In the end, I was just determined to get to the end in the hope of working out what it was meant to be. I never did work it out, but the reason for the name Scotch Doubles came up right at the end: apparently it is a bowling term, and I can only assume that this explains the method the enhanced super-Bodie and wonder-Doyle use to save Cowley from a fate worse than death.

Oh. Super-Bodie and wonder-Doyle? Well. Yes. On their flight back from Hong Kong and Esther (or, occasionally, Ester), they crash in a mountain valley somewhere in the Himalayas and die. Bear with me. They are brought back to life and endowed with a variety of superpowers by three characters who live in a secret mountain city populated by monks and an Elder. I assume this is the Champions element kicking in. The new abilities are fairly sweeping. Seeing in the dark is fairly handy for finding the loo at night, apparently; but a problematic aspect is their new ability to feel each other's emotions. After pages and pages of inexplicable moodiness and peculiar actions of the parts of all five, we reach almost the halfway point of the zine and Bodie and Doyle suddenly feel mutual desire rise, bonk wildly for four paragraphs ("As they reached the peak before jumping into an orgasm, they grabbed each other by the ass and held on for the ride of their lives"), discuss their feelings some more, and then do it all again. Oh. Another super-power: getting it up ten times a night. By the end of the zine, they are telepathic with each other and developing precognition and clairvoyance.

Returning to the UK, they arrive just after Evil Mastermind has put his plan into motion: Cowley's old mate, now head of MI6, has hatched a convoluted plan to... well, I'm not sure. Kidnapping everyone in CI5 and making MI6 think they are playing a paintballing game with them so that CI5 will shoot them with real guns is part of it, but the main thrust (boom boom) is for Cowley's old mate finally to kidnap and have his evil way with Cowley, who spurned his advances many years ago. The rescue is played for laughs - at least I presume it was intended that way - but isn't really worth the previous 160-odd pages to get to this joke.

Subplots and themes that crop up all the time: plenty. There's a long one about Murphy/Susan Fisher. (If you don't like het, there's at least one scene to skip...) There are weird jokes by the characters about Kate Ross wearing pyjamas with attached pouches for her feet at night. There is Murphy's trauma ever since the Smurphs arrived in Britain. (His girlfriend tells him in bed that all she can see is a big blue elf on top of her.) There is Champions characters plot which I have largely ignored. Bodie's stomach barely stops rumbling. There is constant bizarre conversation in which everyone explains that they were not previously gay, despite a wide variety of experimentation with other men. (It was all about lust, so that wasn't being gay.)

I am aware that I am picky about other people's writing and make as many mistakes myself, but there are many, many typos, from the 'switch two letters about' variety ("protegése") to misplaced or missing apostrophes and word confusion ("field personal", "dulcimer tone" - dulcet? - and the like). Susan alternates between Fisher and Fischer. A spellchecker was obviously involved, but it didn't know names: the mention of the Karma Sutra is an example. This means that references to characters like "General Issimo Franko" leave me unclear whether this, too, was a joke, or simply a really bad spelling error. There's also a lot of use of / marks where I would not expect them: "Each held other MI6 agents/terrorists", "her small lab/medical office", "Doyle/Harper" (when he's undercover)

The participants in the discussions about the frequency of Irish origins and Catholicism in fanfic (one at T&SW and one that starts in the comments to the recent Larton rec here) will be variously entertained or appalled to add another CI5 member to the list: "Kevin Murphy wasn't the only one in the room with an Irish temper. Elizabeth Mary Bridget McShane was the youngest of seven children...". Yes, this is Betty. Murphy's full name is Kevin Patrick Ian, btw.

The dialogue really doesn't work for me.

Bodie talks like this (assume the TM to be in superscript): "Count on it mate, Linkwood ain't armed with no SplatmasterTM." Doyle talks like this: ' "...we don't considered ourselves gay, but we are happy. As I said before, the homosexual relationships we've had in the past were passing fancies, curiosity, if you will. There was never any degree of fondness or love involved, just lust." Glancing over at Bodie, who was now a lighter shade of pink from his previous fushia, Ray smiled with warmth and sincerity before he continued. "Until we discovered our feelings for each other, that is. Tell me Sharron, is this sudden entrance into the world of homosexuality an after effect of our powers? Are you a lesbian?" '

Apparently it was all inspired by a chat in a hot-tub at Media West. All I can say is perhaps if you are a Champions fan it makes more sense.

There are occasionally some quite astute comments (well, I thought so) and paragraphs, but the text is so long that they really are buried - to the extent that I leafed through to find one to quote and failed, although I know they're in there.

Since I've got so far, I may as well pretend this is a proper review and mention the last bit. Illustrations. There are a lot: I counted 39 full-page illustrations and 19 pages which contain text and illustration. They're all black and white. Some are reproductions of photos from the series or of the actors and seem linked to the text. The others are line drawings of tiny cherubs which look like early clipart (if not, I apologise to the artist) and full or half-page illustrations of interlocking knotwork and illumination-style birds and men and other figures: the sort people often call 'Celtic' artwork. The cover art is a good example of it. They're pretty if you like that sort of thing, but I do not see what in the world these are to do with the plot - or even the subject matter, unless it's the links between Scotch and Scottish, and then Scottish and Celtic, and then Celtic knotwork and Anglo-Saxon artwork (which is what I think these are closer to). Not that this explains the cherubs. Not the Victorian bathers.

Bit nervous about posting this, because I like to find something positive, and it's entirely possible the original author is still around and will be aghast. But, well. I would have liked to have known more about this zine before buying it, and even before I get rid of it, I would like to know: what am I missing? Is it simply that my sense of humour is very different? Or non-existent - I have been accused of this often enough to think that there may be some truth in it. I do like at least some funny Pros stories! I enjoyed Larton, and Love Conquers All, and Fly on the Wall, and... erm. Okay. Not many! But anyway, is this zine a product of its time and place? Is this the sort of thing that comes out of hot tubs? (Do all conventions have hot tubs? (*books for Connotations immediately*) Or of Media West?

Tell me what I missed about this zine! [1]
LOL! There's a pool and hot tub at the MW hotel! God only knows what comes out of that. LOL! Sorry... :)

I rarely read xovers mainly because I have no clue who or what the other fandom involves. I just ran to wikipedia and read about The Champions and then watched a clip of an ep on youtube. Yes, the Champion guys crashed into the mountains and are now endowed with "superhuman" qualities. I did love the clip. It's so 60s! Since I'm actually watching I Spy as I type, it fits right in! Unfortunately Netflix doesn't have the show or I'd have put it on the list. I love campy 60s shows and this seems very campy from the five minutes I watched on youtube. BTW, I've seen The Persuaders and I really like it, but the two guys are normal and they're very slashy! LOL! Don't know about this duo and they have a blonde cohort.

I admit that bit of dialogue made me laugh. Doyle sounds like he's some posh lecturer and Bodie sounds like a mug from da hood. LOL! *dies laughing* I'm curious now. I don't own this zine but I'd try and read it if I could borrow it. But I'm no where nearly as dedicated as you. If I'm bored in the first three pages, I bail out. My time is too precious!

On fanlore, it looks like the same cover was on the zines from the little pictures that are posted. Also there are more xovers with The Champions if you want to delve into them. :) I don't find any of the xover stories on line in places I know to look. [2]
I'm afraid I do have to admit to owning this zine but never actually opening it. I think I was put off when - having bought the zine in the Nattercon auction - I subsequently found out that it was my mate probodie who had put it in the auction in the first place and who then said to me "If I'd known you'd wanted it you could have had it for nothing. But I don't think you'll like it much..." [3]
When next you see probodie, do remember to beat her around the head with the zine in question :)

If you have time to glance through it, it'd be great to see whether you think I am being unduly harsh. I am aware that this is not the most positive review that I have ever written. But I did try to be fair!

Or whether I do genuinely lack either a sense of humour or some all-important context. [4]
You know, I thought I'd read this zine, partly because it's been on my shelf for years and years, and partly because I thought I remembered getting over what I expected to be a Cowley-bias in the reading, and... but apparently not. Definitely not! It sounds fairly dire, from pretty much every angle...

I don't know The Champions at all, but I do wonder if the author had actually watched Pros (I gather not all Pros writers have, which just makes me wince in most cases, though The Hag seems to have pulled it off - it probably helps to be a Brit if you've never seen the show, mind, and I strongly suspect that "Ty and Paige" aren't... *g*)

I was going to say that I wonder what the point is of giving two canon-based characters a set of powers that would completely change them, and what they could do, but I suppose we're venturing into AU territory, which has its own place... It should be interesting to see how characters would cope in a completely different/overwhelming situation - but I think the key thing there is that they'd remain themselves despite the external changes, we'd see the kernel of who they are deep inside, and I'm not sure that sounds like it's happened, here... *g*

Having read the comments above, I'm wondering if anyone besides yourself and Probodie has read the zine, rather than left it sitting on their shelf... [5]
If you do pull it off the shelf, there is some talk in the preamble about being fans of British accents which made me assume they had seen it (the bits by Ty and Paige), and that both authors had written in Pros before: these were just their latest noms de plume (the bit by the publisher). That's a good point about AUs. But this doesn't read like an AU at all. On the other hand, it doesn't read like 'real' CI5 at all, either. [6]
I read the zine years ago and I don't think she watched either show. *g* I really liked "The Champions," and her characterizations are as far from the three characters of that show as they are from Bodie and Doyle. [7]
If "Ty and Paige" are writing about people grabbing each others asses then they certainly aren't British writers (though, given The Champions 'Tibetan monastery' scenario it's possible the guys might have been riding donkeys...)

Both The Champions and Pros are Berman/Spooner/Clemens productions, so I can see the logic in combining them - though in every other way they are entirely different universes - the former is pure superhero comic-book style fantasy which exists in a sort of Avengers (the TV one not the comic book) universe, while Pros was deliberately gritty, modern and 'taking plots from the headlines'.

I love both series (and must go and hunt up some Richard/Craig slash, now that you remind me), but this zine sounds like a mess.

I will never understand people writing shows which they've never seen or books they've never read. [8]
I used to watch The Champions first time around but can't remember anything much about it other than liking it. I think it was sort of Avengers with superpowers rather than just superskills.

I like crossovers but the writing style of this doesn't sound like something I could cope with - and it sounds like the kind of humour people come up with when they're drunk and the world is hazy and funny...

I have never seen a hot tub at Connotations but the new hotel may have jacuzzis or saunas for all I know. One of our neighbours has a hot tub - used to rent them out and sell them in fact. We're intending to have one in Portugal. I have never heard of them leading to fic of any kind but maybe if the bathers were drunk - see above...

I sometimes get the impression that some writers of the earlier zines lacked access to good betas.

I think this review just strengthens my resistance to buying zines. You have so little idea what you are getting! And at the srot of costs involved that kind of gamble isn't for me! [9]
Zines had editors, rather than 'beta readers' - some of whom were very good - though self-published single story zines are as risky a buy as un-betaed stories on the internet. The editor who took my first published story was, I have to admit, barely literate :( [10]
"I think this review just strengthens my resistance to buying zines. You have so little idea what you are getting!" - Oh no! Don't say that! There are some *excellent* zines, and I was lucky enough to find some of them early on. The thing is that those are the ones it is easier to find reviews for - perhaps because people are happier to praise than to criticise? It was seeing positive reviews of Kitty Fisher's Paper Flowers - specifically, this review - which spurred me to take the plunge and buy it as my first zine.

Part of the reason I wrote this is because this is what I would have liked to have known before buying it. If someone else sees it available then at least they have a chance of finding out something about it. As for the costs involved: I got this for $10 plus postage across the Atlantic - but... butbutbutbut... I bought two at the same time, and the seller managed to squash them both into the same envelope. The postage was far far less than what I paid for that big batch of multi-media zines I talked about in the Christmas DIALJ. And I liked the other zine a lot. So from my point of view it wasn't a disaster. It was a gamble, and half of it paid off.

I think perhaps I had better post some more reviews soon, of the ones I really like, and which don't seem to have so much said about them: just so you know which I think the good ones are! [11]
I have a lot of other reasons for not particularly liking zines (not least because you can't put them on a Kindle)... [12]
No, all cons don't have hot tubs, but most have some equivalent - a place where attendees gather to socialize, often drink far too much, and many a story is born. Some of which, it should go without saying, should never see the light of day. *g*

The WNGWJLEO stuff you point out also has a possible connection with Media West. Media West was, and remains I think, a con that is strongly GEN in focus, though slash fans do - and always have - attend. But the tensions between GEN and slash fen can be seen in various kerfuffles that have erupted over the years. So I can imagine that friends at the con riffing on story ideas might take some swipes at certain attitudes like WNGWJLEO. How the WNGWJLEO trope has influenced slash has changed over time, as has readers' reactions to it. The Wave Theory of Slash by Lezlie Shell and Sandy Herrold's responses provide excellent commentary, particularly applicable to Pros.

Many, many fan fiction stories are created in a highly social context and that includes cons. Not all end up being disasters; IIRC, Two in a Bunk by Sebastian & HG was prompted by a con experience with cramped housing. And there are a number of Pros stories that feature con elements - mostly humorous pokes, some outright parody.

And many, many fan fiction stories are so heavily embedded in the life and times of a particular fandom and fannish circle that they are unintelligible without a sense of that context.

That being said, IMO, the Scotch Doubles zines are badly flawed even allowing for specific context and history that you may lack. As you note, the number of typos is far above average and there are other language and format quirks. I said in my emails excerpted below: "SD zines are notorious for typos & grammar issues, and the editors and publisher notoriously defensive about them".

Unfortunately, finding honest reviews - warts and all - of zines (or stories online for that matter) can be difficult if you don't frequent places where those discussions happen. That's why I appreciate your post - Thank You!

Years ago, I read or reread the three of the five Scotch Doubles zines I owned at the time to help clear up some catagorization issues for various lists. I ended up sending the info to both Pen and Jenny for their respective uses, so I knew I had the emails somewhere. Hunted them up and here's what I said that's relevant. Oh, and at the time, there was no Wikipedia article on The Champions, so finding info on it was a bit difficult. [13]
I'm guessing that you were never a fan of any of them - I wasn't around when most of these were first broadcast - but I did see The Avengers repeats of the eighties (and we had a reference guide with details of all the episodes, even the lost ones, so I knew quite a bit about that at one time) and thoroughly enjoyed that. I didn't like what I saw of Thunderbirds, though, true. And repeats of Get Smart baffled me. I now understand why - it was a parody of all these things I never saw. So no, not a fan, but not because I disliked them. I just never saw them.

WNG... 'We're not gay, we just love each other'? I'm not sure quite how well Scotch Doubles fits into that, in that I tended to assume that this "not gay, it's just for you" thing incorporates an element of "never done anything like this before, always went 'uurgh yuk' at the very idea". Whereas in this, it's repeatedly made clear that they both have done various things. It's the falling in love aspect that they consider to be the gay element.

I can absolutely envisage this as the product of people saying "hey, and you could... and... and what about this..." and piling ideas together and someone thinking "right, gonna write this". I haven't been to fandom cons, but I've been to similar get-togethers. Around about the same time - and ever since, come to think of it - I was in different circles where stuff was sent around via email (yes, there was email back then - it was just a bit less common) and where we would occasionally meet up. Poking around at really old newsgroup archives, I found a bunch of posts with a lot of silly chatter that made me think "Oh wow, I had forgotten that.. and that.. and, oh dear, we thought that was funny.. and whatever happened to him.. and what the hell was this all about?" The meetups were hilarious and wonderful, because suddenly you knew you had something in common with everyone there, something that most people said "uhh, what?" about. But I also found stuff that made me think "oh no, I really wish this hadn't seen the light of day, it's twenty years on, and there is no context to this any more, and we put our real names to this". (Also, if we had known DejaNews was archiving us for posterity on the quiet... oh, argh, well, it's done now.)

Erm. Sorry. Digression over. With all that, it was at the back of my mind that perhaps the circumstances of the genesis were very relevant here. I am very jealous of the idea of escaping a party to find a hot tub (I have never ever seen a hot tub, so it's all wildly exotic and decadent to me) and finding people in it and striking up conversations and making new friends there, and then rushing back and ignoring the party to draft it all out on paper, which is how it's described in the preamble. It sounds a wonderful experience.

"the editors and publisher notoriously defensive" - oh dear. I really didn't want to upset people.

"finding honest reviews... can be difficult if you don't frequent places where those discussions happen" - I did make quite a bit of effort to find those very places, and I would really have preferred somewhere like a mailing list where only those interested in the topic in the first place would look. But even if they exist, I couldn't find one. Everything all on the web instead. Fandom seems so much more open about slash now (compared to when I was looking for the stuff in the nineties - I failed, almost utterly, even knowing it existed). It seems... I dunno, not mean-spirited, but as though I am holding something from private circles up to a glare more public than it was written for. And yet... ugh, I dunno. [14]

Image 2

cover of issue #2

Scotch Doubles 2 was published in 1994 and contains 159 pages.

  • Second Impressions by Robin Goodfellow (Pros) (1)
  • Transition Ty by (Pros/Champions) (13)
  • In Sprite of Himself by Paige Garnett (Pros) (16)
  • Lunacy Quartet 1: Bad Moon Rising by Atropos (Pros) (79)
  • Lunacy Quartet 2: The Dark Side of the Moon by Atropos (Pros)
  • Lunacy Quartet 3: Full Moon by Atropos (Pros)
  • Lunacy Quartet 4: Moonshadow by Atropos (Pros)
  • No Such Thing as a Merman by Paige Garnett (Pros) (143)
  • Going Home Debra Hicks (A-Team) (147)
  • Days of Future Past by Ty (Pros/Chief) (155)

Image 3

cover of issue #3

Scotch Doubles 3 was published in 1995 and contains 137 pages.

Image 4

cover of issue #4

Scotch Doubles 4 was published in 1996 and contains 114 pages. The Professionals artwork by Karen Eaton (2 Cartoons) and Sue Williams (3 drawings), plus one Eroica drawing.

  • Lost Time by Rosa Multiflora (Eroica) (1)
  • Daddy Dearest by Corbeau (Forever Knight) (2)
  • Natalie's Lament by Corbeau (Forever Knight) (4)
  • Black Leather Wet Dreams by Taillader (Forever Knight) (6)
  • Price of Love by Comte de Chambord (Eroica) (65)
  • Farewell and Good Knight by Corbeau (Forever Knight) (70)
  • Lucien by Corbeau (Forever Knight) (80)
  • SDiv-Limbo by Ty (Professionals/Champions) (91)

Image 5

cover and issue #5

Scotch Doubles 5 was published in 1997 and contains 150 pages.

  • For Her Eyes Only by Kathe N. Mause (The Pretender) (1)
  • First Time and Forever by Ranger (The Professionals) (9)
  • Out of Control by Summer Rain (The Sentinel) (13)
  • Tunnel of Love by Kai & Djiin (The X-Files) (31)
  • When Souls Meet by Ellen January (Highlander/Pros) (49)
  • Jungle Jim Love by Ty (The Sentinel) (69)
  • New Accomplice by Paige Garnett (The Professionals) (77)
  • It's Greek to Me by Bente Overthe-Boyo (Hercules) (83)
  • Room Service Suite by Kai & Djiin (The Pretender) (99)

References

  1. 2012 comments at CI5hq;reference link
  2. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  3. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  4. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  5. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  6. 2012 comments at CI5hq;reference link
  7. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  8. 2012 comments at CI5hq;reference link
  9. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  10. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  11. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  12. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  13. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  14. 2012 comments at CI5hq; reference link