Southern Comfort (multimedia zine)

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Title: Southern Comfort, Southern Lights, Southern Lights Specials
Publisher: Ann Wortham
Date(s): 1985-1999
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake's 7, multimedia
Language: English
External Links: Ashton Press
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Southern Comfort is one of Blakes 7 fandom's longest running, continuously published adult zines, featuring both adult het and slash material.

Earlier issues (up through 4.5) were titled "Southern Lights," sometimes referred to as Southern Lights Specials. Issues numbered x.75 contain all slash/all Avon/Vila stories. [1]

General Reactions

"One of the first 'adult' zines in B7 was Southern Lights (later Southern Comfort). This zine was gen sometimes, and adult other times (if it was a whole number: i.e., 1, 2, 3; then it was gen; if it was 1.5, 3.75. etc. then it was adult).

Unlike most, these zines published adult, male slash and female slash stories all together. There never were too many female slash stories, but they fit into the zine like all the other stories (and yes, they were written mostly by women (as is most fanfic of any type)).

The early numbers, especially 3.75 (warning, mostly A/V) and 4.5 (all pairings, including J/C) were very good. The last few have been bad and getting worse. Avoid the most recent (7.5) entirely."[2]
"Why so? I must admit simple curiosity here, since I have the zine in question and there were several stories that I quite liked. There were some clunkers, yes, but all zines have clunkers. How about a review or two from folk Out There? (Maybe from differing points of view.) More entertaining than an off-the-cuff opinion, certainly.[3]

Issue 1

1985 flyer
1987 flyer

Southern Lights 1 was originally published in 1985. 329 reduced print pages.

cover of issue #1
  • Paybacks Are Hell by Susan Hall (Miami Vice) (3 pages)
  • Out of My Dreams by Annita K. Smith (Scarecrow & Mrs. King) (4 pages)
  • Casualty by Liz S. (Fantasy)
  • Starting Over by Jeannie Webster (Indiana Jones, OSS series) (2 pages)
  • Things Change in Two Million Years, Rick by Jacqueline Taero (Simon & Simon)
  • Hero by L. A. Adolf (Simon & Simon) (12 pages?)
  • Impressions by Jacqueline Taero (Miami Vice)
  • Unconventional Procedure by L. A. Carr (T.J. Hooker/Star Trek) ("Hooker knew that Judson was just crazy enough to kill Romano, who was trapped with the ]unkie. Would Hooker deny proper procedure in order to save his partner and friend?") (8 pages)
  • Tempo Fugit by Liz S. (Dr. Who)
  • Marion's Bantu Wind Song by Marci Erwin (Indiana Jones)
  • Temple of Doom Maze by Marci Erwin (Indiana Jones) (2 pages)
  • Geas by Liz S. (Fantasy)
  • A Simon & Simon Art Portfolio by Laura Virgil (6 pages)
  • Darkborn by Carol Regine and Danaline Bryant (Star Wars) (3 pages)
  • The Mermaid by Diane Farnsworth (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) ("Captain Crane is kidnapped- -by a mermaid!") (17 pages)
  • Sailor's Poetry or Images Painted in Moonlight by Linda Terrell (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)
  • Vengeance is Mind by Linda Knights (Simon and Simon) ("Rick Simon knows he and his brother live a dangerous life, but that knowledge doesn't make things any easier when A.J. is shot by their client's brother.") (14 pages)
  • Asteroids by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars game)
  • Alone by Linda Knights (Rat Patrol) (reprinted in The G-2 Files #8, New Links in the Chain, and Rat Patrol Compiled)
  • Bedtime Story by Valerie Alidina and Laura Virgil (Star Trek) (8 pages)
  • Cockpit Conversation by Carolyn Golledge (Star Wars)
  • Adventurer for Hire by Laura Virgil and Cheree Cargill (Indiana Jones) ("Indiana Jones has the greatest adventure of his life--while working registration! Art by Wanda Lybarger and Dam Lane, shorts, poetry, etc. by Marci F.rwin, Lynda Vandiver and Jeanme Webster.") (3 pages)
  • Painfully Obvious by Leah Rosenthal (Miami Vice)
  • Memories Set in Concrete by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (3 pages)
  • The Final Act by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (1 page)
  • Terminus Ex Sominum by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (2 pages)
  • Beautiful Replicant by Marci Erwin (Blade Runner)
  • Crossroads by Annita K. Smith (Scarecrow & Mrs. King) (4 pages)
  • Chance Encounter by Susan Hall (Simon & Simon) ("Chance Encounter by Susan Hall: Rick thinks he's seeing a ghost--but he isn't Only a ghost from his brother A.J.'s past . . .

Vengeance Is Mine by Linda Knights: Rick Simon knows he and his brother live a dangerous life but that knowledge doesn't make things any easier when A.J. is shot by their client's brother! More promised from Chris Jeffords and Catherine Schlein. Art by Schlein and Vicki Brinkmeir. Poetry by Jacqueline Taero. PLUS a special SIMON £ SIMON art portfolio by Laura Virgil.") (3 pages)

  • The Office Affair by Cheree Cargill (WKRP in Cincinnati) (8 pages)
  • Ben Faces Vader by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars game)
  • One Lonely Knight by Lorraine Bartlett (Knight Rider) (9 pages)
  • Tulips Bloom in the Sixth Quadrant by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7/Dr. Who)
  • Sweet Revenge by CarolMel Ambassador (Wizards and Warriors) (7 pages)
  • The Thousandth Man by Louann Qualls (Airwolf) ("Some people wild just do" anything to get their hands on Airwolf. Unfortunately, the people who kidnap Domini Santin in the hopes of blackmailing Hawke don't count on his resourcefulness.") (18 pages)
  • Falling Star by CarolMel Ambassador (Star Trek)
  • The Night of the Peon's Death by Lorraine Beatty (Wild Wild West) ("When Artemus Gordon goes undercover at a sugar cane plantation, James West has a frightening premonition -- that he may never see his partner alive again.") (28 pages)
  • The "Anything Goes" Art Portfolio Spotlighting: Leah Rosenthal, Jenni, Danaline, Suzy Sansom, Vicki Brinkmeir and Ann Larimer (Orlando Vice (cartoon), Remington Steele, Star Wars, Don Johnson, T.J Hooker, a Los Angeles map) (7 pages)
  • The Lessons of History Raid by Linda Knights (Rat Patrol) (Troy and Tully argue bitterly on the eve of an important mission.) (9 pages) (reprinted in Rat Patrol Compiled)
  • Hogtown Hustle by Susanne McGhin (Miami Vice) ("Crockett and Tubbs are in for a big surprise when a small town prostitution bust starts to turn into something much more complicated and dangerous.") (34 pages)
  • A Wink of God's Eye by Katrine Snyder (Star Wars) (41 pages)
  • Time In Its Flight by Christine Jeffords (Simon & Simon) (A Mother's Day dinner with Cecelia inspires Rick and A.J. to flashback on their boyhoods.) (42 pages)

Issue 1.5

cover of issue #1.5

Southern Lights 1.5 was published in 1985, is 49 pages long, and has only Man From U.N.C.L.E. content, four stories. All of the content is anonymous.

  • The Bad Day At Black Rock Affair--Illya’s in a foul mood and Fate seems to determined to make it fouler. But the Russian’s timely rescue of a lovely damsel in distress could just change his luck. (12 pages)
  • The Interlude Affair--It was a routine stakeout assignment for Napoleon Solo and April Dancer until things start to ‘heat’ up a little bit. (6 pages)
  • The ‘This Vacation Is Not As Incredibly Boring As I Thought It Would Be Affair’--It’s Christmas time and Illya is feeling homesick. He takes a vacation to get away from it all and things are pretty quiet—until Sarah Jane Smith skis over him. Crossover with Doctor Who. (20 pages)
  • The Russian Physicist Affair--Napoleon is intrigued by Larissa Petrov but not half as intrigued as he is about her relationship with Illya. (9 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1.5

[zine]: Lordy, lordy, lordy, what a lovely piece of naughty bits this zine is. Yes, SL 1.5 embodies all the wild day dreams we've envisioned about the sexual aspects of Man from UNCLE, and keeps it all... straight. All the stories in SL 1.5 are of a sexual nature, and they are genuine woo 'em and screw 'em tales -- something that had been missing from UNCLE fandom. Everything in the zine is anonymous, but that doesn't distract from the fun. These stories deal with very little plot, not hurt/comfort, and lots of action de lit. No mercy screws, no rapes, not gratuitous sex. These stories were written to be fun, there are no heavy plots and nothing to plague the little grey cells. Neat layout, lack of typos, good, easy-to-read all count in its favor. Aside from the one 'censored' illo of Illya, the zine is barren of artwork, but we all can create much more explicit pictures in our mids than any artist could put down with pen and ink. For the high level of fun, sex, and overall gratitude from this UNCLE reader, I rate SL 1.5 an 8. [4]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, artist is Laura Virgil
first page of "Conspiracy" -- sample text

Southern Lights 2 was published in August 1986 and is 276 pages long. It contains both gen and slash.

slightly larger version of cover of issue #2, artist is Laura Virgil
  • Dragon Sleeping by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (9 pages)
  • The ‘Anything Goes’ Art Portfolio Spotlighting: Bizarro 7…Buckaroo Banzai…Professionals…Blake’s 7…Star Trek... Star Wars…Dr Who…Fantasy (21 pages)
  • Steaming Wangs (Sort Of A Western) (24 pages)
  • Fall Apart Where I’m Standing (Hitchhiker's Guide) (1 page)
  • To Savor The Bitter Wine by L.A. Carr (Simon & Simon) (37 pages)
  • First The Good News… (Star Trek) (1 page)
  • Battlefield Blues (Simon & Simon) (1 page)
  • Small Talk (Miami Vice) (2 pages)
  • Camarand Dreamin’ (Wizards & Warriors) (1 page)
  • Black Sheep by Katrina Snyder (Star Wars) (19 pages)
  • Raiders of the Lost Carbonite by Carolyn Golledge (Indiana Jones/Star Trek) (52 pages)
  • Weirdest Women (Miami Vice) (1 page)
  • Hot Stuff (Miami Vice) (1 page)
  • Spies—A Portfolio (15 pages)
  • The Two Sides Of A Traitor Raid by Linda Knights (Rat Patrol) (18 pages) (Sealed orders force Troy to deceive his men, jeopardizing their working relationship.)

Issue 2.5

cover of issue #2.5, Leah Rosenthal, "Silver Alpha"

Southern Lights 2.5 was published in March 1986 and is 65 pages long. it contains a mix of slash and gen stories, including the “infamous” “Rogue,” by London Bates and a “Hellhound” story. It is an all-Blake's 7 issue.

flyer for issue #2.5

This issue contains a black and white photo of the cast, but no interior illustration.


  • Barbara T, "Aftereffects" (3) (Cally is suffering from the aftereffects of her ordeal on Centero and goes to the one person on Liberator she feels can help her work out her fear.)
  • London Bates, "Intermezzo in B" (7) (Blake is still feeling guilty over the death of Gan on Earth but Vila, some special brandy, and Cally combine to help him feel better. Jenna and Avon are making discoveries of their own in the meantime...) (also in The Other Side #1)
  • Lousiana Bailey & A. Toyten Bankes, "Paradise Loused Up" (aka Planet of the Slave Boys) (13) (Xanadu was supposedly a paradise, but Avon, Tarrant and Vila are in for a few surprises.(
  • Mara Calahan & Crystal Adams, "Sharing" (21)
  • Lotta Sleaze, "Have Another" (30)
  • Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Weight of a Feather" (Hellhound Universe) (32) (Avon hadn't planned to have company on his shore leave, but things seldom worked out the way Avon planned them.)
  • London Bates, "Reluctant Rebel" (39)
  • Barbara T, "Personal Management" (40) (Vila Restal followed Blake willingly, yet he still feared him.)
  • London Bates, "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" (47) (See Nearly Beloved) (also in The Unique Touch #1 and The Other Side #1)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2.5

See reactions and reviews for Nearly Beloved/Rogue.
[zine]: This edition has a delectable cover drawing of Avon (silver shirt phase) by Leah Rosenthal; I am not particularly an Avon fan but I can appreciate ART. Otherwise the only illustrations are photos.

I presume from the editorial that other editions of Southern Lights, unlike this one, aren't necessarily all B7. Southern Lights Special 2.5 is adult, roughly half the content being straight and half slash. There are nine stories.

Being a Vila fan I loved [Barbara T's] two short stories "Aftereffects" (C/V) and "Personal Management" (V/B). Both are totally believable, and written with real insight.

This is definitely a zine for Vila fans, as there is yet another good C/V story -oh joy - "Sharing". This is not to say that no-one else gets a look-in. Of the longer stories there is one post-GP concerning Avon, Blake and Tarrant. Writers include London Bates, Louisiana Bailey and A. Toyten Bankes, Mara Calahan and Crystal Adams, Katrina Snyder and Susanne McGhin. [5]

Issue 3

Southern Lights 3 was published in May 1987, is 293 pages long and contains stories, poems and artwork based on Indiana Jones, Blakes 7, Simon & Simon, Airwolf, A-Team, Miami Vice, The Man From UNCLE, Black Sheep Squadron, The Year of Living Dangerously and more.

cover of issue #3
flyer for issue #3, click to read summaries, ad from Southern Seven #1
  • A Civilization Gone With the Wind by Jeannie Webster (Indiana Jones)
  • A Relative Matter by L.A. Carr (Simon and Simon)
  • No Strings Attached by Louann Qualls ("A sequel to "The Thousandth Plan" which was in Southern Lights #1. Jess is back in Stringfellow's life and he's forced to finally come to terms with the ghosts from his past— one of which may be his brother Sinjin." Sequel in issue #4) (Airwolf)
  • Melody in Variation by Linda Knights ("Stringfellow s more certain than ever that SinJin IS alive...") (Airwolf)
  • The Rock-a-Bye Baby Affair by Charlene Kirby ("Mr. Waverley suffers a strange illness and it's up to Solo and Illya to save the free usual.") (Man from Uncle)
  • Diamond Formation by Lorraine Beatty ("Murdock remembers his time flying with the Thunderbirds...") (A-Team)
  • The Consequences of an Unfortunate Excess Sobriety by Linda Knights ("Larry Casey, a drunk V.M.F, 214, and a hurricane add up to big trouble for everybody involved...") (Black Sheep Squadron)
  • Triangle Blues by Christine Jeffords ("Our boys had more than their share of adventures before they moved to San Diego, but when A.J. witnesses a murder in St. Petersburg, Florida, things start to get a little out of control...") (Simon and Simon)
  • The Trouble with Informants by Susanne McGhin ("Crockett's having trouble with informants but there's some thing else bothering him as well...") (Miami Vice)
  • For Today and Forever by Linda Knights ("A chance meeting with Lt. Castillo doesn't turn out to be a young girl's 'dream'...") (Miami Vice)
  • Kind of a Drag by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (Blake's 7) ("A new installment in the "Bizarro 7"series. Picture Avon in a dress... and I'm not telling you anymore!") (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #3)
  • Art by Barbara Frances-Simon, Cathy Bryson, Mary Otten, Suzy Samson, Charlene Kirby, Leah Rosenthal, and Dani Lane, Wanda Lybarger, Barbara Frances-Simon
  • "Misplaced in Space" by Liz Sharpe. Liz calls this a "Bizarrer" adventure. In the tradition of past issues of SOUTHERN LIGHTS, we present a story that's not just weird, it's totally out of this world.")
  • "Cally Speaking" by Linda Terrell. ("Blake is finally feeling the strain of running a rebellion and, of course, Avon does push him too hard at times...")
  • other poetry, filks and shorts from Jeannie Webster, Teresa Sarick, Barbara T, Michelle Worley

Issue 3.5

cover of issue #3.5, Leah Rosenthal
back cover of issue #3.5, uncredited by the publisher. Artist signature reads: "Stanford."

Southern Lights 3.5 was published in April 1987, is 74 pages long. It is an all-Blake's 7 edition and includes a mix of slash and gen stories, including a special “Hellhound” story.

There are two interior illos that are not credited, but signed "Stanford."

The editorial:

Welcome to the third issue of the 'SPECIAL'. This year we're all-B7 again, for several reasons. First and foremost, the last B7 issue has been very popular and everyone has been clamoring to read more! Secondly, my main interest has become B7 so I was a little more diligent in collecting material for it than I might have been for other fandoms.

Like the last issue, there are both slash and straight stories contained herein. The slash ones are marked in the table of contents with a '/'. If you don't like these kinds of stories, please skip them.

SPECIAL 4.5 is open for submission now and will be all-B7 yet again. Drop me a line if you're interested in submitting.

As always, thanks are due to one and all for their help and love and support, but most of all to 'Avon' and 'Kerril'. They know who they really are and how much they mean to me...

I hope you all enjoy this issue. It contains some of my very favorite B7 adult stories, most notably those by Ingrid Montrose and Julie Kramer! All the others are great, too!

Bye for now!
  • An Anonymous Letter from the Editor (2)
  • Julie Kramer, "Out with a Bang, or, The Orbit We Never Saw" (Avon/Vila) ("What really happened aboard Egrorian's shuttle...?") (3)
  • Jane Carnall, "Mental Health" ("What were Avon and Vila doing on the flight deck that ended up with Dayna throwing Tarrant into a bulkhead and Cally suggesting they kill the pilot (out of mercy, of course)? And just what is the GHO 21 clause and, more import- antly, can Tarrant ever be cured?") (4)
  • Northwest Smith, "A Question of Balance" (Blake/Avon, with previous A/G) (8)
  • Ingrid Montrose, "Poker Night" (Avon/Vila) ("Vila Restal enjoyed late watch for a very good reason: he liked letting Avon win at cards...") (11)
  • Paula, "Journey's End" (Jabberwocky universe) ("Jenna had finally been reunited with Blake, but would the rebel leader continue to reject her? Jenna didn't think she could remain with him for long if that were the case ...") [6] (Blake/Jenna) (13) (reprinted in Jabberwocky #5)
  • London Bates, "Avon's Law" (Blake/Avon) (17) (reprinted in The Other Side #6)
  • Diana Romero, "Silver Alpha" (poem) (22)
  • Henrietta Street, "Pillow Talk" (all) ("Party night on the Liberator. Need I say more?") (reprinted from Quicksilver Rising #4) (23)
  • Jane Carnall, "A Saying in Broth Spoils the Thyme" (Cally/Jenna?) (24)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Fugitives" (Blake/Avon) (24)
  • Aislinn, "Kindred Souls" (Avon/Cally) (30) (also in "touched" #8
  • Paula, "Affirmation" (Blake/Avon) - sequel to "Renascence" (31)
  • Susan Hall, "Those Lips, Those Eyes" (Avon/?) (34)
  • Branta Bernicula, "Night Moves" (Blake/OFC) ("Space Commander Ransom had been through the wringer at the hands of the Federation. Can Blake help her forget what had been done to her...?") (35)
  • London Bates, "First Person Singular" (Avon/Vila/Blake?) (also in The Other Side #5 as "First Person") ("In the aftermath of Gauda Prime, Avon no longer cares what happens to him until he meets up with someone who could be an old friend..•or an enemy.") (40)
  • Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "I Was So Young..." (Hellhound Universe) - (Jenna/OMC, with implied B/J) (47)
  • Uncredited, "Rain Must Fall" (Avon/OFC) ("The mission to Darris began"to go disastrously wrong the moment Blake and company met up with Rahn. Bringing her onboard Liberator could only guarantee that things were about to go from bad to worse...") (57)
  • Ingrid Montrose, "If We Play Our Cards Right" (Avon/Vila) (69)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3.5

[zine]: American adult zine with eleven slash stories, six straight, one poem and some cartoons. The stories vary from half a page to twelve pages in length.

"Journey's end" by Paula is an excellent Blake/Jenna story set in the Jabberwocky universe; I have come across this story in another zine but can't remember which. Jenna appears again in another well-written story, "I was so young" by Katrina Snyder and Susanne McGhin. Set immediately after Duel, it explores her feelings for Blake as she tells Cally about her first affair and the career that followed.

There are several Blake and Avon stories. "A Question of balance" by Northwest Smith takes place after the death of Gan. "Avon's law" by London Bates shows the antagonism and attraction between Avon and Blake very well. "Fugitives" by xBryn Lantry has the two of them camping out, the usual ambivalence of Ms.Lantry's prose and very good too.

"First person singular" by London Bates is difficult to follow. It's another male prostitute scenario involving Avon, Vila under another identity, and a mysterious character who may be Blake himself, a Blake clone, or someone completely different. Perhaps there's an earlier story which would clarify this one.

"Night Moves" by Branta Bernicula is an somewhat unoriginal straight encounter between Blake and a visiting female space commander. Another straight story is "Rain must fall" in which Avon shows his sensitive side with a young rebel. ( Will Avon ever find True Love and Happiness? Not if his fans have anything to do with it)

There are three Avon and Vila stories, all light-hearted. Julie Kramer's "Out with a Bang" is an amusing Orbit variation. "Poker night" and "If we play our cards right", both by Ingrid Montrose, cover pretty much the same ground. Other shorts are by Jane Carnall, Henrietta Street, Aislinn, and Susan Hall. [7]

So there's a new version... the real version, I feel sure, if it wasn't for Mary Whitehouse... of "Orbit," which is hilarious -- "How do you spend your last fifteen minutes?" and no, the answer is not "Working... working as we've never worked before."

"Mental Health" by (shudder) me. I wrote it when I was furious about homophobia, but that's probably no excuse. (They're touching on the flight deck!).

"Poker Night" and "If We Play Our Cards Right" are utterly brilliant comedy A/V strip poker on the flight deck, and Vila's cheating and wearing tasteless jockey shorts...

"A Question of Balance" ... not bad A/B. Preferred A/G.

"Avon's Law"... outrageously comfortable A/B. Predictable.

"Pillow Talk" -- the ship that plays together stays together.

"Fugitives" If there's a writer who could convince me that A/B is wonderful, never mind possible, then Bryn Lantry is it. Only thing I want to know is, if Avon and Blake are being happy primitives, and Jenna and Cally are smuggling together, where's Vila??

"Kindred Souls" ... read "touched" 8. It's good.

"Affirmation" for those who read "Renascence," this is an A/B sequel. For those who didn't, it's a 5th season A/B story... and it's mildly predictable.

"First Person Singular" -- does Avon have to be in agony the whole time? In a brothel? However, it's got to be the only London Bates story where Avon goes off into the sunshine with Vila. [8]

Issue 3.75

front cover of issue #3.75, Leah Rosenthal
back cover of issue #3.75, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 3.75 was published in September 1987 and is 76 pages long. It is all Avon/Vila and has 13 stories. Leah Rosenthal did the front and back cover. The interior art consists of a single cartoon signed "MR" and a single illo that is neither signed or credited.

The editorial:

Hello , and welcome to the fourth issue of t he ' SPECIAL '. This time we're called "3. 75" since SOUTHERN LIGHTS 4 won't be in print for quite some time yet . This issue is also completely slash and completely A/ V in nature . Actually, the whole thing started as a joke at a party during MediaWest.

I admit I was rather drunk at the time, but there you are. I agreed to do the zine if certain people sent me contributions. I should know better by now. They all sent their stories and a scant three months later you have a zine in your hands ...

The next issue is , of course, "4.5". It's already filling up nicely with a good mix of straight and slash material. I could use some more longer stories. Most of what I have so far is fairly short and lightweight in nature. How about some angst??? I 'm a sucker for good angst...

I won't make t he usual warning about the slash contents. If you don't like slash, and you bought this zine anyway, that's your problem...

Special thanks to Erica Leonard who sent "Mended Dream" to me after I begged and whimpered for it. And , as always , thanks to all the other contributors, who came through for me once again.

Bye until "4.5"!
  • An Anonymous Letter from the Editor (2)
  • Civilized Terror, fiction by Jane Carnall (3)
  • Opportunities, fiction by Ingrid Montrose & B. J. Benson ("It seemed like a simple job: just open the vault and remove the money. But things are never that simple when Avon and Vila are involved...") (10)
  • In the Cage, fiction by Tenaya ("Vila had depended on Gan to protect him since they had met aboard the London. Now that Gan was dead, who could he count on when he was surrounded by nothing but Alphas...?") (13)
  • Ill-Gotten Gains, fiction by Paula (18)
  • Not in Death nor Sleep Repose, fiction by London Bates (reprinted in The Other Side #6 as "Not in Death") (21)
  • Mended Dream, fiction by Erica Leonard (sequel to "Broken Fantasy" in Quicksilver Rising #4) (26)
  • Revenant, fiction by Barbara T ("After the death of Anna, what is left for Avon? Will he ever be able to "feel" again...?") (31)
  • A Question of Trust, fiction by Ellis Ward ("Just how far will Avon go to get something he wants? Will he sacrifice anything...or anyone...?") (33)
  • Torn Between the Blessing and the Curse, fiction by Bobbi Withers (46)
  • Privacy, fiction by J. D. Reece ("Vila is worried about Avon following the events on Terminal and only wants to help. Avon has something a little more intimate in mind, however...") (48)
  • Payment in Kind, fiction by Henrietta Street (55)
  • How Much Love, fiction by Catocala (Last Stand universe) (62)
  • Long Way from the Edge by Catocala (Last Stand universe) (71)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3.75

See reactions and reviews for Privacy.
[zine]: This zine is entirely A/V. The good news for A/V fans is that none of the stories are duds and most are excellent. Unusually in an exclusively A/V zine there are no Orbit stories - now that just ain't natural.

In "Civilised Terror" Avon takes up Vila's invitation. Vila gets hold of the wrong end of the stick and Avon is predictably less than thrilled by his response. The story revolves around their ambivalent feelings for one another and has a happy ending.

"Opportunities" is a lighthearted story in which Avon persuades Vila to break into a bank vault. Things get out of hand when they are unexpectedly interrupted, and Avon kisses Vila to stop him betraying their presence (well, what else could he do?). Events quickly come to a climax before they make their escape.

At the start of "In the Cage" Vila is grieving for Gan, and also worried at the loss of his protection; he feels threatened by the Liberator's Alpha contingent. Avon is concerned, bless him, and realises he misses Vila's company. Then he realises he is missing more than company, but how will Vila, with his history of victimisation, react to Avon's advances?

"Ill-gotten Gains" is great fun. Immediately after Gambit, Avon and Vila stash their winnings and then proceed to more pressing matters. Their relationship is amiable, teasing, and reflected in the quick cut and thrust of their dialogue. The ending however is quietly ominous.

Avon and Blake have been lovers in "Not in Death nor Sleep Repose", but now it is three days since Aftermath and Avon is missing him. There is a mysterious noise in the depths of the ship, Vila and Avon become lovers. It would give away the plot to say what they find when they investigate.

"Mended Dream" is a sequel to "Broken Fantasy" in Quicksilver Rising 4. In the original story Avon tried to make love to Vila, whom he thought would welcome the experience, but Vila saw it as attempted rape and rejected him. Now, after Anna's death, Vila tries to help his anguished colleague. Avon has got uncharacteristically drunk, Vila is uncharacteristically bold and gives him a few home truths - Avon really needs to get a grip, not necessarily on himself of course - about acknowledging needs, caring, tenderness, the usual in these scenarios. Ultimately they have another go, and in the end Avon admits to needing a nice, warm Delta- ahh!

"Revenant" is another goodie from a reliable writer, but sadly it's only two and a half pages long. This too is post-Anna's death. Avon is shattered by Anna's betrayal and turns to Vila whose advances have not previously interested him. He needs Vila to take a lead and Vila responds suitably.

The plot of "A Question of Trust" contrives to place Avon and Vila, who are not and have never been lovers, in a situation in which they have to have sex with each other or get killed. Avon has his own reasons for wanting to go through with it. Vila has been abused many times in the past and blames Avon for their situation. Contrived though the plot is, the scenes between the two men are pretty good, and this is an enjoyable story.

"Torn between the Blessing and the Curse" is post-Anna's death for the third time. Vila had looked after Avon following the original embezzlement, and tries to help him recover in the usual way. He kisses his friend to show him he's not dead yet, Avon is suspicious of his motives but responds to loving and those big brown eyes.

[See this fan's comments about Privacy.]

The last two stories are both set in the Last Stand universe, hurrah. Kerril is putting pressure on Vila to ask Avon to consummate the bond all three share in "How Much Love". Vila is apprehensive abut Avon's reaction and at first tries to sidestep the issue. There seems to be a communication problem here, so what else is new? However it all ends in group hugs. The adventure continues in the beguiling "Long Way from the Edge". The plot is very simple; Kerril sends Avon and Vila off on a soil safari, ostensibly to see why the land won't support agriculture, but we know better don't we? They sit and talk and eventually declare their love for one another, followed by a demonstration. Simple and beautifully written. [9]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, Laura Virgil
back cover of issue #4, Laura Virgil, portrait of Crocodile Dundee

Southern Lights 4 was published in May 1988 and is 283 pages long. Its content is gen.

a flyer for issue #4

Art by Barbara Frances-Simon, Laura Virgil, Sheila Paulson, Leah Rosenthal, Suzie Molnar, Dani Lane, Ciane McAuliffe, Jocelyn Munro, Theresa Buffaloe, Maryann Jorgensen, and Vicki Brinkmeier.

  • Word from Our Sponsor (4)
  • The Contributor's Prayer by Celeste Hotaling (6)
  • Letters of Comment (8)
  • Companions by Linda Terrell ("Avon likes a challenge and when Vila challenges him to a drinking contest, how can he resist?") (Blake's 7) (15)
  • Steps by Linda Knights (Miami Vice) (22)
  • Let the Truth Be Known by CarolMel Ambassador (Doctor Who) (24)
  • Camarand Fare by Teresa Sarick ("Prince Graystone bears more than a passing resemblance to someone named "Bobby." That's right, folks. It's a TAXI crossover.") (Wizards and Warriors/Taxi) (26)
  • An Error in Judgment by Sue Ann Sarick (Moonlighting) (65)
  • Opus 1812 by Linda Terrell (Star Trek) (66)
  • Range War by Marcia Brin ("A range war is brewing and the stranger Paden has the looks of being a hired gun for the Barkley's opposition.") (Silverado/Big Valley) (68)
  • Thoughts on Overheard Conversations by Jacqueline Taero (Blake's 7) (79)
  • Fit for the Gods by Kathy Hinze ("A.J. is kidnapped by a woman claiming he is the "The Chosen One," and it is left to Rick to find him before he is sacrificed!") (Simon & Simon) (80)
  • Memories by Angie Doellman ("Sonny remembers what convinced him to become a cop...") (Miami Vice) (97)
  • A Common Dream by CarolMel Ambassador (Doctor Who) (107)
  • Return by Linda Knights ("A sequel to "Melody in Variation" from issue #3. Although Sinjin has returned to Southeast Asia, he cannot ignore a plea for help from Dominic when Stringfellow is kidnapped.") (Airwolf) (108)
  • I'll Find a Way by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars) (125)
  • On The Brink by Laura Virgil (Blake's 7) (126)
  • …And Baby Makes Three by Carol-Anne Hillman (Simon & Simon) (134)
  • Conversations by Mary Robertson (Scarecrow and Mrs. King) (140)
  • The Burning by CarolMel Ambassador (Star Wars) (141)
  • Monday, March 13, 198- by Linda Knights (Miami Vice) (143)
  • Jamaican Man by Sue Ann Sarick (Miami Vice) (148)
  • The “Anything Goes” Art Portfolio Spotlighting: Magnum P.I.Ladyhawke (3)…Blake’s 7 (4)…Dr Who (2)…Ghostbusters (150)
  • Steele in Oz by Annita K. Smith ("Amanda and her cousin Laura can't seem to stay out of trouble, no matter where they are.") (Scarecrow and Mrs. King/Remington Steele) (161)
  • December 12…Forever by Chris Ceraolo (Airwolf) (180)
  • Prisoners in Disguise by Jill Wells (The Devlin Connection) (181)
  • Face Value by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (Blake's 7) (194)
  • Insight by Sue Ann Sarick (Doctor Who) (200)
  • The Lure by Sheila Paulson ("There is a chance that Sinjin is alive and Hawke is determined to follow up on any lead.") (Airwolf) (201)
  • Hunt's End by Jacqueline Taero (Blake's 7) (213)
  • Keeper of the Trust by CarolMel Ambassador (Star Trek) (214)
  • Gone With the Girl Scouts by Mary Robertson (Simon & Simon) (216)
  • It Happened When? by Linda Knights ("Rick receives a rather special delivery: a child bearing a note claiming he's her father...") (Simon & Simon) (217)
  • Orbit: Vila, Orbit: Blake by Jacqueline Taero (Blake's 7) (248)
  • The Gift by Sheila Paulson (The Master) (249)
  • Black-Out by Jean Thrower (Simon and Simon) (251)
  • Contemplations by CarolMel Ambassador (252)
  • Cowardice Under Fire by Louann Quails ("Sinjin has been retrieved, but has trouble adjusting to his new life. A continuation of "No Strings Attached" from issue #3.") (Airwolf) (254)
  • Simon Says (Simon and Simon) no page number, no author listed
  • The Final Fun-Tier by Mysti Frank (Star Trek) (265)
  • Nice Girls Marry Stockbrokers by Sue Ann Sarick (It Takes a Thief) (266)
  • Demongate by Jeff Morris (Blake's 7) (267)
  • Sidney's Musings on the War by Mysti Frank (M*A*S*H) (277)
  • Long, Long Time by L.A. Carr (Magnum P.I.) (278)

Issue 4.5

cover of issue #4.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 4.5 was published in March 1988 and is 143 pages long. It is a mix of slash and gen adult stories.

  • An Anonymous Letter from the Editor (2)
  • D. D. Montgomery, "Were T'Other Dear Charmer Away" (Avon/Blake/Jenna) (3)
  • Ellis Ward, "A Form of Comfort" (Avon/Blake) ("Blake is rather surprised by Avon's desire to comfort him...") (also in The Other Side #4) (4)
  • Ingrid Montrose, "Bedtime Story" (Avon/Vila) ("Vila is in a coma and nothing the LIBERATOR crew can do seems to be any help to him...") (6)
  • Sophia Mulvey, "The Path Not Taken" (set in the Deltah Base universe, many more stories can be found in various issues of the The Seven Live On) (Blake/OC, Avon/Blake) (10)
  • Mary Gerstner & April Giordano, "More Than Friends" (Avon/Orac?) (14)
  • Tenaya, "People Change" (Tarrant/Vila, Avon/Vila) ("Tarrant and Vila are feared dead when the SCORPIO is hijacked and Xenon Base almost destroyed...") (14)
  • Madelyn Darring, "Cathouse Blues" (various) ("Blake must make contact with a rebel whose cover is rather *ahem* shady...") (22)
  • Ellen Walters, "What Happened Next" (Avon/Servalan) (27)
  • Thomas, "Chimera" (Avon/Blake) ("Blake has a need to help and comfort Avon but how far is he willing to go to do so...?") (27)
  • D. D. Montgomery, "Creature Comforts" (Avon/Vila) ("Following ORBIT, Avon knows that he must do something to placate Vila's distrust of him...") (50)
  • Libby Rator, "Powerplays" (Avon & Servalan) ("Just how far does the relationship between Avon and Servalan extend...?") (56)
  • Linda Terrell, "Random Access" (Avon/Blake) (57)
  • Rosinanta, "Those Hips, Those Thighs" (Avon & Jenna) ("An interlude in a jail cell holds some surprises for Jenna...") (62)
  • Ellis Ward, "To Save a Friend" (Avon/Blake) (64)
  • Branta Bernicula, "Fund Raiser" (Vila) (68)
  • Madelyn Darring, "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (Dayna/Tarrant, Avon/Vila) (68)
  • Anonymous, Untitled (Avon/Jenna) (71)
  • Chris Kessler, "Discoveries" (Avon/Vila) ("Avon knows that Vila desires him and sets out to seduce the Delta...") (72)
  • Barbara T, "Recovery Time" (Avon/Blake) (79)
  • Jane Carnall, "Revenge for What?" (Avon/Vi;a, Jenna/OC, Soolin/OC) (90)
  • J. D. Reece, "Limited-Time Offer" (Soolin/Vila) (110)
  • Iama Nonymous, "The Ties That Bind" (Avon/Vila/Kerrill) (114)
  • Shoshanna "Decisions" (Avon/Blake) (121)
  • Scorpio, "Experiment" (Avon/Vila) (128)
  • Catocala, "Truth in Lies" (Last Stand universe) (Avon/Vila/Kerrill - Last Stand universe) (129)


  • "Traffic Lights Special 3.141592"


  • Leah Rosenthal (front cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4.5

[Decisions]: Prequel to "Trial." Similar to the Sylvia Knight stories in the way that it works the A/B romance into the interstices of the aired canon. [10]
[zine]: Out of 25 stories, 14 are slash, but those 14 account for much more than half the zine. 4 are '?' - a new category developed by the editor for stories unclassifiable by slash and slish, and the remander are slish - including some quite good stories, though, if you're not offended by the material. [11]

As usual with Wortham" s "Special" zines, the standards are high, the artwork is scarce, and the poetry is nowhere. You pay for the stories, and they're good. It would be impossible to review them all in detail, so I'm going for the eight best serious stories and the four best humorous ones. Of the serious stories, "People Change" by Tenaya could be described as a fourth-season hurt/comfort, but is considerably more. Tarrant and Vila are off on a "glorified shopping trip" mission in the Scorpio. While Tarrant is downplanet he is shot by a stranger who reveals himself to be also Tarrant - a copy created by Servalan from the particle scan 3ade on Sardos. The neatness of the confrontation; the obnoxious-brat Tarrant of the third season pre-"Deathwatch", filled with the anger and frustration of Tarrant in "Moloch", as opposed to the older, more mature Tarrant of the 4th season; the difference of the way they treat Vila. The complexity is increased by Vila and Avon already being in a long-term relationship (since "Pressure Point", according to Tenaya). If this story has a single fault in characterisation it's that Avon is nicer than usual for 4th season; but it would have been very wearing being nasty the entire time. Maybe his boots didn't hurt just then.

"Chimera" is the longest story in the zine. It's just before "Star One" - the Liberator is heading out to the 12th sector. Blake is agonising over the 153 million deaths destroying Central Control will cause. Avon is watching him agonise with curiosity and perhaps concern. The entire story takes place in a matter of hours, as Avon and Blake circle around each other, snarling and snapping with chilly precision and passion. (The dialogue is utterly brilliant - Thomas knows her series.) Despite the fact that I don't believe the sex in this story would work (Blake has apparently never been with a man before (and is presently in a relationship with Jenna); Avon may have but is not admitting to anything but an aesthetic distaste for the whole business; they apparently have sex as a result of a series of challenges from which neither of them can back out) this story profoundly moved me; two parallel lines each trying to convince the other that their worldview is the right one, when one longs to believe in that of the other, whose world is crumbling under his feet. Dreams and reality; disillusionment and idealism; madness and sanity; love and hate and trust and lack of it.

It's damned difficult to write a genuinely original variant on What Happened After Malodaar - more praise to D.D. Montgomery that in "Creature Comforts" she managed it. A hostile Vila and an aggrieved Avon makes a pleasant change from a terrified whimpering thief and a cold-as-ice technician. An excellent story.

[Barbara T's] "Recovery Time" is a sequel to an as-yet-unwritten story. Hypothesise that Blake and Avon knew each other well before "The Way Back". The reason Blake didn't recognise Avon was because he'd been mindwiped. The reason Avon never mentioned he recognised Blake was because he's a bastard. Despite being an "I" story (something I usually object to in fan-fiction) the characterisation is understatedly good, and as a background a running commentary on the sheer unexpectedness of Liberator'a designed-for-humanoids facilities. Also intriguing is the exploration (pun intended) of Avon's complex reactions to anal intercourse. Much more interesting than just "It hurts!" or "I love it!" or even "It hurts and I love it!" "Revenge for What?" is a somewhat discursive story of How One Revolution Ended and Another Began, unusually for a 5th season story, focussing not on Avon (who doesn't appear till half way through) or Vila (who doesn't appear till later than that) or Blake (who's dead eleven years before it starts) but on Soolin, Jenna, Dee Tarrant (yup, his sister), and a wholly unexpected clone. There are a couple of unexplained inconsistencies, probably deriving from lack of authorial revision, but on the whole well-plotted and reasonably snappy dialogue. I've always liked Soolin, and it's nice to see her character more thoroughly explored than usual. The only truly odd thing is that it's not what I would classify as any kind of slash - or slish, slush, or slosh. "Decisions" explores the well-trodden territory just-post "Pressure Point", but [Shoshanna] appears to have discovered one or two more subtle paths. Re-reading it, it seems almost like a reversal of Thomas's "Chimera"; this time again Blake is the seducer, but Avon claims to have no experience (and reacts like it), and Blake has certainly done it before. Er, several times. Blake wants comfort; Avon believes he's trying to manipulate and trap him; very predictable, but very genuinely touching, misery and fear. A gut-wrencher, but with none of the feel that all these psychological tortures are being landed just because the writer happens to think it's a good idea. Finally, "Truth in Lies", a story in the Nookie at the Edge of the World series by Catocala. As expected, it's neatly written and full of detail about the complicated relationships between Vila and Avon, Vila and Kerril, Kerril and Avon, Avon and Blake, Vila and booze - and one thing I've always liked about Catocala's writing, people usually wind up being hugged.

As for the humorous stories; "Bedtime Story" is as funny as Ingrid Montrose ever is: a delightful adaptation of Sleeping Beauty and hurt/comfort sleaze.

I have never heard of Branta Bernicula before, but she is obviously a shrewd judge of character; "Fund Raiser" describes in pitiless detail exactly what Vila Restal would be prepared to do to raise money for the Cause....

"Don't Stand So Close To Me" while possibly a little clumsy in the earlier humour, has one heck of a double punchline. Always knew Tarrant was gay (it was probably one of his best subjects at the FSA) but I do wish she hadn't put it as Dayna finding homosexual men unacceptable...the real point surely is, they're unavailable. Very funny even if a tadge ignorant.

"Experiment" by Scorpio is probably the best funny story in the zine. It's neatly written, not a word wasted, perfect character-humour, and a terrific punchline. I can't describe it any further because if you've read it you'll remember it and if you haven't I don't want to spoil it for you!

There are other good stories - Ellis Ward pehaps a little below her usual high standards, but a couple of good reads; "'Were T'other Dear Charmer Away'", a delightful fable on the dangers of two-timing, even a couple of good straight stories such as "Those Hips, Those Thighs" by Rosinata - a play on a poem in an earlier issue describing Kerr Avon in terms of those lips, those eyes... and a really quite excellent story just post-"Assassin", Vila/Soolin. J.D.Reece has an appreciation of Soolin's character possibilities that I like - except I think she'd rather have Dayna, even if Vila would annoy Tarrant. [12]

Issue 4.75

front cover of issue #4.75 by Scorpio
back cover of is #4.75, by Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 4.75 was published in 1988 and is 189 pages long. The art is by Scorpio (front cover), Adrian Morgan, and Leah Rosenthal (back cover).

The editor writes in "Southern Lights" #9: "There was NO page 180 in 4.75. It was a blank page. I made a mistake. I misnumbered the pages. So, I fucked up, okay?" and "I think I've finally discovered a way to get fans to write Letters of Comment: leave a page blank in the zine! It drives them so crazy wondering what they missed that it actually motivates them to write..."

It contains all slash; all Avon/Vila stories.


  • R. L. Parker, "Return"
  • Masha Romanova, "No Redemption" (Vila has finally come to a decision and it’s one that he knows Avon won’t like. But can he really follow through on leaving.)
  • Barbara T, "Lost Perfection" (The loss of Kerril is difficult for Vila to take lightly.)
  • Victoria Towers, "Quietus" (Little is left to Avon and Vila following Gauda Prime except a few moments of comfort.)
  • Lora Rene, "The Way It Might Have Been" (8 pages)
  • Sister Mary Veronica, "Auron Fantasy #1," "Auron Fantasy#2" "Auron Fantasy #3" (based on Cerebus)
  • R. L. Parker, "Light of Day" (6 pages)
  • Chris Kessler, "The Watcher" (The crew of the Scorpio are offered a chance to redeem themselves with the rebellion following Blake’s death on Gauda Prime.) (38 pages)
  • Jane Carnall, "A Lesson Well Learnt"
  • R. L. Parker, "Feeding the Fire" (Vila had waited a long time for a chance to show Avon how he felt.) (6 pages)
  • Sean Charles, "Nothing Left to Lose" (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Maree Celeste, "Remembrance" (Following Gan’s death, Avon and Vila discover that they have more in common than they thought.) (6 pages)
  • Jane Carnall, "This Neurotic Little Worry" (Vila is always aware of the class differences between himself and Avon.) (5 pages)
  • Tenaya, "Flying Colors" (The events of ‘Orbit’ force Avon to take a new direction with the rebellion and with Vila.) (11 pages)
  • Scorpio and Syl Newell, "Not with a Bang, But a Whimper" (5 pages)
  • Paula, "Stress Factors" (Sequel to "The Bondstone," which established a psychic and sexual link between Avon, Vila, Cally, and Blake. When Avon attempts to break the bond, he and Tarrant are accidentally pushed into a sexual encounter that is unwelcome to both of them.) (46 pages)
  • Barbara T, "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" (13 pages)
  • Ebony Silver, "Bloodlust" (8 pages)
  • Catocala, "Playing on the Edge" (11 pages)


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4.75

See reactions and reviews for Stress Factors.
See reactions and reviews for This Neurotic Little Worry.
[zine]: Dear Anonymous Editor: I received a copy of your "fanzine", Southern Comfort 4.75 in the post this afternoon from someone only signed the return address "From a friend in the States". The postmark was "Behind the Fuddrucker's Garbage Dumpster, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701".

It was a very enlightening experience, I must say. I had no idea such things existed, having thought that the activities they were based on had long ago been outlawed.

Pity the more interesting naughty bits weren't showing on the cover portrait, though I wasn't entirely displeased by the bits that were showing. My husband, Phillip, seemed genuinely interested in the portrait as he is a lover of fine arts.

I plan to pass this along to my son and daughter-in-law who have been having a few marital spats since the births of my two quite engaging grandsons. Perhaps these educational aids will help them somewhat.

Yours very truly, Elizabeth II, by Grace of God, Queen Regnant of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, Defender of the Faith, Protector of the Commonwealth and Sovereign of the Realm. P.S. Could you please send along page 180? It apparently contained a lot of nice nookie, and was missing from my copy. There's a good girl. [13]

I read slash and I'm proud of it, and I can truthfully say your zine SOUTHERN COMFORT is the best all-around zine dealing with these relationships I have ever read. I know I'm giving your ego a boost, and I sincerely hope I am, as you deserved all the praise you can get. SHE WORKS HARD, PEOPLE. This one I've been waiting for ever since I heard at MediaWest that the sequel to "The Bondstone" was going to be in it. I even went so far as to corner "Paula" and get the lowdown on the story. Waiting for it was wonderful torture.

I've cone to expect good things from Jane Carnall ever since I received all the issues of her own "Touched" zine. I have yet to be disappointed. It's just a shame that she won't be putting anymore out after this last one.

You'll probably get a few letters from some people saying that "The Way It Might Have Been" isn't really slash. But when you stop to think about it you have to realize that even though Avon's in a female body, it doesn't make him so. He is still Avon, with the emphasis on he. It is such easier for him between himself and Cally as they identify each other's bodies in just a reversed position. But Vila's different. He is also a man and Avon has to fight against his own feelings in a female body, to try to come to terms with the possibility of himself being trapped as a woman. It is done with a lot of thought and care and therefore belongs right where it is.

"The Watcher," all right I'll admit it. I thought the parson crawling around the ducts was Blake. I bow to Chris Kessler, my compliments on a story well done. [14]
[zine]: Though I tend to favor Avon/Blake stories, I enjoyed SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75, especially "Lost Perfection" by [Barbara T]. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment in the FEDERATION ARCHIVES about over romanticized stories - can't stand 'em. There is a tendency (fortunately not in our zines) in Avon/Vila stories to turn Vila into such a masochistic, tearful wretch that he's unbearable. It's simply not in character. Vila has to be tougher than that simply to have survived as long as he has. It's depressing when writers of "[Slash/]]" (as well as people who put it down) assume that homosexuality means effeminacy. Since B7 is science fiction about a society hundreds of years in the future, why, oh why must attitudes and prejudices about sex be exactly the same as 1988 Anytown, U.S.A.? One of the most refreshing things about the HELLHOUND series was the matter-of-fact way the writers dealt with Avon's bi-sexuality, depicting it as only a single facet of his character and moving on to tell a good story. That is real "adult" writing in the best since of the word. I hope the success of the series encourages more writers to take risks despite the knee-jerk negative reactions of some fans. [15]

First, I love this issue, bigger and better than ever as the saying goes. In this case, it is true.

The LoCs were interesting. I have only one thing to add. Some of us use pan names not out of choice but out of necessity. For myself and at least two other slash writers that I know of, writing adult stories is a breach of contract with our employers and could get us fired! Timidity, lack of faith in our writing skill, and embarrassment have nothing to do with it; we have careers on the line. Besides, some of these pan names are great fun and show as much creativity as the plot lines do.

Though I found none of the stories in this issue distasteful in any way there are a few I prefer.

"Return" by R. L. Parker is a nice continuation of the previous tale she did though it lacks some of the power of tte earlier story.

[Barbara T's] "Lost Perfection" and "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" were very good, especially in characterization. That last title — Wow!

"Quietus" by Victoria Towers — Oh pass me a box of tissues, please. Oh I think I'm in love. More, more.

"The Watcher" by Chris SKessler was excellent. Yet, somehow, the ending was almost abrupt. I suppose I expected Soolin and Tarrant to be angrier. But I'm nitpicking. Ignore me.

"This Neurotic Little Story" was great — fun and believable at the same time.

"The Way It Might Have been" by Lora Rene may just be my favorite. Bravo. [16]

A very nice zine with a good variety of stories. "Lost Perfection" was a thoughtful, quiet and believable story. The motivations and intelligent dialogue were refreshing.

"Quietus" was a beautifully written story. Each and every word seemed exactly right and perfect. It is so bittersweet, mixing doom and despair with a quiet loving that flows naturally from Avon and Vila's deep oaring for each other. The whole story is full of heart-wrenching poignancy.

As a Cerebus fan, I found "Auron Fantasy" particularly funny. TRAFFIC LIGHTS TOO is great, with some wonderful lines.

"Nothing Left to Lose" was a lot of fun, misdirecting the poor reader for half the story and getting us all anxious. (Shame on the authors!) A nicely executed turn around, though.

"Mungojerry and Rumpleteazer" was quite an interesting tale with a plotline like a mountain path (you can't quite see where you're headed, but if you follow all the meanderings end twists, you'll wind up somewhere interesting!) I liked the bright, witty conversations and I adored watching my two favorite thieves following their natural desires.

"Remembrance" is a carious story, capturing the feel of people who are attracted to each other but resist it.

"This Neurotic Little Worry" was fun, exploring the hazards of a relationship between different classes. Nice dialogue as Avon and Vila work through their problems and settle themselves into a more equal relationship.

"A Lesson Well Learnt" was a pleasingly gentle story and I loved it.

"The Watcher" was a gripping mystery, sustaining an anxious level of tension. It was cleverly plotted with a lot of neat twists. The original characters ware well defined and mixed very smoothly with the established ones. Everyone stayed in character and the dialogue was spot-on with witty and thoughtful interactions. It was a believable extrapolation from the end of "Blake." This story puts both Avon and Vila through the wringer, but it does it for a purpose; each of them grows and changes, realizing some hard truths about themselves. And when they finally get back together, it is for a better relationship, one that will last and be good for each of them.

I also should mention the art, though sparse, was very good.

An excellent zine, as all the SPECIALS have been. Well done! [17]

... I had no idea you could find so much material to put in one zine, on approximately one subject. Two subjects, I mean, with occasional additions. The additions, by the way, seem to me to give variety without diluting the theme, and overall improve the zine. An E major symphony isn't all in E major, either. So don't apologize.

Getting down to cases, and not exactly in order, "Bloodlust" was moody, violent, and unreasonable, an interesting treatment of vampire mythology but not quite one which overcomes the restrictions of the genre. The atmosphere is there at first, but it seeps away during the middle section (although all the bloodshed on planet expeditions is a nice touch), and doesn't quite connect up with the very different atmosphere of the ending. Still, Vila as a detective and intrepid vampire-buster has an outre plausibility as long as Vila is the POV, and the separate elements of the story are each handled adequately.

"Quietus" is another mood piece, but as shorter and with more focus en a single incident, it fulfills its modest purpose mean successfully.

Not too much humor this issue, though Sister Mary Veronica is priceless! Naif verse is one thing, but this is ridiculous and ridiculouser. Uncannily accurate, though... "Not with a Bang" is somewhat more solid farce, funny and almost touching even at its jokiest. The picture there is very nice, warmer than the cover and more on the theme than for any one story, it says almost as much as a story could by itself.

The two longest stories command attention, but neither is as effective for its length as some of the shorter pieces. "Stress Factors" is unfortunately not as memorable as its prequel, and the complication with Tarrant seems forced to me. As a flight-capture-and-rescue story, and on the general idea that a four-way bond will take a lot of adjusting to from these particular characters, it's rare than adequate; Blake coping with the revolution after Gauda Prime is an important storyline, assuming Blake gets that far, and the relationship among the crew is only part of it. "The Watcher" also uses the whole of the Scorpio crew, and comes to gripe more definitely than any other story with the fact that surviving rebels still have no reason to like Avon, after Gauda Prime. Despite an adequate action plot and some rather nice detection (again, by Vila, and again, a good choice), it's a slightly awkward story where the character close ups don't always ring true. Avon by the end of fourth season was no prize when it came to relating to actual people, but the Avon of the story takes disaffection to a new order of magnitude—while simultaneously allowing Vila closer to him. It's certainly dramatic for the storyline, but not all elements match up smoothly.

This issue has several stories that abandon the traditional slash premise of true love between equals (despite all circumstances), and focus on an unequal relationship between Avon and Vila. Given their respective personalities, this isn't hard to imagine. The most interesting and refreshing aspect of "This Neurotic Little Worry," "Remembrance," and "No Redemption" which are the strongest, but not the only, examples of this, is how the authors manage to show both characters as equally important in the abstract, and sometimes, in ways neither may understand at the time, to each other, while maintaining the depiction of a relationship with a noticeable power imbalance that both characters believe in. This kind of multilevel writing makes almost any story worthwhile. Another story that showed this is "Flying Colours," though I noticed the story first because I liked the sex scenes.

"The Way It Might Have Been" is unique, not entirely for the promise (although it is, as far as I know, the first time this has been tried with these characters), but also for the concept of a relationship that is not competitive almost by definition. As a story about sex that is genuinely friendly, this succeeds in what a good deal of slash writing (most of it not in B7) attempts. This takes Avon even further from his role in TRUST (though the style, in general, is consistent with the novel); he appears so poleaxad by femininity as to be passive, which is certainly unusual for Avon. Well, the circumstances are unusual too....

Did I say there was little comedy? I'd forgotten "A Lesson Well Learnt," by Jane Carnall, which is as clearly written and centered as everything she does. It's slight but sweet—another story that doesn't pour on needless angst to build the tension. (I love stories that have needful angst, don't worry.) It may also be the most tasteful story in the zine (barring the purple teddy bear), which cannot be said of "Traffic Lights Too." Tasteless. Utterly tacky. Do it again, whoever you may be. I dare you.

And now for something completely different, "Playing on the Edge," is actually about lovemaking. Sex, too, but despite Vila's engaging randiness and the fact that much of the action takes place in or around a bedroom, this latest addendum to Last Stand is quite definitely about whole people learning to live with each other, in the interesting muddle three disparate lives create together. I have yet to catch Catocala in a major cliche—at least, not unless the characters themselves instantly know it's a cliche too. The most radical of concepts is so effortlessly put over that it all sounds a little too bourgeois until you remember the content i but love and originality should need no excuse. [18]
Some brief comments on #4.75. My favorite is probably "Quietus" by Victoria Towers. Like I said, I don't mind haying my emotions shamelessly manipulated if it is done well, and this is marvelous. Sob! The three stories by R. L. Parker were quite good. "Bloodlast" by Ebony Silvers — Avon as a vampire sounds right, somehow. I liked "The Watcher except for the scene where Vila tries to kill himself and Avon apparently watches him and does nothing. Tenaya's "Flying Colors" does a good job of showing how Avon and Vila's relationship might be affected by the events over Malodaar. And "Playing On The Edge" was wonderful, I love Kerril's nicknane for Avon. (And is there ever going to be a sequel to LAST STAND?) [19]
[zine]: I can't tell you how much I enjoyed 4.75. It's hard to LoC your zines because my friends usually have them at the time I'm writing. I truly don't mind lending zines (what good is a book if you can't share it?), it's just a pain when you want to look back for a title you don't remember. My favorites were "The Watcher," "Feeding the Fire," and "Playing on the Edge." I'd like to see more straight "Edge" stories if you find the time. I still rate that one my favorite novel. I was a little disappointed that "Playing on the Edge" didn't have a little more story to it. "Truth in Lies" had both plot and character development. "Playing on the Edge" just seems more like a character study. Offhand I can't thing of any stories I didn't like. [20]

Thanks for 4.75. I enjoyed it. The artwork, especially that adorable drawing of Avon and Vila cuddling, was brilliant, (The cover, though...wonderful, but embarrassing, Particularly en a crowded bus.) Glad you've got people to help you do the typing now. Okay. My favorites were: "Lost Perfection" (an "I" story, but a good one), a vivid, lucid and realistic portrayal of Vila and Avon after "City." Brief, but telling. Nice to see Avon doing something other than stomp round in fits of incommunicable jealousy. (Vila protecting Kerril? Surely this has to be a joke...?) I liked "The Watcher," too, despite having Avon crawling round the ventilation ducts jerking off over every woman in the ship before finally opting for Vila. I just cannot see Avon as a habitual voyeur. But it's a lovely long story with a few heart wrenching moments, chock-full of angst, and very well-written. A just-post GP story for once where Blake is dead (and stays dead) and the rest of the rebellion, the other Scorpio crew, and Avon react in a realistic way to Avon killing Blake. Pity Dayna leaves) and I liked the expansion on Deva's character. "Flying Colours", Tenaya has been improving all the time. (I could wish for a third season filler but I suspect the next one is going to deal with Gauda Prime...) For a post-"Orbit" story (I'm sorry, but there are so many of then, and so many back-rub stories too, that I swear to god I sometimes think I'll go crazy if I have to read another) it was absolutely brilliant. Nice change, too, having Avon give Vila a backrub. (About time!) I especially liked that when Vila was wandering around lonely and miserable and scared and snarling (like a dog kicked just once too often, to use a much overworked metaphor), Avon still, automatically almost, pulls Tarrant off Vila. (And the image of Vila, on his back, turning his head to one side — the instinctive posture of defenseless surrender to an attacker, which in the human primate is especially moving because we lost the instinctive brakes that would make the defenseless posture a protection...) And it connects well with the previous story In which the copied-Tarrant raped Vila, too. The resolution scene — it's been done so many times, it really takes something to move me quite as much as Tenaya's version did.

But "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" has to be the best. Both the friends I lent this zine to agreed that it was—one described it as "like "Gambit," but better." I love the title the image of Avon and Vila as two stray cats out on the make, seeing the galaxy, meeting interesting people and stealing interesting things. The description of Zephron is lovely, and Avon's reaction to it -- all that fresh air, rampant plant life, streets for walking, and worst of all uncontrolled precipitation from the sky! It's just a wonderful story, with Avon and Vila having fun and good sex together for a change instead of angst - all done without a backrub insight.

I also enjoyed "Playing on the Edge (what happened to page 180? What did I miss?) -- you seem to have worked up to kind of a finish there, with all three comfortable in the bond and with each other, and clearly bonded to each other, rather than with Vila as the connecting link. So what next?

I thought "Nothing Left to Lose" and "Not With a Bang, But With a Whimper" were both quite funny. TRAFFIC LIGHTS TOO! sounded interesting, but I confess I've heard weirder. There is a stage at which parody becomes impossible, and some slish (or "straight") fiction has already reached that stage and gone beyond it. Effectively, it is its own parody, which means that, sadly the noted TRAFFIC LIGHTS series will eventually run out of material or start having to sell as a serious zine. [21]
[zine]: This is an edition for Avon and Vila fans as barely anyone else gets a look in, the exception being "Stress Factors" where Cally and Blake also get their share of fun and anguish. Most of the stories are well worth reading, even where they cover familiar territory, and there are a couple of real gems by [Barbara T] and Catocala.

Tiresomely there are also the seemingly inevitable ones portraying Vila as helpless, hopeless, and constantly awash with tears, an uncritical specimen for whom Avon can do no real wrong. I enjoy hurt/comfort a lot and have nothing against emotional outbursts where the text justifies it, but everlasting sobbing just destroys any emotional impact a story might have. More restraint would do wonders for effectiveness . And while I'm on the subject, must Vila meekly forgive Avon when what his beloved desperately needs is a punch on the mouth (IMHO anyway, and I don't care how much Anna hurt him).

To start with the two gems:

"Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" [Barbara T]: This is an utterly delightful tale, my favourite in the zine, in which Vila and Avon find themselves at a loose end on a rainy planet and decide to go burgling for the hell of it. Vila demonstrates his professional skills and Avon is along for the ride. [Ms T's] writing is always perceptive, whether the story is serious or light hearted, and this example is typically witty and endearing.

"Playing on the Edge" Catocala: A short Last Stand story by one of my favourite writers. It starts with a threesome between Avon, Vila and Kerril and ends on a conversation between Avon and Kerril about their earlier lives. Mutual tenderness tempered with humour. A story whose excellent characterisation and intelligent dialogue leaves you with a nice warm glow.

"Return" RL Parker: Yet again Vila has been hurt by Avon - in this case, shot by accident - and needs reassurance, lots of it. Vila cries so much that West Yorkshire Water Authority would do well to employ him to fill reservoirs, and Avon does the (in)decent thing.

"No Redemption" Masha Romanova: Post Orbit story which predicates a fifteen year relationship between Avon and Vila. Vila senses Avon is on the edge of madness and Avon ultimately gets vulnerable.

"Lost Perfection" [Barbara T]: Classy, touching short story told by Vila in the first person. Avon drops in for a supportive chat after Vila has lost Kerril. Here Vila is unhappy without being abject, tearful without being pathetic, and Avon is Avonish. Hurt/comfort for grown ups.

"Quietus" Victoria Towers: Multiple kleenex job in less than two pages. Avon and Vila are about to be executed and comfort one another. Sweetly sentimental and why not? Some of us out here ARE sentimental on occasion.

"The Way it Might Have Been" Lora Rene: Inspired by a scene in "Trust, Like the Soul". Avon is trapped in Cally's body, and Vila gives him a hand in getting used to being a woman. Not as contrived as it sounds, as Avon remains recognisably Avon in character.

Auron Fantasy (poem): I don't usually comment on poetry but "Auron Fantasy" is pithy and breathtakingly effective in its use of language, all nine words of it. A giggle.

"Light of Day" R L Parker: After Malodaar Vila leaves Xenon base with a deathwish. Avon gets him back inside and realises his true feelings. Vila is predictably hapless but doesn't cry much until the next day. Avon is quite touched.

"The Watcher" Chris Kessler: Longer PGP in which the Xenon crew are "rescued" by a hostile rebel crew out to avenge Blake. They meet up with Jenna and are ultimately sent off on a mission. Vila's love for Avon has been unrequited and Vila is very wary of him, but times change. Avon then upsets him badly and for once Vila doesn't promptly forgive him. . This is quite an interesting saga and presents a more malign view of Avon than is usual in such stories, but the tone is uneven as if the writer couldn't decide between a harsh or happy ending.

"A Lesson Well Learnt" Jane Carnall: Light-hearted two-pager. A caring Blake is worried Avon might be abusing Vila.

"Feeding the Fire" R L Parker: After he and Cally are rescued from Changa, Vila is worried that Avon is stressed out. Avon initially rejects his advances but has second thoughts. This time he's the one to get uncharacteristically emotional.

"Nothing Left to Lose" Sean Charles: After Malodaar Vila goes after Avon with a gun and takes him by surprise. A neat two-pager.

"Remembrance" Maree Celeste: Very enjoyable story. Following Gan's death, Vila and Avon converse over a few glasses of soma and reveal more than they meant to. Sensitively written with sentiment implied rather than sloshed on in bucketfulls; emotions are certainly in play, but both men are allowed to act like adults, insofar as they ever do.

"This Neurotic Little Worry" Jane Carnall: Avon takes Vila for granted and Vila tells him where to get off. Reconciliation follows but has Avon really got the point?

"Flying Colours" Tenaya: This one begins on Xenon base, where Vila sees Avon is increasingly moody and dangerously unpredictable, then carries on after Malodaar as Avon tries to make amends. Many post-Orbit stories give wildly unconvincing reasons for Vila's forgiving Avon, but "Flying Colours" makes a better job of it than many, emphasising as it does both men's human confusion and fallibility.

"Not with a Bang, But a Whimper" Scorpio and Syl Newell: More light relief as Vila takes an aphrodisiac with unusual properties, becoming the crew's saviour as a result, and ultimately getting his reward.

[See this fan's comments about Stress Factors.]

"Bloodlust" Ebony Silvers: Avon is attacked by a vampire with inevitable results and tries to deal with it privately, frightened lest he attack the crew. Vila guesses what has happened and decides he has to act. This is one of the stories that has Avon as a caring human being, which you may or may not believe. Not a particularly original story but well-written. [22]

Issue 5

Southern Lights 5 was published in 1993 and contains 221 pages and stories, poems and artwork based on Blake's 7, Beauty & the Beast, A-Team, Miami Vice, Lethal Weapon, Robin of Sherwood, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Buckaroo Banzai, Quantum Leap, The Professionals, Tour of Duty, Star Wars, Simon & Simon and more.

The flyer lists a number of stories that did not appear in issue #5, but in #6 instead. It also has two that did not appear at all, including a Professionals story by Linda Terrell, to have been illustrated by Suzan Lovett called "Fear of Flying." Summary from the flyer for this story: "Bodie thinks he must be seeing things...or could it possibly be true that Doyle and Peter Pan bear an amazing resemblance to each other...?"

cover of issue #5, Leah Rosenthal
page one of a flyer for issue #5, note differences in it regarding to what actually was published
page two of a flyer for issue #5

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[zine]:: I re-read Southern Seven 5 and loved it!. First a few comments on the art. Front cover of Volume 1: breathtaking! It's almost like Blake is really watching you! And the rest' Terrific! Back cover of Volume I :hmm he looks a bit sad. like he's going to burst out in tears, but I like it anyway- always like art about Avon and this one is very-good, a ten. Front cover of Volume II: snigger when I look at it; Leah always makes me laugh; Travis flushed through the toilet!! Nice!! Back cover of Volume II Bad Delta, very good. Best art in this zine pages: 1, 13. 16. 17. 20. 37. 43. 57,61.71,76,95. 114. 116. 122, 127, 133. 142. 145, 176, 179, 204, 213, 215, 236, 237, 241, 252, 254, 257, 268, 275, 288, 293, 295, 304. "The Seventh Rebel"—I always saw Zen as a member of the crew. -Retribution"- a good Travis story. Loved every story. Hellhound: something to get used to . I've read some prequels: "I was so young. ..""The Weight of a Feather" "The Fool's Trust"...they are all very good "In the Dark" was my least favorite. Book III, Book V, Book VI are the only ones I've read so far. I'm curious about the other books. Hope Southern Seven will never stop. Leah's artwork "Bizarre" is the funniest there ever will be. Last Stand at the Edge of the World: when will you and Leah write a sequel. I want more!!! Keep up the good work!!! [23]

Issue 5.5

Blake/Avon cover of issue #5.5, Linden Boats. This image is titled 'Hellhound Fantasy Fulfilled', which refers to the strongly hinted at but never consummated B-A relationship (Blake is straight, Avon is bi and in a relationship with a woman) depicted in Hellhound, which was published in other Ashton Press zines. This image (uncoloured) appears as a prompt for the writing competition advertised in in Southern Comfort 6.5, but completely without context. Indeed readers are urged not to 'write a HELLHOUND submission to go with these drawings. Make up something original of your own to utilize them!'
front cover of issue # 5.5, this one by Leah Rosenthal -- Oddly, the inside of this issue does not credit Rosenthal with this alternative cover, but Linden Boats instead. It is unknown why there are two covers, and why this one is not credited properly.
back cover of issue #5.5, Fish Bates -- "Asides the Tumbling Moons"

Southern Comfort 5.5 was published in May 1990 and is 256 pages long. It is an all Blake's 7 zine. Art: Linden Boats (front cover), Fish Bates (back cover), Leah Rosenthal, London Bates, CeleBates, Jail Bates, The Phantom Artist, Adrian Morgan, Jessikah, London Beets, Gayle F, Sarah S., Jessikah & C. Daniels.


  • Anna Lee, "...Hoops of Steel" (Avon/Vila) (3.5 pages)
  • Hakucho, "Just Say No" (Avon/Vila) (8 pages)
  • Shoshanna "Slash and Burn" (Blake/Avon) (1 page)
  • Coral Court, "Scandal" (Avon/Vila) (0.5 pages)
  • Noo Ki Arrus, "Eve of Terror" (Avon/Vila) (6 pages)
  • D. Valentine, "Avon's Calling" (Blake/Avon) (2 pages)
  • Valerie Francois, "Expertise" (Vila/Avon) (3 pages)
  • J. D. Reece, "A Friendly Drink" (Cally/Jenna) (9 pages)
  • Paula, "Comfort" (Jabberwocky universe) (Blake/Soolin) (3 pages) (reprinted in Jabberwocky #5)
  • Linda Knights, "Initiations" (Avon/Cally/Dayna) (5 pages)
  • Daley Kelly, "Reaffirmation" (Avon/Vila) (5 pages)
  • Sonia, "Choices" (Avon/Jenna) (18 pages)
  • Northwest Smith, "The End of the Last Episode of the Fifth Season" (0.5 pages)
  • London Bates, "Breakthrough" (Blake/Avon) (1.5 pages)
  • N. T. Casillas, "Sealed with a Kiss" (Avon/Vila) (11 pages)
  • Northwest Smith, "Non-Messianic Thoughts" (Blake/Avon) (0.5 pages)
  • Valerie Francis, "Spare Parts" (Avon/Vila) (4 pages)
  • London Bates, "It Was a Dark and Stormy Nookie" (Blake/Avon) (0.5 pages)
  • Victoria Towers, "Beyond Horizon" (Blake/Jenna) (4 pages)
  • Jane Carnall, "Afterword" (sequel to "Quietus" by Victoria Towers) (0.5 pages)
  • Anais, "The Rules Explained" (Vila/Blake) (5 pages)
  • Pandora LeCarre, "Retreat" (Vila/OC) (17 pages)
  • Kerrvert, "Everybody Gets It in the End" (B/A, V/G, J/C) (2 pages)
  • Valerie Francis, "Bloodgifts" (Bloodlust universe) (Avon/Vila) (8 pages)
  • Riley Cannon, "A Walk in the Woods" (Blake/Jenna/Avon) (10 pages)
  • R.L. Parker, "Against All Odds" (Blake/Vila, implied A/V) (4 pages)
  • R.L. Parker, "Revelation" (Avon/Vila) (sequel to the above) (8 pages)
  • Shoshanna "Repercussions" (Blake/Avon) (4 pages)
  • Shoshanna "The Darkness of the Separate Will" (Blake/Avon) (3 pages)
  • Naughtius Maximus, "Severely Beloved" (Blake/Avon, Blake/everyone) (7 pages)
  • Adrian Morgan & Brendan O'Cullane, "Pick up the Pieces" (Avon/Vila and Avon/Blake) (9 pages) (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Dorian Gale, "By Love Ensnared" (Avon/Anna) (8 pages)
  • Coral Court, "Then and Now" (Jenna/Avalon) (6 pages)
  • C.A. McCoy, "Colliding Destinies" (Vila/Tarrant) (24 pages)
  • Nova Salsh-Kalbe, "Interlude" (Avon/Soolin) (3 pages)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Faith and Doubt" (Blake/Avon) (10 pages)


  • Letters of Comment
  • The Mixed Marriage Guide Reference for Alpha-Delta Couples
  • The Official Delta Sex Test
  • The Mixed Marriage Guide for Alpha-Delta Safe Sex


  • Judith Ellison, "Assumptions" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Ultimate Pleasure" (A/B)
  • Merlin, "Ship's Night" (A/B)
  • Kerrvert, "Both Sides Now" (Avon/everyone) (filk)
  • Brendan O'Cullane, "Litany" (A/V) (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Brendan O'Cullane, "Certain/Uncertain" (A/V) (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Judith Ellison, "Pathway" (A/B)
  • Constance Applebee, "Endgame" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "A Mistake" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Bribery" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Revenge" (A/B)
  • Robin Hood, "Unfinished Symphony" (A/B)
  • Leah Rosenthal, "Justification" (A/V)
  • Robin Hood, "Night Music" (A/B)
  • Anais, "Dayna and the Unicorn" (A/D)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5.5


At some point, by the way, I have to get around to discussing the A/V stories in Southern Comfort 5.5, at least two of which were superlative (the rest being merely good to excellent)... but what else would one expect? [25]


Previously all I'd said about this zine was that I found it disappointing. I would now upgrade that mini review to say: This is not a good zine if you like Blake (like me), or pairings that aren't Avon/Vila. I don't know whether it's a good zine for people who like A/V but they've got a good chance where the others don't, really. Unusually it's full of a lot of micro-fics, with very little over 8 pages long, which is a lot more like current fandom - but feels strangely difficult to get into in a zine. Art is good as always. In general, I don't recommend any Southern Lights/Comforts (and I've now read most of them), except 6.5 and 8.5, but then I don't like A/V...

Interestingly (for me) the zine starts off by casually referring to how some people have recently expressed a dislike of slash and want to reveal authors' pseuds. Obviously the press that published SoCo was right at the heart of the B7 wars, but it's interesting to see this zine so obviously positioned as part of that history.

OK - here's some thoughts (very brief) about all the fics, as there's nothing online yet.

Anna Lee, "...Hoops of Steel" (Avon/Vila) I don't know why it's called this. I skimmed it - but the premise seems to be that post 'Countdown' (I haven't read much A/V, so it's interesting for me to see what I consider to be a massive B/A moment re-focused into another pairing) Avon is sad, and Vila comforts him.

Hakucho, "Just Say No" (Avon/Vila) (8 pages) Avon decides to sex Vila up, and Vila is sad and straight but accepts that it is his Delta duty, and Avon (who is a true revolutionary at heart, right) tells him he should learn to say no. Given that I hate the Delta-sex-slave/wimpy Vila premise, this is actually not bad. I did read most of it. Good 1st person narration from Vila.

Shoshanna "Slash and Burn" (Blake/Avon) (1 page) I don't actually understand this (short comedy) fic at all. Blake and Avon fall on each other and... some outside force is bringing them togehter. I don't know. I don't get it at all. There are quite a few comedy B/A fics in this zine and (spoilers) I don't like any of them.

Coral Court, "Scandal" (Avon/Vila) (0.5 pages) Almost a drabble from old fandom here! Avon has (I assume) found some A/V fanfic the Federation have been broadly publicising and is annoyed by it - in a comically evil way. It's OOC on purpose - and actually works better than most of the other comedy things.

Noo Ki Arrus, "Eve of Terror" (Avon/Vila) (6 pages) This is another fic I just had to skip after a while as I had no idea what was going on. Vila is visited in the night by an alien nightmare lady and wants Avon to sit in his room with him to help him sleep. The rest of the crew seem to keep crashing into his room as well. Eventually A and V have sex, and that helps - I obviously don't know why.

D. Valentine, "Avon's Calling" (Blake/Avon) (2 pages) A completely inappropriate name. The premise is (and we'll see this again later in the zine, I'm afraid) that Avon loves Blake and keeps coming back for more, even though Blake despises him and rapes him. Why is this a thing?

Valerie Francois, "Expertise" (Vila/Avon) (3 pages) Interesting role reversal in this series 3 fic, which starts with traditional Avon insulting Vila and moves quickly into Vila domming Avon who is powerless against him (it's a B/A fic, basically, but with a strange Vila-as-usual intro).

[See this fan's reactions for A Friendly Drink.]

[See this fan's reactions for Comfort.]

[See this fan's reactions for Initiations.]

Daley Kelly, "Reaffirmation" (Avon/Vila) (5 pages) I didn't read this - Vila is guilty about Cally's death. I'm really not interested in wibbly A/V.

[See this fan's reactions for Choices.]

Northwest Smith, "The End of the Last Episode of the Fifth Season" Another drabble/extended joke. Unremarkable.

London Bates, "Breakthrough" (Blake/Avon) (1.5 pages) Another tiny fic where I don't understand what's going on. Avon is trying to seduce Blake (having seduced everyone else already...) and Blake is OK with this an in control (and also sexed up Travis in the past) - and writing this out it makes sense, but it doesn't make any sense on the page I'm afraid.

N. T. Casillas, "Sealed with a Kiss" (Avon/Vila) (11 pages) I saw this was a post-Orbit fic and decided not to do that to myself.

Northwest Smith, "Non-Messianic Thoughts" (Blake/Avon) (0.5 pages) Another tiny fic. Blake stream of consciousness about Avon. This could basically be a poem. It's not fair to say it doesn't make any sense, but it also doesn't do anything interesting.

Valerie Francis, "Spare Parts" (Avon/Vila) (4 pages) A post Powerplay fic where Vila is still paralysed but conscious (and our POV character) and Avon (who has not previously been in a relationship with him) bathes and has sex with him to help the drug get out of his system. No word on what happens to Cally who is in a similar state. It's... a bit creepy, but not bad.

London Bates, "It Was a Dark and Stormy Nookie" (Blake/Avon) (0.5 pages) Another B/A comedy thing that doesn't make any sense to me.

Victoria Towers, "Beyond Horizon" (Blake/Jenna) (4 pages) Jenna is annoyed Blake didn't respond more while she was being tortured (I thought he kind of did!) and threatens to leave - Blake tells her he wants her ("But not to manipulate you into staying") and instead they have sex. Then Jenna tells him about her tragic backstory - I'm not that interested in tragic backstories, but otherwise it's OK emotionally.

Jane Carnall, "Afterword" (sequel to "Quietus" by Victoria Towers) (0.5 pages) Didn't read, because I haven't read the original and couldn't be bothered. It's only short. But it's weird.

[See this fan's reactions for The Rules Explained.]

Pandora LeCarre, "Retreat" (Vila/OC) (17 pages) Skimmed all of this. It's a holiday planet, Vila has a massage from a nice woman who he then hangs out with for 17 pages apparently. No other canon characters seem to appear until the very end.

Kerrvert, "Everybody Gets It in the End" (B/A, V/G, J/C) (2 pages) OK - I actually get the jokes in this one! It can stay.

Valerie Francis, "Bloodgifts" (Bloodlust universe) (Avon/Vila) (8 pages) Chose not to read this one, but obviously it is indeed about vampires.

[See this fan's reactions for A Walk in the Woods.]

R.L. Parker, "Against All Odds" (Blake/Vila, implied A/V) (4 pages) Avon's been left for dead somewhere, so Vila seeks comfort from Blake, who feels guilty enough to have sex with him. Then Avon comes back. A theme of this review is that I don't like weepy Vila. I don't like him any more when it's Blake's penis comforting him, rather than Avon's.

R.L. Parker, "Revelation" (Avon/Vila) (sequel to the above) (8 pages) Didn't read, as I'd read the above. Vila has to tell Avon how much he loves him, and also explain away his recent Blake-shag.

Shoshanna "Repercussions" (Blake/Avon) (4 pages) I've only just read this one on AO3, so I know this is actually part 2 of 3 (part 3 of 3 below). It's... the first real B/A fic in this zine? We're post Gan's death and Avon's going on about being manipulated etc/leaving Blake etc. There's some initial reference to Anna - and then a rather nice ending.

Shoshanna "The Darkness of the Separate Will" (Blake/Avon) (3 pages) And then this one (which immediately follows) completely undercuts that ending. Post 'Countdown', Avon is angry that Blake isn't Anna, screws him as though he were, and Blake leaves confused and upset...

[See this fan's reactions for Severely Beloved.]

[See this fan's reactions for Pick Up the Pieces.]

[See this fan's reactions for By Love Ensnared.]

[See this fan's reactions for Then and Now.]

C.A. McCoy, "Colliding Destinies" (Vila/Tarrant) (24 pages) One of the only V/Ts in existence! Despite really liking 'Path of Thorns', I didn't read this one, but my friend (for whom V/T is an OTP) did and told me what it was like. It's a prison rape story, where Vila knows what's what, sleeps with other men for protection, and Tarrant is bolshy and confused, and eventually does sleep with Vila. Apparently although there is some good clever!Vila/rubbish!Tarrant characterisation, there isn't the payoff that one would hope for at the end. And I hate prison rape stories.

Nova Salsh-Kalbe, "Interlude" (Avon/Soolin) (3 pages) Another pairing I like - but alas, slightly underwhelming fic without much strong characterisation. They work out together, Soolin gives him a backrub and then they have sex.

[See this fan's reactions for Faith and Doubt.]

The end.

In summary, I'm glad this zine belongs to someone else now. [26]

Issue 6

cover of issue #6, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 6 was published in 1993 and contains 132 pages. It has stories, poems and artwork based on Star Wars, Beauty & the Beast, Blakes 7, Robin of Sherwood, Blackadder, Miami Vice and more. The cover is by Leah Rosenthal.

  • Blake's 7 Get Smart with A Team Lost in Space by Felis Sylvestris ("What does it sound like? The ultimate B7 crossover, that's what!) (14 pages)
  • Crown of Thorns (Blake's 7) (1 page)
  • Madhouse Blues by Kaye Dunham (A mission to rescue a rebel prisoner holds a few surprises for Avon's crew...) (Blake's 7) (7 pages)
  • Esprit De Corps (Blake's 7/Robin of Sherwood) (19 pages)
  • Farewells at the Gate (Robin of Sherwood) (2 pages)
  • Beltaine Enchantment (Robin of Sherwood) (2 pages)
  • Sherwood's Magic (Robin of Sherwood) (2 pages)
  • Parental Concerns (Kill the Dead) (2 pages)
  • Hayride (Kill the Dead) (2 pages)
  • Thoughts on a Hill Over Tulotef (Kill the Dead) (2 pages)
  • The Wolves of Metracla (Star Wars) (12 pages)
  • The Beast Goes Solo (Star Wars/Beauty and the Beast) (10 pages)
  • Bright Lights, Big Kitty (Star Wars/Beauty and the Beast) (6)
  • Rain (Blackadder) (8 pages)
  • The Game -- By the Rules by Linda Knights (Miami Vice) ("A man from Castillo's past could be the end of Crockett...") (21 pages)
  • The Prized Possession Raid by CarolMel Ambassador (Rat Patrol) (The Rat Patrol is desperate to rescue a captured Troy, and Dietrich equally desperate to prevent them.) (8 pages)

Issue 6.5

cover of issue #6.5, Leah Rosenthal. A fan in 2016 said: "#I have to admit #one of the (admittedly several) reasons that S4 got off on thwe wrong foot with me #was the seemingly sudden jump from the 70s to the 80s #aesthetically speaking #VILA RESTAL #and... #that has to be Tarrant?? #right?? #I'm gonna say #Del Tarrant #vintage b7 art #other people's lovely art" [27]
inner front cover of issue #6.5, Leah Rosenthal
back cover issue #6.5, Melody Rondeau

Southern Comfort 6.5 was published in April 1991.



  • Linda Terrell, "Severely Weird and Really Bad Vogon Haiku"
  • Judith Ellison, "Adrift" (Avon/Blake) (1 page)
  • Judith Ellison, "Promise Kept" (A/Anna)
  • London Bates, "Dichotomy Unbound" (A/B)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Discovery" (D/So)
  • Judith Ellison, "Unspoken" (A/B)
  • xBryn's Teddy Bear, "Libellous Liberator Limericks"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "A Delta's Love" (A/V)
  • Judith Ellison, "Discovery" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Second Chance Loving" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Switch" (J/V)
  • Judith Ellison, "Perpetual Enchantment" (C/J)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Hard to Get" (C/V)

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Randym, Adele Pates, Bundon Lates, Howarth & Daniels, London Boots, Melody Rondeau, Gayle F, Laura Virgil, Linden Boats, Sara S., CeleBates

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6.5

See reactions and reviews for On the Town.
See reactions and reviews for Victim of Love.
See reactions and reviews for No Promises, No Regrets.
See reactions and reviews for The Warden's Pet.
See reactions and reviews for Commitment.
See reactions and reviews for Morning After.
See reactions and reviews for Tarrant the Terrific.
See reactions and reviews for Castle in the Air.
See reactions and reviews for Tangled Webs.
See reactions and reviews for 9/10ths of the Law.
See reactions and reviews for Friendly Persuasion.
See reactions and reviews for Nightmusic.
See reactions and reviews for Fantasies.
See reactions and reviews for Spaceship Sherbert Blues.
See reactions and reviews for Situations.
See reactions and reviews for On Credit.
See reactions and reviews for The Howling.
See reactions and reviews for Command Performance.
See reactions and reviews for Gratuitous Eroticism.
See reactions and reviews for Aftermath Too.
See reactions and reviews for Dearest Enemy.
See reactions and reviews for A Room with a View.
See reactions and reviews for Worth the Cost at Any Price.
See reactions and reviews for Up in (Blue) Smoke.
See reactions and reviews for Continue to Continue.
See reactions and reviews for Bondsmate.
[Nightmusic]: The slash sequel to a gen story, "The Night Wind," in GAMBIT 2. Avon comforts Tarrant after Deeta's death. A really lovely story. [28]

“This show is sooooooo 70s.”: Practically everyone I managed to con into watching any of Blake’s 7. But really, the disco era’s not so bad for a SciFi show. It could have been goofier with the clothes and hair. MUCH GOOFIER:

We could have had late 80s fashion, for example. Yes, that is Avon and Vila sporting mullets. You can blame this on what is probably the most famous AU/PGP written back in the day: From the Log of the Hellhound. Chapters of the story pop up here, there, and everywhere in Ashton Press fanzines. I can’t say I’m a fan of the work, but the art has amused me periodically.

Southern Comfort 6.5, cover art by Leah Rosenthal. (If you’re wondering why the volume number is a decimal, well, that’s an old-timey practice that says, “Here There Be Slashfic”)

#Blake's 7#vintage fanzines#Southern Comfort#This is not the only mullet cover I have#But I think it was the best.[29]

anyway - this zine is incredibly wide ranging. admittedly it has more blake/avon and avon/vila than any other pairings, but there's also tonnes of het (including two - two - soolin/vilas) and even... some femslash \o/ oh yes. i tell you what there isn't, though, and that's avon/vila/kerril, which is represented not only on the cover but in at least two interior illustrations (kerril isn't even in the zine at all). bemusing. i tell you what else there isn't (despite fanlore's claims to the contrary): avon/soolin. if i was an avon/soolin fan (which i am not, because soolin can see the crazy in him and he loves blake)(although i do think they like each other a lot. avon&soolin is my other super friendship ship after avon&vila) and had purchased this zine believing fanlore's claims that there were TWO avon/soolin fics within it... i'd be quite angry. because they were both avon/servalan. anyway, i fixed it for fanlore, so nobody will be confused again.

anyway, while my heart says 'none of these other pairings are real' (yes - i am that person), i quite like having this wide of a range of stuff. if i'm going to read pairings that aren't mine, i'd rather read as many as possible, rather than just avon/tarrant over and over again.

also - after a dodgy beginning in which i feared the worst, the zine massively improved and i really thought a lot of the fics within it were very good, including the blake/avon one that i'd been recommended specifically. so that was nice.

lots of really nice illustrations - and some funny illustrations. in fact, there is no art i don't like this time, although bizarrely there are two different but almost identical headshots of tarrant. if you're just flicking through the zine to look at the pictures before you start (which is what i do the first time through) then there's no way you won't see the similarity and think... that's weird. (ETA. actually there are three)....

Shoshanna "Stranger Things" (Avon/Jenna) (3 pages): second avon/jenna of the zine! this one has EXACTLY the same plot as the last one, only it takes up less space - and actually at the end of it they are still like 'that was awkward and changes nothing' (which i'm pleased by, since it was my objection to the last one). avon has hardly any dialogue.

Cathy Conrad, "Mind Games" (Cally/Carnell) (3 pages): i stopped reading this, because the 'carnell' didn't sound anything like carnell... it seems semi interesting plotwise, but i didn't care enough to purse it... Jane Carnall, "You're Kidding, Right?": this is just a string of 'reasons people were rejected in b7'. it ends with the line 'nobody got nookie that night. except tarrant, who had nookie with a wookie. he'll go fur'.

which i thought was funny. i quite like this one. but it is not exactly a 'fic' per say...

Sara Avery & Sylvia Dennison, "Double Jeopardy" (Vila/Avon) (23 pages): i think i skipped this one... if i didn't, i don't remember it, but i think i did, since it's 20+ pages of not-my-ship.

Victoria Towers, "The Quality of Mercy" (Vila/Soolin): our first vila/soolin of the zine - although they're basically the same. soolin comforts vila - not sexually, just with hugs. and the potential of sex later. this one has some nice lines about soolin not being as hard as she seems... Rose St. Clair, "Gratuitous Revenge" (Blake/Avon) (2 pages): did not read, as was just a continuation of the previous.

Deirdre Hughes, "The Road" (Vila/Soolin) (2 pages: the second soolin comforts vila thing. i have nothing more to say about this one than i did about the last one, sorry. [30]

I've been waiting for this zine for years, ever since the first tantalizing flyer appeared; happily, I can report that it's well worth the wait! It's a Tarrant fan's dream come true. There are no less than four Tarrant stories in it! And there's an absolutely luscious Leah Rosenthal cover, featuring Hellhound Tarrant and Vila. (It's called "Small Comfort," and is one of the illos offered for the story contest) Sigh! The gorgeous cover alone is worth the price of the zine; it's enough to melt a Tarrant (or Vila) fan into an Andromedan-like puddle of jelly on the floor.

My favorite in the zine is "Nightmusic," by Paula. It is a most welcome sequel to "The Night Wind," a Tarrant story in Gambit #2. I always thought Tarrant and Avon should have gone a little farther than they did in "The Night Wind." This story is perfect! Both Avon and Tarrant are more mature, better-adjusted, and in my humble opinion, more in character than they were in Paula's Southern Comfort #4.75 story, "Stress Factors." (Though I liked that one, too.)

"Bondsmate," by Dorian Gale, is also excellent. At last, at last, a story in which Avon does not dump Tarrant the moment Blake shows up. Avon and Blake care about each other very much, and Tarrant is a bit jealous, but Avon has no intention of leaving Tarrant for Blake. The poor boy is so devoted; he deserves some loyalty in return. (It's also nice to see Jenna get the love from Blake she deserves.)

One of my favorite scenes is the one where Tarrant gets to awaken Avon with a kiss — now there's a unique twist on the old Avon's-in-a-coma scenario!

Got a real kick out of "Tarrant the Terrific," the Tarrant/Orac story, even if it did bash dear decorative Del. The accompanying illos of Avon and Vila in drag and Tarrant on steroids are hilarious!

A nice surprise were all the Jenna stories. My favorite was "On the Town"; Avon and Jenna are a great couple.

As expected from Ashton Press, there are lots of lovely humorous bits. Particular favorites were the "Blake County" comic strip. Melody Rondeau's back cover of Travis on Servalan's leash, and Linda Terrell's "Vogon Haiku" (especially the paraphrase of Blake... er, William, not Roj!).

The diversity of the offerings in this zine is impressive and much appreciated. I'm delighted with the multiplicity of unusual pairings; though there's plenty of the usual fan favorites. Avon/Vila. Avon/Blake, and Avon/Cally, there are also refreshing combinations such as Jenna/Cally, Vila/Soolin. Blake/Vila. Cally/Carnell, etc. There's sure to be something to your taste in a zine of this size, quality, and variety. [31]

Issue 7.5

cover of issue #7.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 7 was published in 1994 (early spring) and is 273 pages long.



  • Letters of Comment
  • "Pushin' the First Amendment #1" (humor)


  • Robin Hood, "Sword of Heaven"
  • Robin Hood, "Twin Thieves"
  • Robin Hood, "The Taste of Dust"
  • Robin Hood, "To Care for You"
  • Riley Cannon, "Brothers in Arms"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front and back cover), ORmaC, Adrian Morgan, IBACH, Randym, Melody Rondeau, Linden Boats, Sarah, Howarth, Flatbush Bates

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7.5

See reactions and reviews for Mice and Men.

[zine]: A long zine, but I'll skim most of it. The art is generally very good, as with all Southern Comforts. It is also fair to say that as other reviewers point out, the editor does say right at the beginning that this is basically stuff that she had lying around and hadn't published previously. It's also a lot of A/V - in general, let's assume I didn't read the A/V....

Jacklin Scott, "A Credit for Your Thoughts" (C/V) Light, forgettable.

Willa Shakespeare, "The Last Seska" (A and T and V/essentially OFC) This is not a bad plot - although anything to do with the Seska is a bit Ben Steedy, though having Soolin and Dayna around (being superior to men/rescuing men, but not in a shit way) really helps. Very non porny (i.e. it's a porn plot but we fade to black when the sex starts!) - which is also something to mention about most of the stories in this zine, or at least of the ones that I read. Which is fine, actually, and I think old fandom should do more of it (where appropriate) - but it's interesting.

-Kay-, "Before the Madness Claimed Them" (Tr/A) This is one of the best in the zine, though still not great. Avon and Travis are stranded together in a desert. Travis tries to seduce Avon because he knows this will work better for him from a practicality POV (i.e. he can continue to have sex with Avon), but then practically rapes him anyway. I guess Avon enjoyed it and liked the seduction a bit, as he saves Travis from Blake (which makes sense within the story, but not within the context of the show where it's always the other way around).

Shoshanna, "In the Company of Strangers" (A/J) No dialogue. Tedious.

Madelyn Darring & Coral Court, "What I Did for Love" Interestingly the ending (Avon gets a sex change to be with Vila) feels like something of a comment on 'Never Love a Stranger' - but I assume it's just written simultaneously. Not that funny - Blake being a peodophile is not funny.

Randym, "Misericorde" (T/V, A/So) This one is pretty good, though Randym is a very good writer and this could have been excellent. PGP, Vila and Tarrant are staying alive and making do. The T/So plot is a bit superflous but doesn't not-work.

Willa Shakespeare, "Never Love a Stranger" (A/V, with B/A, A/Anna) Cracky idea treated very seriously (Avon was Blake's female love slave, encouraged to become a trans-man by Anna so that no one would know Anna was a lesbian, Servalan is B and A's kid). To be honest, despite the instinctive 'omg wtf?' response to the plot, actually I think the latter part of that tag (i.e. 'treated seriously' i.e. it's so poe-faced) is what's wrong with this. In later years, I think the writer would have written this as crack, straight up, and it would have been better for it. Few people are going to be able to take seriously that Servalan is Blake and Avon's child - even if they were willing to tolerate Avon as a woman or a delta. It's also (given that it wants to re-write Avon's life so drastically) far too short. Blake seems to be important to Avon throughout most of his narrative (i.e. he's looking for Blake and their child, he hates that he's now a man because Blake won't recognise him etc), but we dispense with all their time together in-show in a few lines (in which Avon talks about how much he disliked Blake in show! I think because he went off with Jenna). Anyway - clearly this fic is a building block on the way to greatness. It's a very early fic for this author, who has written much and much better since.

Estelle Daniels, "War of Escalation" (A/J) Quite a nice idea, in that Jenna is trying to convince Avon to take her piloting lessons seriously - but the dialogue is so childish and boring that I can't get into it.

R. L. Parker, "An Innocent Man" (A/V), R. L. Parker, "Innocence and Wrath" (A/V), C. A. McCoy, "Paths of Destiny" (T/V), Daley Kelly, "Birthday Story" (A/V), Don't think I read any of these, though I must have glanced at Birthday Story as it's the other bribing Avon into sex story I was referring to.

Sonia, "Compromising Positions" (A/B - sort of) Hooray, an A/B at last! But it's a weird example of the same, and I'm not sure who it's for. As an A/B shipper I found the fact that Avon was very insistent that he and Blake were both straight irritating. However - if I'd been a non-A/B shipper surely I wouldn't enjoy the fact that Blake (who is actually a clone!Blake, spoilers, with weird erroneous A/B sex memories that Blake put there during the mindprint session so that Avon would know it was a trap, as Jenna indicated they might be gay once and they both thought it ridiculous!) screws Avon in the shower while they're under surveillance and he needs to keep up the pretence that they're lovers. (N.B. It's an alternate Terminal plot, basically, by a non-Servalan Fed agent). It's quite A-B as well, as Avon is determined to rescue clone Blake, and yet not - as he tells the clone not to tell anyone he is a clone, because they all need Blake (but Avon has no loyalty to the real Blake? And as long as they have one, the other one can go and die??). So I assume the writer doesn't want to depict Blake as a semi-rapist. It's also not sad, like something like 'Substitute'. Because they're still friends at the end, and Blake!clones feelings are mostly there for lols? I think. And so we end with no Terminal, and Blake!clone on the ship in love with Avon, who definitely does not want him. I guess ... this fic could use a sequel ... where we find out what all of this means (and ideally Avon realises that he is gay, and maybe the real Blake comes back and is confused - Avon, I thought we were bros! - and/or gets talked into a threesome). I assume it didn't get such a sequel. The Vila's past stuff was fine, and quite amusing.

[snipped: titles of stories not commented upon]

... though I did skim 'Mice and Men' because it was so infamous. Not worth it. [32]

[zine]: "This is a substantial zine - God bless the typists - with lots of illustrations of varying quality. The stories are by Riley Cannon, Willa Shakespeare, Jacklin Scott, Daley Kelly, Kay, Shoshanna, Randym, Estelle Daniels, R L Parker, C A McCoy, Sonia, Nicely Nicely, Cassandra, and Mistral. Poems by Robin Hood.

This is a satisfying zine for Avon/Vila fans as it contains eight Avon/Vila stories of varying lengths ranging from the sentimental to the bleak in tone. My favourites were "Birthday Story" and "Reliquary" by Daley Kelly, both very well written and with believable characterisation closer to the series' originals in spirit than many writers achieve. I also liked R.L.Parkers two short stories and the longer "Opposites", set in prison before the London, all hurt/comfort scenarios. Of the remaining A-Vs, "Never Love a Stranger" needs a considerable suspension of disbelief.

For Cally/Vila fans there is "A Credit for your Thoughts", which I thought rather overdid Vila's timidity but was otherwise a warm, gentle tale and has the bonus of a lovely drawing of Vila by Adrian Morgan; there's another on page 183. Other stories include a Travis/Avon, two Jenna/Avon, and a long one "Paths of Destiny" about Tarrant and Vila's life on a prison mining colony, which is a continuation of a story in Southern Comfort 5.5. I always find it difficult to imagine Tarrant and Vila having any sort of loving relationship but this is a very well-plotted and convincing attempt, and it is unusually well-paced.

Blake features very little in this zine, though his clone puts in an appearance with Avon in "Compromising Positions", which also deals with Vila's earlier life. Of the remaining crew, Gan does not feature at all, and Dayna and Soolin only in passing. There's not much of Cally or Jenna either.

[See this comments about Mice and Men.] [33]

[zine]: [this] zine was, as far as I was concerned, well worth avoiding. Rather the way one would a rabid, ravenous squirrel. [See this fan's comments about Mice and Men.]

I agree completely with Sandy on this zine--and I'm very interested in seeing a different interpretation of it. I'd really like to hear which stories you liked and why you liked them. [34]

[zine]: To whoever it was, yes, most of this zine isn't *that* terrible or embarrassing; it is mostly just one mediocre story after another. My strong feelings about this zine come from two things: this zine is tragically bad considering the quality of the earlier Southern Lights/Southern Comforts; 3.5, 3.75, and 4.5 are among the best B7 adult zines you can find; 5.5 and 6.5 were not as good, but each of them had a few good stories to make you forgive the many barely adequate ones. This zine...well, it has no stand out stories, and has one story so bad...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'll try not to let this review get too large, but remember the zine itself is 273 pages long...

The cover (on *bright* pink paper) is nice enough-a pen and ink by Leah, but not up to her best work. The back page is a very cute cartoon, also by Leah.

The stories: Stand-In--a not bad 2 page A/V, with Vila consoling Avon after Blake's disappearance.

Opposites--An A/V set before Blake appears in the holding tank for the London. It includes one of the *worst* pieces of fan art I ha ve ever seen. The story itself has a brave, thoughtful intrepid, gentle Vila that I couldn't believe for a second. Whatever Vila became, the Vila of the first few episodes would not be putting his life on the line repeatedly for a chance met stranger.

A Credit For Your Thoughts--Slight V/C. Cally complains to Vila that she can't get the man she wants, deliberately letting him think she means Avon. Not bad, not memorable.

Reliquary--Avon, mad from his last fight with Blake, decides to drug Vila so he 1) can't say no, and 2) will remember nothing. Dumb and contrived.

The Last Seska--Pella's last adherent plots to restart the Seskas and Hommiks using Vila, Tarrant and Avon's genetic material; Dayna and Soolin save them. Not bad.

Before the Madness Claimed them--Travis/A. Neither of them is too offensively out of character, but there is nothing interesting here; nothing new learned about either character or the B7 universe as a whole.

In The Company Of Strangers--A/J From Avon's POV, a very slight, short, PWP. A sequel of sorts; the author had written the same story from Jenna's POV for an earlier Southern Comfort.

What I Did For Love--Silly parody; Blake plays 'find the banana' with 'Romper Room rejects,' Avon pursues a Vila that insists, 'no slash, how many times have I told you,' and Zen installs a vibrator in the pilot's seat to make Jenna easier to get along with. It has some cute lines, "Avon's face was etched in a mask of dark pensive foreboding that hinted at the despair tearing at his soul. Deciding that a mood such as this was destined to be shared, Avon decided to head up to the flight deck and ruin ev eryone else's day while he was at it."

Misericorde--a PGP story; Vila has spent 3 years fruitlessly lusting after his shipmate and friend Tarrant (hey, it could happen), when Soolin (who has become a member of the Dark Priesthood) finds them, and hires them to take her to mercy-kill Avon. Seeing Soolin, facing the fact that she will never love him, Tarrant finally gives into Vila's wiles.

Tarrant to Soolin:...I don't expect you to love me. I don't even want you to."
Soolin considered this, her eyes growing bright with anger. "I see," she said at last. "That why you've chosen Vila. Because you will never be in any danger of loving him."
Tarrant didn't bother to deny it.
"How very convenient for you," Soolin said. "But what about Vila?"
"He knows."
"He always was a fool."

Neither Tarrant nor Vila are well in character, but Soolin was right on.

Never Love a Stranger--Immediately post-Blake. Vila rescues Avon from the tracking room, and thinks about his earlier life as a delta *female* *love* *slave* bought for Roj by his dad to keep Roj company. *N*O*T*!* The story, if you can believe it, get s worse, as Avon relives getting pregnant with Blake's child, getting thrown out of Blake's house, having the child taken away, testing up to become an Alpha, meeting Anna Grant in college, acceding to Grant's wishes--dressing like a man so no one will know that Anna is a lesbian...I really can't go on. Suffice it to say that I was horrified when I realized this story was meant to be serious...

War of Escalation--A PWP; Competition on the flight deck leads to a situation where neither feels they can back down, between A/J.

An Innocent Man--Soon after Orbit; Avon rapes Vila on page 1, they are making love by page 3. Despite this unlikelyness, and the Blake bashing, I almost liked this one...

Innocence and Wrath--A/V Awful from beginning to end--Avon is sweet and callous, sometimes both at once; Tarrant is raping poor defenseless Vila until finally, Avon coaxes the information gently out of him. All of the characterizations are bad, bad, bad. (Except, funnily enough, Soolin. Hmm, maybe a trend...)

Paths of Destiny--PGP and a sequel; Tarrant and Vila are prison mates--Vila tries to show Tarrant the ropes, but proud, bold Tarrant holds his head up the rapist/boss of his prison-block will notice him and require his pound of flesh. Vila and Tarrant end up together, but, hey, you knew that was coming. Vila is actually fairly well drawn in this, as are the rest of the Scorpio crew which eventually show up to save T & V. Avon's sole coment upon realizing their relationship, "Sentiment breeds weakness."

Birthday Story--Avon and Vila bluff each other into going to bed together. Lame set-up, fairly well written.

Compromising Positions--Instead of going to Terminal, Avon follows up another secret coded message claiming to be from Blake. Avon meets a Blake determined to act as though they had been long-time lovers. While Avon is out-of-contact with this Blake, Vila organizes their rescue. Not bad--Avon dealing with a confusedly amourous Blake was quite well done; Vila being the know-it-all about the planet and leading the troops was overdrawn and overlong.

Family Traditions--parody of Last Stand at the Edge of the World characters. Dumb.

Celebrating Life--Tarrant, Avon and Vila turn their wake after Cally's death into a three-way 'celebration of life.' *Smirk.* Not a great story, not great sex, but Avon's dialogue is spot-on.

No Respite--Avon offers himself to make Vila forgive him for Orbit--and while Vila has Avon in his bed, Vila slips Avon a mind-control drug that will make Avon his forever. Now *there's* a plausible plot.

[See this fan's comments about Mice and Men.]

The zine also includes some poetry (I don't review poetry) and some very cute cartoons.

All in all, if this was the first adult or slash zine someone saw, and they said they hated slash or adult stories, I'd understand.

Maybe somebody should review a good slash zine next, just to let the newbies (is that a proper use) or zine virgins know that they do exist... [35]

[zine]: [in response to Sandy Hereld]'s review of the zine above]: Oh, but this was *funny* to read! I realize this isn't the reaction you were aiming at, but it almost makes me want to run right out and read the zine....

Avon as a transvestite ex-Delta love slave???? Wow. I will yield to few in how attractive I find Avon, but that is as a man.

If he were really a lower-class female I think he'd be more likely chosen to be a field hand than a sex goddess. [36]

[zine]: Oh, I agree it's not the best slash zine I've ever seen. But neither is it without redeeming characteristics. The main impression I get from SC 7.5 is that the editor is intent on clearing out her story files.

The second impression I get is that a fair number of the authors are *new* authors. There are a lot of neo B7 fans out there, and not all of them are polished yet. That takes time and experience. I try to bear in mind while reading a zine that this is amateur writing and publishing, folks. The quality is going to vary from author to author and zine to zine. A lot of the old guard B7 fans appear to have moved on, so the up-and-coming writers are going to have a lot of rough edges that with time will hopefully smooth out.

That it took so long to be published is also unfortunate---anything less than near perfection is going to be a let down after so much anticipation.


Anyway, here is a quick review touching on aspects of Southern Comfort 7.5 that left an impression on me (a caveat--a couple of the authors are friends of mine, so that naturally also colors my opinions):

I quite liked the front cover, though I admit I'm totally clueless as to what Leah's getting at in the scene. The back cartoon is a hoot, and I still laugh when I look at it. (The back cover went to auction, I believe, at last MediaWest. First art I've ever seen that sported a spiral binding as an integral part of the piece.)

"Stand-In" was a satisfying A/V---well-written and fairly believable. For such a short story, it sticks in the memory.

"Opposites" was interesting. Not the best, and overly romantic for my tastes. But the author shows a lot of promise. The prison routine showed some thought had been given to it. And I liked Akim, big Gan wanna-be that he is.

I liked ``The Last Seska very much; in fact, it's one of my favorites in the zine. I always thought the Seska had been written off far too quickly, so I welcomed Luxia and her little scheme. I actually felt rather sorry for her. Some of the dialogue is wonderful, especially Vila's grilling a malleable Avon on where he's hidden the good hooch! It might have been interesting if Dayna and Soolin had actually accepted Luxia's offer to make them Seska as well.

The Fourth Series would have been quite different: ``Avon's Angels my foot---move over guys!!

``In the Company of Strangers. Excellent, as ``Stranger Things was before it. Totally believable Avon and Jenna. So gritty it hurts.

``Misericorde. Very depressing. Naturally, I loved it! Seriously, I can see a T/V relationship developing under these circumstances. And as pointed out by Sandy, Soolin (so often neglected) was well drawn.

``Never Love a Stranger. Well ... I have to admire the author's audacity! I do tend to take notice when an author approaches the tried-and-true from a different angle; this particular take didn't work for me, but I envy the boldness of the attempt.

``War of Escalation. This was fun, and I like Avon/Jenna. Their competitiveness and determination to make the other crack first was a nice touch.

``Paths of Destiny. I liked this one, but then I liked the prequel too.

``Family Traditions. Last Stand, taken *far* beyond the Edge of the World. It was kinda cute, I thought, though the end was a bit of a cop-out.

[See this fan's comments about Mice and Men.] [37]
[zine]: [Sandy Hereld] was far kinder in her review of this zine than I would be, and not only because she's not have the nasty piece of work I am. Honestly, this has to be one of the most disappointing zines in any subgenre of B7 in a *loooong* time. Even the stories that Sandy thought were either blah or so-so, I thought were awful, and incredibly out of character (yes, I *do* think there's slash that stays in character!), not to mention that worst flaw of all: they were boring. And as for that last story... Well, I won't actually vent any spleen here about that. Obviously, there are people out there for whom the stories in this zine will press the right buttons, so to speak, but I agree with Sandy: if anyone read this zine as their first and only slash and adult zine and then cleaved only unto gen, forever turning their faces from anything even hinting at age-statement-required, I'd understand too. Personally, though, I just dug out my collection of Sebastian stories. That soon did the trick! [38]

[zine]: "Misericorde" by Randym isn't a love story or a sex story. It is. however, an adult story; one that is most appropriate to the dark B7 universe. Tarrant and Vila are working as smugglers after GP. with Vila casting long, lustful glances Tarrant's way. As the story progresses, we learn that they aren't the only survivors of GP, nor is Vila the only rebel with a case of unrequited love. It's a well plotted, unusual piece of fanfic with a grim, bittersweet ending.

"Celebrating Life" by Cassandra. The title says it all. Avon, Vila, and Tarrant are having a wake for Cally. They are drinking, relaxing, massaging. One thing leads to another until the three men are together in bed. It is all handled very tastefully and erotically.

"Mice and Men" by Mistral. This very long (98 pages) story was dark and violent, with more sex than I've seen in any other piece of fanfic to date. Often the sex was more brutal than I would have liked and often it was longer (to the point that it was boring) than I would have liked, yet I can't say I disliked the story. It is powerful, memorable, and different, with a few sweet moments that were most satisfying. The story involves a number of different sexual pairings, but the main focus is conflict and sex between Avon and Tarrant. In this AU story, the two men have very violent goes at each other. Yet—amazingly—Mistral manages a happy ending.

The zine is stuffed with wonderful Tarrant art, starting with the provocative front cover by Leah Rosenthal which could very well serve as an illo for "Celebrating Life." Randym's sensual A/T illos with "Mice and Men" are also particularly noteworthy. And the Story Contest illos all include Tarrant! The back cover may not be Tarrant, but it must be mentioned; it's the award winning "Weenie Caught in Spiral Binding" by Lumpy Bites.

SC7.5 is chubby (273 pages), attractively laid out, and easy to read, with page upon page of Tarrant. One of the things that I particularly liked about this zine was the number of long, well-developed stories. [39]


Southern Comfort 7.5—apparently Annie unloaded everything she had around which was remotely B7 adultish, regardless of quality--there's the occasional gem (by S. G.!) amidst rivers of shit—this is the zine which attempts to prove that Sturgeon's Law is optimistic! It culminates with a 1-o-n-g story in which characters called Tarrant and Avon go through a sexual blender and come through thoroughly chopped, diced and impression of this one was that perhaps someone had found a commercial s/m porn novel, and recast it with Our Heroes—is definitely doesn't have the 'slash sensibility'... This zine also takes the Grand Prize for the Worst Fan Art in Any Category -- one picture in particular had four of us in stitches the last night of ZCon! [40]

Issue 8

Was there one?

Issue 8.5

Southern Lights 8.5 was published in November 1994 and is 268 pages long.

cover of issue #8.5, Leah Rosenthal
flyer for issue #8.5


  • Catocala, "Into the Fire" (Avon/Blake, "Blake only wants to help Avon, whether Avon wants his help or not!") (7 pages) (also in "touched" #11 and Resistance #5)
  • Catocala, "Into the Dragon's Jaws" (Avon/Vila, "After Star One, Vila hopes that he will finally be able to have a relationship with Avon. A sequel to "Into the Fire"") (7 pages)
  • Catocala, "Out of the Embers" (Avon/Vila, with possible Blake/Avon - incorrectly labelled as A/B/V, "After Gauda Prime, Avon and Vila must deal with a Blake who is not feeling too forgiving... A sequel to "Into the Fire" and "Into the Dragon's Jaws."") (8 pages)
  • Jane Mailander, "The Right Place to Go" (Blake/Vila) (1/2 page)
  • Cami, "Sand Sculptures" (Tarrant/Soolin/Dayna/Servalan, "The sand of Virn takes its toll on Tarrant in a most unexpected way...") (14 pages)
  • Catocala, "First of a Thousand and One" (Avon/Vila, "— Vila thought he'd escaped the class domination of Earth, only to learn that things were no different for him aboard the Liberator...") (6 pages)
  • Irish, "Suffered Facts" (Avon/Blake, "Avon ran from Blake after Gauda Prime, but now the rebel leader has caught up with him!") (4 pages)
  • V. Lasic, G. H. Erkin, & K. Osher-Dill, "Cucumbers Are Not the Only Fruit" ("Cally is at first appalled,and then delighted, when she discovers Dayna's "secret." Alas, the men aboard Liberator are not as happy about the situation...") (11 pages)
  • Lexa Reiss, "The Nothing That Is" (Tarrant/Travis, Tarrant/Kyera, Tarrant/OC (Jarn, "Cadet Tarrant learns a few hard truths about himself, about the Federation, and about others in this pre-series story.") (20 pages)
  • Catherine S., "The Agony of Victory" (Avon/Blake) (8 pages)
  • Leah S., "The Great Orac" ("Orac's abilities to predict the future are sorely taxed!") (2 pages)
  • Irish, "Turn, Turn, Turn" (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Avon/Vila - incorrectly labelled as A/B/V) (2 pages)
  • Rhapsodie, "You Ought to Be in Pictures" (Tarrant/Dayna, Tarrant/Soolin, Tarrant/Servalan, "Tarrant has become a famous film star...unfortunately some embarrassing "flicks" from his past have surfaced...") (9 pages)
  • Paula, "Repercussions-- A Love Story" (Jabberwocky) (Avon/Blake, "Set in the Jabberwocky universe. Avon and Blake finally realize that they care for each other...") (13 pages) [41] (reprinted in Jabberwocky #5)
  • Mireille, "Betrayers" (Avon/Blake) (4 pages)
  • S.E. Thompson, "Moral Minority" (Avon/Cally, "On Auron, men who dress in tight black leather are considered "sluts"...") (3 pages)
  • K. Ann Yost, "Sweet Revenge" (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Blake/Jenna - incorrectly labelled A/B/J) (2 pages)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Substitute" (Avon/Gan, with unrequited Blake/Avon, "Gan can see that Avon needs him. But can Avon learn to give Gan what he needs?") (6 pages)
  • Aurora, "Purr" (Avon/Blake) (2 pages)
  • Pat Nussman, "Farewell Performance" (Vila/Soolin, "Vila and Soolin are partners after Gauda Prime and down on their luck...") (9 pages)
  • Jane Mailander, "Kokopelli's Dance" (Avon/?, Jenna/?, Blake/?, Blake/Avon) (8 pages)
  • Riley Cannon, "Journey's End" (Avon/Blake) (15 pages)
  • Ellis Ward, "In Lieu of Regrets" (reprinted from The Other Side #4, was originally published in an issue of "touched") (Avon/Vila, "After Malodaar, Avon tries to make amends with Vila...") (4 pages)
  • W. K. D. Ways, "Sex and Sensibility: An (Im)Morality Tale" (Vila/everyone, Cally/Avon/Dayna/Tarrant, "Vila has suddenly become irresistible to the entire crew ...") (8 pages)
  • J.R., "Beyond the Far Horizon" (Avon/Blake< "Avonand Blake are surprisedto realize that they are hopelessly in love...even though they can't seem to get along for more than an hour at a time! Also, the two sequels to this story: Echoes of Love and Coming Out of the Dark.") (16 pages)
  • J.R., "Echoes of Love" (Avon/Blake, with Avon/Soolin) (33 pages)
  • J.R., "Coming Out of the Dark" (Avon/Blake) (36 pages)


  • Jude, "Tell Tale Eyes"
  • Jude, "A Man Alone"
  • Jane Mailander, "An Oblique Song" (filk, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun) (winner of a 1995 STIFfie Award)
  • Jude, "Hold and Heal"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover, Undone Grate, London Grapes, Randym (back cover)

Reviews and Reactions to Issue 8.5

See reactions and reviews for The Nothing That Is.
See reactions and reviews for Into the Fire.
See reactions and reviews for Into the Dragon's Jaws.
See reactions and reviews for Turn, Turn, Turn.
See reactions and reviews for You Ought to Be in Pictures.
See reactions and reviews for Substitute.
See reactions and reviews for Farewell Performance.
See reactions and reviews for Journey's End.
See reactions and reviews for Sex and Sensibility: An (Im)Morality Tale.
See reactions and reviews for Beyond the Far Horizon.
See reactions and reviews for Echoes of Love.

My second Southern Comfort (previously I have read 6.5 - and I have 5.5 waiting). I am beginning to think is a pretty good zine, and that I would pick up other editions if not too unreasonably priced. You get a lot of it for your money – and there’s usually nice artwork, and some pretty good printing etc etc. Plus, amongst various stories I don’t really like (or really don’t like, depending on whether they insult Blake a lot while they’re not good), there are some really brilliant ones.

So, let’s take a look... [See this reviewer's comments about other individual stories above.]


Jane Mailander, "The Right Place to Go" (Vila/Blake) Half a page of jokey fic. I took the pairing off this on Fanlore, but I think I'll put it back, since that is the joke.

Cami, "Sand Sculptures" (Tarrant/Soolin/Dayna/Servalan) (14 pages) Hmm... I guess I forgot to read this one. Will go back.

Catocala, "First of a Thousand and One" (Avon/Vila) (6 pages) Whoops, skipped this too. Seems OK.

Irish, "Suffered Facts" (Avon/Blake) (4 pages) I was really looking forward to this because I think Irish is rather brilliant, but this one does very little for me. The relationship progression is too easy (one minute they misunderstand each other, then they don't and there's discussion of sex). I don't dislike it, but I could live without it. (Fortunately I love the next Irish one, so that's OK).

V. Lasic, G. H. Erkin, & K. Osher-Dill, "Cucumbers Are Not the Only Fruit" (11 pages) Why on Earth is this fic 11 pages long? How funny is this idea? (N.B. The idea is that Dayna thinks that cucumbers are better than men. She tells Cally... etc etc). This is surely a one-page fic, maximum

[snipped] Catherine S., "The Agony of Victory" (Avon/Blake) (8 pages) I read this a while ago on the internet (I think) - and I loved it not, though I also do not hate it. Will probably re-read at some point.

Leah S., "The Great Orac" (2 pages) I'd been hoping for another masterpiece, like the child molesting one from F&I3, but this is just a silly joke fic about Orac and prediction. It's quite fun, though...


Paula, "Repercussions-- A Love Story" (Jabberwocky) (Avon/Blake) (13 pages) I haven't read any Jabberwocky so I skipped this, but I hope to read that universe at some point.

Mireille, "Betrayers" (Avon/Blake) (4 pages) Another chance to reiterate the events of GP. This is what I do not want my fanfic to do.

Then there are some absolutely BRILLIANT artworks, OMFG. We're not surprised that I (proud founder of unconventionalcourtship) like these, right? But I am just so pleased they exist! They're the prompts for the SoCo writing challenge, and it's lucky the deadline was about ten years ago, because otherwise I'd be trying to think of a plot for 'The Rebel Prince' RIGHT NOW. (Looks like only 'Sweet Savage Delta' actually exists - woe, indeed).

S.E. Thompson, "Moral Minority" (Avon/Cally) (3 pages) So... this is a weird comedy ficlet in which Cally accuses Avon of dressing provocatively and thus begging for it. Um... it's vaguely amusing, and not a little disturbing. Funnily enough the Vila-related coda sort of makes it work for me where it otherwise wouldn't.

K. Ann Yost, "Sweet Revenge" (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Blake/Jenna - incorrectly labelled A/B/J) (2 pages) Yer, so this one definitely isn't a threesome, it's just Jenna being really... er, yes, jealous. But then turned on... I could have lived without this....


Aurora, "Purr" (Avon/Blake) (2 pages) Right so... mostly I could live without this one (which seems to conclude that Blake has no interest in Avon?), but if we are going to describe Avon as a cat at least we've gone with this:

Kerr Avon did move with a catlike grace, most of the time. When he was in a serious hurry--for example, when dodging blasters-he moved like a stork on a hot tin roof. But he did have a cat's way of daring you to comment when he made a mistake, that look that said, "I meant to do that." That other look, too, that made it clear that his surroundings and his companions were utterly beneath him: That was certainly feline. And then there was the way he looked when he got wet...



Jane Mailander, "Kokopelli's Dance" (Blake/Avon/Jenna <-- not true! Actually Avon/?, Jenna/?, Blake/?, Blake/Avon) (8 pages) This is a London fic with Blake, Avon and Jenna all in solitary confinement. Then some nice person in the walls suggests they discuss fantasies... and it's a bit creepy, really. Not for me, though not badly done. I did read all of it.


Ellis Ward, "In Lieu of Regrets" (reprinted from Touched) (Avon/Vila) (4 pages) Not sure how I feel about this post-Orbit fic. Avon comes to make a brittle apology but then they talk about a weird time in the past where Avon thought Vila was Anna... It's really awkward and nasty, and Vila does not cry (phew). Um... yer. I don't know. It's not really for me, whether it is good or no, but I think it's OK.


J.R., "Coming Out of the Dark" (Avon/Blake) (36 pages) Funnily enough I did not read this one.

I've read another zine, but it's gen and the time is now 1am. So... I'll write about it in a different post, I think, some other day. [42]

"The Nothing That Is" by Lexa Reiss is one of the best pieces of fanfic that I've ever read. Slash is only incidental to the complex, well developed plot. It is a fascinating Tarrant story that takes place during his days at the FSA. It includes a supporting cast of characters from the series as well as an intriguing original character.

"You Ought to be in Pictures" by Rhapsodie is the humorous winner of the Southern Comfort story contest. It utilizes all three Tarrant illos: T/Soolin, T/Servalan. T/Dayna. Set after PGP, Del Tarrant is now a superstar model. But he finds his career threatened when vidtapes of past indiscretions show up: Desire Under the Helm, Gone with the Sin, and Blood and Sand. I wonder why the BBC never showed us these adventures from his rebel days.

With Ashton Press's computerization complete, the zine has a spiffy layout and superb print quality. Color Avon front cover by Rosenthal. Long stories, short stories, straight stories, slash stories, drama and humor, all manners of pairings. Erotic art irreverent art. cartoons. There should be something for every adult fannish taste. 268 pages of double column reduced print. [43]

Issue 8.75

cover of issue #8.75 Phoenix
flyer for issue #8.75

Southern Lights 8.75 was published in November 1994 and is 66 pages, all slash and all Avon/Vila stories. Art: Phoenix (front cover), Adrian Morgan, Leah Rosenthal

From a flyer: "At last! The all-Avon/Vila special issue of Southern Comfort returns for your reading pleasure! 66 pages of reduced, columnar print to delight all of you A/V fans out there! Approximate word count: 50,719. Gorgeous front cover of a sultry, brooding Avon and delicious Vila by Phoenix!"


  • Irish, "A Practical Solution" ("Avon finds Vila's constant scrutiny of him amusing at first. Then,he realizes why Vila is always watching him...")
  • Mireille, "Never Say Never" ("Vila desperately wants Avon to care for him, but he knows it's too much to expect of the upper-class Alpha. So, Vila's willing to settle for what he can get. Or is he...?")
  • J.R., "Saint of Circumstances" ("Gauda Prime is in the past and has left both Avon and Vila changed men. But Blake isn't quite willing to give up on his own claim to Avon!")
  • J.R., "Easy to Love You" ("Avon and Vila struggle to survive as the rebellion continues under the leadership of Del Tarrant.")
  • Mireille, "Promises, Promises" ("In the aftermath of Gauda Prime, Vila reflects on all of the promises Avon once made him... and broke.")
  • Ellis Ward, "Lest Madness Return" ("Following Malodaar, Avon attempts to reconcile matters with Vila. A sequel to "In Lieu of Regrets"") (reprinted from "touched" #11, printed in Southern Comfort 8.5)
  • Stew, "Portobello Blues" ("Vila risks everything for one last-ditch chance at happiness") (reprinted from The Unique Touch #2 The Other Side #4)
  • Irish, "Things That Go Bang" ("A pre-series story detailing the circumstances of Avon and Vila's very first meeting...and the unexpected consequences.")

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8.75

[zine]:I was thrilled when I saw this zine at Media. First of all, I loved the other all A/V issues they'd done in the past. Secondly, B7 seems to be at one of its fannish low-ebbs at the moment and what little that's out there is Avon/Blake. (*Please* no one mention Tarrant!) So, all in all in all, I was so happy you coulda spread me on toast when I saw it. At last, I'd be able to get my A/V fix! Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I wanted.

There are no really stand out bad stories, but there are no real great ones either. The longest and most involved story in the zine is "Easy to Love You" (which is a sequel to "Saint of Circumstance" that is also printed in the zine) by [J.R.] It's a PGP story that stipulates that not only are A/V lovers, but that after Gauda Prime they become pirate/mercenaries along with Del Grant. They still help with the revolution, but on their terms. I have two major problems with this story. First of all, although I honestly believe that Avon could very well love Vila, he is a more "show don't tell" (actually, more to the point, "Figure it out. If you can't tell that I love you, I'm not going to spoon-feed you, idiot.") kinda guy. I'm bothered when I see stories that have him saying it several times, which this does. Secondly, about the middle of the second story, Avon becomes blinded (long explanation deleted here), but has no problem with it since it means that Vila will *have* to stay close to him now. I really have a hard time seeing Avon as that needy. No matter how much he would want someone to stay close, he wouldn't like *having* to depend on anyone. Part of Avon's charm (?) is the fact that he's self-reliant (or at least likes to think of himself that way) to his own detrement (sic). The whole thing bothers me in regards not only to Avon, but it would bother me no matter who this is. That kind of dependance (sic) is just not healthy. Okay, okay, this is B7 we're talking about here, people not known for their complete and total mental balance, but this is supposed to be a happy story.

The only other stories that stuck with me from the zine are both reprints from the zine |B7-THE OTHER SIDE. One is a post-Orbit piece by Ellis Ward called "Lest Madness Return" (typically maudlin for this kind of story, though good) and the other is "Portobello Blues" by Stew. The latter is really the best story in the zine, and while it's also a bit depressing, it's not what I would call typical.... Overall, I'd recommend Southern Comfort 8.75 for only those who are really interested in A/V (there are much better stories in the 4.75 and 5.5 issues). It's cost is $7. [44]

Issue 9

Issue 9.5

cover issue #9.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 9.5 was published in May 1996 and is 229 pages long. It contains fiction (mostly slash), nonfiction, and art.


  • Irish, "While I Live"
  • Catherine S., "Interlude"
  • Linnadel Cameron, "Beyond Trust"
  • Vanessa Mullen, "The Travis Affair"
  • Jane Mailander, "Captive Thoughts"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Time, Corruption, and Appetite"
  • Paula, "Nightsongs"
  • Irish, "Such a Fool"
  • K. Ann Yost, "Machinations"
  • Pat Jacquerie, "Duty"
  • Irish, "Take My Heart"
  • R. Tabitha Roarke, "A Moment's Surrender"
  • Audrey Weirdsley, "Sweet Savage Delta"
  • Taliesin, "Twilight"
  • Audrey Weirdsley, "Taking Notes"
  • T. S. Gruimmer, "Shared Nookie"
  • Taliesin, "The Devil You Do"


  • Buster Hymen & Oliver Klosov, "Episodes That Should Have Been Made... But Weren't" (humor)
  • Letters of Comment

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Whitby27, Randym, Maryann Jorgenson

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9.5

See reactions and reviews for Duty.
[art for "Sweet Savage Delta"]: I got some REALLY strange looks from the Kinkos clerk when I handed him the cover of SWEET SAVAGE DELTA to run on card stock. Vila entwined with Avon is not the kind of thing you want to risk flashing around in this Bible Belt state. The things I do for you folks... [45]
[Nightsongs]: The long-awaited sequel to "Nightmusic," and well worth waiting for. The relationship between Avon and Tarrant deepens as they work to save a dissident musician from the Federation. The plot and the very hot sex scenes are skillfully combined. Keep an eye out for more stories in this very appealing series. [46]
[Beyond Trust]: Last time you recommended "Beyond Trust," the B/T story by Linnadel Cameron. It came out in Southern Comfort 9.5, which debuted at MediaWest. Now that I've read it, I definitely second your recommendation. So, are there any other B/Ts published besides that and "BATs"? I can't think of any offhand. [47]
[zine]: Overall, an excellent zine, strongly recommended. The variety of pairings is especially noteworthy, mostly slash but with one straight story (and half of another) and several group scenes.

The layout is attractive and easy to read, but also compact. There's a lot of reading matter for the money (229 tightly packed pages), mostly by experienced and skillful fan writers. Personally, I would have liked more illos, but that's a matter of taste; what there is is very nice. The cover, by Leah Rosenthal, shows bust portraits of Servalan, Avon, and Tarrant, none of whom appear to be wearing anything; I liked it so much that I bought the original art in the MediaWest art show...

  • While I Live, by Irish. The first of three (unrelated, but similar in tone) grim but ultimately upbeat PGPs by this author, spread throughout the zine. This one is a PGP A/B, told in first person from Blake's viewpoint-- difficult, but IMO she pulls it off. Avon, however, is not this Blake's Avon, who has been executed, but rather an Avon from a parallel universe in which he was the only survivor. A nifty science-fictional idea that I've seen done only once before, in an old A/V story by Jane Carnell. [contains explicit sex]
  • Interlude, by Catherine. Blake/Deva! This author is good at unusual pairings; she also did the Blake/Sinofar in Straight Blake's 2. Her style improves with each story, and this one, IMO, is her best so far (though my personal favorite is still "Rescue" in Dark Fantasies 3, because brothel stories push my buttons). There was one technical glitch that bothered me: a single paragraph in Blake's POV, when the rest of the story was in Deva's. I wish that had been edited. I also wondered whether the buddy pair who appear briefly at the beginning of the story might be Bodie and Doyle in disguise! [contains explicit sex]
  • Beyond Trust, by Linnadel Cameron. The story that breaks the Curl Rule. Yes, it's Blake/Tarrant! A long, satisfying read for fans of unusual pairings and extreme h/c. PGP, Tarrant is severely injured, blind and deaf, and is nursed by fellow convalescent Blake. They gradually become close, but Tarrant believes that he is still a captive of the Federation. When the rest of the Scorpio crew attempt to rescue Tarrant, complications ensue. I especially liked Tarrant's talk with Avon about Blake, and the funny, upbeat (and sexy!) ending. (Also recommended if you like this story: a gen story by the same author, "In the Shadow of the Night" in Serrated Seven, which also features Tarrant angst and the Blake-Tarrant relationship.) [contains explicit sex]
  • The Travis Affair, by Vanessa Mullen. Already familiar to the lucky members of the Space City mailing list. Another very unusual pairing: Travis I/ Travis II. Their violent encounter is interspersed with a red-hot Avon/Servalan interlude on Sarran. A fascinating story, somewhat difficult to follow but worth the effort. [contains explicit sex]
  • Captive Thoughts, by Jane Mailander. A short, hot PWP; an A/V bondage scene that turns out not to be what it seems. [contains explicit sex]
  • Corruption, Time, and Appetite, by Willa Shakespeare. As the title suggests, this is an erotic alternate version of "Rescue." Avon is brutally raped by Dorian. His crew kill Dorian, rescue Avon, and use the mysterious properties of the basement to heal Avon's near-fatal injuries. In the process they become sexually bonded to each other, and a cheerful orgy ensues. I enjoyed the inventiveness of the story but felt that the two halves didn't match very well in tone. I think I might have preferred two separate stories, one grim and one light. [contains explicit sex]
  • Nightsongs, by Paula. A lovely, long, luscious A/T, the sequel to "Nightmusic" in Southern Comfort 6.5, which in turn was inspired by a gen story, "The Night Wind" in Gambit 2. The relationship between Avon and Tarrant deepens as they discover their mutual affinity for the work of a famous dissident musician and make plans to save her from the Federation. A near-encounter with Blake himself complicates the plot and suggests that there will be a sequel. I especially like the fact that the sex scenes are not only hot, but also essential to our understanding of the unfolding relationship; and that the relationship does not exist in a vacuum, as is so often the case in sex stories, but is part of their lives and their ongoing struggle. I look forward to more stories in this very appealing series. [contains explicit sex]
  • Such a Fool, by Irish. An A/V version of the author's set of dark PGPs, in all of which Avon is made to pay heavily for shooting Blake. Here he is raped by Blake, which so horrifies Vila that, with the help of the rest of the Scorpio crew, he rescues Avon. The A-V interaction is well done, but it bothered me a bit that Blake's behaviour was not more clearly explained.
  • Machinations, by K. Ann Yost. This story is also a short, twisty, no-explicit-sex tale with a rather unflattering portrayal of Blake. Here, Blake's attempt to divert Avon's attentions from Vila backfires.
  • For the Moment, by Irish. Here it's Avon who is the manipulator, as he feigns innocence in order to get exactly what he really wants from Blake. [contains explicit sex]
  • Duty, by Pat Jacquerie. The centerpiece of the zine, and my own favorite by far. My MediaWest roommates laughed at me because I kept rereading this one even though I'd already done so many times already. This is Pat's slash debut, an A/T novella. Stranded on a distant planet with unusual customs, Avon and Tarrant must perform certain social duties in order to get the help they need. There is lots of hot explicit sex (with some yummy illos by Randym of two of the best bits, the shower scene and the dream), a plot with some surprising twists as well, and a tearjerking bittersweet ending. (But don't worry, there will be a sequel!) [contains explicit sex]
  • Take My Heart, by Irish. A PGP A/B with an unusual twist: Blake needs a new heart if he is to survive, and Avon, who damaged the old one, suggests himself as a donor. Another solution is found, however, and eventually there's a happy ending. This is a Jealous Jenna story, which I tend not to like as a rule, but it's well done. On the plus side, I like the handling of the other secondary characters, who are often neglected in A/B stories. This author is especially good with group dynamics.
  • A Moment of Surrender, by R. Tabitha Roarke. The only completely straight story in the zine, a short, nicely done Avon/Jenna PWP, set just after "Horizon." [contains explicit sex]
  • Sweet Savage Delta, by Audrey Weirdsley. Hot and funny. A wacky A/V fantasy with a twist. [contains explicit sex]
  • Twilight, by Taliesin. An A/V that begins with an optimistic reinterpretation of Avon's behaviour in "Orbit." Nice sex scenes. [contains explicit sex]
  • Taking Notes, by Audrey Weirdsley. Another funny story in the same universe as "Sweet Savage Delta," in which Vila initiates wide-eyed innocent Avon into the delights of the flesh. [contains explicit sex]
  • Episodes That Should Have Been Made... But Weren't, by Buster Hymen and Oliver Klosov. What it sounds like. Two pages of ludicrous plot summaries. I especially liked "One-hand Job," the Next Gen crossover with Travis/Data.
  • Shared Nookie, by T.S. Grimmer. An erotic parody of "Shared Danger," a story in Serrated Seven. An aphrodisiac has interesting effects on Tarrant, Cally, and Vila, with echoes of various classic fairy tales. [I suspect that Tanith Lee inspired the author's pseud!] [contains explicit sex]
  • The Devil You Do, by Taliesin. Avon and Blake are stranded on a planet, and Avon is injured. You know what happens. Nicely written, but an overdone plot, IMO. There's a twist at the end, however, that makes it a threeway with Vila. [contains explicit sex]
Conclusion: This zine is a MUST for A/T fans, and highly recommended for everyone else. There's something for everyone here, with no really bad stories, and a lot of good ones. [48]

SOUTHERN COMFORT 9.6 (Ann Wortham, ed.) has 229 pp. of B7/of which about 56 is "Blakey." ($20.) Artwise, Blake makes it into three pictures, off on the side while Avon reigns supreme. Since I don't care for [Whitby27's] art (especially pages 48, 65, and 129), I'm glad she likes Avon. I wish Wortham would have had Rosenthal do some interior art.

There are five Blakey stories that I read, and one Blake bashing A/V story ("Machinations") by K. Ann Yost that I made the mistake of reading. I've labeled it "Blake Basher" in my contents so I don't repeat my error. The rest of the zine involves other combos. I'm don't know yet if I'm keeping this zine intact or gutting it.

In "Beyond trust" by Linnadel Cameron (27 pp.), both Blake and Tarrant are recovering from G.P. with Tarrant being worse 
off because he was further hurt by the rebels (friendly fire) when they rescued them. (Others have mentioned this story 
favorably in RC before.) Blake helps Tarrant, but his initial motives aren't nice ones. The plot is somewhat involved, and
 there's a lot of h/c in it. Blake and Tarrant aren't the most believable couple, and there is one part I really have trouble with (a 
plot hole), but that doesn't step me from liking this story very much. I like this Blake. He holds grudges, he makes mistakes 
and he's depressed, but he rebounds. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking... I've reread this story maybe ten times?

Catherine's story, "Interlude" is five pages and is B/D, and, unfortunately, the D doesn't stand for Doyle. Ifs Deva.. Oh, dear, I have trouble with this because I just don't see that wimpy little thin redhead as a sexual being. I can't see Soolin liking him in Sondra's novels, and I certainly can't see Blake finding him attractive. BUT, I found the story acceptable. It is, after all, a casual sexual tryst. The final sentence is nice. Good ending. (I liked the B/B story better.)

Irish has three B/A stories with a total of 24 pages. She tends to be rather sentimental. All three of these stories are offbeat, very a/u. In "For the Moment," Blake after STAR ONE must not be as badly injured as we thought in the show. I know when I have a major accident/hurt, I'm certainly not engaging in sex a mere two days later. (This tends to be a problem in /. Writers use wounds and h/c as a way to get characters together, and then ignore the reality of the wound/hurt. Pain killers are not aphrodisiacs, and unless one is into SM, neither is pain.) In this, both Blake's and Avon's capsules land on the same planet, and Avon suffers a head injury. So Blake ends up taking care of Avon?? Huh? Didn't Travis almost kill Blake? Doesn't Avon order Blake back to "sickbay" because Blake's in bad shape? You know damn well if Blake could have been of any use, he'd have stayed on the flight deck. And if Avon's capsule lands so hard that he suffers a concussion, how does Blake manage not to have his wound further aggravated when he lands?? Yes, there are problems with the plot, BUT I'll still give this a rating of 3 1/2 mutoids (5 is top).

"Take My Heart" has some problems: it bashes Jenna — and it makes it sound as if getting hearts for transplants is something very hard to do, but that they have the technology to store them for long periods (and these two ideas don't fit well together). This is set three years after GP, and Blake and Avon haven't even seen each other since then. Here again, we have people having major health problems and recovering rather quickly. Also, another problem in fan fiction is that characters can die and people maybe grieve two lines worth, if that. It's almost as bad as .... "Alas, poor....[You fill in the name]! He/she/it has been like my lover/brother/mother/faithful companion for years/decades/ eons. Hmmm. If we push the body over there, there's room, but do you think we have enough time for a quickie?" I'd think that when a certain someone dies in this story, that another certain someone would have been more affected. BUT, despite my comments, I still like the story. I am SO desperate for B/A and Blake, that I can like imperfect stories very much.

"While I Live" is my favorite of the three Irish ones, perhaps because if s written from Blake's point of view. This is post GP, and Del Grant has had Avon shot. No, Blake's not into necrophilia. You'll just have to read the story or make up your own scenario as to how that happens. (I realize not everyone is going to fork out big bucks for under 60 pages of Blake. Some of you wouldn't even fork out $5, simply because you're not Blakies.) [49]

Issue 10

Southern Lights 10 was published in 1995 and contains 214 pages.

  • Twisted, fiction by Sandi Almany (Star Wars/Blake's 7/Star Trek: TOS) (4 pages)
  • other unknown content

Issue 10.5

cover of issues #10.5, Leah Rosenthal: this illo was originally printed in Blake, Rabble and Roll #2 for the story "Pale Shelter" by Catacala in 1990

Southern Lights 10.5 was published in 1999 and contains 131 pages. It has a color cover by Leah Rosenthal. It won a STIFfie and a Fan Q award in 2000.[50]


  • Riley Cannon, "Under the Influence"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" (sequel to "An Embarrassment of Riches" in Diverse Doings #2)
  • Paula, "Night Discord"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "It's Snow Wonder"
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Circle"
  • Andrea, "Transmission"
  • Jenner, "Memories"
  • Lexa Reiss, "Exit Interview"
  • Susan Cutter, "Nor the Race to the Swift"
  • Susan Cutter, "But That's the Way to Bet"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Don't Get Me Wrong"
  • Catocala, "Fool's Interlude" (universe of "Fool's Paradise," gen story in Raising Hell #4; reprinted from Rebel Desires 1)
  • T.Z. Trouper, "Night Class"
  • Ada L., "That Word Beginning with 'C'"
  • Pat Jacquerie, Lexa Reiss, and Erika Bloom, "Outcast of Auron"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "The House of Judgement"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "The Ultimate Unauthorized Hellhound" (reprinted from Avon Calling #2)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Delta Math"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Forget-me-not" poem
  • Willa Shakespeare, "My Alpha"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Whitby27

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 10.5

[Circle]:Jenna loves Blake, Blake loves Avon, Avon is quite keen to sleep with Jenna - and not perhaps uninterested in Blake, if he can get passed the fear. Jenna often gets a raw deal in B/A fics, so it's particularly nice to see her relationships with both men depicted so warmly (Jenna doesn't exactly like Avon, but she can sort of see what Blake sees in him). The B/A stuff is hot (Jenna watches them undress each other), awkward and touching. [51]
[zine]:Southern Comfort 10.5 is an especially good zine for Tarrant fans and Avon fans. I thought all the stories were excellent.

It's a tie between "Night Discord," "Exit Interview," and "Outcast of Auron" as to which is my favorite in this zine. "Night Discord," by Paula, had plenty of good sex, excellent character interaction and a satisfying plot as Tarrant and Avon try to work out their relationship after Blake and Jenna return.

"Exit Interview," by Lexa Reiss, is a short, beautifully written story that deals with Tarrant's decision to desert from Space Command, as he stops for a last visit with an old friend. This story is bleak without being depressing and captures the feel of the B7 universe very well. I especially liked the way the story highlighted how difficult it will be for Tarrant to find people he can trust and who will trust him in his new life.

I enjoyed "Outcast of Auron" very much, even though the only characters who got any sex were Avon, Cally and Cally's evil twin. (drat!) Although the story focuses on Avon and Cally, all of the characters are very well-written and have significant roles in the story. One thing I did find very unusual about this story was that it was a beat-up-and-rape where the rapist was a female (other than Servalan) and it was an entirely het story. The only other three stories I've read that had anything similar that I can think of right now are "Blood and Shadows" (where Tarrant is raped and tortured by Servalan) which is mostly slash, "Xoanon" in Straight Blakes 3, where Servalan uses the last survivor of the Scorpio crew as a sex toy, and "Asphodel" where Servalan captures and rapes Jenna. "Outcast of Auron" is a must-read for BUARA fans. Sharat is convincingly nasty and powerful, and she is quite creative in working over Avon.

I thought "Under the Influence," by Riley Cannon, was very sweet without being soppy, as it depicted the developing relationship between Tarrant and Avon, in three scenes set after Sarcophagus, Death-Watch and two years PGP.

Willa Shakespeare has several short humor pieces in this zine; all of them are great, but I like "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" the best. It's actually a sequel to "An Embarrassment of Riches" in Diverse doings 2. Cally's cabin is right next to Avon's and his and Tarrant's nocturnal activities are having a distubing effect on the Auron. Dayna is also unhappy with the situation. Both women prefer men, so they decide to try to seduce Vila. Unfortunately, as with so much in the B7 universe, things do not go exactly as planned. I'm hoping for a sequel to this story.

"Memories," by Jenner, is a beautifully written, tragic A/B.

"Circle," by Vanessa Mullen, is another good A/B, with a particularly well-done characterization of Jenna. All too often, she is reduced to a jealous bitch in A/B stories, but that isn't the case here.

Vila gets his share of nookie with Avon in three good A/V stories. I liked the science fiction setup on the planet in "That Word Beginning with 'C'," by Ada L. It has a truly nasty natural phenomenon, particularly for a guy like Vila. There were also two reprints by Catocala. I'm glad these stories are being reprinted, since many older zines can be hard to find.

Vila also gets a chance to do Tarrant in "Night Class," by T.Z. Trouper. Misunderstandings lead to interesting results.

Susan Cutter has three short, funny stories in this issue. I liked them all, but "Zipper" appealed to me the most. Jenna gets herself into a tight fix and has to get Vila to help her escape.

Val's illos for "Outcast of Auron" were very hot, as was Leah's cover. I was very impressed with the quality of this zine overall. There wasn't a story that I didn't like, even the ones that are not about my favorite pairings. The print was clear and easy to read, and the layout was very nice. [52]
[zine]:OK, here's the first of the new batch of smutty goodies that I've read all the way through. It is excellent, very highly recommended, and my quick glance through #11.5 indicates that that one is equally good. Southern Comfort is one of my favorite erotic zines for its wide variety of pairings, both slash and het, and the nice mix of long and short, serious and funny stories. There's something to fit every mood.

The centerpiece of this issue, IMO, is "Night Discord," the new story in Paula's much-admired A/Ta series. The conflict that the title refers to is the arrival of Blake and Jenna to rejoin the Liberator. How will the developing relationship between Avon and Tarrant be affected by the presence of Blake? The combined crew then meet with a character named Dorian, and adventures ensue. This one has everything: plot, character interaction, hot sex, satisfying length-- it's over 30 pp., a novella by the STIFFie standards. A must for all A/Ta fans!

There are two more excellent A/Ta stories, too. Riley Cannon's "Under the Influence" traces the development of the relationship in a series of three touching vignettes: post-Sarcophagus, post- Deathwatch, and PGP. Andrea's "Transmission" has Tarrant showing Avon just what Servalan did to him on Virn-- while the lady herself eavesdrops via a device planted on Tarrant. The author does a good job of sexualizing the complex friendship/rivalry of Avon and Tarrant, with very hot results.

Admirers of "The Nothing That Is" by Lexa Reiss, which appeared in SC #8.5 and which I personally consider one of the finest B7 stories ever written, gen or slash, will be thrilled to see that there is a sequel here. Like the first story, it deals with Tarrant's life pre-series and features one of the most memorable of all fan-created characters, Tarrant's FSA roommate Jarn, a puppeteer in training. Now on the verge of deserting from Space Command, Tarrant yearns for one last experience with someone he can really trust and visits his old friend.

Vila gets his turn with Tarrant in T. Z. Trouper's "Night Class," teaching the somewhat inexperienced younger man the finer points of m/m sex. This sweet, well-written story reminded me strongly of the prize-winning story by Mireille, "All Work and No Play" in Liberator Fantasies. I could even imagine this story as the prequel to that one, showing how the established Ta/V relationship we see in "All Work" got started in the first place.

In Willa Shakespeare's humorous "Beggars Can't Be Choosers," Cally and Dayna feel frustrated by the fact that Avon and Tarrant are involved with each other. Since both of them prefer men to women, they discard the idea of trying it with each other and instead decide on a collective seduction of Vila. But alas, a series of accidents foil their plan.

The same author recycles two classic dirty jokes in B7 form, in "It's Snow Wonder" and "Delta Math," and builds short stories around a play-on-words punchline (not quite a feghoot, but almost) in "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "Forget-me-not." A slightly- - but only slightly-- more serious story is "The Ultimate Unauthorized Hellhound," in which not only the entire series but also the Hellhound sequel turns out to have been a fever dream on Avon's part. The real truth about his relationship with Blake is more than a little strange. The prolific Willa has also contributed a funny parody poem and a straight-- so to speak-- rendition of a quotation from Oscar Wilde describing a rather Avon-like character.

Jenner's "Memories" is a classic, tragically romantic A/B. It begins as a flashback on Avon's part during a later affair with Tarrant, but then continues relentlessly on to GP. I found the handling of timing slightly confusing, but the writing style and the eloquent evocation of the tragedy of the A/B relationship are wonderful.

Emotional intensity between Avon, Blake, and Jenna is the core of Vanessa Mullen's "Circle." Jenna wants Blake, who's gay; Blake wants Avon, who's straight and has his eye on Jenna. The three resolve their mutual problems in a temporarily satisfying way, but the suggestion of future tragedy hovers in the background.

The A/B relationship gets lighter treatment in Susan Cutter's pair of amusing short stories, "Nor the Race to the Swift" and "But That's the Way to Bet." Blake gives his laryngitis to Avon, who takes appropriate revenge. Her "Zipper" is a tasty little het number in which Vila must use his skills to extract Jenna from a bit of antique-style lingerie she has rashly tried on and now can't get off.

The A/V relationship is represented by Ada L.'s little gem, "That Word Beginning with 'C'." I love it for its SF-ishness and its canonical plausibility. Fourth-season Avon and Vila, searching for a scientist they hope to recruit, find themselves trapped by a frightening natural phenomenon. When Vila's panicked reaction threatens both their lives, Avon must find a way to distract him and calm him down quickly. The A/V quota is rounded out by two reprinted stories by Catocala, one serious and one funny.

The second-longest story in the zine, "Outcast of Auron," is an entirely het story, but one with a difference: it's very dark in tone, more like a Dark Fantasies-type slash story. It is, in fact, classic BUARA, except that the Avon-abuser is female, Cally's evil twin in the most literal sense. This one has lovely lurid illustrations by Whitby27, that IMO make it inadvisable to read the zine in public-- but then, the color A/B/V cover by Leah already does that anyway!

The zine has the clear, attractive layout and high printing quality that we've all come to expect from Ashton Press. And not a bad story in it! Whatever your preferences in smut run to, you almost certainly want this zine. (Well, unless you insist on either Travis or Gan, in which case you want #11.5, which has good stories with both of them.) [53]

Issue 11

Issue 11.5

cover of issue #11.5, Avon and Anna Grant, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 11.5 was published in May 1999 and is 129 pages long. It has a color cover by Leah Rosenthal.



  • Predatrix, "The Ultimate Slash Cliche Drinking Game" (6 pages)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Application to Pilot the Liberator"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "This Is a Mad Blakelib"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Whitby27, Sarah S.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 11.5

[zine]:Here's the companion zine to SC #10.5, and amazingly, it's just as good. I really appreciate the skill of the editor in juggling a wide assortment of stories so that each zine would have a good mix. Once again, every single item is well worth reaading.

The standout in this issue is Alicia Ann Fox's "Xenogamy," one of the hottest het stories ever written. A rough draft appeared on SC and was perhaps the most popular story ever serialized here. This is the final, polished version, and it's even hotter now. I'd recommend that slash fans who think they don't like het give this one a try. There's lots of other good stuff besides the sex, as a deeply suspicious Avon, rescued by the Voyager crew after he escapes from torture by his Federation, learns his way around the Trek universe. And the hot tub scene is-- well, you'll just have to read it and see for yourself.

The other long story, this one novella-length, is Misha's surreal dream story, which rather reminds me of New Wave SF-- as if J. G. Ballard or some such author were writing B7 fan erotica! This one is very complicated but repays careful reading. It opens with Cally, captured on Centero, being raped and tortured by Travis --who has, however, made her believe she is having sex with her beloved sister--in the hope of getting her to talk. But Cally is already suffering severe mental illness as a result of her experience on Saurian Major, and is broadcasting strange and disturbing dreams to everyone within reach. The Federation must get rid of her but dare not kill her ("The death-scream of an Auron is incredibly powerful"), so they send her back to neutral Auron in the care of Senator Tyce Sarkoff of Lindor and none other than Olag Gan, now also a Lindorean diplomat after he decided not to join Blake back on Cygnus Alpha. Gan, of course, has problems of his own due to the limiter, but with the assistance of Tyce, Docholli, and later Zelda, he and Cally are able to help each other. Dream sequences are interwoven with real events in a complex plot that also involves evil Federation experiments and Lindorean mythology. I predict that this will be a "love it or hate it" story. Some will find it too confusing and too far from the aired series, while others will find it fascinating. I guess it's obvious which category I'm in!

A/B fans will be delighted to find two excellent A/B stories in this issue. "With This Ring" by Julia Stamford explores the erotic ramifications of genital piercing and Liberator healing pads, as well as the emotional ramifications of the relationship between Blake and Avon. The illustration by Whitby27 is very beautiful and very explicit, stunning in every sense. My jaw dropped when I saw it. And the story itself is both hot and unusual.

Nova is a new author to watch out for; her A/B story in the multimedia zine Dark Roses is also noteworthy. Here, "Delinquent" provides an unusual but plausible background for Avon and explains why both he and Vila hate psychiatrists. Avon's cynicism is revealed as thwarted early idealism-- and Blake realizes that Avon is in fact the very person he has idolized for much of his life. And then things really begin to sizzle!

Federation mind-meddling also figures in the plot of "The Turning of the Worm." This story grew out of discussions in the Tarrant apa, in which Tarrant fans complained about all the old stories in which mean bully Tarrant rapes the poor widdle Delta until Avon makes him stop, and said they'd like to see a story in which Vila rapes Tarrant instead. Well, here it is at last! Poor Tarrant is blackmailed into serving as the helpless sex slave of Vila's evil alternate personality, which was generated by all the shrinking of Vila's head. Avon resolves the problem by making love to Vila himself, and they all settle into a happy threesome, joined by Cally and Dayna in the sequel.

Young Tarrant has encounters with m/m sex both tender and brutal in "Embarkation" (originally called "Initiation"?) and "Flight Path." The first story opens with the bizarre image suggested by Penny, of Tarrant in one of Servalan's gowns. It's an initiation prank at the FSA. Tarrant is rescued by Major Travis, who turns out to have his own agenda.

In the second story, Tarrant seeks out Travis once again. Travis is now changed physically, after what Blake did to him, and he appears to be changed emotionally as well. Or was he really that way all along? Tarrant learns a lesson, though not, as he thinks to himself at the end, the one that Travis intended. It's an interestingly eroticized twist on the question of why Tarrant decided to leave Space Command when he had been so sucessful there.

More het content is provided by the reprinted A/J story "Taken In." I haven't actually compared it with the original version, but this version is distinctly hotter than I remember, so I think it has been skilfully spiced up. Very nice.

I suppose "Pet Project" would have to be called het too, or at least partly so, since Cally's moon disc and Avon's Sopron manage to reproduce! This event coincides with Tarrant's unsuccessful attempt to seduce Avon. The same story is also presented in the form of a Mad-lib game-- a list of words to be supplied at random by the game player, which are then plugged into blank spaces in a story, with hilarious results.

"Fun with Dick and Jenna" presents the entire aired canon in the form of a Dick and Jane reader, but very definitely for adults. A sample, which explains the title: "See Jenna see Blake in the showers. Blake is not small. See Jenna smile. Jenna says, 'Hello, Dick.' "Blake says, 'My name is not Dick. I am Roj Blake.' "Jenna smiles."

Other humorous items are the "Application to Pilot the Liberator," which could almost have gone in a genzine except for the question about the Prince Albert (a foreshadowing of the "Ring" story later in the zine!); and Predatrix's B7 version of a slash drinking game, in which the player must take a sip for every cliche encountered. (The "Dick and Jenna" passage quoted above coresponds to item 2.3, "Are you pointing that thing at me?," worth a half sip.)

A stellar lineup of authors, and none of them disappoint. Again, highly recommended. [54]


  1. Southern Comfort (aka Southern Lights Special) at, accessed 3 December 2009
  2. Subject: Sex and B7 by Sandy Hereld on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  3. Subject: Sex and B7 by Lorna B. on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  4. from Datazine #39
  5. by Anon at Judith Proctor's Blake' 7 site
  6. "adult and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula'
  7. by Anon at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 page
  8. reviewed in 1987 by Jane Carnall in "touched" #10
  9. from CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  10. from Rallying Call #17 (April 1996), from a list of a fan's favorite Blake/Avon
  11. This comment about "offense" is explained in the editorial for The Unique Touch #2
  12. a review by Jane Carnall in The Unique Touch #4.5
  13. a satiric LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  14. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  15. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  16. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  17. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  18. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  19. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  20. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  21. a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  22. from CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  23. from an LoC in "Southern Comfort" #10
  24. bruinhilda.tumblr, August 21, 2016
  25. comment at Lysator, August 9, 1994
  26. review by aralias, February 22, 2015 at her journal; Archive
  27. comarum.tumblr
  28. Favourite Avon/Tarrant Stories
  29. bruinhilda.tumblr, November 16, 2016
  30. these are the shorter comments by Aralias; for longer ones, see individual fic pages; reference link.
  31. from IMHO* #2 (1995)
  32. comments by Aralias, see full post at Lots of not very good zines, November 13, 2015
  33. review by Anonymous at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  34. MFae Glasgow on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  35. Review posted by Sandy Hereld to Lysator on March 6, 1994, quoted in its entirety with permission.
  36. Comment posted by Susan S. to Lysator on March 8, 1994.
  37. Review posted by Lorna B. to Lysator dated March 8, 1994.
  38. Lysator, M. Fae Glasgow, dated March 6, 1994.
  39. Carol McCoy, focus is Del Tarrant, in IMHO* #2 (1995)
  40. from Strange Bedfellows #3 (November 1993)
  41. "adult and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula'
  42. Aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on Dreamwidth; reference link
  43. Carol McCoy, focus is Del Tarrant, in IMHO* #2 (1995)
  44. In July 1995, Michelle Christian posted this review of the zine to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  45. Lysator, the zine's editor, dated September 4, 1994.
  46. Favourite Avon/Tarrant Stories
  47. from Rallying Call #18
  48. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  49. from Rallying Call #19
  50. Southern Comfort 10.5 at, accessed 3 December 2009
  51. from Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, August 5, 2013
  52. from TM at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  53. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  54. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site