The Sentry Post
|Title:||The Sentry Post|
|Publisher:||GraphicsOne & Pet Fly Productions|
|External Links:||review here, online zine flyers|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
General Reactions and Reviews
Seriously, Linda I *LOVE* your zines, and I'm looking forward to purchasing TSP #6 whenever it comes out. Your zines have some of the best stories (especially K. Ryn's stories. That girl is awesome.) that I've had the pleasure to read (and read, and read, and read), not to mention having the best design, and overall layout that I've seen out of all the zines I've bought (and let me tell you there is a stack of them). But one of the things I really like is the *About the Authors* section in the back. I love reading about the individuals who's stories grace your books, and finding out a little about them, and what makes them tick (to a degree), and why TS became such a hook for them. And I really like the fact that you've provided not only a way to get in contact with yourself, but them as well (in case someone wants to provide them with feedback). And the shade of the paper is the perf...too much? OK, I'll knock it off.
Sufficed to say I highly endorse Linda's zines (and no she still hasn't put me on the payroll), and recommend them to anybody that has the available cash. If anything they'll be a nice little memento of the show when it finally does end (positive thoughts here). Well that's it! Isn't it amazing what a nap will do for my verbal abilities (I was going to say oral, but Trilly, and Blair would probably misinterpret the meaning *LOL*)?O.D. [Psychologically tested. Delusionally approved. Still not on GraphicsOne's payroll.] 
Dollar for dollar and pound for pound, this title has been one of the best buys in the fandom. And it was the publication "home" of K. Ryn, one of the finest writers in this fandom. 
The Sentry Post 1 was published in October 1997 and is 136 pages long.
- The Victim by Sandra McDonald (Jim's romantic evening at home is disrupted when Blair returns to the loft unexpectedly and covered in blood.) (6)
- Blessed Guide by C.J. Hayes (An accident leaves Jim helpless with only his Guide to get help.) (17)
- Ties That Bind by Kelly Hudson (24)
- To Watch Your Back by Theresa Evans (30)
- Talk the Talk by M. Leigh (Jim and Blair develop their own language leaving Simon totally confused.) (38)
- Family Persuasion by Lori Meachem (A friend of Blair's commits suicide after joining a cult. Blair is determined to find out why.)
- Holy Grail Time by Katherine A. Ring (41)
- Without Warning by Kay Lynne (A hitman kidnaps Jim and plans to kill Blair to prevent them from testifying against a local mob kingpin. But the Sentinel and his Guide receive help from an unlikely source—their pet cat.) (49)
- In the Line of Fire by Dawn Cunningham (Jim and Blair stumble into the world of Immortals.) (Highlander crossover) (51)
- Deadline by Sis (61)
- Without an Upward Look by Cindy Hudson (72)
- A Matter of Trust by Sheila Paulson (75)
- After the Fire by Laura Schomberg (expanded rewrite of the previously net-published Destruction and the sequel Reconstruction, rapefic) (85)
- Do What You Have to Do by Sorka (Blair is arrested as a suspected drug dealer, can Jim find out who is behind the accusations?) (6)
- The Dark Heart by Anonymeek (Blair is not all that he seems to be and ends up taking Jim on a wild ride into the world of good and evil.)(16)
- The Commitment by Theresa Evans (42) (Jim and Blair have a major falling out, can they sort out their differences before a life is lost?)
- Campus Crime by K. Ann Yost (53)
- Darkness Repeated by Sis (A Rainier student experiences a Golden flashback and commits suicide. Now Jim and Simon wonder if Blair might be next.) (58)
- A Sense of Immortality by Dawn Cunningham (69) (crossover with Highlander)
- Down! by Debbie Pack (When the small plane carrying Jim and Blair back to Cascade crashes, the two men find themselves stranded in the wilderness and pursued by jewel thieves.) (83)
- Limits by Sis (114)
- A Gentle Reminder from the Past by Becky Brewster (120)
- Ordeal by Martha (126)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2
See reactions and reviews for Ordeal.
The Sentry Post 3 was published in 1998 and is 160 pages long. It has a cover by Jackie Dunster.
- The Hollow Within by Sue Kelley (Blair agrees to house sit an old mansion while Jim tries to solve a missing person case.) (7)
- Rescuing Each Other by Sandra McDonald (Jim and Blair get out of a tough spot.) (32)
- Unexpected Insight by Taylor Blake (Jim and Blair discover an illegal aliens smuggling ring, but when they begin to search for the smugglers all their leads and witnesses end up dead. Are they next?) (37)
- A Place Without Walls by Sue Wells (A Prisoner X tag.) (69)
- Catalyst by Sheila Paulson. Magnum PI crossover. (Higgins ends up at Rainier University and crosses paths with Blair Sandburg.) (71)
- Every Man For Himself by Sandra McDonald (Jim's senses overload and an injured Blair can't help. Simon must pull Jim together or all three are doomed.) (87)
- Mistaken Identity by Laura Schomberg. Highlander crossover and sequel to "Uncommon Sense" from Highland Blades Vol. 1. (Is Blair Sandburg the oldest Immortal known as Methos?) (91)
- It Was a Dark and Stormy Night by Becky Brewster (Anything that can go wrong, does, when Jim Ellison tries to give a safety talk at Rainier Universiy.) (97)
- Judgments by K. Ryn (novella) (A Novella. Jim and Blair become the target of a group of murderous young men who play cat and mouse with the detective and the anthropologist in the Nevada desert.) (103)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3
See reactions and reviews for Judgments.
The Sentry Post 4 was published in January 1999 and is 158 pages long.
- Deadly Choices by Dawn Cunningham (A vengeful woman forces Simon to choose one of his detectives to die!) (7)
- Worse Than a Paper Cut by Katherine A. Ring (Academic life isn't as peaceful as Blair Sandburg would like it to be.) (15)
- Some Enchanted Evening by Sue Kelley (Blair goes undercover in a high class escort service to help solve a murder.) (29)
- Tara and Me by Sandra McDonald (Blair faces some self doubts.) (51)
- Hotel California by Marlene Becker (Blair Sandburg and Brian Rafe are out on a ‘dark and stormy night’ where they stumble across a hotel that, at first, seems a haven from the storm; but, in reality, they would be better off with the tornado.) (57)
- Dark Sentinel by K. Ryn (novella) (Blair finds himself the captive of another sentinel and Jim is determined to get his guide back.) (79)
The Sentry Post 5 was published in May 1999 and is 164 pages long. It has a color cover by Karen River.
- Survival Lessons by Anna Kelly (A Survival Episode Tag.) (5 pages)
- From Bad to Worse by Beth Manz (A fishing trip turns deadly.) (18 pages)
- Whole Against the Sky by Christiane Mistele (The aftermath of Sentinel Too Part 1 is explore) (9 pages)
- Temper Tantrum by TAE (After an explosion lands Simon in the hospital, Jim searches for the bomber and the reason for the attack.) (7 pages)
- Promissory by Denim Scott (Blair Sandburg returns from visiting a dying friend with a small surprise in tow.) 32 pages)
- No Deposit, No Return by Sue Pokorny (When Blair finds a backpack full of cash in the Volvo he becomes a target for the rightful owners of the money.) (12 pages)
- Father Figure by Sheila Paulson - A Sentinel/Riptide crossover (12 pages)
- Subterfuge by K. Ann Yost (Jim’s investigation of the murder of a private detective puts Blair’s career in jeopardy.) (10 pages)
- Ellison’s Shadow by K. Ryn (A series of four stories chronicling Jim and Blair’s developing friendship.) (49 pages)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5
See reactions and reviews for Promissory.
“Survival Lesson” by Anna Kelly is a vignette about Jim’s reflections on Blair’s place in his life following the episode “Survival.” It’s rather a soft focus piece and is competently rendered, but reveals no new or unusual insights into the characters or their relationship.
Beth Manz’ story, “From Bad to Worse” treads a well-worn fannish path: Jim and Blair go on a fishing trip and trouble ensues. (In this case it’s a cult that targets Blair—and how can one fault their taste?). However, Beth has sculpted a well-characterized, suspenseful tale that sucks the reader into the pages. The characters are three-dimensional—strong, resilient, displaying humor and affection, fear and compassion. The supporting original characters are given enough presence to be believable, as well, and not stick figures. And, while Blair is the intended victim in this story, he is never the passive victim—he is the Blair of “Cypher,” thinking, talking—doing whatever he can to ensure survival, for himself and his Sentinel. (I would suggest that this would have made a dandy episode of the show, but I don’t know if people would regard that as a compliment or an insult.)
“Whole Against the Sky” by Christiane Mistele is a follow up to “Sentinel Too,” Part 1. The first part of this story was published on the ’net, but the second part has been added for this zine. It attempts to resolve the issues that have interfered with the relationship between Sentinel and Guide. The story is gracefully told, the prose is lucid, and she makes appropriate use of mystical sequences to develop the story. Overall, it is a pleasant read, but the symbolic message of the story (Jim didn’t listen to Blair, Blair rejected Jim) was presented in a somewhat heavy-handed manner.
“Temper Tantrum” by TAE is a short “Daryl in jeopardy” tale, told in a routine, sketchy manner. This concept is unusual in this fandom (as Blair is the usual victim of choice); as a reader I would have liked to have seen it developed in more detail. For example, the villain of the piece is entirely “off stage”—we never see him in a scene; he is never presented three-dimensionally. Without that connection he is a cypher whose motivation I have difficulty accepting. Nor is there any spark of life or sense of the regular characters—as if all the names could be changed and it would make no difference. A single point of view (such as Daryl’s, giving it his unique “voice”) could have strengthened this short piece.
“Promissory Note” by Denim Scott first appeared on the ’net and involves another popular fannish theme—the offspring of a main character. Denim Scott has a writing style that is subtle and gracious, gently pulling the readers into the emotions of the characters. Jim and Blair deal with the events of the story in a realistic manner, true to their natures, and everything is nicely understated—not a soap bubble in sight.
“No Deposit, No Return” by Sue Pokorny: Sue has put together a solid, decently-crafted story, and she is that rare fan author who can devise a competent episode-type plot (with a crime to be solved). Sue avoids wallowing in the extremes of emotions that are near and dear to the hearts of some fans—no lashings of angst here—which is a strength of her writing style. She finds more restrained yet effective ways to show (not tell) what the characters are to each other (no paragraph upon paragraph of yak-yak about inner feelings). Also, she makes good use of supporting cast (Rafe has a role in this story, a purpose, and a real feeling of personality) and reasonable use of Jim’s senses.
Sheila Paulson’s “Father Figure,” a crossover between “The Sentinel” and “Riptide” (a private detective show from the 80s) is adequately done, and a nice look at young Blair. (I think her time line for him is a little off, but that’s a minor quibble.) However, if you’re not a “Riptide” fan, a tale of Blair’s interaction with “Nick” may not be as interesting to you as might be otherwise.
“Subterfuge” by K. Ann Yost is… a worthy effort. Jim and Blair are given a murder case to solve which then develops some dangerous repercussions for Sentinel and Guide. I applaud the author’s attempt to write a multi-layered story, with a plot and a subplot, but the result is, unfortunately, rather thin. The two plot lines do not integrate well; it seems as if Plot A (crime to be solved) is simply discarded in favor of Subplot B (sleaze tries to threaten Jim and Blair with exposure)—neither story line is sufficiently fleshed out enough.
Subplot B is far too quickly resolved, as the sleaze—who is presented as quite the tough and menacing guy—crumples like an aluminum can in the face of Jim Ellison. The clues to explain why this character behaved as he did were there, but not given sufficient clarity.
“All mouth and no trousers” is the conclusion I reached about this character. If that’s the case, then Jim’s physical reaction to the sleaze was way over the top. Certainly Jim Ellison, ex-military, ex-Covert Ops, with the Sentinel imperative in his genes, can be ruthless when necessary and count the cost later—but his actions in this encounter struck me as brutish and inappropriate to the threat. (If, on the other hand, the sleaze is supposed to be understood as a much greater menace who merits Ellison’s response, why does the guy cave so easily? No retaliation? No counter threats?) Overall, a puzzling piece that lacks focus.
The showpiece of this issue is K. Ryn’s “Ellison’s Shadow.” The thematic device K. Ryn uses to frame this story—the shadows that shift and change as the day lengthens (first behind you, then at your side, then running before you and, finally, wrapping around you)—is very poetic, and the image works perfectly for Jim and Blair. This story is presented as a three act play, following the development of Blair’s various relationships with Jim (friends, partners, Sentinel and Guide). K. Ryn brings to her story intelligent, adult, fully-developed characters, and she writes—but does not overwrite—with power and emotion. Following her through this story, watching as she peels back the layers of their characters and their relationship, is a delight for the reader. Throughout the piece, the author subtly ties character insights and moments of personal history back into canonical events, integrating this story seamlessly into a more complete universe for the characters.
The first act, “Proper Procedures,” takes place early in the relationship, and is told primarily from Simon’s point of view. It is a gem. This is the slightly younger Blair, still unsure of his place in this new milieu, but in no doubt of his place at his Sentinel’s side. He faces down a department bigot in a take-no-prisoners fashion; “The mild-mannered flower child was gone. What stood before Simon was one pissed-off Sentinel’s companion. It was a startling transformation and boded nothing but bad news for the man who had initiated it.”
The second act of the piece, “Stripped Away,” is set sometime after “Flight,” and is the weakest segment, if only because it takes on one of the ultimate fannish cliches (in any fandom)—“My partner is dead and I’ve lost control.” K. Ryn breathes fresh life into the concept, painting chilling images—both sensory and emotional, eliciting insights into the character of Jim Ellison, blending them into the overall story she is telling.
Part three, “Balancing Act,” is set after “Warriors.” As the longest and strongest act it could easily stand alone as a story. Blair, complex, intelligent, and insightful, proves his value to the department, and challenges Ellison on his place with him. K. Ryn tackles these issues head on and resolves them in a satisfying, very in character way. (PetFly—no disrespect intended—could take lessons from this woman.) Her use of her created character, “Crazy Addy,” the bag lady, adds extra flavor to the story—“Addy” puts the “original” in original character.
Finally there is the epilogue, “Shadowcaster,” set after “Sentinel Too,” Part 2. Told from Jim’s point of view, as he ponders their encounter with Alex Barnes and reflects that Blair “.… reconnects me to my world, He steps out of my shadow and engulfs me in his—reversing our positions in the blink of an eye.” “Ellison’s Shadow” is an extremely well-told tale.Overall, “Sentry Post” #5 provides excellent value for dollars paid, and fiction that ranges from good to must-have. On a scale of 1-5, I give this issue a 4.5. 
The Sentry Post 6 was published in April 2000 and is 148 pages long. It has a color cover by K9. It includes screencaps from the shows.
- Sensory Semantics by K. Ryn (Jim lies severely injured in a backwater hospital and Blair is missing. Simon must find the missing police observer and all he has to go on is a cryptic message supplied by Jim.) (7)
- Emily's Garden by Anonymeek (An act of kindness from Blair's past could cost him his life in the present.) (30)
- Active Observer by Anna Kelly (Who said 'observing' was a passive activity?) (43)
- Toy Soldiers by Kim Hamilton (Attending a police safety conference turns out to be a lot more exciting than Jim Ellison bargained for.) (51)
- We the People...Except by Dawn C. (Blair Sandburg runs afoul of the US Customs Service.) (57)
- The Locket by Sherry Lou Galluci (When Blair disappears, Jim races to find him before a man in search of a mysterious locket finds him first.) (65)
- Almost a Sentinel by Sealie (A Sentinel/The Champions crossover. Jim and Blair encounter three people who possess amazing powers and end up journeying to Far Horizons. A novella/novel.) (83)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6
See reactions and reviews for Active Observer.
[zine]: Sensory Semantics by K. Ryn: Good, intriguing idea, but not up to her usual excellence. Which isn't really fair, considering if it had been written by someone else I probably would have liked it more, not having the same high expectations!
Emily's Garden by Anonymeek: I was confused at first by the use of the name "Emily", because I, not having seen all the episodes, wondered if this was supposed to be a character already known, so I went off and looked in my transcripts and found three Emilys in the series - and of course, this turned out not to be any of them. This was good Blair angst. I liked the scene where he talked to Mrs. Weis.
Active Observer by Anna Kelly: Not bad. Some burble, some bad guys, some hurt, some action, some angst, some burble.
Toy Soldiers by Kim Hamilton: Oh, this was fun! (What a pity I already had a similar idea and now I probably can't use it.)
We the People... by Except DawnC: Good story. Chilling implications.
The Locket by Sherry Lou Gallucci: Oh, good switch. The circumstances were built up to cause what otherwise might be considered absurdly farfetched - but it worked. That was good.Almost A Sentinel (Sentinel/Champions) by Sealie: This was what I bought the zine for - so I think I built up my expectations a little too high. It was still good, though. The extrapolation of the Champions characters was very well done (though I'm not really happy with what happened with Sharon!). Craig and Richard were caught spot on; older, wearier, but still themselves. And all very alone. Jim and Blair were good. Friends, things to be worked through, misunderstandings, peril, rescue, reconciliation. This was good. 
The Sentry Post 7 was published in May 2002 and is 138 pages long. (winner of 2003 FanQ)
- Escalante by Katie Steuer (A case of mistaken identity may leave Jim without a guide.) (5)
- The Wall by Anna Kelly (The realities of Jim's life as a cop give Blair a new perspective.) (55)
- Mote by Sealie (Blair attempts a dreamwalk and experiences an amazing self journey.) (59)
- How Fragile We Are by K. Ann Yost (Someone is trying to kill off any friends of the officers of the Major Crime department.) (80)
- A Game of Death by Susan Foster (A murder mystery weekend leaves fantasy behind and becomes all too real for Jim and Blair.) (87)
- A Week by KAM (Blair promised to only stay away for a week.) (98)
- Download by Sue Pokorny and Linda Hutcheson (Blair is accused of espionage. Can Jim prove him innocent?) (100)
- Apology by Linda Hutcheson (A missing scene from Sentinel Too, Part 2.) (124)
- The Most Perfect Day Ever by Sandra McDonald (Blair is lost in the Peruvian jungle, a prisoner of rebel forces.) (125)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7
See reactions and reviews for The Most Perfect Day Ever.
The Sentry Post 8 was published in May 2003 and is 128 pages long.
- Sara and I by Sandra McDonald (When Jim's father suffers a heart attack, it sends him into an emotional crisis.) (5)
- No Good Deed by KAM (Once again Blair is in the wrong place at the wrong time.) (12)
- Bad Influences by Anna Kelly (When Blair is injured on the job, Jim blames himself.) (17)
- UnPartnered by Sheila Paulson (Blair has vanished and an old enemy of Jim's claims to have him, but does he?) (26)
- The Family Name by LKY (A visit to a small town can be deadly for a visiting anthropologist and his cop friend.) (45)
- You Can't Tell the Players Without a Program by Sue Pokorny and Anne Roquemore (A case of mistaken identity, bumbling locals, and a sentinel is a recipe for comedy.) (69)
- Three Blind Mice by Sealie (An accident robs Jim of his sight but he's determined to solve his last case with Blair's help.) (92)
Sentry Post Special Edition
The Sentry Post Special Edition: K. Ryn was published in June 1999 and is 164 pages long. It is a collection of net-published fiction by K. Ryn.
- The Gift —Blair comes up with the perfect gift for a sensory-stressed sentinel. A submission for the GuidePosts "In The Woods" Challenge.
- Death Song —Not a Death Story! Spontaneously combusting lighters, lethal steak knives, exploding gas stoves...someone's attacking those closest to the Sentinel.
- Wired —Another "Jim and Blair in the Woods" submission—with a different twist.
- Testing the Differences —A spur of the moment test reveals some interesting truths.
- Set-up —Jim's arrested for drug trafficking and murder. The victim? Blair Sandburg.
- Endurance —The detective's of Major Crimes take on a challenge—keeping up with Blair Sandburg.
- Out of Harm's Way —When Jim flies to Denver on a prison extradition, leaving Blair safely tucked away in the loft working on a paper for one of his University classes, no one expects trouble to come calling.
- Smoke and Mirrors —Will a grisly arson and murder case spell the end of Jim and Blair's partnership?