Southern Comfort (multimedia zine)

From Fanlore
(Redirected from Southern Lights)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
You may be looking for the Star Trek TOS zine Southern Comfort.
Title: Southern Comfort, Southern Lights, Southern Lights Specials
Publisher: Ann Wortham
Date(s): August 1985-1999
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake's 7, multimedia
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Southern Comfort (previously titled Southern Lights) was one of Blakes 7 fandom's longest running, continuously published adult zines, featuring both adult het and slash material. Early issues were multi-fandom.

Issue Content

Issues with whole numbers are gen or mild het.

Issues numbered "x.5" contain explicit het and slash, and non-explicit slash.

Issues numbered "x.75" contain all slash Avon/Vila stories.

Issues #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6 are multi-fandom.

Issue #1.5 is Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Title Change

Earlier issues (up to issue #6) were titled Southern Lights (sometimes referred to as "Southern Lights Specials.") The word "Special" was last used in 1988 for issue #4.5.[1]

In 1990, the titles of the issues that had sexual content became Southern Comfort.

In May 1993, the editor stated that because of zine piracy, this series of zines would no longer be published. See The Revelcon Zine Piracy Letters. However, the series did continue for another eleven issues. These later issues all had the title "Southern Comfort," perhaps as a way of discontinuing the the zine, but not discontinuing the zine...

Since the "Southern Comfort" issues lagged considerably behind the "Southern Lights" issues regarding their publication dates, this means the timeline appears to be a little out-out-of-whack starting around 1988. But the editor's statement and decision did mean all issues of the zine, moving forward, took the uniform title "Southern Comfort."

Submission Guidelines

From issue #5.5 (1991):

Remember to put your name on your submission!!!

Poetry should be typed and spaced exactly the way you want it to appear in the zine. Please realize that my use for filler such as poetry, filks, and very short vignettes is necessarily limited. Three pieces of poetry are necessary to obtain a contributor's copy. Less than three pieces will obtain you a reduction in price.

Unsolicited artwork is not usually accepted unless offered by an artist I regularly use. If you are interested in illustrating stories or submitting filler type art# please contact me first to find out my current needs. DO NOT FORGET TO ENCLOSE A SASE OR I WILL NOT REPLY. NO EXCEPTIONS. Be sure to let me know what you like to draw, your art "style" (portraiture, illustration or both), and the medium you usually work in. Pen and ink drawings are preferred although pencil, ink wash, and color work will be accepted on an individual basis. Please bear in mind that screening art is an expensive process and I'm no longer willing to do it unless the artwork can measure up to something by Suzi Lovett, Laura Virgil or Leah Rosenthal (all artists whose work I have agreed to screen in the past). If your art requires screening you will have to either A) have the art screened yourself or B) mail the original to me so that I may do it. The same goes for pen and ink work if you can't provide me with a good solid Xerox. If you don't want to send the original and you can't obtain a good dark photocopy, then at least take the time to darken down the copy yourself. I have often had to do this in the past and it makes me very nervous to do so — I am not an artist. My greatest needs currently are for artists capable of illustration and/or cartooning. Three pieces of artwork are necessary, in most cases, to qualify for a full contributors' copy of the zine. Less than three pieces will obtain you a reduction in price.

As to content, I accept stories based on any character(s) from any season of B7, including "fifth" and beyond. I do not do special "theme" issues and I like to see lots of variety in the issues. There seems to be a shortage of stories based before fifth season, especially stories of better than average length, so I am constantly on the lookout for these. I prefer stories of at least medium length with a discernible plot# although I will take shorter pieces as filler. Humorous and serious stories are both welcomed, but I am picky about what I think constitutes a funny story. I also much prefer stories with original and/or different ideas in them; I find stories that are basically another plain old "script" boring and rather useless. If all we're going to do is reqrite the same old hackneyed plots over and over again, what's the point of publishing a fanzine at all? In other words, I'm very happy to accept alternate universe stories, both what-if stories, etc. Your submission must run to approximately three pages (remember, I reduce the print) in order to earn you a contributor's copy. Anything less than three pages will obtain you a reduction in price.

Please don't send a submission if you're not willing to take no for an answer or willing to have your work edited. I think I should clarify this even further and point out that if I have invested the time in editing your work, I expect you to have the courtesy to at least make an attempt to conform to the changes...or to let me know you'd prefer not to make them and will be submitting your work elsewhere. Because of the influx of new writers who don't seem to take well to having their "golden" wards edited I'm going to have to take a tough stance on this: if you don't send sufficient return postage for the manuscript to be returned to you once edited, and I feel it needs an edit, it will simply be rejected. I can no longer afford to invest my time and money editing work for people who are not willing to listen. An editor generally edits.

Lately I've had numerous incidents of people sending me submissions that have appeared in other American zines or that were already scheduled to appear in other American zines. I am not interested in publishing something that has been previously published or is about to be published elsewhere unless the other zine in question is a foreign one. I do not demand foreign rights although I do prefer exclusive rights to a story. I've also had numerous cases of people submitting work for their friends. Please note: I do not accept third party submissions. If someone wants to submit something, they will have to contact me themselves. Also, if you send your submission to anyone besides me directly, chances are I won't get it, and if I do get it, I won't consider it. I am the sole editor and publisher of ASHTON PRESS zines and must be contacted directly. I realize that everyone is anxious to get a reply when they submit something, but sometimes it is impossible far me to read something right away, much less edit it. This is especially true when the submission is meant for a zine that isn't scheduled to appear for a while yet. I am constantly working on one zine or another and the current one must always take priority, of course. And my mundane life is what supports these zines so of course I mustn't neglect my job. Please allow a minimum of six to eight weeks far a reply to a submission, and sometimes even longer if it's close to a convention. REMEMBER TO ENCLOSE A SASE WITH YOUR SUBMISSION OR I WON'T BE ABLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT. I prefer not to have to return manuscripts unless they are being edited, so please never send your only copy. I won't be held responsible for lost manuscripts.

I am publishing several zines at this time and am always accepting material for upcoming issues of them. The zine(s) fill up very quickly and, in consequence, I must insist that the final decision as to which issue of which zine a submitted story will go into rest with me. I know what the mix of stories in each issue will be and each individual contributor does not. This means I am in a position to judge what should go where; that's why I'm the editor. In other wards, I'm always thrilled to look at any and all submissions but I will not be dictated to as to where a submitted story "must” go. If you've got your heart set on your story (or whatever) appearing in a certain zine or by a certain date and aren't willing to compromise, please don't bother to submit it to me.

As you've probably noticed above, I've had to change my contributor policy to require at least three submissions (or three pages, in the case of a story) to earn a complimentary copy of the zine. This is due to the continual large size of my zines. In the past, contributors were always very accommodating when I would write them back and remind them of the size of the issue and ask for more from them. Lately they have not been so willing to send more material. I suspect this is because they knew my policy allowed them a free copy regardless of the size of their contribution. I don't feel this is fair to those contributors who do contribute a great deal, especially folks like Laura Virgil, Dani Lane, Leah Rosenthal, and others who send large amounts of material, knowing full well they will only receive the one zine in payment.

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]


This is an off-the-top-of-my-head critical evaluation; I don't have the time to do the extended research that this topic obviously requires. But maybe the difference is that American stories tend to be glossier than the British? I don't mean production values; I mean a difference in emotional perception. The British writers tend to create dusty rather than sticky stories.


The good slash or almost-slash I had read had been drier, quieter, nastier; it wasn't until our Annie got going with Southern Comfort that I read lots of sloppy slushy stories that were, nevertheless, really quite good. [4]


I would respectfully beg to differ with your comments re Ashton Press and B/A in the SC 5's. I had always understood that the reason there wasn't much B/A in those zines was because the editor didn't care for that combination, being an admitted A/V (ick!) fan. Then she was puzzled as to why she wasn't getting B/A submissions? I'd rather see B/A published by someone who appreciates it and would know what works and what doesn't. In the couple of SC's I own or have read, the B/A tended to be of the 'brave stalwart Vila protecting poor helpless Avon from mean, vicious Blake' variety. Selfishly, I wouldn't want to have good B/A start turning up there because I don't want to (and won't) buy a $20 zine for just a couple of good stories. But I don't want to miss them either! [5]

Issue 1 (Southern Lights, multifandom)

front cover of issue #1
back cover of issue #1, Laura Virgil
1985 flyer
inside front cover, Danaline

Southern Lights 1 was published in August 1985 and contains 329 reduced print pages. There were 200 copies in the original print run.

The art is by Suzy Sansom, Mary Otten, Katrina Snyder, Ann Larimer, Leah Rosenthal, Jenni, Danaline, Barbara Frances-Simon, Laura Virgil, Dani, Ciane McAuliffe, Vicki Brinkmeir, Mary Ann Dean, Wanda Lybarger, Cheree Cargill, and Guy Brownlee.

From the editorial by Annie Wortham:

Hello and welcome to the very first issue of SOUTHERN LIGHTS. This issue started out to be about half of its present size but everybody responded with such marvelous and diversified material that it was impossible for me to say no to any of the stories! Well, naturally, I did finally have to put a lid on it (so to speak) and, as a result, I ended up taking stories for Issue Two. That issue is now full but I'm going to be crazy and offer to take submissions for an Issue Three. In spite of words to the contrary, Laura Virgil will be on board for at least the second issue. Please ignore the disclaimer in her editorial—lots of this zine is HER fault.

I hope everybody enjoys the great variety of material in SOUTHERN LIGHTS; I hoped to publish a true multi-media zine. In other words, all universes were welcomed. However, this did result in one editorial problem — I'm not familiar with every fandom. So, I hope you'll forgive me if there are any mistakes I've missed. I've had to rely on the author of the piece in the case of a universe I don't know and I'm sure that any errors on their part are purely unintentional.

We've got two very special art portfolios in this issue—Laura Virgil's SIMON & SIMON family album and an ANYTHING GOES portfolio by various artists. I'd like to personally thank all the artists who participated in this feature. If you enjoy their work please write to say so — they need encouragement just as much as the writers do and the artists seldom hear any feedback about their work. Besides, if enough people like it, maybe the artists will be inspired to do the same thing for the next issue!

[extensive "thank you" statements snipped]

This one's for a lot of people but most of all it's for Leah—a fine artist, a sparkling wit, and a true-blue friend!

Oh, incidentally, the hieroglyphs on the front cover really do say 'SOUTHERN LIGHTS'. How 'bout that?

  • A Word from Our Sponsor: Editorials by Annie Wortham and Laura Virgil (4)
  • Paybacks Are Hell by Susan Hall (Miami Vice) (6)
  • Out of My Dreams by Annita K. Smith (Scarecrow & Mrs. King) (9)
  • Casualty by Liz S. (Fantasy) (13)
  • Starting Over by Jeannie Webster (Indiana Jones, OSS series) (14)
  • Things Change in Two Million Years, Rick by Jacqueline Taero (Simon & Simon) (16)
  • Hero by L. A. Adolf (Simon & Simon) (17)
  • Impressions by Jacqueline Taero (Miami Vice) (19)
  • Unconventional Procedure by L.A. Carr ("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?") (T.J. Hooker/Star Trek) (20)
  • Tempo Fugit by Liz S. (Dr. Who) (28)
  • Marion's Bantu Wind Song by Marci Erwin (Indiana Jones) (31)
  • Temple of Doom Maze by Marci Erwin (Indiana Jones) (32)
  • Geas by Liz S. (Fantasy) (34)
  • A Simon & Simon Art Portfolio by Laura Virgil (35)
  • Darkborn by Carol Regine and Danaline Bryant (Star Wars) (49)
  • The Mermaid by Diane Farnsworth ("Captain Crane is kidnapped- -by a mermaid!") (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) (54)
  • Sailor's Poetry or Images Painted in Moonlight by Linda Terrell (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) (70)
  • 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.") (Simon and Simon) (71)
  • Asteroids, game by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars) (84)
  • Alone by Linda Knights (Rat Patrol) (reprinted in The G-2 Files #8, New Links in the Chain, and Rat Patrol Compiled) (85)
  • Bedtime Story by Valerie Alidina and Laura Virgil (Star Trek) (86)
  • Cockpit Conversation by Carolyn Golledge (also in Auzwars Chronicles (1985), Rogue's Gallery #21 (December 1985), Alliance #1 (January 1995)) (Star Wars) (93)
  • Adventurer for Hire by Laura Virgil and Cheree Cargill ("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.") (Indiana Jones) (96)
  • Painfully Obvious by Leah Rosenthal (Miami Vice) (102)
  • Memories Set in Concrete by Linda Terrell ("The LIBERATOR is under attack and Blake doesn't want to leave.") (Blake's 7) (105)
  • The Final Act by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (107)
  • Terminus Ex Sominum by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (108)
  • Beautiful Replicant by Marci Erwin (Blade Runner) (111)
  • Crossroads by Annita K. Smith (Scarecrow & Mrs. King) (112)
  • 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.") (Simon & Simon) (116)
  • The Office Affair by Cheree Cargill ("Something very strange is going on with those folks at WKRP'") (WKRP in Cincinnati) (119)
  • Ben Faces Vader, game by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars) (126)
  • One Lonely Knight by Lorraine Bartlett ("Michael Knight is ready to make a new start in a new home but something still doesn't feel quite 'right'.") (Knight Rider) (127)
  • Tulips Bloom in the Sixth Quadrant by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7/Dr. Who) (135)
  • Sweet Revenge by CarolMel Ambassador (Wizards and Warriors) (141)
  • The Thousandth Man by Louann Qualls ("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.") (Airwolf) (142)
  • Falling Star by CarolMel Ambassador (Star Trek) (159)
  • The Night of the Peon's Death by Lorraine Beatty ("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.") (Wild Wild West) (160)
  • 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) (187)
  • The Lessons of History Raid by Linda Knights (Troy and Tully argue bitterly on the eve of an important mission.) (Rat Patrol) (reprinted in Rat Patrol Compiled) (203)
  • 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.") (215)
  • A Wink of God's Eye by Katrine Snyder (Star Wars) (248)
  • Time In Its Flight by Christine Jeffords ("A Mother's Day dinner with Cecelia inspires Rick and A.J. to flashback on their boyhoods.") (This was originally planned to be in The Brother's File #2) (Simon and Simon) (288)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Just a note to congratulate you on SOUTHERN LIGHTS 1. It is a great zine, and although I was not familiar with all the universes it contained, I did enjoy each and every story and poem. I especially liked Annita K. Smith's "Out of My Dreams", "A Wink of God's Eye" by Katrina Snyder, and "Time In Its Flight" by Christine Jeffords. Both the front and back covers were excellent, and I really en joyed "The Anything Goes" art portfolio.

Enjoyed all the poetry, especially Liz S.'s "Tempo Fugit" and CarolMel Ambassador's "Sweet Revenge."[6]

I loved SOUTHERN LIGHTS 1. The cover was great. Suzy Sansom's and Laura Virgil's art was also great. "Paybacks Are Hell", "Vengeance Is Mine", "Chance Encounter", "Hogtown Hustle", and "Time In Its Flight" were my favorite stories. And I also liked "Hero" and "The Thousandth Man". The artwork in the SIMON & SIMON portfolio was excellent. It was about the best S&S art I've seen. The "Anything Goes" portfolio was also good, especially the map of California.

You did a great job; I can't wait to see #2.[7]

I'm halfway through SOUTHERN LIGHTS 1 — yeah!!!! — so far not a dud in the bunch. A couple were a LEETLE predictable. Maybe I've read too much fan fiction. I find "Paybacks Are Hell" fascinating, "Out Of My Dreams" interesting, was I supposed to understand "Starting Over" — the references to Indy threw me — don't tell me, it's EXPLAINED in another story. "Hero" is a GOTCHA story — and I can't say I care for those. "Darkborn" is in the same vein, but is less obtrusive and carries itself well despite that. Interesting pemise. Be sure to thank Ciane for me for my artwork, her illo on page 158 is really good.

"Vengeance is Mine" was excellent. Good characterization, especially Town. "Bedtime Story" was a little 'too' cute for my tastes, but well written. I laughed over "Adventurer For Hire" — I've worked registration here at the University. Poor Indy. Linda Terrell's trio of BLAKES 7 were terrific as was her WHO/B7 crossover. She really knows her characters, particularly Blake and Avon, AND Vila, too.

"Crossroads" was a new one on me, having never seen the episode in question, but it's a good story. "Chance Encounter' made sense— that episode I SAW and the follow through was well done. "The Office Affair" was hilarious. "One Lonely Knight" was great, although I'm not much a KNIGHTRIDER fan. "The Thousandth Man" really captured the 'feel' of AIRWOLF, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

"The Night of the Peon's Death kept a good level of suspense through out—it was nice to read a different universe for a change. Ditto for the "Lessons of History Raid"—it was nice to see some of the guy's lives beyond the raids. Of course, "Unconventional Procedure", "Hogtown Hustle", and "Wink of God's Eye" are favorites. All have a certain flair and style. Good jobs all. Haven't read "Time in its Flight" yet, so more later.

Good zine.[6]

I wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I really enjoyed reading SOUTHERN LIGHTS. It was a great zine and I had a good time reading the stories, especially the ones on SIMON & SIMON because it's my favorite show. Can't get tired of reading any stuff on the guys. All the stories were so beautiful. I loved them all. You sure had good writers and artists on that zine. The art portfolio was so nice. Every artist really did it in that one, it was a really well done job.

Well, thanks again Annie for this sweet, beautiful zine. I'm already anxious to hear about SOUTHERN LIGHTS #2.[7]

If you'll remember, my sister, Teresa, ordered issue #1 of SOUTHERN LIGHTS, but we both shared in the expense. And I'm happy to say that it was well worth the price!

Your zine was quite beautiful with some of the best artwork I have ever seen in a zine and the size of this tome was awesome!

Anyway, I've been elected to write the LoC. I'm not quite finished reading it but I've read mostly the stories of the universes that I am familiar with. So I will only comment on the stories and poetry which I found to be the most outstanding.

"Hero" by L.A, Adolf was a sweet story and a nice ending for the episode of SIMON & SIMONS "Marlowe Come Home."

"Impressions" by Jacqueline Taero was a very good poem. It captured the spirit of MIAMI VICE quite nicely.

All the artwork by Suzy Sansom was terrific. She sure is one talented lady! Especially the back covet of Tubbs and Crockett and the portraits of Sonny on pages 8 and 19.

"Unconventional Procedure" by L.A. Carr was an interesting idea though I'm not familiar with the T.J. HOOKER series. It was the same kind of idea which inspired my sister to write a Bennu/Joachim story!

The SIMON & SIMON art portfolio was very handsome. Especially the last page, the sketch of Rick Simon by Laura R. Virgil was a perfect likeness!

"Vengeance Is Mine" by Linda Knights was a very good S&S story. I liked the way the author nicely captured Tim Reed's Downtown Brown character.

"Hogtown Hustle" by Susanne McGhin. A very good MIAMI VICE story. Better than some of their episodes! But I'm afraid the author gave Castillo too many lines. Even when he's on the phone, he rarely utters two syllables at one time. I don't know how they manage to have such few lines for someone who is supposed to be the boss! And I loved the Billy Joel joke!

"A Blink of God's Eye" by Katrina Snyder was certainly very different. She gave a lot of interesting back ground for the characters, more than usual. But unfortunately there were so many male characters that I found it hard to keep them all straight. Nevertheless, I couldn't stop reading it, wondering where it would all end! Tell Katrina she did a good job.

"The Thousandth Man" by Louann Quails. First off, Hawke does not have a phone in his cabin; he only uses a shortwave radio set. And he would never tell Archangel in such a cruel way that he couldn't take the mach speeds of Airwolf. He may resent Archangel for dragging him into dangerous cases but he would never insult the agent in such a degrading way. Besides, Archangel has ridden in Airwolf on a number of occasions. In "Bite of the Jackal", Archangel even takes Dominic's place in the weapon's station. Other than that the story was quite good. On second thought, Hawke is a lot like Castillo of MV. His answers are always short and he seldom seems to want a close relationship with anyone. Odd, they're both different but in a way the same!

I plan to keep "Tulips Bloom in the 6th Quadrant" for a later date. Hopefully, I will someday see BLAKES 7. But at the moment I'm only familiar with DOCTOR WHO so it's hard to appreciate only half a story.

"Bedtime Story" was a very cute STAR TREK story.

"Time In Its Flight" by Christine Jeffords is a novel that must have been a labor of love. Even though all the memories don't jive with all the show's episodes, it's fun reading.

The artwork: Laura R. Virgil out did herself with the front cover of Indiana Jones. The art by Mary Otten for the AIRWOLF story used very sparse lines yet she caught the likeness of all the actors she drew.

It was also very helpful that the index included both the titles and the universe the story involved. This was especially helpful when a cross universe piece was involved.[6]

Loved everything in SOUTHERN LIGHTS #1...the art, the mixed bag of stories, everything, but nothing even comes close to Sansom's gorgeous back cover of Sonny and Tubbs and Laura Virgil's moody portrait of Indy on the front. I have only one question, though...if Chris Jeffords was so all fired determined to tell us the entire life story of Rick and A.J. Simon, she was seriously neglectful in leaving out what A.J. wore on the morning of July 14, 1957, what Rick had for dinner at 8:45 PM on October 5, 1961 and what precise stage of development Dr. Spock says A.J. was at on the morning of January 2nd, 1955. Also, no mention was made of Rick's knee boo-boo on Halloween, 1953. Shame, Chris![7]

The covers of SOUTHERN LIGHTS are really nice. I like the color combination, it's classy. And the size of it! That really made for a lot of variety. I liked the fact that there were a lot of shorter pieces—this made for even more variety, and it was a pleasant change to have a story you can read through in a few minutes rather than set aside more time for. (Not that I won't read until the wee hours—it's just a nice change of pace.)

Stories I particularly liked: "Darkborn" had an interesting premise, one I'd like to see developed more fully. It never occurred to me to wonder about Obi-Wan's past, but now I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it first! That's a chilling last line!

"Bedtime Story" really gave me a chuckle—I could just imagine Spock with a baby. Being a mother helped me envision it all. All the most amusing scenes were wonderfully understated. I really wish the charadter of Peter Kirk would show up in the movies--the logical thing to do, since they killed David so uselessly. "The Thousandth Man" was a good, solid, well plotted story. The characters rang true and it was satisfy ing to see a strong female character like Jessica. Likewise, "The Night of the Peon's Death" was also well plotted and and consistent. All the 'character' scenes were woven so tightly into the action of the plot that they didn't seem like unnecessary padding. Even the 'sex scene' was necessary to plot and characterization! Of course, I knew Artie wouldn't die, but this story was gripping and it was my favorite.

"The Lessons of History Raid" set up good conflict between the main characters as well as against the Germans. By now you can see that I prefer action stories to more introspective pieces—just my bias, I guess. Of course, I loved the cartoons, the sicker the better. (Amanda, add the fabric softener!) And Laura Virgil's SIMON & SIMON portfolio is excellent (as always).

I'm avoiding commenting on my own story and those of relatives and friends, notice. I don't think it's quite fair, since I've seen so many of them in earlier drafts and have already lodged whatever complaints I have. I wish I could say more about the BLAKES 7 stories—they read well but I don't know the universe, and Susanne's explanations only made me more curious. I must see this show somehow. [I did arrange that (take heed Sue Ann and Teresa!) and Katrina now writes her own series of BLAKES 7 stories...look for them in the upcoming SOUTHERN SEVEN, ed.]

The art for "Hogtown Hustle" was first rate—that's Sandy Chestnut, alright! And even my scribbling looked good when enlarged or reduced and cut to fit.

And so—congratulations! The first issue is truly hours of reading pleasure, more bangs for the buck. [6]

...the covers alone you are to be commended! Of course, I've admired Laura's work for years but Suzy Sansom is new to me. WOW! I hope to see lots more of her in future issues. I can think of a few gorgeous men I'd like to see her try her hand at. Does she just limit herself to MIAMI VICE? I plan to order some of her stationary for friends of mine who love VICE. I'm not a special fan of it myself, however. I think the art portfolio idea is a good one, especially if it can be expanded to include many universes (as it did in this first one) and different artists. Of course, artists have their favorite shows and actors and may not want to try anyone they aren't particularly fond of.

Among my favorite stories were "Vengeance is Mine" (I've admired Linda's RAT PATROL things before), and "Adventurer For Hire". That was a real scream! "Crossroads" was very good. I'm a big SCARECROW AND MRS. KING fan and like Lee's slightly wary personality. It brought back memories of that episode, too. I hope to see lots more S&MK fiction and poetry in future issues. Also liked "Lonely Knight", "Tulips Bloom...", "Hogtown Hustle", too, though I'm not a fan of any of those universes. As a big WWW fan, I loved Lori Beatty's "TNOT Peon's Death". It was good to see Jim West with a somewhat tender side (and god forbid, a conscience!) and a little of his psychic abilities. I understand Lori's not the only one to give Jim West strange dreams and psychic abilities.

Linda's "The Lessons of History Raid" was the biggest surprise. Hurt/comfort in Northern Africa. I like to see my heroes spar a little because sometimes a good quarrel will bring out things that would otherwise be hidden or denied, emotional things and little chinks in the psychological armor so many men put on. My only criticism in the whole zine is about the last two stories. I think Katrina should have introduced the STAR WARS universe earlier...though her original characteres were very interesting (Kerrie Keane? Does she know that Kerrie Keane is a real person? A Canadian actress?). The original characters reminded me a bit of the gang in BUCKAROO BANZAI especially Bruce who seemed a lot like Buckaroo. [Uh, Jill, they were supposed to remind you of those characters... ed.] However, I think the STAR WARS part of the story could have been present from the beginning, should have been, sort of a parallel development. While Bruce was doing such-and-such, Han could have been doing something else. I'm not a watcher of SIMON & SIMON but Christine Jeffords' story went on forever and after a while read like a list of behavior characteristics from Dr. Spock. She is a very talented writer and I've loved lots of her other things, but I think there's a point where an author can say too much and I think she did. The premise was good and very interesting the flashback style, but... She does know her little boys, though. The paragraph on page 324 starting "Death isn't anybody you know..." stands out and slaps you in the face with its beauty and power, it's that good, but the rest just didn't hold up (stand up?) to it. I've been criticized in my stories by readers who weren't up on the episodes. Did you find anyone objecting to that among your LoCs? I was told that it was better and politer to give a brief description of the episode rather than just title (or title with airdate and author). ...

All in all, I enjoyed SOUTHERN LIGHTS 1 very much and look forward to #2 with anticipation.[7]

I received SOUTHERN LIGHTS and it is grand! You should've warned me about the MV back cover— my heart nearly palpitated itself to death! Suzy Sansom is a wonderful artist and captures Sonny and Rico wonderfully, as well. SL's front cover is a delight and imaginative—way to go! I'm only a little way thru the zine—so far, the stories are top quality and the illos superb. Good job so far, Annie—Congrats.

I can tell that, a lot of care and thought was put into the zine and I'm glad I got it.[6]

I finished SOUTHERN LIGHTS and I have to admit it's a great zine. Some really good stuff

in it. Was the character in "A Wink of God's Eye" meant to look like Buckaroo Banzai? [Yes! ed.] That was a different and interesting tale. The details were well thought out. I liked the reference to the umpteenth incarnation of Doctor Who. Cute. I think my least favorite was the long SIMON & SIMON at the end. It was very well done, though, just less to my taste. As for favorites, there were several I liked much, including the AIRWOLF, KNIGHTRIDER, and a few others. What a wealth of material. You did a great job.[7]

I received SOUTHERN LIGHTS #1 and my husband has regretted it ever since! He put up with me curled up in the papasan for two nights in a row, before he finally threatened to throw a DR. WHO tape at me if I didn't stop giggling! Of course, after I showed him what I was reading, he relented; in fact, he's appropriated it and I haven't seen it for a week now! Just last night Kent asked me (oh, so casually!) "Number 2 comes out when?" So now you have two addicts on your mailing list! [I think this is the nicest compliment I've received in a long time... ed.]

If I tried to comment on everything I liked about SL#1, I'd be here all I'll just hit the high points. "Painfully Obvious" had me snickering for at least five minutes.

"Tulips Bloom in the Sixth Quadrant" was sheer delight. Leela has always been my favorite of the Doctor's companions, and throwing her and Avon together like that was great (WTTW has just started 2nd Season BLAKES 7; now I understand the 'Captain Midnight' reference—Avon is delicious in black leather!).

Reading "The Office Affair" was like watching a new episode of WKRP minus the commercials; and Spock as a babysitter was just too much!

I admit I prefer light fiction when reading; if I want serious soul-searching literature, there's always Dosteovsky (sp.?). I did enjoy the characterization in the KNIGHTRIDER story, with the emotional confusion and uncertainty of starting a new life; and the T.J. HOOKER/STAR TREK story was an interesting certainly was a surprise.

I'm looking forward to SL#2...Avon and Vila's TRUE vocations?

Please...keep up the fantastic work![6]

Suzy Sansom's MV art is absolutely fantastic! She really captures Sonny and Rico very well. Great back cover (especially Sonny!) Pg. 8 and pg. 19 are quite good. Rather different style for her illos for "Hogtown Hustle".

I enjoy Annita Kaye Smith's S&MK stories. (I must since we have her "Put Not Your Trust in Chocolate" in OUR FAVORITE THINGS #2!)

Lisa Adolf's "Hero" is adorable!

It was fun reading a VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA story. I used to really enjoy watching that show, and I had a tremendous crush on Lee Crane! (Too bad David Hedison only plays baddies these days!)

"Bedtime Story" was funny!

Leah Rosenthal does great cartoons. "Vicetide" sounds intriguing. And I love the premise for "The 'V Team"! (An imaginary pet flamingo?!) I wish I could see a BLAKES 7 episode some time.

Lorraine Bartlett does well with Michael Knight and KITT.

Louann Quails did well with "The Thousandth Man". The 'map* of Los Angeles is fabulous!

Someone told me Susanne McGhin writes good MV stories. They were right. Except I think she had Castillo a touch too loquacious.

"A Blink of God's Eye" lost me somewhere, and "Time In Its Flight" (except for a few cute scenes) nearly put me to sleep. Too much detail (re: child raising). I usually like Chris Jeffords' S&S stuff a lot, but I tpink this time she forgot that the point of research is so you sound like you know what you're talking about, not so you can dump it all on your readers. Oh, well. Jean Thrower told me she enjoyed it tremendously! [7]

I very much enjoyed SOUTHERN LIGHTS #1. I am a SIMON & SIMON fan and oh did I enjoy the stories in that one, especially "Time In Its Flight" by Christine Jeffords, and "Vengeance Is Mine" by Linda Knights. But some of the others I also enjoyed very much were "One Lonely Knight" by Lorraine Bartlett, and "Hogtown Hustle" by Susanne McGhin. And the artwork by Virgil was sensational, and I thought Suzy Sansom's artwork was very well done as well. [6]

SOUTHERN LIGHTS was a great first effort. In fact, it was fantastic! The covers were gorgeous, and so were the portfolios. I especially liked the idea of my favorite show getting a portfolio all by itself. Good work, Laura!

My favorite sotry in the whole zine was Chris Jeffords' "Time In Its Flight". It was a story that touched a responsive chord deep within me and reminded me of my own childhood with my little sister. My favorite scene was Rick sneaking in and seeing A.J. in the hospital. What a swwet, touching scene. I can remember my tonsillectomy and the overnight stay and can sympathize with A.J. Luckily I wasn't allergic to penicillin! Anyway, it was so typical of their relationship that Rick knew A.J. needed him. A.J.'s reaction of complete, intense faith that Rick could do anything, even bring him home, was a shining example of the hero worship A.J. obviously had for Rick when they were kids. Scenes like Rick reassuring A.J. after coming out of the principal's office revealed so much about the relationship, as when the principal, watching them, thought "Anyone who can inspire that kind of love and loyalty in his brother can't be entirely hopeless. This story had so many wonderful bits like these.

"Time In Its Flight" has a special charm and grace all its own. The images of A.J. as a baby and Rick's pride in A.J. looking up to him, delighting in his brother s emerging personality, were delightful in themselves. Chris hit on something very important here: how strong the link between the brothers is. Not only with Rick knowing A.J. needed him in the hospital, but when baby A.J. was frightened by sudden noises, he'd go running to Cecilia's side—or to Rick's. When he first learned to walk, he walked from Cecilia's arms to Rick's while Jack ran the movie camera. To A.J., his parents weren't the only ones to run to for security or protection. Rick's lack of complaint over taking care of A.J. was typical. Why, he even thought A.J. was cute! I noticed Rick was fearful about Jack after Cecilia got the fateful phone call about his death, but felt panic when he asked about A.J. Going to the hospital. Rick reasoned he could no longer help his father, but there was A.J. to help; "The fact that Dad was dead was somehow secondary to A.J.'s reaction to it. There was, after all, nothing he could do for Dad." Wonderful job, Chris.

Paybacks Are Hell" had that air of mysticism I like. Sonny's out-of-body experience was fascinating. Glad to see a lot of the guilts over the events in "Evan" were resolved for Sonny. "Hogtown Hustle" had nice elements of the developing friendship between Rico and Sonny. "Chance Encounter" (S&S) was as sad and frustrating as the end of "The List", the aired episode it was based on.

I really loved the whole zine. Keep up the good work! [7]

I really enjoyed SOUTHERN LIGHTS #1. I like media zines. A lot of times you can find stories involving fandoms that are difficult, if not impossible to find elsewhere. I'm not equally familiar with all of the fandoms represented in your zine, but I enjoyed it and them none the less.

My favorite story has to be "Time In Its Flight" by Chris Jeffords. If only for the impressive amount of time and rpearch that went into the story. I enjoy stories about SimON & SIWON when they were young. And Jeffords is one of the best, if not the best (in my humble opinion) SIMON & SIMON writer. She seems to have an excellent handle on both Rick and A.J., and all the characters who populate their universe. There hasn't been one story that she's written that I hadn't liked. So far, anyway. To be able to pull together all the references and hints made to their pasts over the last 4-5 years—very impressive.

I also enjoyed "The Lessons of History Raid" by Linda Knights. I don't always care for Linda's stories, I didn't care for her SIMON & SIMON story in this issue for instance. But she did a really good job in this RAT PATROL story. It was nice to see a Tully and Troy story. Usually it's Hitch and Troy or Moffitt and Troy or even Dietrich and Troy. She really has a good feel for both the characters. Tully doesn't say much or give a display of emotions easily, but when he does, it's with his whole being. All the members are similar in that aspect, but especially Troy. This similarity no doubt is the main reason they clashed so. Simi lar personalities in similar situations.

I'm not realy familiar with KNIGHTRIDER (neat car!) but L. Bartlett's "One Lonely Knight" was super. I felt she really captured what it might be like for someone in his position. To have a fairly happy life one minute and for it all to be ripped away in the next. I'm not sure everyone could handle that, and he seemed to have the same feelings of self doubt and uncertainty. Not to mention a bit of self-pity—not that I blame him for that. Lorraine cpatured the ambivalence of such a situation well.

A VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA story. Now those aren't real easy to find. I liked D. Farnsworth's "The Mermaid". I haven't seen the series in ages. But I felt she captured the feel of the old show very ! well. And, of course, my favorite character, Capt. Crane, had a nice part. The concern and caring the members of the Seaview expressed were well conveyed. The men would have to had develop a close working relationship, considering their circumstance.

The MIAMI VICE stories were also good. I haven't seen a lot on that series in the zines. I understand the MIAMI VICE people weren't happy about having stories printed. I suppose that's part of the reason. I liked the stories. There was a nice relationship between Sonny and Rico, one which hasn t been capitalized upon this season. Which is disappointing. The relationship is the main reason I watch the show. My only complaint is with that last story, "The Hogtown Hustle" by Susanne McGhin. Tubbs kept thinking about all this tension and a wedge he was driving between himself and his friends, but that was never really explained or resolved.

The artwork was great, some of my favorite artists.

As you can no doubt tell, I really enjoyed the stories and look forward to future issues.[7]

Issue 1.5 (Southern Lights, Man from U.N.C.L.E.)

cover of issue #1.5

Southern Lights 1.5 was published in August 1985, is 49 pages long, and has only Man From U.N.C.L.E. content.

All of the content are adult het and they are anonymous.

From the zine: "All photos in this zine were contributed by someone who wishes to remain nameless. Well, consider yourself thanked, stranger!"

From the editorial:

Well, welcome to the first issue of what I hope will become a tradition — SOUTHERN LIGHTS SPECIAL! This issue is an all-MAN FROM UNCLE one and features only ’adult' stories. All were written in the spirit of, uh, fun so please don't try to read anything deep and philosophical into them!

You'll probably notice that there aren't any author's names listed on the stories or in the table of contents. This is intentional, I can assure you. All of my contributor's are much too, um, 'well-placed' to let it be known that they associate with a low-life such as me—much less that they would write the kind of stories contained within these pages. Oh well, I know who they

are. - Annie

  • An Anonymous Letter from the Editor (2)
  • 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.") (3)
  • The Interlude Affair ("It was a routine stakeout assignment for Napoleon Solo and April Dancer until things start to ‘heat’ up a little bit.") (15)
  • 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) (21)
  • The Russian Physicist Affair ("Napoleon is intrigued by Larissa Petrov but not half as intrigued as he is about her relationship with Illya.") (40)

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. [8]

Issue 2 (Southern Lights, multifandom)

cover of issue #2, artist is Laura Virgil: Airwolf, Miami Vice, Real Ghostbusters, possibly Blake's 7
back cover of issue #2, artist is Laura Virgil: Magnum P.I.
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.

The art is by Laura Virgil, Dani Lane, Colleen Winters, Leah Rosenthal, Phil Tortorici, Mary Otten, Danaline, Suzy Sansom, Ronda Henderson, T.J. Burnside, Wanda Lybarger, Sheila Paulson, Katrina Snyder, Barbara Frances-Simon, and Vicki Brinkmeier.

From the editorial:

Well, here we are at the second issue of SOUTHERN LIGHTS. It hardly seems like an entire year has passed since the last issue. But then, I've published three other fanzines in the intervening time and you know uihat they say about time flying when you're having, uh, 'fun'! In any case, a big hug and a thank you to all those who nominated SOUTHERN LIGHTS 1 for a Fan Q, even though we didn't win. *sob*. Congratulations to Jacqueline Taero, one of SOUTHERN LIGHT's contributors, who did win.


Once again, I have to thank the contributors for coming through with such marvellously diverse material encompassing many, many universes. However, I take absolutely no responsibility for my 'guest' appearances in stories written by such people as Leah Rosenthal, Cheree Cargill, Laura Virgil and other people who are my *ahem* friends.

A fan wrote a poem about copyright and cease and desist and Miami Vice:

Ode to the Peacock:

On television, there's a show. The name of which I'm sure you know.

One hero's black and one is white; I watch them every Friday night. Beyond these facts, I'll not expound Lest they send the lawyers 'round.

I'll not quibble and I'll not fight; And I'll not argue copyright.

Those famous words, "cease and desist". Have made it easy to resist...

So — I love ya, guys, but all the same, I'll do it without naming names!

  • Channel Selector (table of contents)
  • Editorials (4)
  • Ode to the Peacock, poem by Jacqueline Taero (5)
  • Letters of Comment (6)
  • Dancin’ In The Streets (Blake's 7) (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #1) (12)
  • The Sucky Weekend Of Sonny Crockett by Susanne McGhin (Miami Vice) (18)
  • A Word To The Lieutenant, poem by Jacqueline Taero (Miami Vice) (25)
  • Images by Sheila Paulson (The Master) (26)
  • Yankee Doodle by Leah Rosenthal (Simon & Simon) (52)
  • Twins! by Carol Hillman (Simon & Simon) (56)
  • Live & Learn by Richard Pollet (Hill Street Blues) (57)
  • Mick, poem by Teresa Sarick (63)
  • Crossed Universes We Never Want to See by Michele Rosenberg and Leah Rosenthal (64)
  • Conspiracy by Jackie Edwards (An old enemy of Hannibal sets a trap (involving Murdock) to try to capture the Colonel.) (The A-Team) (also in Hannibal Collection) (65)
  • Dance of the Eagle by Cathy Bryson (Airwolf) (78)
  • Dragon Sleeping by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (79)
  • The ‘Anything Goes’ Art Portfolio Spotlighting: Bizarro 7…Buckaroo Banzai…Professionals…Blake’s 7…Star Trek... Star Wars…Dr Who…Fantasy (87)
  • Steaming Wangs by Cheree Cargill and Laura Virgill ("sort of a Western" -- "a smutty historical romance") (107)
  • Fall Apart Where I’m Standing, poem by Teresa Sarick (Hitchhiker's Guide) (131)
  • To Savor The Bitter Wine by L.A. Carr (Simon & Simon) (132)
  • First The Good News… by Carole Regine (Star Trek) (169)
  • Battlefield Blues, poem by Carol Hillman (Simon & Simon) (170)
  • Small Talk by Leah Rosenthal (Miami Vice) (171)
  • Camarand Dreamin’, poem by Teresa Sarick (Wizards & Warriors) (173)
  • Black Sheep by Katrina Snyder (Star Wars) (174)
  • Raiders of the Lost Carbonite, Archived version by Carolyn Golledge (Indiana Jones/Star Trek) (192)
  • Weirdest Women, poem by Jacqueline Taero (Miami Vice) (243)
  • Hot Stuff, filk by Roberta Rogow (Miami Vice) (244)
  • Spies — A Portfolio by Laura Virgil (245)
  • The Two Sides Of A Traitor Raid by Linda Knights (Rat Patrol) (Sealed orders force Troy to deceive his men, jeopardizing their working relationship.) (259)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

This is the first time that I have ever writen a fan letter. But, after reading your SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2 zine I just had to write and tell you how very much I enjoyed it.

Since I am a dyed-in-the-wool SIMON & SIMON fan, I was truly pleased to find a zine with such good work in it. I have read "To Savor the Bitter Wine" by L.A. Carr so often that the pages are dog-eared! Even though SIMON & SIMON is my favorite show, I did enjoy reading all of the other works that you had included in this zine, also. I was also pleased to see that my sister, Ronda Henderson, had a piece of her artwork included. Although I wasn't familiar with some of the characters portrayed in the Art Portfolio, I did enjoy it. [9]

I wanted to tell you how much I loved "To Savor the Bitter Wine" by L.A. Carr. I never even would watch an episode of SIMON & SIMON for some foolish reason. Her story opened my eyes to the beautiful relationship, long-lasting and comitted, between Rick and A.J. And the crossover with AIRWOLF was inspired. Hawke well understood Rick's stubborn concern for his brother—Hawks feels the same way about his brother...

One more thing. I also loved "Dragon Sleeping." It made me cry, because I love Blake so much. He had found another life and was happy. It was truly a lovely story. The artwork for that story, indeed, all the artwork in the fabulous zine was extraordinary. [9]

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2. The stories were all interesting, and I especially liked Carolyn Golledge's "Raiders of the Lost Carbonite" and Katrina Snyder's "Black Sheep." Teresa Sarick's lovely poem "Camarand Dreamin'" expressed how many of us feel about the cancellation of a truly good fantasy show. And I loved Laura Virgil's "Spies—A Portfolio." [9]

Thought I'd drop you a short note to tell you I got SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2 and spent a few dumb founded minutes trying to figure out where the REST of my stories were, then—eventually—I read your note and understood.... At any rate....SL#2 is great. I wanted to drop a special line that might actually be qualified as a LOC...

To L.A. Carr—"To Savor the Bitter Wine" is by far and away the BEST SIMON & SIMON story I have ever read. It was well written, had enough twists to keep even me guessing and was moving. It was also—maybe more importantly—the only fan story I have ever read that was written about a Vietnam that sounded realistic and used the correct terminology. I'm not an expert on 'Nam but I have many friends who were unfortunate enough to spend time in-country and the words and terms they use are what I read in your story. Thank you for a great story, well researched and well written!

Also to Laura Virgil—your artwork was, as usual, in all of the multi-universes, beyond compare. You are a TRUE artist, someone worthy of the title. Thanks for giving me pictures worth looking at more than once. And a cover, that wasn't half bad either! Everything was good this time, I even went through the BIZARRO SEVEN piece—didn't understand it, but read it!

I can't tell you how great it was to get SL#2... [9]

Just a little note to let you know I enjoyed SOUTHERN LIGHTS #2. Like the beautiful cover.

My favorite story was "To Savor the Bitter Wine" by L.A. Carr. As I'm a big fan of SIMON & SIMON, I really loved that one. Nice story, L.A. Also liked the poems on SIMON & SIMON written by Carol Hillman, they were really beautiful, Carol.

Well, thanks Annie for this beautiful zine. Keep up the good work! [9]

SOUTHERN LIGHTS #2 arrived safe and sound and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though only a smittering of SIMON & SIMON, both stories were very good. "To Savor the Bitter Wine" had me on the edge of my seat and it was a nice twist to have Stringfellow Hawke in it and even more enjoyable for him to find his brother. Poor Rick, I really felt for him having to leave A.J. alone in Vietnam, a place where he himself was glad to get out of. Am looking forward to SL#3 and if it's half as good as 1 and 2, it will be a masterpiece. [9]

I got SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2 about a month ago and have been meaning to write a LoC ever since. I'm finally doing it! SL2 was a delightful mixed bag of goods and I enjoyed ALL of it.

"Steaming Wangs" had me howling! Being from Houston, I was offended by the first paragraph before I even started reading the story. Lucky for you, I'm not a native Houstonian (or any other kind of Texan) or I'd have to challenge you to a cockroach stomping at thirty paces or at least a round of Texas hold 'em... It was the best example of terrible writing that I've seen—overblown, overdone, over-metaphorized, and certainly a case of overkill!

(By the way, the railroad didn't come to Dallas until 1872, so you can score one point for historical accuracy.) Oops! I just remembered that you personally had nothing to do with writing Still the above remarks should go to Laura Virgil and Cheree Cargill, sorry. (But you did have the guts to print it!)

As for the rest of the zine... "Dancin' in the Streets" was the first BIZARRO 7 story I've encountered, and it's left me eager for more (see SASEs), and the serious BLAKE'S 7, "Dragon Sleeping" was very good, too.

(I haven't watched that much BLAKE'S 7, I just got into it a few months ago—mostly due to the fanfic I've read.) I really liked "Images" and "Live & Learn"—it's great to read a story from the lesser-known universes. I even liked the MIAMI VICE pieces—the show may have gone downhill, but the fanfic hasn't.

I don't go out of my way to read STAR WARS stuff, but "Black Sheep" and "Raiders of the Lost Carbonite" were both interesting and different stories in the STAR WARS universe. Being a stalwart SIMON & SIMON fan, I loved all the S & S pieces, especially "To Savor the Bitter Wine".

The "Anything Goes" portfolio was exactly what it said it was, and Laura Virgil's "Spies" portfolio was a real treat. Can't wait for SOUTHERN LIGHTS 3.

P.S. The cover art was GREAT! I wish there'd been some MAGNUM inside as well—maybe in SL3? [9]

I must admit that the BIZARRO 7 stories have had me nearly on the floor from laughter. Most zines have stories that range from okay to good. Yours starts at good and moves steadily upward. [9]

"Dancin' In the streets" is quite Bizarre, but funny.

I like the ending to "The Sucky Weekend of Sonny Crockett". (Not fond of the title, but...) [I beg your pardon—that title was a tribute to Ye Old Sucky Zine Editor (as my 'friends' call me) Ed.]

"Images" is very good. I wasn't that big a fan of THE MASTER, but I really enjoyed Sheila's story. "Yankee Doodle A.J."—Gee, maybe if Ricky had been nicer about A.J.'s boat, A.J. would have been nicer later on about the Hole in the Water!

"Live and Learn" I'd read before. Can't remember offhand which zine it was in.

"Conspiracy" by Jackie Edwards had some very nice touches.

I'm afraid I couldn't make it all the way through "Steaming Wangs."

"To Savor the Bitter Wine" — very good. S&S/AW seems to be a good new thing in crossover stories.

"Small Talk"—strange!

"Black Sheep" is well-written.

"Raiders of the Lost Carbonite" is long, but fun. What a crossover story!

"The Two Sides of a Traitor Raid"—boy, everyone really loves to get poor Mark!

It was nice to see IT TAKES A THIEF in the gallery of spies. I always liked that show.

All in all a very nice zine. I'm looking forward to #3. [9]

I've seen enough BLAKE'S 7 episodes to understand the BIZARRO stories—I like the stories much better than the series! [9]

Howdy! A short note to tell you how much I enjoyed SOUTHERN LIGHTS #2. The stories and poems were all quality stuff, but my favorite had to be "Raiders of the Lost Carbonite." It was such fun to read, and the author made it all sound so plausible and so real. In fact, her story has given me the urge to see the STAR WARS trilogy all over again. Han Solo has always been a favorite character and I love him even more after reading this. Kudos to the author—and to you, Ann, for another worthwhile zine—I hope there are many more. [9]

SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2 is another winner! Beautiful cover, great stories, what more could you want?

"Yankee Doodle A.J." was adorable. Funny and touching, al at the same time. I laugh every time at the image of little Rick and A.J. tumbling over the grass from the big fireworks explosion. Such a noble little creature is A.J. It was touching to see his genuine concern for Rick. Thisstory cried out for illos!

My, my! That Annie Worthington sure is a brat, hey?

To Savor The Bitter Wine"—Bitter is right. Lots of emotion needed to be purged from those years. I'm hoping to see that in the aired Vietnam episode, if it ever comes about. I'm glad Rick and A.J. were able to get beyond the anger and resume their natural patterns of caring.

I liked the Hawke/St. John and Rick/A.J. parallels. What joy to see that reunion! Hurt/comfort was beautiful in this one.

A.J. listening to all those '60s songs is something I've done. As for Rick reading DEAR AMERICA, I intend to read that soon. [9]

SOUTHERN LIGHTS #2 is great. At least as good as #1 and that's going some considering how much I enjoyed the first. The size was generous and the variety of stories good. For the most part I was able to follow the stories (Those I couldn't, I'll make a note on as I go.)

Starting with the Laura Virgil cover and going through to the back cover, the art is good. A special note of appreciation on Leah's "Silver Alpha".

Dancin in the Streets" well, it's BIZARRO that's for sure. I loved it and in particular I love the image of Blake discovering Vila and Avon doing a Bowie/Jagger imitation. What a howl!

THE MASTER is one of the shows I am less familiar with, but I did enjoy "Images". They never did find the daughter on the show did they? Also Sheila's artwork along with the story was quite nice.

Yankee Doodle A.J." was a scream. I was surprised that I liked it since I'm not a big SIMON & SIMON fan and don't usually care for stories about kids. Still Leah's touch with the story was good.

"Live and Learn" was an interesting story, but it was terribly condensed for all the subplots that were going on. I liked the writer's portrayal of Mick Belker the most; he's my favorite character on the show. As for "Conspiracy", this is one of the shows I'm not clear on and I must admit I don't care for the A-TEAM. Not to say that the story wasn't well done, I just couldn't get past my lack of interest in the show—my fault—not the writer's.

"Dragon Sleeping"—argh! This was not my sort of B7 story. (I am familiar—most familiar with this show, thanks to the editor and I do mean thanks). Linda is a talented writer, but I feel like she made Avon too womanish. Also, I question the idea that Avon would walk away from Blake once he found him.

Perhaps I'm not that easily offended, but I loved "Steaming Wangs". Very funny and sick, sick, sick. Will there be a seque l.

Like the A-TEAM, I never got into AIRWOLF and SIMON & SIMON isn't a must see, so I didn't follow "To Savor the Bitter Wine" very well.

"First the Good News"—Sometimes shorter pieces say it al quickly—something I can't do—I admire how well Carole Regine managed it. "Small Talk" is another Leah Rosenthal goodie. I love MIAMI VICE and Elvis is a favorite of mine. Poor Sonny, I could just see him talking to Elvis. Suzy Sansom did a nice illo and before I forget, I liked the illo for "Sucky Weekend" also.

Black Sheep is my hands down favorite this issue. It's nice to read a story where Leia is the major STAR WARS character involved. The meeting between Shai and Han was truly a gut wrencher. Of course, I had the advantage of having seen the story develop from the start.

"Two Sides of a Traitor Raid" I'm working on. I'm not big on RAT PATROL—ever since I found myself writing one (I shudder at the memory of it.) [Come on, Susanne, I didn't twist your arm hard enough that it STILL hurts, did I? Ed.] But I will give it a fair shot and finish it.

Good job, Annie! You always do your tribbers proud![9]

I finished SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2 and I loved it. My very favorite was "Dancin in the Streets". I never imagined Avon and Vila and heavy metal. Much less Avon playing heavy metal guitar. Now what would happen if Avon and Vila met Twisted Sister? or David Lee Roth? or Van Halen? No, never mind Van Halen, I don't ike them. Ah, I've got it, how about if they met Ozzy? Reading "Dancin'" made me want to go to a concert...

Second favorite story was "Yankee Doodle A.J. and I'm not even a SIMON & SIMON Fan...

The art portfolio is beautiful as is the Spies Portfolio. I love artwork. I really thought the one with Avon on the bear rug was cute!

What can I say about "Steaming Wangs" besides I survived it—barely but I did! I've got nothing bad to say about SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2 because everything was good reading, even "Steaming Wangs"![9]

The cover, the ideas, the art, the stories, the humor, the drama; THE BEST! It seems SOUTHERN LIGHTS can only improve with each issue.

All of the art is super-gorgeous, breathtaking! The portfolios are classic, illos throughout superb. I will not choose one drawing over another when it is so evident that all of the artists worked very hard with excellent results. I will say that it was a neat surprise to find Al Mundy and his dad, Alistair in Laura Virgil's section. IT TAKES A THIEF was one of my earliest obsessions. Thanks, Laura!

I enjoyed all the stories. Among them are the following: "The SuckyWeekend of Sonny Crockett"—I felt as though I was on that boat with them and went through the whole ordeal, a kind of invisible observer. True to form, the Lt. was silent most qf the time, but he did get some interesting, though succinct lines. Not even looking, huh? Did you see his reaction to Erendira in 'Bushido'??

"Yankee Doodle A.J."—seems like the Simons have always been involved in explosions and gunfire, ever since A.J. was just knee-high to a grasshopper. Good characterizations of the young boys. I especially like the image of a tiny, blond A.J. hiding under a bush, or keeping out of his big brother's way. And the final line was priceless.

"Live and Learn"—some good insight into Belker's character and I especially liked Casey's put down of LaRue.

"Conspiracy"—I never watch the A-TEAM, too much cartoon violence. But the stories are always good in zines. I did wish Murdoch was a bit more flakey. For him, normal is close to dull.

"Steaming Wangs"— I don't know what to make of this. I did enjoy reading the intro and opening notes. The story itself is an acquired taste.

"To Savor the Bitter Wine"—good story with the brother's conflicting perspectives. And that crossover was really out of the blue!

"First The Good News..."—oh Carole, what a naughty mind you have. Shall we name the little one Spaarik?

"Small Talk"—I absolutely love it. The little details on Elvis being the team mascot and having all this inside info, the sibilant voice of the 'gator, the tuna can at the end. Perfect! One thing, whatever happened to that timepiece Elvis swallowed? Does he still tick?

"Raiders of the Lost Carbonite"—extremely readable, I couldn't put it down. The crossover was handled nicely and the two men were kept quite in character. Nice division on the first half being in Indy's world; the 2nd half in the SW universe.

Poems & Humor: DW toon on pg. 17 was neat, especially the Cyberman's tie and shirt!

"A Word to the Lt."—when I saw the scene I thought it was a noble gesture on Martin's part. By the 4th showing I found the humor, too!

"Crossed Universe"—the girls who cooked up this one should be closely watched! [Believe me, I watch them VERY closely. Ed.] "Dance of the Eagle"—simply gorgeous.

"Battlefield Blues"—lovely. "Hot Stuff"—cute, real cute.

Finally, since my sister wrote a LoC on issue #1, I didn't get to put my three cents worth in. I just want to mention a few things. (And if you believe that...)

Seriously, "Night of the Peon's Death" was very well written, and brought back the WWW world very sharply. I enjoyed the storyline and various characters immensely.

"Time In Its Flight" took me a long time to read, but it was great. After a while, I'd be reading it during the day and when SIMON & SIMON was on the same night I'd find myself thinking back to the childhood incidents Christine described and relating them to the dialogue and reactions of A.J. and Rick in the current episodes. She really created a multi-layered past for the guys, one that is very realistic and very interesting!

"Hogtown Hustle", the very first fan MV story I've read. It was great for the concept alone. Hope to see more from Susanne in issue 3![9]

Dancing in the Streets"...oh my aching sides! Ohhh! Mick and Dave live in the 24th century. Owww! So that's a BIZARRO 7 story, huh? More more more!

I've been missing something, somewhere...Silver Alpha?

Now that I've finished raving (for the moment!), I'll go on to the rest of SOUTHERN LIGHTS #2. "Dragon Sleeping" was very good; it developed logically from what we know of Blake and his disappearance, Tarrant's feelings of being left out, Avon's pain at finding and losing Blake again...very moving. (We are now getting 3rd season "Blake" it just me or is Avon mellowing? And I don't really like Arrogant, I mean Tarrant, very much).

"Conspiracy"—I haven't watched the A-TEAM for a while...have they really been cleared, or is this story speculation? Who is Maggie Sullivan? I always wondered what would happen when the Master found his daughter...universal destruct—oops, wrong Master.

"Iimages" could be considered the end of the beginning, instead of the beginning of the end. I don't watch much HILL STREET BLUES, but "Live and Learn" felt right!

"Raiders of the Lost Carbonite"...okay. Let me think about this one. Carolyn Golledge surprised me; I thought we were headed for a cross-universe spoof. Instead she took the premise and ran with it through a number of very well thought out parallels to the Lucas STAR WARS saga and ended it with a nice touch of the Prime Directive! The idea of Indy and Marion in outer space still doesn't do much for me, but Carolyn pulled it off spectacularly!

"Steaming Wangs"~uh, tell me, do Cheree and Laura write historical romances for real?

The "Anything Goes" and "Spies" portfolios were nice, even if they did leave out my favorite man-in-the- white-suit. Excuse please...Silver Alpha? [Shhh...Paul Darrow might hear you. Ed.]

"To Savor the Bitter Wine" demonstrates perfectly why one should always read everything in a 'zine, whether you like the show or not. I don't watch SIMON & SIMON and I'm not real fond of S&S fiction...most that I've read boil down to "A.J. gets hurt and Rick feels guilty." I was skimming through the story, sure enough, A.J. gets shot...helicopter? I know that helicopter! Hey, what's going on here? I finished reading with a great deal more interest than before, then went back and read the first half more carefully. Setting aside my personal prejudice in favor of a certain Mach One Plus helicopter. "To Savor the Bitter Wine" is probably one of the best stories I've read—tension, conflict, motivations...and the crossover was so subtle that I didn't

notice until' it whacked me in the face. And it was so very true to both series. It would be interesting to read this story from Hawke's point of view. And I hope to read more by L.A. Carr, soon. [9]

I received your zine SOUTHERN LIGHTS 2 and wanted to especially comment on how much I liked the back pover. Besides being a SIMON & SIMON and STAR TREK addict, I'm also a HARDCASTLE & MCCORMICK and MAGNUM PI fan.

I found the S&S story "Yankee Doodle A.J." very enjoyable as I like reading stories about when they were children. Some of my favorite stories are those that, while occurring in the present, cause one or the other of them to have a flashback to their childhood.

I found both of Carol Hillman's S&S poems quite moving.

L.A. Carr's story "To Savor the Bitter Wine" really hit home with me. Reading this story lead me back to a time when I experienced many ambiguous and ambivalent feelings with regard to the Vietnam War. It took me back to when I was a young girl in love and engaged to a man in the service. A time when we had different and often opposite viewpoints as far as this 'conflict' was concerned. After becoming a S&S fan and reading this story, I can't help but think how good it would be to read a story wherein Rick and A.J. bring out and discuss how, not only did they each feel about this was, but also how they felt about each others stand on this was. Of course, I am a fine one to talk considering my husband and I have never done so. While my, now, husband never served in Vietnam, L.A. Carr's story brought back to mind some of the horror stories relayed to us by way of a cousin who did. Although, I must admit his stories were not as horribly graphic as the scene on page 148.

I have to disagree on one point in this story, that being on page 144 where A.J. supposedly wasn't entirely sure Rick wasn't ready to play him as sacrificial lamb in the event of trouble. I felt this entirely out of character for either Rick to ever do anything like.this, or for A.J. to ever doubt Rick in this serious a situation.

I liked how L.A. Carr incorporated Stringfellow Hawke getting his long lost brother back in this story. While I have never watched an entire episode of AIRWOLF, I have seen and heard the narration at the beginning of the show with regard to his brother being missing in Vietnam. All in all, I think that this is an excellent story and I felt that the zine was well worth buying just for this story. I conclude this letter thanking you for hours of enjoyable reading... [9]

Really, the trouble is I'm running out of superlatives particularly in regards to those covers and other art by Laura Virgil. They are all nothing short of phenomenal.

As you know, I really needed "Dancin' in the Streets" when I first read it, and it hasn't lost a whit in the days since. Poor Avon, a frustrated Billy Idol...Poor Blake, a frustrated dope...and Vila in the middle of it. Leah certainly does have Avon's mouth down to a T.

Some of the stories gave me a pause because of that old bugaboo, "unfamiliar with the universe". "Images", for example, was a well plotted story with good character work, but, since I've never seen the show, Teri's motivation rather puzzled me. And I had the same problem with the RAT PATROL story. So maybe I'd better stick to safer ground...

Yankee Doodle A.J." did a difficult thing well—a "childhood of our heroes" story that wasn't hopelessly sappy arid where the kids behaved like kids!...

"Live and Learn" captured the quick pacing and multiple ploting of HILL STREET BLUES quite wel, no mean feat. And is something wrong with me?

"Steaming Wangs didn't offend me at all. I've read enough of those bodice-rippers to recognize all the cliches and the twists. God, what a scream! I loved it when they all did in the Colonel. Suppose he drowned like Rasputin? I was glad that "Savor the Bitter Wine" finally got all those people back. Particularly poor St. John, (I've actually seen AIRWOLF! Twice! Wow!) but I'm afraid that al such stories are just wish fulfillment. Which makes it all the more poignant. Some good 'musings' of the characters there, too.

First the Good News..." hey, that's what I predicted would happen, too. Wonder if they have shotgun marriages on Vulcan? And "Small Talk"...I'm glad someone told Crockett off. "Raiders of the Lost Carbonite" took me a week to read. It was very satisfying, too, al the threads woven together. Carolyn Golledge knows how to put in the detail that most people hurry over, eager to get to the "trash" although poor Han always gets it but good in her stories, anyway! Han and Indy came off as similar but not clones. Still, how come the STAR WARS people spoke English (quibble, quibble) The illos were excellent-particularly the one on paqe 223 of Han (or is it Indy?) and Lando.

Speaking of illos—about that awful cartoon on page B9~that is the last time I send Leah Rosenthal anything! Well, any cartoons, that is. That was downright sneaky.

I said last time I don't usually say anything about stories by relatives, but as I hadn't read all of Sucky Weekend" in even first draft, I can say that it certainly lived up to the promise of the premise. Castilo with a hankie on his head. Sonny contemplating dog food—that ilo is a scream. Susanne is realy sorry about Castillo saying too much in "Hogtown Hustle", fans: she says she'd only seen two episodes with him in them at the time and figured he had to say more sometime. And if Ricardo seems to be leaving a lot un resolved in "Hogtown Hustle" as well, that's probably because she's got this whole series of MIAMI VICE stories, and that storyline is sort of a running background. And, yeah, Bruce is Buckaroo Banzai, okay?

Let s see if they know who Shai Arkadriss is! I'm impatiently waiting for #3. [9]

Issue 2.5 (Southern Lights, Blake's 7)

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 two black and white photos of the cast but no other interior illustration.

From the short editorial:

Welcome to the second issue of the 'SPECIAL.' Some of you may have noticed that 2.5 is in print before Issue 2 this year. There's a good reason for that. Actually, there are a couple of reasons. First off, I had time to type the masters for 2.5 as it is such a small zine. Secondly, I got a good print deal. Thirdly, there seems to be a lot of interest in my upcoming BLAKE'S 7 [zine?] and since there's no way it was going to make it into print for MediaWest Con, I put this one together, instead. I hope it satisfies some of you hungry for new B7 material.

Yes, if you haven't noticed yet, this issue of the SPECIAL is all-B7. I haven't quite decided what next year's issue will consist of. Write me and let me know what you'd like.


I guess I'm out of things to say. I hope you enjoy the zine. The material is about evenly divided between 'straight' and 'slash' type stories. The slash stories are in the back and begin with the story "The Weight of a Feather". [10] If you don't like slash, then please skip those stories. You have been warned!

  • Aftereffects, fiction by Barbara T ("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.) (gen) (3)
  • Intermezzo in B fiction by London Bates (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) (gen) (7)
  • Paradise Loused Up, fiction by Louisiana Bailey & A. Toyten Bankes (aka Planet of the Slave Boys) ("Xanadu was supposedly a paradise, but Avon, Tarrant and Vila are in for a few surprises.") (gen) (13)
  • Sharing, fiction by Mara Calahan & Crystal Adams (gen) (21)
  • Have Another, fiction by Lotta Sleaze (slash) (30)
  • The Weight of a Feather, fiction by Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin (Hellhound Universe) ("Avon hadn't planned to have company on his shore leave, but things seldom worked out the way Avon planned them.") (slash) (32)
  • Reluctant Rebel by London Bates (slash) (39)
  • Personal Management, fiction by Barbara T ("Vila Restal followed Blake willingly, yet he still feared him.") (slash) (40)
  • Nearly Beloved/Rogue, fiction by London Bates (See Nearly Beloved) (also in The Unique Touch #1 and The Other Side #1) (slash) (47)

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. [11]

Issue 3 (Southern Lights, multifandom)

Southern Lights 3 was published in May 1987 and contains 293 pages. It has art by Barbara Frances-Simon, Cathy Bryson, Mary Otten, Suzy Samson, Charlene Kirby, Leah Rosenthal, and Dani Lane, Wanda Lybarger, Barbara Frances-Simon, Suzi Molnar, Sheila Paulson, Phil Tortorici, Ronda Henderson, Colleen Winters.

cover of issue #3, Barbara Frances-Simon
back cover of issue #3, Leah Rosenthal
flyer for issue #3, click to read summaries, ad from Southern Seven #1

From the editorial:

Here we are at the third issue of SOUTHERN LIGHTS already, and it seems like I was just typing the first issue the other day...this particular issue contains stories scheduled for the last issue that wouldn't fit in!

Many thanks to everybody who has nominated SOUTHERN LIGHTS for a Fan Q for the second year in a row. It's really an honor to know that the readers enjoy and appreciate the zine. The credit goes to the contributors for all their marvellous material. Congratulations to Laura Virgil and Leah Rosenthal, who have both been nominated as Best Artist.

SOUTHERN LIGHTS 4 is already full up, and in fact, I probably have enough material to fill up an issue #5. Please check with me before you send any submissions. I hate to turn them down but my time is so limited these days that I can't read them for quite a long while. And I know it's frustrating to have to wait for an answer. I hate to do it to you...which is why I keep asking people not to send anything for SOUTHERN LIGHTS just for right now. If you send something, please try to understand that it may be a long time before I can edit the story. I will certainly answer you and let you know I received it, but that does not an edit make... Please do remember to enclose a SASE when writing me, too. A lot of fans have been neglecting this lately, although many, many of you are more generous to me than I deserve, my friends spoil me outrageously, I have to admit.

  • A Word from Our Sponsors (4)
  • Letters of Comment (5)
  • Filler (media, song, meta) by Leah Rosenthal (11)
  • New Discoveries by Jeannie Webster (Indiana Jones) (12)
  • Misplaced in Space by Liz S. (Blake's 7) ("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.") (17)
  • Ode to a Shooting by Carol Hillman (Simon and Simon, poem) (74)
  • Liberation by Barbara Tennison (Indiana Jones) (75)
  • Monologues by Marcia Brin (Silverado, poem) (76)
  • Melody in Variation by Linda Knights (Airwolf) ("Stringfellow s more certain than ever that SinJin IS alive...") (79)
  • T.J. Newton by Teresa Sarick (The Man Who Fell to Earth, poem) (100)
  • It's All Over Now by Sylvia Stevens ("an Injeannieous Tale") (101)
  • Doomsday Puzzle by Kim Wigmore and Holly Hutchison (Blake's 7, puzzle) (103)
  • The Search is Over by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars, poem) (104)
  • Diamond Formation by Lorraine Beatty (The A-Team) ("Murdock remembers his time flying with the Thunderbirds...") (105)
  • Southern Lights Writer (media, filk to the tune of "Paperback Writer") by Kim Wigmore and Holly Hutchison (108)
  • For Today & Forever by Linda Knights (Miami Vice) ("A chance meeting with Lt. Castillo doesn't turn out to be a young girl's 'dream'...") (109)
  • Portrait by Jacqueline Taero (Miami Vice, poem) (115)
  • Cally Speaking... To Avon, Who Probably Isn't Listening by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) ("Blake is finally feeling the strain of running a rebellion and, of course, Avon does push him too hard at times...") (116)
  • Family Ties by Jeannie Webster (Indiana Jones) (120)
  • Just You by Carol Hillman (Simon and Simon, poem) (121)
  • The Streets of Miami by Michele Rosenberg (Miami Vice, filk, "with apologies to Allan Sherman") (122)
  • The 'Anything Goes' Art Portfolio Spotlighting: (124)
    • Lethal Weapon by Dani Lane
    • Bruce Springsteen by Dani Lane
    • The Professionals by Dani Lane
    • Indiana Jones by Ronda Henderson
    • Indiana Jones by Wanda Lybarger
    • Star Wars by Wanda Lybarger
    • Fantasy by Colleen Winters
    • Blake's 7 by Sheila Paulson
    • Gallipoli by Barbara Frances-Simon
    • Bizarro 7 by Leah Rosenthal
  • Philk (media, filk) by Michele Rosenberg and Leah Rosenthal (134)
  • The Trouble with Informants by Susanne McGhin (Miami Vice) ("Crockett's having trouble with informants but there's some thing else bothering him as well...") (135)
  • The Rock-a-Bye Baby Affair by Charlene Kirby (Man from U.N.C.L.E.) ("Mr. Waverley suffers a strange illness and it's up to Solo and Illya to save the free usual.") (152)
  • Kind of a Drag by Leah Rosenthal, Ann Wortham, Lois Indelicato and Michele Rosenberg ("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) (166)
  • No Strings Attached by Louann Quall (Airwolf) ("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) (178)
  • Midnight Walker by Teresa Sarick ( T.H.E. Cat) (199)
  • A WIdow's Betrayal by Michele Worley (Year of Living Dangerously) (200)
  • Triangle Blues by Christine Jeffords (Simon and Simon) ("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...") (210)
  • Blake's Seven's Planets by Kim Wigmore and Holly Hutchison (Blake's 7, filk, to the tune of "Gilligan's Island") (272)
  • The Consequences of an Unfortunate Excess in Sobriety by Linda Knights (Black Sheep Squadron) ("Larry Casey, a drunk V.M.F, 214, and a hurricane add up to big trouble for everybody involved...") (273)
  • Reflection by Cathy Bryson (Airworf, poem) (288)
  • A Reflective Matter by L.A. Carr (Simon and Simon) (389)
  • The Gauda Prime Hillbillies by Kim Wigmore and Holly Hutchison (293)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[Diamond Formation]: I.M.O. it's an exceptionally good story, at least compared to the other A-Team zine stories I've read. Definitely worth checking out if you can find it. Not that the other stuff is necessarily bad, but [this is one] I especially enjoyed. Your Mileage May Vary. [12]

[zine]: Keep up all the good work. Even the stories I don't agree with, the plot lines I've enjoyed reading. And your artwork is really great. You've got a great bunch of artists and writers. Tell them all thanks for the fantastic jobs they've all done. We all really appreciate it greatly. [13]

[zine]: I really enjoyed SL#3. It was brilliant, especially all the illos. Congratulations to you, Ann. Keep up the good work. It's a tough job, but... May there be many more SL in the future. Enjoyed reading all the Simon & Simon stories. My favorite part of the zine, in fact. The boys to a T. Here's to #4. [13]

[zine]: I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed Southern Lights — and how I look forward to each one. They just seem to be getting better and better! The first one was superb—and you've just gone up from there.

My favorites are the stories (art, poems, etc.) from the "original" Airwolf universe. (Especially after watching the dismal "new Airwolf" on USA Cable Network). How I long for the old stories and characters.

Zines like yours keep Stringfellow Hawke alive! I can hardly wait for each one^ Again, thank you! All your hard work is appreciated and enjoyed! [13]

[zine]: Many thanks for the copy of "Southern Lights 3" which arrived yesterday. I'm very pleased with it. I found a lot to enjoy in it, chiefly Christine Jefford's "Triangle Blues". She's a very talented


It's so nice to see that B7 is making an insert in the U.S. We weren't at all sure that it would; it seems like such a "British" show to us, we really couldn't imagine how it was going to fare across the Atlantic. Should've known, really, after the Australians took to it the way they did. I don't know how far you are along in the series, but if you haven't seen the last episode of Series 4, please take care, it shocked me, and I was expecting it.


I must say how much I loved the artwork in SL#, particularly the covers. That "Ghostbusters" illo is beautiful, and Leah Rosenthal has drawn one of the most life-like B7 scenes I have ever seen. Gorgeous. [13]

[zine]: Since it was heavily weighted toward BLAKE'S and BIZARRO 7, there wasn't a great deal in it for me. [Ed: I have to take exception to this. For one thing. SL is never heavily weighted toward anything, as that would rather negate the purpose of making it a multimedia zine in the first place. I have a BLAKES zine for B7 material. There were three B7 stories in SL3, two of which were very short pieces and only one BIZARRO story (which was one of the short ones). Liz S.s' story was roughly 40 pages long, I believe, in a 300 page zine. There was a hell of a lot more of S&S in #3 than anything else, with a good portion of AIRWOLF, as well, this last time around. However, you can see why I've decided not to publish any more SL for now; as long as this kind of attitude prevails (that of expecting one's own personal favorite fandom to be "sufficiently" represented before buying the zine) there doesn't seem to be much future in risking my money on print runs.] It was well put together, and I don't remember disliking anything. Sorry for such a lukewarm LoC, but I can't help it if I don't know anything about B7! [13]

[zine]: Have read all the stuff in SL#3 from shows I know, and may wait a while to figure out what the AIRWOLF stuff is about. Some of it looks well-written, but who are these people and what are them things? (Considering that I was reading B7 fanfic a year before I saw any of the show, not to mention my scandalous introduction to PROFESSIONALS, lack of a little thing like actually seeing the show shouldn't be much deterrent from reading unfamiliar fanfic.)

Well, about the B7 material: The filks by Kim Wigmore and Holly Hutchinson (and Michele Rosenberg's "Streets of Miami" and probably anything else along those lines I've missed listing) are uniformly hilarious and are also beautiful parodies of the originals besides. Well, considering the originals in some cases (Gilligan's Island...), beautiful may not be an applicable word. They retain the formal, syntactical, and often the symbological structure with new content. A neat trick.

The two long, humorous B7 pieces are my favorites in the zine, no doubt for reasons that shouldn't be too closely inquired into. "Kind of a Drag" is vintage BIZARRO: truly silly, in fact, truly ridiculous, but with a more of logical structure and an underlying consistency to the characters even when they are acting in ways the serious B7 crew might consider whimsical in the extreme. It is also incredibly funny. "Misplaced in Space", on the other hand, contains entirely true-to-life characters and events, arranged in a purely random and illogical basic structure. Just like life, in fact. (Real things are more exciting than fiction, don't you think?) (Honestly, how many fans do you know who are captured by evil aliens and tortured within an inch of their lives; or who are then rescued by a bloody big space ship and its crew and must recover tortuously from blindness, impotence and three broken legs; or who suffer passionate instantaneous love affairs with their captain/partner/worst enemy, who happens to be the same sex? However, running around con hotels with Kerr Avon is quite commonplace. [Some of you know she's not kidding... Ed.l) I won't say this is actually funnier than BIZARRO proper (that would probably exceed some parameter of the universal Cosmic Joke, and thus leave us all back in caves gnawing on ox jawbones and trying to reinvent agriculture) but it has a certain fannish relevance achieved only by the most rarefied Biz7, as well as being extremely, superlatively funny in its own right.

"Cally Speaking," is not trying to be funny, and indeed gets across some serious points about how Avon and Blake may interact, underneath their surface antagonism. Oddly, though, none of the individual characters seem, to me, to be really consistent with their personalities in the show (except possibly Blake): those surface qualities are part of the characters, and just ignoring them skews Cally and Avon, even if it highlights feelings they may have that cannot usually be acknowledged.

Jeannie Webster's "OSS" raiders stories are better writing than ever from her; the shorter format suits her style, and these seem a bit more polished than earlier work of hers.

"Trouble With Informants" is fast and well-plotted, with lots of well-used new characters involved in the story, instead of concentrating on the series leads. At some moments it feels like dialogue in an empty space — too much word-exchange (though the dialogue itself is admirable), too little indication of what is happening to and around the characters. This doesn't happen when it would hurt the plot, but it does rob the story of atmosphere in some scenes. Nevertheless, this is a solid story for structure and characters.

"Rock-a-Bye Baby Affair" is also best on plot, the plot being semi-farcical in perfect tune with MUNCLE's style, the characters also consistent with the show's rather sketchy depiction of reality. [13]

[zine]: Wanted to write and let you know that I received SOUTHERN LIQflS 3 safe and soundly. Many, many thanks! As usual, it is fantastic. The front cover is a delight and the back cover just blew me away. I'm looking forward to reading this great collection of media work, especially the BLAKES 7 stories. I was paging through SOUTHERN LIGHTS 3 and came across a cartoon on Pg. 78 by Colleen Winters of an odd little creature. It looks so familiar, but I can't think where I've seen it. Do you know what it is? [13]

[zine]: Love issue #3 — great art with my story, thanks! And if anybody coroplainson the letters page about

story details, you can quote me on this: I wrote "No Strings Attached" in June 1984 before Cait existed or the details of St. John's capture were revealed or anything. Don't blame me.

Best of luck on continued editing... [13]

[zine]: Once again, the covers were super. I liked the back cover best, of course, but that's

only because I'm not a big GHOSTBUSTERS fan and a big BLAKES SEVEN fan (thanks to you, you know!). Looking at the front cover again, it does seem as if the guys are about to bust me, the viewer! What a concept.

I keep threatening to do a zine, but after reading "Filler", I think I've changed my mind. Thanks, Leah. Do I need that grief? No!

"New Discoveries" and "Family Ties" (I'm putting them together because they're in the same series) were decent stories, full of obviously well-researched period detail and worked well enough as far as "filling in the blanks" in Indy's life wait. But my preference is for action and adventure, and I'd like to see the OSS group doing something more than revealing their feelings and families. Are there any stories like this witten? I'm interested—the author seems to handle the character of Indiana well# and Marion, too.

I much preferred her to "the blond singer" and I would put them together if I wrote Indiana Jones stories.

Susanne warned me to watch out for "Misplaced in Space" but too late. I went in innocently and nearly split my sides. Liz certainly is an accurate observer of personality traits...oops, maybe I shouldn't say that! Anyway, it was great. Liz has read her H.P. Lovecraft, I see. Maybe too much. The illos were nifty, too. What exactly did Vila see in FORBIDDEN ZINE, ehh? All I know is I'm steering clear of Liz from now on! I'm already in two other zines in my underwear, so what could be next?

"Liberation" is so short it probably doesn't need a long note, but I'd just like to say that I really wish the writer had taken a little time and researched exactly what was supposed to be in that Ark, instead of repeating the movie's mistake of turning it into special effects whiz bang. For those who didn't have to suffer through Vacation Bible School in their youth, the Ark contained the tables Moses brought down from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments on them. No female demon ready to ravage mankind. [Ed: I think you missed the point of the story. Also, the story was based on RAIDERS, so of course it paralleled the movies.] Makes a dull story, but at least it's accurate within the religious context.

"Melody in Variation" was probably the most realistic of all the "save the imprisoned VietNam vet" stories I've read. I don't think it's possible for the poor guys to survive for 20 years in the rat-infested swamps with the sadistic guards that most other writers dream up. Plenty of good angst here, but a disappointing ending. In my opinion, any man who wants to be a prisoner needs to be put in a sanitarium (he shouldn't mind, if he wants to be imprisoned) and helped, because a man who doesn't want freedom is a man as good as dead. But at least the ending was left open. Maybe the Viet Cong will try to take over that French guy's farm and Hawke will have to fly in, cannons blasting? I knew...I like action and adventure!

I loved "It's All Over Now"—it struck a responsive chord! So there's a chance of syndication, is there?

Will Peggy refuse to make coffee for Mannix? Will Uhura and Nurse Chappel refuse to wear those hideous mini-skirts? Boggles the mind!

Tor Today and Forever" handled the character of Castillo well. He's not easy to get a fix on, too. I questioned the way the narrator gets involved with him in the first place. It seemed a little contrived, and I'm not sure he'd continue to endanger a civilian in that manner. Margaret was a good, solid character, too, much more sensible and real than most "love interests" you find in fan stories. Even me, the writer who tries to find true love for all her faves, would never attempt to put Castillo together with anyone for the long run. He just doesn't have it in him anymore.

I didn't watch much of the MAN FROM UNCLE, but the "Rock-a-bye Baby Affair' struck the right balance between camp and reality. Very amusing! Just the thought of Avon in drag is a roll-on-the-floor invitation I Loved the way Slake had to beg, ahd what happened to Blake's clothes. Now, why didn't Leah draw that? Ah well, the leering Travis was enough.

After "Melody...", "No Strings Attached" seemed almost too upbeat, but I liked the romantic interest more. I'm not a real airwolf fan, but at least I knew who was who and what was going onl Interesting to see two stories dealing with the same problem being resolved and in such different ways.

It's been a long time since I've seen and read THE YEAR OF living DANGEROUSLY, so I've forgotten quite a bit of it, probably too much to say anything more on "Widow's Betrayal" other than that to me it didn't quite ring true. Could Guy Hamilton really dismiss all that had happened in Indonesia quite so easily, including the suicide of Billy Bwan? (I think that was the name of the character Linda Hunt played). Both the book and film were so deep and intense and multi-leveled that to me they don't translate well to the realm of fan fiction.

I really don't understand the fascination in media random with SIMON & SIMON; it seems a pretty average show and neither of the leading men do anything for me. (Maybe that's the reason I don't understand the fascination, eh?) All that said, "Triangle Blues" was a good story...action-adventure, I know! It didn't drag in too much unnecessary detail, as "Time In Its Flight* (SL#1) did, just enough to give the story realism. The period detail was good, too. But I've got to say that I guessed who the baddie was with no trouble, and wondered how Rick and A. J. could be so dense! Also, there were a few too many coincidences..the Simons just happen to be on the boat with Hasten, A.J, just happens to see this murder (after hearing the discussion and the murder connects to Hasten...all this is acceptable, after all, the story needs to get going, but to then bring in Rick's old flame Meredith, to drag their fat out of the fire in two instances? That's pushing it. And I could hardly read Watkin's dialect in places. Still, I enjoyed it, including Sonny Crockett cameo..nice and rational, not overdone, as cross universes can become.

"The Consequences..." (I can't write all that title!) was enjoyable, even though I haven't seen BLACK SHEEP SQUADRON or whatever it was called...except a couple of times in syndication (oh, and the horrid Peter Frampton episode) and don't even know who's who besides Robert Conrad. Imagine my surprise then, when I actually got caught up in all the characters and their difficulties, actually saw them as real people. That's pretty good writing! Maybe I ought to try and find this show.

"A Relative Matter" hit my SIMON & SIMON block square on again. The details of the mother's reaction at the gravesite, the descriptions of grieving, were on the mark, and I liked the concern the brothers showed for each other. But I question whether a 37 year old man, and a private detective to boot, would break down over something as trivial as realizing that his father died when he was the same age as he is now...getting depressed, sure, but totally coming unglued? Well, I don't know A.J. Simon too well, so maybe I should suspend judgment.

One more run-through:

I love Dani's Martin Riggs... I hope there will be some more Lethal Weapon stories coming up soon!

Susanne is to nice to say this, but we were disappointed that there was no ill of Jeff in "The Trouble With Informants", particularly since she sent a photo reference in plenty of time. Oh well, win a few, lose a few.

Those B7 filks by Kim Wigmore and Holly Hutchison were hilarious. I even sang them to see how they scanned. Wonderful! So was "The Streets of Miami". Too bad. Sonny!

So in closing, it was great. [13]

[zine]: The stories were all great, as usual, and the artwork was superb. Hope you can keep the color coordinated covers and bindings. They make the zine look really classy. I thought the entire zine was terrific. The content was varied enough that I didn't get bored, even if I haven t seen half the programs that were represented between the covers. SL is never a disappointment and I always look forward to finding it in my mail box (makes the long walk down the driveway worthwhile. [13]

[zine]: "New Discoveries" & "Family Ties": I enjoy Jeannie Webster's OSS stories—and I'm glad to see that Indy hasn't forgotten Shorty!


"Melody in Variation": Finally, an AIRWOLF story that utilizes Caitlin! Thank you ever so, Linda, for a wonderful character story—and for a different look at Americans in Southeast Asia. Yes, some of the MIAs are there voluntarily and it gives a different view of Sinjin than most take.

"Diamond Formation": Not normally fond of A TEAM stories, I was delighted to find a Murdock story — and a reasonable, "normal" Murdock in it.

"For Today and Forever": Oooooohhh! A Martin Castillo story! (DROOL!!! Eddie Olmos does that to me!!) It was a wonderfully bittersweet story, true to Castillo's character. With May Ying and Jack Gretsky both alive and gone again, he won't forge any relationships he doesn't have to (his with Crockett notwithstanding. ) Linda, you show a caring side to a hard man (no, not that wayl) and it was a pleasure to see.

"Cally Speaking...": Of course, we're privy to the whole Anna Grant story, whereas Blake and Cally (at least at that point) aren't—and we know why Avon doesn't want to talk about her. I do feel Cally is a little harsh with Avon in her protection of Blake—after all, dealing with Del Grant wasn't the easiest thing for him, either, and Cally gives little consideration to that. But it is true that Blake and Avon fed off each other—and that may be one of the causes of Avon's slow descent into "darkness.

"The Streets of Miami": Clone, only one line— The LoC'r stood over the filker's body. Second model Colt Dragoon smoking in her hand...

"The Trouble With Informants": Susanne writes a Sonny Crockett that I like sometimes more than Michael Mann's. The character she gives him (and all of them), the relationships (and partnership with Rico, something nonexistent in the series now!) make for grand reading. Of course, I can't stand Laura Stoner—and it helps when you know what Jeff looks like. (Bar fights, Gavin?)

"The Rock-A-Bye Baby Affair": For the plot concocted for this story, it seemed to read far too fast. The story took off before I could buckle in, and I never could catch up. (Unfortunately, this is my biggest problem with fan writing right now, and I've run into a lot of it recently!)

"Kind of a Drag": COUGH!!! SPUTTER!!! CHOKE!!! Okay—who's responsible? Kramer world? A half gallon of walnut chocolate ice cream? Refugee from a London Bates story? This must be BIZAR 7! Of course, Avon would wear blue—and know makeup. (We would disown him if he didn't, right. Daddy?) High heels, true—too true! Annie's Gang? And, Bubbles—nice bust! [13]

Issue 3.5 (Southern Lights, Blake's 7)

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)
  • Out with a Bang, or, The Orbit We Never Saw by Julie Kramer (Avon/Vila) ("What really happened aboard Egrorian's shuttle...?") (3)
  • Mental Health by Jane Carnall ("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)
  • A Question of Balance by Northwest Smith (Blake/Avon, with previous A/G) (8)
  • Poker Night by Ingrid Montrose (Avon/Vila) ("Vila Restal enjoyed late watch for a very good reason: he liked letting Avon win at cards...") (11)
  • Journey's End by Paula (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 ...") [14] (Blake/Jenna) (13) (reprinted in Jabberwocky #5)
  • Avon's Law by London Bates (Blake/Avon) (reprinted in The Other Side #6) (17)
  • Silver Alpha by Diana Romero (poem) (22)
  • Pillow Talk by Henrietta Street (all) ("Party night on the Liberator. Need I say more?") (reprinted from Quicksilver Rising #4) (23)
  • A Saying in Broth Spoils the Thyme by Jane Carnall (Cally/Jenna?) (24)
  • Fugitives by xBryn Lantry (Blake/Avon) (24)
  • Kindred Souls by Aislinn (Avon/Cally, past Blake/Avon and Cally/Jenna) (30) (also in "touched" #8)
  • Affirmation by Paula (Blake/Avon) - sequel to "Renascence" (31)
  • Those Lips, Those Eyes by Susan Hall (Avon/?) (34)
  • Night Moves by Branta Bernicula (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)
  • First Person Singular by London Bates (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)
  • I Was So Young... by Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin (Hellhound Universe) - (Jenna/OMC, with implied B/J) (47)
  • Rain Must Fall by uncredited (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)
  • If We Play Our Cards Right by Ingrid Montrose (Avon/Vila) (69)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3.5

[Mental Health]: Blake’s 7 stories differ from cop-show slash because its futuristic setting allows fan writers to imagine a time when bisexuality is the social norm and homophobia is no longer an issue. Jane Carnall’s “Mental Health” (1987a) parodies contemporary sexual attitudes, treating Tarrant’s rampant homophobia as “a type of mental illness, supposed to be incurable” and noting, with alarm, that “at least ten percent of the Terran human population are completely heterosexual” (5). While Carnall’s story is satirical and not intended as a literal treatment of her sense of the program universe, many Blake’s 7 stories assume that most of the characters would have had bisexual experiences, particularly given their prior history within the Federation penal system. [15]

[Kindred Souls]: On a different tangent, Aislinn's 'Kindred Souls' brings Avon and Cally together after Star One, making love as a way of grieving for their lost lovers Blake and Jenna, in a story that uses the same pairings as Randell to reverse effect, positioning heterosexuality as consolation for the loss of the central and crucial m/m and f/f relationships. [16]

[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. [17]

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. [18]

Issue 3.75 (Southern Lights, Blake's 7)

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.

[Civilized Terror]: In Jane Carnall’s ‘Civilized Terror’ (1987) Avon accidentally sparks Vila’s memories of previous abuse when he approaches him with a belt in his hand as the two are undressing: “He was an idiot, he was a damned fool, he should have known this Alpha was like all the other Alphas he’d ever known except with more of a taste for privacy than some…. Why the hell else would an Alpha want a Delta, anyway, if not because the Delta was a meaningless bundle of nothing that the Alpha could treat any way the Alpha pleased?” (3). Vila and Avon, both shaken by the incident, try to reconcile their previous sense of the relationship with what occurred when they moved to consummate it <…> Carnall's narrative hinges on class barriers and the distrusts they breed, the difficulty in overcoming them and achieving communication within a world where neither man can comfortably express his true feelings. [19]

[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. [20]

Issue 4 (Southern Lights, multifandom)

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
frontispiece from issue #4 (copy 427): at the top of the page: "XEROX REPRINT. SOME ARTWORK MAY NOT REPRODUCE WELL DUE TO THIS."

The art is 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.

From the editorial:

Like every other issue, this one seemed to take on a flavor and character of its own—and the trend this tijne around was toward cross-universe stories, it seems. I didn't realize how many pages of cross-universe material there was until I began actually writing down the table of contents! We have a WIZARDS & WARRIORS/TAXI crossover which I think everyone will find quite enjoyable and witty—and very close in spirit to both of those shows. Thank you, Teresa, for being patient about seeing it in print. There's a SILVERADO/BIG VALLEY crossover which tells an exciting story you won't regret reading. It certainly revived my enthusiasm for Westerns. Thanks, Marcia. There's a delightful adventure from Annita Smith which ties REMINGTON and SCARECROW & MRS. KING together in a unique but perfectly logical way. And Jeff Morris has managed to cross BLAKES 7 with one of his own favorite comic book universes, GRIMJACK.

I think you'll have fun checking all of these out.


As many of you already know, this will be the last issue of SOUTHERN LIGHTS for the time being. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to spare the time and money needed to produce this zine and, frankly, my own interests lie elsewtere. Although I enjoy just about every fandcm there is, the only fandcm I am actively involved in myself is BLAKES 7. This, coupled with the fact that the zine does not seem to be as imich in demand of late, has made me decide to shut it down for new. The general attitude in fandcm the last year or so has seemed to be one of reluctance to buy multi-media zines in favor of one-genre zines. If this attitude changes again, and there is still an interest, I will probably revive SOUTHERN LIGHTS. I — and my contributors — would still love to hear what you think of this issue, of course.

One word of warning, though: never write to me and ask me to bootleg my own zines by photocopying only selected stories out of them for you—unless you enjoy receiving a rude reply, of course. It is exactly this kind of bootlegging and casual attitude toward it which is killing multi-media zines in the first place.

Over the past year or so, I feel I've been sufficiently vocal regarding my attitude toward anybody who steals another person's zine by photocopying it without permission. I can only restate here that every time my print run is reduced because bootleggers are diverting buyers, the price I have to charge per copy goes up. The higher my print run, the lower the cost per copy becomes. So, if you want zines to continue to be produced, please don't support zine bootlegging.

This zine has a full color cover, a light blue card stock back cover and is GBC bound with white bindings. It is also individually numbered. If your copy doesn't look like this, you have bought an unauthorized copy.


A few words about business matters and then I'll finally get around to the thank yous. Remember that you must always enclose a SASE (self-addressed stanped envelope) with a query, a submission, or anything which requires a response. Regrettably, I can no longer acknowledge submissions which arrive without a SASE. Please don't write me with questions which have been answered already on the flyers or in the editorials—if you do, I will write back instructing you to read said editorial or flyer.

Also, do me a favor and don't write asking when a specific zine will be out. Approximate print dates generally appear on all my flyers and in my ads. I revise them as needed, to keep them up-to-date. You're not going to get a more specific answer from me than that, and if you do write with that question, I will most likely simply send you back a flyer. It's not that I don't enjoy hearing from all of you — I do. But my mail voltBne runs to about 20-50 letters a week. How fast do you think you could handle those inquiries while holding down a full-time job, taking care of a house and family, writing your own stories and typing, laying out, collating, binding and mailing out zines? Think about it. Your oooperation and understanding are appreciated, believe me.


A different sort of thanks should be extended to a group of people who always seem to be willing and ready to support their fans and fandom: Paul & Janet Darrow, Mike Keating, Gareth Thomas, Sheelagh Wells, and, most of all, Terry Nation. It's exciting to be involved in BLAKES 7 and even moreso because the creator of the series takes such a personal interest in his fans. Thanks, Terry!

  • 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, poem 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, poem by Sue Ann Sarick (Moonlighting) (65)
  • Opus 1812, poem 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, poem 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, poem 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, poem 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, poem by CarolMel Ambassador (Star Wars) (141)
  • Monday, March 13, 198- by Linda Knights (Miami Vice) (143)
  • Jamaican Man, poem or filk that has references to Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, and King Crimson, 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, poem 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, poem by Jacqueline Taero (Blake's 7) (213)
  • Keeper of the Trust, poem 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, two poems 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, poem 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, cartoon by Mysti Frank (Simon and Simon)
  • The Final Fun-Tier by Mysti Frank (Star Trek) (265)
  • Nice Girls Marry Stockbrokers, poem by Sue Ann Sarick (It Takes a Thief) (266)
  • Demongate by Jeff Morris (Blake's 7) (267)
  • Sidney's Musings on the War, poem by Mysti Frank (M*A*S*H) (277)
  • Long, Long Time by L.A. Carr (Magnum P.I.) (278)

Issue 4.5 (Southern Lights, Blake's 7)

cover of issue #4.5, Leah Rosenthal
the parody flyer for "Traffic Lights Special 3.141592"

Southern Lights 4.5 was published in March 1988 and is 143 pages long.

This issue contains no art at all. The fiction and vignettes are placed one after another without spaces or title pages.

It contains a mix of slash and gen adult stories.

From the editorial:

This issue presented a problem in that there are several stories that deal w1th "slash" issues, or have a bit of implied slash in them, but they aren't really slash stories per se. I've marked these with a question mark in the the of contents. The rest of the stories are marked with a slash for those types of stories and with nothing if they are straight. If you don't like slash, then please simply avoid those stories and save yourself some aggravation. That's why I mark: them for you. If, on the other hand, you do like slash, I think you'11 be well pleased with the mix of stories this time around.


Watch out for the zine pirates. This zine has a gunmetal gray cover printed 1n black ink and is bound up with black GBC binding. Each copy is individually numbered in colored ink. If your copy doesn't look like this, then you haven't got an original and the folks who put so much effort into producing the zine for you have been cheated of the money needed to pay their expenses... so they can bring you more zines. Please send your friends to us for their copies.

  • An Anonymous Letter from the Editor (2)
  • Were T'Other Dear Charmer Away by D.D. Montgomery (Avon/Blake/Jenna) (3)
  • A Form of Comfort by Ellis Ward (Avon/Blake) ("Blake is rather surprised by Avon's desire to comfort him...") (also in The Other Side #4) (4)
  • Bedtime Story by Ingrid Montrose (Avon/Vila) ("Vila is in a coma and nothing the LIBERATOR crew can do seems to be any help to him...") (6)
  • The Path Not Taken by Sophia Mulvey (Blake/OC, Avon/Blake) (set in the Deltah Base universe, many more stories can be found in various issues of the The Seven Live On) (10)
  • More Than Friends by Mary Gerstner & April Giordano (Avon/Orac?) (14)
  • People Change by Tenaya (Tarrant/Vila, Avon/Vila) ("Tarrant and Vila are feared dead when the SCORPIO is hijacked and Xenon Base almost destroyed...") (14)
  • Cathouse Blues by Madelyn Darring (various) ("Blake must make contact with a rebel whose cover is rather *ahem* shady...") (22)
  • What Happened Next by Ellen Walters (Avon/Servalan) (27)
  • Chimera by Thomas (Avon/Blake) ("Blake has a need to help and comfort Avon but how far is he willing to go to do so...?") (27)
  • Creature Comforts by D.D. Montgomery (Avon/Vila) ("Following ORBIT, Avon knows that he must do something to placate Vila's distrust of him...") (50)
  • Powerplays by Libby Rator (Avon & Servalan) ("Just how far does the relationship between Avon and Servalan extend...?") (56)
  • Random Access by Linda Terrell (Avon/Blake) (57)
  • Traffic Lights Special 3.141592 (a parody flyer for a zine: "This special edition contains BLAKE'S 7 material so rude, so disgusting, so awful that it is sure to become a collector's item in no time!") (61)
  • Those Hips, Those Thighs by Rosinanta (Avon & Jenna) ("An interlude in a jail cell holds some surprises for Jenna...") (62)
  • To Save a Friend by Ellis Ward (Avon/Blake) (64)
  • Fund Raiser, vignette by Branta Bernicula (Vila) (68)
  • Don't Stand So Close to Me by Madelyn Darring (Dayna/Tarrant, Avon/Vila) (68)
  • Untitled poem by Anonymous (Avon/Jenna) (71)
  • Discoveries by Chris Kessler (Avon/Vila) ("Avon knows that Vila desires him and sets out to seduce the Delta...") (72)
  • Recovery Time by Barbara T (Avon/Blake) (79)
  • Revenge for What? by Jane Carnall (Avon/Vila, Jenna/OC, Soolin/OC) (90)
  • Limited-Time Offer by J.D. Reece (Soolin/Vila) (110)
  • The Ties That Bind by Iama Nonymous (Avon/Vila/Kerrill) (114)
  • Decisions by Shoshanna (This is first slash story the author ever wrote. It is followed by "Repercussions" and "The Darkness of the Separate Will," both published in SLS 5.5. Supposedly, all three were published out of order in E-Man-Uelle #9 (Avon/Blake) (121)
  • Experiment by Scorpio (Avon/Vila) (128)
  • Truth in Lies by Catocala (Last Stand universe) (Avon/Vila/Kerrill - Last Stand universe) (129)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4.5

See reactions and reviews for Revenge for What?

[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. [21]

[Decisions]: One of the very first slash stories I read (and still one of the very best!) was in SLS 4... it was a story of this sort, set just after Gan's death. The events of the story cause the message Blake leaves before teleporting down to 'The Host' a carefully worded private message to Avon which absolutely rocked me: verbatim, the same words as shown on tv, but with so much more meaning! If anyone has *not* seen this story, I cannot recommend it highly enough. [22]

[Creature Comforts]: One of my favorite post Maladar stories is in a Southern Comfort (I think 4.5) and after watching Vila getting more and more sullen and effecting every one on Xenon, Avon goes to 'deal' with the situation. SPOILER!!! He does some things he finds personally humiliating (at least partially because of some misunderstanding), and finally, as they are about to go to sleep, Vila says sleepily, "I can't believe you'd rather go through all of this than just say you're sorry." END SPOILER. [23]

[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. [24]

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. [25]


Just got my copy of the 4.5 a few days ago, and I have a couple of comments, first being that I enjoyed the zine very much (of course). The story "Were T' Other Dear Charmer Away" by D.D. Montgomery gave me a different view of Roj Blake and not a pleasant one. If I remember rightly, Avon has often accused Blake of being a manipulator, both in the series and in many fan stories I've read, and this story brought that right up front. I found I had no sympathy at all for the character in this tale. If Blake was worn out by his little juggling routine, well. Tough Bananas, Tarzan — he asked for it. Guess that means the author did a very good job? I think so, anyway.

"Bedtime Story" by Ingrid Montrose, and "People Change" by Tenaya are some others I've re-reread, also the stories set in the LAST STAND AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD universe, and Jane Carnall's "Revenge For What?". That last is a favorite because I always like post-GP stories—there are so many ways to choose 'what happens next', and Ms. Carnall did an excellent story. [26]


Many thanks for my SOUTHERN LIGHTS SPECIAL 4.5. As always I read it too fast and am now in the rereading process. I think the showpieces have to be "Chimera" and "Creature Comforts". Like you, I'm also a sucker for angst. And I've yet to read an Avon/Vila story that I didn't care for. I had already read the Ellis Ward story "A Form of Comfort" in an Australian zine some months ago and I knew it was enjoyable.

As for "Chimera", not only was the story interesting because of the angst, but it was great because it was good and long. I love long stories. I'm quite looking forward to BLAKE'S DOUBLES for that very reason.

As for the question of slash being objectionable, I say nuts! Slash stories are ten times more sexy and erotic and even romantic than the so-called straight tales. [27]


I received SPECIAL 4.5 a couple days ago, which was a pleasant surprise as I hadn't expected it until April. I see what you mean about it getting pretty long, but it was excellent. A nice mix of humorous and serious stories.

I'm rather sorry that the author of "Chimera" chose to use a pseudonym. The story is impressive. The insight into Blake was original and powerful, and made his character strongly consistent from THE WAY BACK to STAR ONE to BLAKE. The dialogue rings true throughout. I have always felt that a dramatic hook (Cally eaten by aliens, the crew down with galloping knee rot, etc.) is not necessary to a good story; what interests me is the character interaction and growth. Sometimes action shows this off, and sometimes action only serves to hide the fact that there isn't any characterization going on. "Chimera" needed no artificial drama to keep things moving. I never wanted it to end. It's a deeply involving, powerful, fascinating story, and I wish I knew who wrote it because I'd like to shake her hand (and look for more frem her!). If you know her, please tell her so from me.

Fan fiction seems to be inspiring fan fiction of its own, judging from the LAST STAND stories. And was "The Path Not Taken" a Deltah Base story? I don't know anything about the Deltah Base series except having seen it mentioned on a flyer for THE SEVEN LIVE ON, but "Path" read as though the reader were expected to know the background situation. (In cases like that, it would be helpful if the story were marked as part of a series, as the LAST STAND stories were and as "Journey's End" was in 3.5. Until I found the referent to Deltah Base three pages in, I was unsure whether Sophia Mulvey was working in an established storyline or had simply done a weak job of filling in background.)

"Revenge for What?" was also interesting, though I would also have been interested in the parts that were left out: Dayna and Soolin's relationship, what Avon did and felt in those eleven years (especially the first three) and so on. But the ending sent chills down my spine. Very powerful. (And by the way...Parl Lemyal, indeed! Ouch.)

I tend to prefer drama to humor, but I did enjoy the lighter stories as well. Particularly "Cathouse Blues," which had me laughing out loud.[28]

[zine]: Thank you so much for the copy of SOUTHERN LIGHTS SPECIAL 4,5. It had some excellent stories in it this time, I especially enjoy the continuing of the saga of LAST STAND AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD. That has become one of my favorite B7 universes. I hope Jane Carnall will continue with more stories in the "Revenge for What?" series. It was nice post GP story. Dee Tarrant was more charming than her brother ever thought of being. All in all a lovely zine. [29]


I especially liked: "A Form of Comfort" and "To Save a Friend" by Ellis Ward. (I loved the Ellis Ward story in SOUTHERN LIGHTS SPECIAL 3.75. Any chance of getting her/him/them to write a sequel? [I've tried everything short of whimpering, whining and threats of physical retribution... -- Editor]) "Bedtime Story” by Ingrid Montrose. Wonderful. One thing, though— the time that Vila and Avon had got even with Tarrant for trying to get even with them..." Did I miss this chapter somewhere? "People Change" by Tenaya. An introspective Tarrant. How novel. "Chimera" by Thomas. Rather disturbing, but good. "Those Hips, Those Thighs" by Rosinanta. What has Avon gotten himself into? "Discoveries" by Chris Kessler. A sweet story. And Vila's reaction to Avon's "seductive expression" was marvelous.

My favorite story was "Revenge for What?" by Jane Carnall. It actually had a plot that had the characters doing something rather than just an excuse to get them in bed (not that I object to that at times.) The last section gave me goosebumps. I like Dee Tarrant and the idea of "Stannis's Seven." [30]


Nice cover. I could write a page or two about how Vila dresses, somewhere: All the slightly awkward and stiffly large clothes, the oversized accessories, make him look childish and a bit fat. It came as quite a surprise when I actually looked at Vila and realized he was disguising a perfectly adult body in there. No doubt in all senses.

In the zine overall, there's a nice balance of funny and serious stories, and the funny ones intend to be funny, always a plus. I like a story that knows what it's doing... D.D. Montgomery and Madelyn Darring and Ellen Walters are particularly good at humor within the universe, as are the (I hope) tongue-in-cheek writers of "More Than Friends." The unspeakable and uncredited author of the Traffic Lights Special ad [Madelyn Darring is the culprit... Ed.], Bernicula of "Fund Raiser," and whoever is tweaking us all with "Experiment," all create genuine hilarity by matching B7 with our own reality. Kind of.

"Powerplays" isn't quite serious, perhaps (I'd be disturbed if it were), but covers its theme well. "Random Access" can't possibly be serious—well, not in B7 proper—but makes good use of its device. I don't always like Linda Terrell's style, but her grasp of the concepts available in B7 has been impressive from the first.

More serious stories by Ingrid Montrose and Sophia Mulvey and Chris Kessler still have touches of the humor these characters keep in the grimiest situations. These three all take the opportunity to expand on the characters a bit, always a good thing to see. Avon's memory of his brother in "Discoveries," as a personality is welcome—so often the hint in "Spacefall" is used to provide Avon with a tragic past (or present) without showing what the brother was like.

Ellis Ward's two stories are much-used devices in the slash field, but so well-done of their kind as to redeem the premises. Well, "A Form of Comfort" was slight, admittedly, but still somehow caught the style of the characters. Tenaya's previous story in 3.75 annoyed me by (it seemed to me) buying the premise that sexual dominance is automatically attractive; her "People Change" has considerably more substance and makes no attempt to romanticize rape. It's a realized action story involving all the fourth-series crew (a rarity in itself), as well as very readable prose writing.

"Creature Comforts," shows that Montgomery has more than comic talents. It captures the late fourth- series grimness very well, the sense of Avon being ready to go in any direction (and probably in a distasteful one) and not really understanding why himself.

"Decisions" plays off TRIAL to show the complex and often self-deceiving aspects of Avon and Blake as they relate to each other, in some ways more clearly than the screen could show it (regardless of subject matter). It doesn't try to introduce any affection between then or any hint of emotional fulfillment beyond the ongoing tension that is part of their characters already, to its credit. Soggy or crisp, a happy ending simply isn't part of the B7 universe and a serious story has to cover a great deal of ground to even approximate one with any validity.

"Chimera" does cover a great deal of ground, and in serious detail, but it isn't interested in a happy ending either. This may be the most thoroughgoing Avon/Blake story ever written, unsparing of either character's faults and the reader's sensibilities. It may be a little too closed-up on than, if I had to pick a weakness in it: perhaps not many subtle extra turns of the screw are necessary to make the point.. .but a serious story that doesn't cop out on any quality of the intangible convolutions in that fascinating relationship, whether as it is given in the show or with asexual element postulated as well, had seemed all but impossible to me. A story like this changes my mind, and I'm not inclined to pick too much at it. It's not for the squeamish, perhaps, but that so many people can watch B7 and not be appalled at what Blake and Avon become to each other, only shows how little most of us (including, sometimes, myself) appreciate the darker side of the show.

Jane Carnall produces a delightful example of fiction centered on the women in the show, bringing to each of them the sharp focus usually reserved for the male leads — very refreshing, as it is obviously intentionally feminist, but never overdrawn. The characters are very plausibly developed from the show, and whether by intent or not, she has picked the two least well-served women, Jenna and Soolin, to emphasize most I think she's a bit harsh on Tarrant (whose sister has no trace of the over-cuteness introduced sisters occasionally have), but not on Avon or Vila in their secondary roles. Her use of the show's background, from the curious multiplicity of Tarrants to the new Auron colony on Kaarn, is well-thought as well, and the few touches of whimsy add color.

"Limited Time Offer" concentrates on Soolin, though otherwise it's fairly routine; but not sloppy.

"The Ties That Bind" uses the LAST STAND characterizations fairly well, but I can't quite believe in

the plot: it's too domestic and predictable to involve any suspense. That said, the prose flows nicely along, and the characters manage to maintain their individuality under extremely stereotyped circumstances, so I'd say the writing isn't bad overall. "Truth in Lies" has rather more depth in dealing with the same characters. The issues of responsibility — for self and for partners — are as important as any other aspect of the relationship. As ever, this story doesn't leave the LAST STAND characters where they started, but pushes them further in their developing sub-universe, giving the new phase of the revolution, the character revelations, and this storyline's plot nearly equal weight in the structure. The LAST STAND premise — or is it just the writers' ability — makes sex in the plot more than usually integral. In many stories, charming as they may be and self-consistent as they are given that the issues are being expressed through sex, the explicit content is rather arbitrary. "Truth in Lies" and stories of the same origin give the impression of being about people whose lives naturally include sex — and love and war and sickness and health and engine maintenance—because they're complete people with full lives.[31]


Overall there's sane good stuff. I don't particularly care for a few of the stories but it would be boring if everyone liked the same thing. (Or so I tell myself.)

"Untitled" could easily have been called, "Don't Fail Me Now!". This would have nicely foreshadowed the ending without giving it away.

I have a big problem with the story, "The Ties That Bind." Kerril says it's, "The wrong time of the month." Oh, please! A joke popular in my mid-1960s Catholic girls' high school went like this, "What do you call people who use the rhythm method?" The answer was, "Mommy and Daddy." I don't know what they're going to use for birth control in the future but it's got to be better than filling prescriptions every six months or, "Just a minute, darling, while I (choose one) put in the diaphragm/on the rubber." And interruptus is so messy.

"Cathouse Blues": I know the temptation to throw in everything but the kitchen sink but I thought the the situation with Avon (Marisue, Maddi, Miss Kitty and Servalan) was a little much. Also, "Marisue" — I'm all for in-jokes but I prefer then to be a little more subtle.

I question the question mark assigned to "Random Access". While the sex was certainly not explicit, it was pretty damn obvious. As far as I'm concerned, this inexplicit explicity (so sue me) extended to the possibility of an Avon-Blake-Cally menage a trois. [Did you bother to read the explanation for the "ratings" which was given in the editorial? In any case, as you obviously read the "slash" stories in the zine, it should hardly matter to you one way or another. You obviously weren't trying to avoid being "tainted" by slash. I don't usually say something like this in the middle of a LoC but since you so obviously don't like my choice of stories, the way I rate the stories, the way I edit the stories, etc. I have to wonder why you bother to buy my zines rather than going out and doing one exactly the way you think it should be done. - Editor]

I loved the Traffic Lights Special (pi) "advertisement" on page 61. However, I also admit to having an unusually warped sense of humor.

I didn't care for "Chimera" as I felt it went on, rather pointlessly, much too long. This was one story that took me several attempts to get through. Of course, it could have been one of my off days. I can't say what specifically there was too much of in this story.

I also question the question mark on "Fund Raiser". I might be wrong but I've always associated blow jobs with one thing—and it's not building demolition or safe-cracking. Since Vila's advertising "Blows for Freedom", slash seems appropriate. Returning the blow job favor to a female is called "going down on" and doesn't that bring a pretty picture to mind?

"Discoveries": I didn't see the need for the Part I/Part II designations. I also have a personal problem with first person narratives unless they're very short or the author's name is Charles Dickens. This comment also applies to "Recovery Time".

"Bedtime Story": I quickly figured out that Nova was Avon scrambled. Does Rena equate to Near? There are 24 possible combinations of the letters A, E, N and R. Near is the only immediately recognizable word I found. [I believe you're talking about "The Path Not Taken" since the names you mention have nothing whatsoever to do with Ingrid Montrose's story, "Bedtime Story". -- Editor.] [32]

[zine]: The 4.5 is a very good zine, with a wide scope of stories ranging from silly, to amusing, to well- plotted, to the deeply psychological. It has something for everybody. My particular favorites included the very silly "Fund Raiser" and the ad for the "Traffic Lights Special", the highly amusing and well-done "Don't Stand So Close To Me", loved both of Ellis Ward's stories (who I thought had the best story, "A Question of Trust" in the 3.75), thought that "Chimera" was a fascinating head-trip, and dawdled quite a bit over "Truth in Lies", "Discoveries", and "Revenge For What?". The cover was quite nice, too, but then again, I"m definitely partial to that particular character! Very nicely done. [33]


Just wanted to let you knew that SOUTHERN LIGHTS SPECIAL #4.5 is responsible for saving my sanity. On March 26, my car died on a desolate stretch of freeway (broken water pump and timing belt, as it turns out), leaving me marooned until the Highway Patrol came by. Fortunately, I had #4.5 and a flashlight with me, and it kept my mind off my problems during the four hours before I and my car got rescued!

Great zine, as per usual. I've really enjoyed Ellis Ward's stuff both in #3.75 and in #4.5. "A Question of Trust" numbers among the top 10 "adult" stories of all time as far as I'm concerned. [34]


I just got SOUTHERN LIGHTS SPECIAL 4.5 in the mail yesterday and was overwhelmed by what I read! I want to single out "Those Hips, Those Thighs", "Chimera", "Limited Time Offer" and "Creature Comforts" as lovely examples of what good character analysis and creative effort can be!

"Those Hips, Those Thighs" took me by surprise—all that sensuality in two and a half pages—nicely done. (And God, if she'd actually succeeded in being a "good neighbor"! I would'a swooned right there.)

"Chimera" caught the underlying political argument between Avon and Blake perfectly, keeping each within character without sacrificing their mutual attraction and intensity. It was one of the few dramatic slash stories that I could ponder over.

"Limited Time Offer" merely reconfirms my belief that Vila and Soolin do belong together. They make a perfect Hitchcock couple don't you think? A suave thief and an ice princess—seems I've seen that before!

"Creature Comforts" made me wince and giggle at the same time—how reassuring to know that Vila knows Avon far better than Avon will ever know himself.

Thanks again for putting out such a great fanzine. [35]


Just got SL4.5—I am transfixed with delight. The cover is beautiful. Comments: An Anonymous Letter from the Editor; like SOUTHERN COMFORT but does this mean h/c stories only? (So what else is new?) Only kidding....and some of us out here skip the straight stories to get on with the good stuff—how about using a little symbol (an x maybe) to indicate when a story's straight? Save time, too—the straight stories are outnumbered, 3 to 1. Actually, if anyone still buys this zine who is offended by slash, they probably can't read—(only 1 in 10 pages straight...) I think maybe a set of symbols to indicate whether a story is comedic or not would actually be more useful. [You're supposed to be able to tell that by reading it, Jane. -- Editor] Another .75? Brilliant! I'm working on a couple of stories you could have...?

I think these are the five best: "People Change": This is my personal favorite. In character (including both Tarrants), well-plotted and some lovely dialogue. ("I don't know how much more self-examination I can stand.") I also like basing the story in an ongoing relationship, but not centering the story round the relationship. That's seldom done, and it helps build up a three-dimensional background.

"Chimera": Twenty-two pages of detailed analysis of Blake's thoughts and actions over twelve hours or so; and it fascinates me. Several carefully-worked in references to events in the second season, of which I especially appreciated the "Trial" quote. What happened on the Host seems to get lost in the reasons why Blake carried on hunting for Star One after Gan's death.

"Recovery Time": A wonderful idea, constructed with care, and Avon and Blake swap verbal punches with their usual skill, venom, and dexterity. The background of the Liberator is also neatly drawn; I did't think anybody's pointed out before how highly improbable it is that a completely alien ship should be so suited to a humanoid species. I hadn't thought about it at all; human chauvinism creeps bade unseen. And one of the more interesting plays on Blake's wiped memories.

"Decisions": This is the only BLAKES 7 story I ever knew that reduced a STAR TREK fan to tears. It is truly excellent. Blake in tears, embraces on the flight deck...but it works. And very neatly woven in to TRIAL, as well.

"Truth in Lies": wonderful, as expected. I do wish you could have brought yourself to publish all the stories, slash as well as straight, in the one volume; they all mesh together and it's so annoying to have to go hunting through three different zines for them, Nice snuggly scene at the end...ahhh.

"Creature Comforts" I like this. So typically Avon, to work out all that and for it never to occur to him to say sorry. And so typically Vila, too.

"A Form of Comfort" and "To Save a Friend": and again Ellis Ward picks up cliches, and again it's infuriatingly good, I can't stand it!

"Fund Raiser": Well, Blake surely didn't envisage Vila crocheting tea-cosies, did he?

"Were T'other Dear Charmer Away" is delightful. Only Avon would be kinky enough to pick a money vault to have sex in... And it adds a whole new meaning to "Have you betrayed me?" (tee hee!)

"Traffic Lights Special 3.141592": it sounds revolting. I want it!

"Discoveries": It's fun, if a little out of character. Avon's requirements for a lover are in character, though...and rather touching, really. I don't really like "I" stories, but I'll make an exception for this one.

"Bedtime Story": at first I thought that the writer had started out planning to write one story and had wound up writing another, but the hints are there, right from the start; in what ordinary hurt/comfort story would Vila wonder if Avon dreamed up a new forfeit—or be given a drug that sends him off into one long wet dream? Neat, very neat, and the best "discovery scene" I've ever read.

"Revenge For What?": This is disgusting, perverted and insane. Real lesbians don't behave like that — they're all friendly and sisterly and kind and gentle. And it isn't even slash, so I don't know what it's doing here. [Sorry, Jane — any story where two women are married and Avon and Vila are lovers and Soolin and Dayna are lovers, is slash, regardless of explicit content. -- Editor]

"More Than Friends": that's disgusting. Perverse.

"Experiment": So the whole thing's your fault, is it? (Don't beat me, Avon!)

"Don't Stand So Close To Me": rates high on the giggle-meter, despite a couple of somewhat idiotic remarks about homosexuality (it takes more than an aphrodisiac—or the FSA—to "convert" someone either way...) but that last line of Vila's would compensate for almost anything...likewise, that last line of Cally's!

And the straight stories:

"Limited-Time Offer": I think this is the first serious straight story I ever thoroughly enjoyed, start to finish. I always wanted Soolin to have a chance to get back at Tarrant for that incredibly insulting remark in ASSASSIN (after all, neither Piri nor Tarrant were much to be jealous of). And they do stay perfectly in character and it doesn't (unusually) feel as if they're just going to bed because the writer thought it was a good idea.

"Those Hips, Those Thighs": undoubtedly the finest Jenna/Avon story I've ever read, and I adore the title! Somebody's got a nasty sense of humor around here...

"Cathouse Blues": I was sniggering all the way through. Very funny and very in character.

"What Happened Next" and "Powerplays": two delicious sniggers at the Avon/Servalan relationship.

"Untitled": an Avon/Jenna story with a punchline based on a nursery-rhyme? No wonder it's anonymous; if I made a pun like that (she says with smug virtue) I'd never dare show my face again!

"The Ties That Bind": I'm not surprised Iama wanted to be Nonymous — honestly, doesn't it ever occur to some people that Kerril would have known about more efficient methods of contraception than the rhythm method? And, under the circumstances, used then? And as for Avon's incredibly patronizing remarks—and attitude— once he finds out that Kerril's pregnant... I would have throttled him, and it's wholly out of character for Kerril just to sit there and take it.

I refuse to even discuss that pseudo-McCaffrey story.[36]

[zine]: I thoroughly enjoyed reading SOUTHERN COMPORT 4.5. Outside of a few exceptions I found the stories within not only well-written but extremely humorous as well. I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud on several occasions which proved embarrassing on several counts 1 You see, I had missed my flight to Chicago and had a few hours to "kill," so out came the fanzine (I always bring a couple of fanzines along with me to read during the mundane hours). I could just see our "heroes" in their various "predicaments," particularly in "Cathouse Blues" by Madelyn Darring. Ann, I laughed so hard visualizing Avon and Servalan in the dark, unbeknownst to them and “hearing" the conversations of the crew not to mention "seeing" Avon with a dog collar around his neck trying to solve his "problem" and Jenna desperately trying to hide her "past" that I nearly fell out of my chair I But the real clincher came with Blake's "FULL STANDARD BY SEVEN1II"; by this point I was so hysterical that a man actually came over and asked what I was reading that was so hilarious and would I mind "sharing a laugh or two" I Needless to say, the rest of the flight went smoothly except far a few spontaneous outbursts of laughter from Seat 12A which had the rest of the passengers wondering as to whether I really was insane.[37]


The reason you're receiving this letters is because I want to sincerely thank you for the SOUTHERN LIGHTS I had the opportunity to read centered around B7. Spectacular stories. Some of those stories (SL 4.5) are really unbelievably superior to stories in other genres; these characters SUFFER. They FEAR, they HATE, they fight and they love. And maybe it's the initial flaws of Blake and his people that allow an author to write so deeply, so harshly, but it works for whatever reason. These characters are very three dimensional, complex; and some of your authors have managed to capture that in such a way that leaves me in tears—whether of triumph or of despair depends on the story.

"Revenge for What" by Jane Carnall has provided me with an ending I can accept, one that doesn't start "and Servalan let them go" or "Blake's clone lay on the floor." It is so terribly sad, yet filled with a simultaneous joy that left my heart aching, not knowing for certain what it should feel. Avon finally grew up, accepted his need for others, his desire to love and be loved. Jenna is strong and as hard as steel. And Vila—he and Avon know each other so well, understand each other. He's used the experience of his years to settle down a little, hone his skills even more, and he's still a beautiful creature... and we're told in the end that Blake is alive, somewhere—waiting? Perhaps... My hat is off to her, and I would appreciate your telling her hew very much I appreciated her story.

There were several other wonderful stories as well, but I'm at work so this letter must end soon. The above definitely carried most impact with me, yet I still enjoyed the majority of the others. Thank you. [38]

Issue 4.75 (Southern Lights, Blake's 7)

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

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

flyer for issue #4.75

Later, the editor wrote about a pagination mistake in this issue: "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..." [39]

It contains all slash; all Avon/Vila stories.

From the editorial:

Hello and welcome to yet another edition. I suppose you've noticed our name change by now. I have had a few inquiries, though, about my "new" zine SOUTHERN COMFORT so I'll just clarify it one more time: SOUTHERN COMFORT is simply a continuation of the adult zine SOUTHERN LIGHTS SPECIAL. Since SOUTHERN LIGHTS is no longer being published, I decided there was a need to change the name. Frankly, this was to save myself some irritation as well. I would invariably get letters from people every time an issue of the SPECIAL would appear demanding to know where the regular issue of SOUTHERN LIGHTS was. In any case, here we are at 4.75, another in-between issue which contains nothing but slash material, and mainly A/V, at that. When I said I'd do another "if interest warranted" I never dreamed I'd end up with a zine this big!


I'm already working on putting SOUTHERN COMFORT 5.5 together. It contains quite a lot of straight material already so, for a change, it's in need of some good slash. A/V is, of course, my personal favorite but I accept any well-written story for the zine. And, as I've said before, I love a good angsty story. Send me something! The worst that can happen is that I'll say no. I don't really eat fans raw for breakfast !

  • Editorial (2)
  • Letters of Comment (3)
  • Return, fiction by R. L. Parker (8)
  • No Redemption, fiction by Masha Romanova ("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.") (13)
  • Lost Perfection, fiction by Barbara T ("The loss of Kerril is difficult for Vila to take lightly.") (16)
  • Quietus, fiction by Victoria Towers ("Little is left to Avon and Vila following Gauda Prime except a few moments of comfort.") (18)
  • The Way It Might Have Been, fiction by Lora Rene (20)
  • Auron Fantasy #1, "Auron Fantasy #2, "Auron Fantasy #3, fiction by Sister Mary Veronica (based on Cerebus) (26)
  • Light of Day by R.L. Parker (28)
  • The Watcher, fiction by Chris Kessler ("The crew of the Scorpio are offered a chance to redeem themselves with the rebellion following Blake’s death on Gauda Prime.") (34)
  • A Lesson Well Learnt, fiction by Jane Carnall (72)
  • Feeding the Fire, fiction by R.L. Parker ("Vila had waited a long time for a chance to show Avon how he felt.") (74)
  • Nothing Left to Lose, fiction by Sean Charles (reprinted in Double Vision) (80)
  • Remembrance, fiction by Maree Celeste (The author's first Blake's 7 slash story. "Following Gan’s death, Avon and Vila discover that they have more in common than they thought.") (83)
  • This Neurotic Little Worry, fiction by Jane Carnall ("Vila is always aware of the class differences between himself and Avon.") (89)
  • Flying Colors, fiction by Tenaya ("The events of ‘Orbit’ force Avon to take a new direction with the rebellion and with Vila.") (94)
  • Not with a Bang, But a Whimper, fiction by Scorpio and Syl Newell (105)
  • Stress Factors, fiction by Paula (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.") (110)
  • Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, fiction by Barbara T (156)
  • Bloodlust, fiction by Ebony Silver (169)
  • Playing on the Edge, fiction by Catocala (177)
  • "Traffic Lights Too!" (parody flyer)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4.75

See reactions and reviews for Stress Factors.

See reactions and reviews for This Neurotic Little Worry.

Seme brief comments on SOUTHERN COMFORT #4.75. My favorite is probably "Quietus" by Victoria Towers. Like I said, I don't mind having my emotions shamelessly manipulated if it is done well, and this is marvelous. Sob! The three stories by R.L. Parker were quite good. "Bloodlust" 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 nickname for Avon. (And is there ever going to be a sequel to LAST STAND?) [40]

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 ever 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 like a character study. Offhand I can't think of any stories I didn't like. [41]

I enjoyed it. The artwork, especially that adorable drawing of Avon and Vila cuddling, was brilliant. (The cover, though, wonderful, but embarrassing. Particularly on 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 far 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 Saocpduo 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 them, 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 Runpleteazer" 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 in sight... I also enjoyed "Playing On the Edge" (what happened to page 180? What did I miss?) — you seen to have worked up to a kind of 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 I 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.

[ED: There was NO page 180 in 4.75. It was a blank page. I made a mistake. I mis-numbered the pages. So, I fucked up, okay? (Do you get the impression Jane wasn't the first one to ask me that question?) Seriously, everybody, there really wasn't a page 180, the pages were just numbered wrong and the printer caught the error and printed that blank page to make the sequencing of left/right numbers from that point on acme out right.] [42]

Just a quick note to let you know I received my copy of SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75 on Friday and I've already read through it 2 times! It's absolutely wonderful, fabulous, stupendous. In fact, I got so involved in reading it Friday night that I completely lost track of time and finally went to bed around 2:30 a.m. when I had to get up by 6 a.m. It was just too good to put down! There was only one problem, however (don't you just love "howevers"), with my copy of the zine. I have page 179 and page 181 but page 180 is blank. The story seems to read all right so I'm not sure if I'm actually missing a page of text or an illustration. At any rate, I thought I'd write to you and find out. I've enclosed a SASE for a reply. If you want, I can also send you the sheet with the missing page. Like I said, the story seems to read okay without it but that may just be a lucky coincidence. ...Everything I read in the zine was great, I don't think there was a story I didn't like. And if you think about it, tell [R.L. Parker] I thought her stories were excellent too. Especially the sequel to the story that appeared in SOUTHERN LIGHTS.

[ED: 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 it actually motivates them to write.] [43]

Just received my copy of SOUTHERN COMPORT 4,75, and as usual, enjoyed it very much. One small problem, however.

[ED: She's going to say it... Ed.]

I'm missing page 180 in my copy, and it takes a chunk out of the final story, "Playing On The Edge." I'm enclosing a SASE, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, would you send me a copy of it? The page, I mean. I enjoy these stories based on LAST STAND AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD), and I'd like to fill in the blank in this one. Thanks.

I especially enjoyed "Light of Day" by R.L. Parker, and "The Watcher" by Chris Kessler, a post-GP story, ray favorite kind. The characters were very well done, and though I know the series showed Avon becoming a little "difficult toward the end of 4th season, it is nice to read a story where he isn't terminally bonkers and/or dead afterwards, and even goes on to have some kind of reasonably normal life.

"Bloodlust," by Ebony Silvers (?) was an interesting premise. I enjoyed reading it (I'm a fan of vampire stories), but somehow it didn't quite work for me. Guess I just can't see Vila willingly allow Avon to use him as a blood bank.

"Mungojerrie and Runpleteazer" was delightful reading, and "Not With A Bang But A Whimper" made me laugh out loud, especially at the ending. Thanks again for a very good issue. I'm looking forward to the next one! [44]

I received my copy of SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75 today, and what I have gleefully "plundered" through so far is wonderful except...I am missing page 180 — right in the middle of my very favorite — a LAST STAND story — there is this big, white, blank space on what should be page 180. ARGHHH!

[ED: That goes double for me. If I ever make such a mistake again I will simply shoot myself and get it over with... Ed.]

Is there supposed to be something else in there? After reading it several times I still feel like
there's something missing, although 1 suppose the scene could move from what's happening on p. 179 to 181.

...Oh—congratulations on your cover. Fabulous! I, too, am a "Vila-phile" and I love what Scorpio has done with him! [45]

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've ever read. I knew I'm giving your ego a boost and I sincerely hope I am, as you deserve 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" to get the lowdown on the story, waiting for it was wonderful torture.

I’ve came 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 same 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 much 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 person crawling around the ducts was Blake. I bow to Chris Kessler, my compliments on a story well done.

[ED: Bless you, Karlene. You didn't even mention page 180...but then I hear Leah warned you in advance that it might be hazardous to your health to mention it.][46]

I did receive and enjoy SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75. Lovely color cover! As always, I like the stories set in the LAST STAND universe. Would love to see more...

Perhaps my favorite story was "Stress Factors." I always wondered about the future of that bond after "The Bondstone."

Jane Carnall, as always, has same lovely stories.

"Bloodlust" was great. Would like to see how that relationship continues.

Keep up the good work. [47]

Though I tend to favor Avon/Blake stories, I enjoyed SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75, especially "Lost Perfection" by B. Tennison. 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 your zines!) in Avon/Vila stories to turn Vila into such a masochistic, tearful wretch 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 "/" (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 sense 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.

[ED: That knee-jerk reaction of some fans that you mention continues to surprise me because I fail to see how any self-respecting SF fan can criticize originality and freedom of expression.] [48]

I really liked 4.75. My favorite story was "Bloodlust," but then I always like vampire stories.

"The Way It Might Have Been" was, I think, the way it should have been in TRUST, LIKE THE S0UL! It was interesting, a man learning how to be a woman. "Playing On The Edge," like all the LAST STAND stories in the .5 zines, was excellent? and "Quietus" was very touching. I'm looking forward to 5.5. [49]

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 pen names not out of choice but out of necessity. Far 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 pen names are great fun and shew 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 the earlier story. Barbara Tennison's "Lost Perfection" and "Mungojerrie and Rurapleteazer" 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 Kessler was excellent. Yet, somehow, the ending was almost abrupt. I suppose I expected Soolin and Tarrant to be angrier. But I'm nit-picking. Ignore me.

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

"The Way It Might Have Been" by Lora Rene my just be my favorite. Bravo.

Okay, I had the snail, unmarked bills and was all set to make contact with the perpetrators of TRAFFIC LIGHTS, TOO but they never showed up at the dumpster. What?!? That perverted wino of indistinguishable sex in the trench coat was the editor? Oops! [50]

Talk about next day delivery! Two days after I sent my letter wondering where my SOUTHERN A/V extravaganza had got to, it showed up in my mailbox. I have been wallowing ever since. And I like every single story. I can't yet pick out a favorite. Y'all did a great job on this one (as I have come to expect) and congratulations are in order all round. My one question: what is the significance of the fax on the back cover picture of Vila?

[ED: It means there is no page 180 in the zine.] [51]

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 caring 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 Rurapleteazer" 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 and 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 curious 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 were 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! [52]

SOUTHERN COMFORT (nice name, though the' liquid version makes me gag; prefer Black Russians? but definitely euphonious on the cover of a zine) 4.75 is, er, big. Not that I'm innocent of swelling it further, but 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 on a single incident, it fulfills its modest purpose more 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 more 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 grips mare definitely than any other story with the fact that surviving rebels will have no reason to like Avon, after Gauda Prime. Despite an adequate action plot and acme 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 far 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 premise (although it is, as far as I know, the first time this has been tried with these characters), but also far 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 poleaxed by femininity as to be passive, which is certainly unusual far 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 zlne (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? but love and originality should need no excuse.

[ED: You're not going to get off that easy, Barbara. You wrote me about page 180, too. I never forget any...uh, forget it.] [53]

Just finished SOUTHERN COMPORT 4.75 and wanted to tell you I really enjoyed it. "Quietus" was my favorite, I think. Short, to the point and a nice ending, if a bit(?) depressing.

"Bloodlust" was also exceptionally good. Some really chilling imagery there and a good portrayal of Vila. It seems like just about every story has him in tears. I haven't seen the whole series, but I've only seen him cry (maybe) in "Orbit." So it's nice to see a rational Vila for once. "Mungojerrie" and "Not With a Bang" were really enjoyable. Nice to have some light comedy as a break from all that angst. Saves one from overload. (By the way, saw yours and Leah's story in THE NAUGHTY BITS. I loved it!)

The jury's still out on "Stress Factors." Maybe because I haven't seen any episodes with Blake, except for "Terminal" and "Blake." Or maybe because Cally just seemed to be thrown in to keep Vila occupied while Avon and Blake sorted themselves out. I really haven't decided yet. "The Watcher" was another one I was dissatisfied with. Not enough reason for the "faith" quote at the end when Avon had only decided to be nice to Vila two pages back.

All in all, a really satisfying read. No real complaints, just the two little nit-pickings. [54]

A very good issue with several "names" I don't remember reading before. Not much comedy but then you can only print what you're sent. I did enjoy Scorpio and Syl Newell's "Not With a Bang, But a Whimper." The idea of poor Vila wanting to hump anything that moved, even Travis, was funny given his condition. Now that Vila has sprung the time-released aphrodisiac on Avon, will he be able to handle an insatiable computer tech?

The Avon presented in R. L. Parker's stories seemed to have a softer, more giving edge than in most (not all) slash stories you read these days. Parker's "Return" seems to be a sequel to a story I remember reading recently. Guess I'll just have to rummage through the old zine stack to find it. I was surprised at the number of post-Orbit stories in SC #4.75. Hmmm, I suppose it is a crucial turning point in the relationship of these two men—both in straight and slash literature. In "Light of Day" I found Avon whispering his declaration of love into Vila's ear to be a touching example of vulnerability.

Ah ha! It would appear that Lora Rene had the same ideas as I (and thousands of other red-blooded women when they read that one scene in TRUST, LIKE THE SOUL. Her "The Way It Might Have Been" is pretty close to the way I imagined it would happen. I think if Avon and Cally had never managed to get back into their real bodies, Avon would've eventually found himself drawn more to Vila than Cally. The body Cally wore would always be a reminder of what he'd lost. (And the fact that Vila was a better lover has nothing to do with it. Right!)

"The Watcher" by Chris Kessler was a very complex story giving a few clues to its ending to the astute reader. The shower scene was very erotic (I like Vila insisting that Avon kiss him while they were having sex); Soolin and Dayna admiring Tarrant's "long legs and well-rounded rump" as he worked on a console was amusing (I wouldn't mind admiring it far a couple of hours. Did I say hours? I meant days!); and Vila's desperation while trying to persuade Avon not to stay behind at Space Command HQ were seme of my favorite segments. I must say I find it hard to accept that Avon would do nothing after watching Vila slashed his wrist. This impression is based on Soolin's words that she was only just in time. Indicating, to me at least, that he'd been quietly bleeding to death all alone. Of course Avon was hiding to insure the future safety of the others as well as himself but would he have let Vila bleed to death without helping?

I'm sure I've read "Flying Colors" in a foreign zine and luckily had read "The Bondstone" which Paula's "Stress Factors" was based on. Both are excellent.

Jane Carnall seems to have the knack to present a small slice of life within a few short number of pages I liked "A Lesson Well Learnt" slightly better than "This Neurotic Little Worry" only because in the latter the problem wasn't really resolved. The impression I was left with is that Avon still hadn't realize he could hurt Vila, either physically or emotionally, with his thoughtlessness. (So shoot me if I'm wrong. I can take it.)

The background of Vila and Avon’s past is revealed in "No Redemption." I hope Masha Romanova might consider writing the story of how 19 year old Vila Restal first picked up the "arrogant, beautiful Alpha—slimming." But here we have real pathos with Vila hopelessly in love with someone he aan't hold on to. Madness is claiming his lover and all he can do is watch.

Another story strongly heavy with angst is "Quietus." To avoid a drawn out and painful death, Vila and Avon make a lover’s suicide pact. The part were Avon keeps Vila from seeing the gallows as they make love made the old eyes blur.

Barbara Tennison’s "Lost Perfection" suggests that the time within the portal at the Edge of the World passed more quickly than it did on the outside. This neatly answered a problem I’d had with that particular episode about all the things Vila and Kerril did in so short a time. I also liked her Avon who was more reserved and considerate and less the raging hormonal type.

Maybe all the adult stories based LAST STAND AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD could be collected and published together one day. This is a series I enjoy rereading. It's nice to learn a little more about Kerril's background in "Playing on the Edge." I do have one question (yes, I know I can be rather dense). What is Avon asking on page 178 when he says to Vila "if you’d rather relax—"? Am I misinterpreting it by thinking he’s asking if Vila would rather Avon did the penetration? And the tone of uncertainty came from the fact that he hadn't done that before? Blake impotent because of retraining? A logical assumption when considering the type of crime he was accused of. Maree Celeste's "Remembrance" also gives us a sort of wake by Vila and Avon following Gan's death, another hint that Vila wasn't really a Delta and a hint of promise laced with sadness.

"Bloodlust" was a vivid piece. Avon raped and killed by a vampire, becoming one only because he swallowed some of her blood. Great imagery. But why couldn't Avon tell Blake and the others? (Because there would be no story, stupid!) For all his professed understanding, Blake should understand and work with him on a cure.

Soooo. You thought to slip one by us with the insertion of "Traffic Lights Too" in-between two "real" advertisements. Loved them. Especially "Caught in the Act." I can see Servalan ordering prints from a blackmailer. Can't you just see Avon turning white then red (patriotic colors of the English flag) when he receives the copies?

Sigh. (No, make that a double sigh.) Damn fine writing. I’ll have another. And keep them coming. [55]

I've just finished SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75. I think I'm beginning to enjoy A/V stories. I never thought I would, I'm a B/A person. Still think Avon needs Blake to keep him sane. But while I wait for the ultimate B/A story, Vila's a nice person to keep Avon occupied!

My favorite story was "Stress Factors." I wish Tarrant had stayed bonded with Avon though. Would have made things a whole heck of a lot more interesting. They had such an interesting (?) effect on one another. First time it was the bond yet the second Tarrant went to Avon of his own free will. I would have liked them to have stayed bonded.

Second story I liked was "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer."

I liked the whole zine. All the stories were very good. Least favorite was "Playing on the Edge." I enjoyed the story and everything but I don't like Kerril, I never have. For the sake of the story I did try. Final results equal I liked the story but I still didn't like Kerril. [56]

[by Leah Rosenthal]: I have just received my copy of SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75 and I naturally read it from cover

to cover at once! Although there were many terrific and genuinely erotic stories by talented individuals, I quickly found (as I'm sure everyone else has by new) that the very best erotica of the entire fanzine was on Page 180. In fact, I daresay that page 180 has gone into legend as some of the most unbelievably sensual fan literature (or any literature) I've ever seen. The nuances that the author described left me breathless; particularly the segment involving Avon and the strawberry air freshener. Vila immediately "topped" this hot moment with...the pipe cleaner. Yes, we knew that the Delta was talented and nimble, but what he did with that little white pipe cleaner nearly seared the page! And then, when Blake joins in on the action with that double-jointed position, I had to stop and let my pulse slew down a bit before going on. I thought things couldn't possibly get any spicier, but oh hew wrong I was! The paragraph where the velvet cape keeps getting passed around and where it ultimately ends up was classic, and I doubt it will ever be equaled. And the sheer sensuality of the moment when Servalan and the sheep make their appearance was immediately followed by those repeated, building haiku-like fragments as everyone neared simultaneous nirvana. Finally, the ultimate — er, climax of the scene was unforgettable. I particularly liked the expressive imagery of the erupting volcano, the rocketing fireworks, the crashing surf, the spawning salmon and the exploding no-frost refrigerators. I think all of your readers will agree that page 180 has surpassed any other previous moment in "adult" fan fiction. I thought the resolution was great too, particularly when Vila realizes that he left the communications channel open on the control console. Clearly, given what was moaned, said and exclaimed in the heat of passion on this page, the entire course of the Federation, to say nothing of the Revolution, is forever changed. Many thanks for this enervating experience in reading. I will treasure my copy of SOUTHERN COMFORT 4.75 evermore — but first. I’ll xerox page 180 and have it framed and hung on the wall beside my diplomas, my awards, my collection of squished bugs (which was a Christmas present from Liz Sharpe) and my genuine official GSOF pictorial dartboard.

Hot stuff! Sequel! Sequel!

P.S. I hope you win a Zen award for this!

[ED: Et tu, Leah???] [57]

[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. [58]


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. [59]

[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 "/" (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. [59]


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. [59]


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! [59]

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?) [59]

[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. [59]


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. [59]

[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. [60]

Issue 5 (Southern Lights, multifandom)

Southern Lights 5 was published in March 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.

cover of issue #5, Leah Rosenthal

The art is by Katrina Larkin, Leah Rosenthal, Adrian Morgan, Tami Vermande, Maryann Jorgensen, Laura Virgil, Sheila Paulson, Annita Smith, Karen River, Susi Leinbach, Chris Cook, Molnar, Barb Johnson.

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...?"

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
  • Editorial (4)
  • Aye, Roj Blake, filk to the tune of "Calypso" by John Denver, by Cathy Boudreau (Blake's 7) (5)
  • Nature of the Beast by Kaye Dunham (Blake's 7) ("Just what kind of animal would Avon be...? Servalan...? A mission gone wrong (of course) allows Scorpio's crew to find out!") (6)
  • Narcissa Remembers, poem by Joan Enright (Beauty and the Beast) (10)
  • Neil Burnside, poem by Pat Nussman (The Sandbaggers) (61)
  • Across the Haint, Archived version by Jeff Morris (Real Ghostbusters/Buckaroo Banzai), illustrated by Christopher Cook (The online version is revised, and has this author's note: "I normally don't make a habit of rewriting my older work; it's time-consuming, it's frustrating, and it's time better spent writing new stuff. This one, however, is an exception. I was so embarrassed by the original version when I was retyping it that I started making changes here and there. The final version isn't perfect by any means, but I can live with it. Parl and Myal come from Blakes 7 fandom; specifically, a book called Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee. Tanith, it seems, had a thing for Paul Darrow and Michael Keating, and wrote them into a novel she was doing. Since the story was for Annie Wortham and I was throwing all sorts of immortality and time/space travel references in, I figured what the heck. And, because I'm a completist and it's something I always wanted it in this story…") (62)
  • "Anything Goes" art portfolio spotlighting: (74)
  • Stranger in the Mirror, poem by Merlin (Quantum Leap) (84)
  • Origins by Sheila Paulson ("Where did Vincent really come from...?") (Beauty and the Beast) (86)
  • Two Perspectives on an Altered Path ("Kerril on Vila" and "Cally on Avon") , poem by Michelle Christian (Blake's 7) (88)
  • A Stitch In Time by Sheila Paulson ("Nasir isn't half as confused as Bodie and Doyle are!") (Robin of Sherwood/Professionals) (91)
  • With A Kiss by Rebecca Ann Brothers (Blake's 7) (112)
  • Patris Est Filius, by Jacqueline Taero (Robin of Sherwood) (112)
  • Be Mine To Guard by Joan Enright (Simon & Simon) ("Rick relives some poignant moments and remembers how A.J.always gave him the strength to carry on...") (114)
  • Kerr Avon, poem by Pat Nussman (Blake's 7) (127)
  • The War Horse by Linda Terrell (Doctor Who) ("The Doctor and Leela meet up with a living legend...") (128)
  • Rhyme and Punishment, poem by Rebecca Ann Brothers (Blake's 7) (131)
  • The Man Who Could Be God by Katrina Larkin ("Han Solo wanted the ship more than anything...he even wanted it bad enough to work for the tall stranger with a mysterious past...") (Star Wars) (133)
  • There But For Fortune, vignette by Rebecca Ann Brothers (Blake's 7) (159)
  • Something Happened On The Way to Heaven by Rebecca Ann Brothers (Blake's 7) (160)
  • Making It by Liz S. (Miami Vice) ("Who is the mysterious prostitute Sonny picks up...?") (162)
  • Metamorphosis by Pat Nussman (Blake's 7) (173)
  • New and Improved? by Michelle Christian (War of the Worlds) (175)
  • The Alien Blues, filk by Michelle Christian (War of the Worlds) (177)
  • Thoughts of a Sleepless Night, poem by Jacqueline Taero (Robin of Sherwood) (178)
  • Mirror Image, poem by Melissa Mastoris (Doctor Who) (180)
  • Switching Sides by Cathy Boudreau (Doctor Who) (181)
  • Confusion, poem by Melissa Mastoris (Doctor Who) (183)
  • In a Strange Land by Rebecca Ann Brothers (Doctor Who) (184)
  • The Link or Stubborn Globs of Great Green Cheese, poem by Michelle Christian (War of the Worlds) (188)
  • Sarge by Joan Enright ("After the war, Sergeant Anderson is driving a cab, but still teaching soldiers lessons...and learning from them.") (Tour of Duty) (189)
  • Questions by Janet Walker (ST: TNG) (193)
  • Death Wish, poem by Pat Nussman (Blake's 7) (196)
  • Seventh Sojourner by Dee Beetem & Sue Wells (ROS, Blake's 7) ("Gauda Prime has a lasting effect on Kerr Avon when he is catapulted into the past and ends up one of the "Merries"!") (197)
  • Herne's Fetch by Dee Beetem & Sue Wells (ROS, Blake's 7) (205)
  • In A Cave With One Exit, poem by Michelle Christian (Blake's 7) (216)
  • Carry Me Back to Old Tsing Tao Again by Michelle Lellouche (The Greatest American Hero) (217)
  • I Told You So!, Felis Sylvestris (Blake's 7) (219)
  • Endings by Michelle Christian (Blake's 7) (221)

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 "Bizarro" 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!!! [61]

Issue 5.5 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

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!'
interior front cover of issue # 5.5, by Leah Rosenthal
back cover of issue #5.5, Fish Bates -- "Amidst the Tumbling Moons"
flyer, note that three of the stories on this flyer ended up being in #5.5, and the other three appeared in #6.5

Southern Comfort 5.5 was published in May 1990 (Yes, three years before the last even-numbered issue...) and is 256 pages long.

It is an all Blake's 7 zine.

The art is by Linden Boats (front cover), Fish Bates (back cover), Leah Rosenthal, London Bates, CeleBates, Jail Bates, The Phantom Artist, Adrian Morgan, Jessikah, London Beets, The Real McBates, Gayle F, Sarah S., Jessikah & C. Daniels.

Several illos are reprinted in #6.5. The editor also issues an apology in #6.5 for printing "The Official Delta Sex Test," see that isssue.

From the editorial, regarding lateness of this issue:

Welcome to the newest edition of SOUTHERN COMFORT! As many of you have constantly reminded me, you've been waiting a while for this one. This is the reason I try not to set firm dates for the appearance of my zines! But some people still try and try to pin me down and then want to hold me to whatever vague date I finally mumble to them... Listen up, folks: in every media fandom, it is customary for a zine to appear when it appears. The editors of your favorite fanzines, with very few exceptions, are pursuing fandom as a hobby and although they'd no doubt like to spend all their time producing fanzines and traveling to conventions, most of us have to work for a living, take care of our families and even *gasp* pursue other recreational activities besides fandom. It has been, admittedly, a year and a half since the last issue of SOUTHERN COMFORT appeared. However, in that space of time I have produced at least three fanzines, one of which was over 400 pages long. I am not superhuman. Furthermore, I have tried to let it be well known in the fannish community that I had suffered the loss of my adult printer. In other words, there was no way to get SOUTHERN COMFORT printed until I found a new printer, anyway. As soon as I located a printer willing to do the work at a decent price I went to work on finishing the zine (over half of the zine was typed by October, 1989 but was set aside since there was no way to get it printed). Frankly, I thought I'd heard it all as I've been a zine editor in several fandoms for a number of years, but one letter I got inquiring about the status of 5.5 really took the cake — the writer accused me of having had the zine in print for months and of failing to answer her inquiries regarding it. Now, it's possible I misplaced her inquiry, but I did look everywhere for the SASE she claimed to have mailed me and I couldn't find it. I think it more likely I returned a flyer to her in the SASE and she didn't get it or else I just never got her inquiry. In any case, she also accused ms of already having SOUTHERN COMFORT 5.75 either in print or in progress! Aside from the fact that I am not even planning a SOUTHERN COMFORT 5.75, I do not appreciate it when people write me such broadsides. I know for a fact that she had not seen the zine (since it wasn't in print) so where does she come off writing me accusing me of withholding it from her? Needless to say, my reply to her was not too friendly. Come on, people. If you think the zine's in print and you've missed it, why not just write a friendly note asking me whether or not it is in truth available? I'll be very happy to sell you a copy as soon as I can!

From the editorial, pseudonyms and The Blake's 7 Wars:

Some of you have probably also been aware of adult zines coming under attack by various parties, most notably a few actors and a rather crazed New Zealander. My response? If they don’t like it, nobody's forcing them to read it. If they don't like that answer? Screw 'em. And as for the use of pseudonyms... it' s a time honored tradition among writers of all genres. If someone wants to use a pseudonym, for whatever reason, they have a right to do so. If somebody disagrees with this right, too bad. Many of my writers use pseudonyms even when they aren't writing adult material. Some use them only when they are writing adult material. It's really nobody's business but their own if and why they chose to do so. Please don't write me asking me to reveal anybody's pseudonym as I won't do so.

  • Editorial (4)
  • Letters of Comment (5)
  • ...Hoops of Steel, fiction by Anna Lee (Avon/Vila) (15)
  • Assumptions, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (18)
  • Just Say No, fiction by Hakucho (Avon/Vila) (19)
  • Slash and Burn, fiction by Shoshanna (Blake/Avon) (27)
  • Ultimate Pleasure, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (27)
  • Ship's Night, poem by Merlin (A/B) (28)
  • Scandal, fiction by Coral Court (Avon/Vila) (29)
  • Eve of Terror, fiction by Noo Ki Arrus (Avon/Vila) (29)
  • Avon's Calling, fiction by D. Valentine (Blake/Avon) (35)
  • Both Sides Now, filk by Kerrvert (Avon/everyone) (35)
  • Expertise, fiction by Valerie Francois (Vila/Avon) (36)
  • A Friendly Drink, fiction by J.D. Reece (Cally/Jenna) (39)
  • Comfort, fiction by Paula (Jabberwocky universe) (Blake/Soolin) (reprinted in Jabberwocky #5) (48)
  • Litany, poem by Brendan O'Cullane (A/V) (reprinted in Double Vision) (52)
  • Initiations, fiction by Linda Knights (Avon/Cally/Dayna) (52)
  • Reaffirmation, fiction by Daley Kelly (Avon/Vila) (57)
  • Choices, fiction by Sonia (Avon/Jenna) (62)
  • The End of the Last Episode of the Fifth Season, fiction by Northwest Smith (80)
  • The Mixed Marriage Guide Reference for Alpha-Delta Couples (80)
  • Breakthrough, fiction by London Bates (Blake/Avon) (81)
  • Certain/Uncertain, poem by Brendan O'Cullane (A/V) (reprinted in Double Vision) (83)
  • Sealed with a Kiss, fiction by N.T. Casillas (Avon/Vila) (84)
  • Non-Messianic Thoughts, fiction by Northwest Smith (Blake/Avon) (95)
  • Spare Parts, fiction by Valerie Francis (Avon/Vila) (97)
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Nookie, fiction by London Bates (Blake/Avon) (101)
  • Pathway, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (101)
  • Beyond Horizon, fiction by Victoria Towers ("Blake finally decides to give Jenna what she wants...") (Blake/Jenna) (102)
  • Afterword, fiction by Jane Carnall (sequel to "Quietus" by Victoria Towers) (107)
  • The Rules Explained, fiction by Anais (Vila/Blake) (107)
  • Endgame, poem by Constance Applebee (A/B) (112)
  • Retreat, fiction by Pandora LeCarre (Vila/OC) (119)
  • Everybody Gets It in the End, fiction by Kerrvert (B/A, V/G, J/C) (136)
  • A Mistake, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (137)
  • Bloodgifts, fiction by Valerie Francis (Bloodlust Universe) (Avon/Vila) (139)
  • A Walk in the Woods, fiction by Riley Cannon (Blake/Jenna/Avon) (147)
  • Against All Odds, fiction by R.L. Parker (Blake/Vila, implied A/V) (157)
  • Bribery, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (169)
  • Revelation, fiction by R.L. Parker ("Avon has been rescued from the jaws of death but the greatest surprise awaits him when he realizes how much Vila cares for him...") (Avon/Vila) (sequel to the above) (161)
  • "Repercussions, fiction by Shoshanna ("Blake and Avon must deal with their changing relationships...") (Blake/Avon) (170)
  • Revenge, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (174)
  • "The Darkness of the Separate Will, fiction by Shoshanna (Blake/Avon) (174)
  • Severely Beloved, fiction by Naughtius Maximus (Blake/Avon, Blake/everyone) (It contains the sentence: "There was no indifference in those warm, resolute, philanthropic brown eyes now - and none in the towering trousers either.") (177)
  • The Official Delta Sex Test (This was printed without permission, without attribution, and altered from the fanwork "Test Your English Skills" by Sasha Sokolnikov from the Man from U.N.C.L.E zine Comrades #1 (1988). The editor of "Southern Comfort" expanded on this in issue #6.5.) (184)
  • Pick up the Pieces, fiction by Adrian Morgan & Brendan O'Cullane (Avon/Vila and Avon/Blake) (reprinted in Double Vision) (186)
  • By Love Ensnared, fiction by Dorian Gale (Avon/Anna) (195)
  • Unfinished Symphony, poem by (A/B) (208)
  • Then and Now, fiction by Coral Court (Jenna/Avalon) (208)
  • Justification, poem by Leah Rosenthal (A/V) (214)
  • Colliding Destinies, fiction by C.A. McCoy (Vila/Tarrant) (216)
  • Night Music, poem by Robin Hood (A/B) (240)
  • Dayna and the Unicorn, poem by Anais (A/D) (241)
  • Interlude, fiction by Nova Salsh-Kalbe (Avon/Soolin) (244)
  • Faith and Doubt, fiction by xBryn Lantry (Blake/Avon) (247)
  • The Mixed Marriage Guide for Alpha-Delta Safe Sex (242)
  • Submission Guidelines (257)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5.5


[Just Say No]: The dynamic of the Avon/Vila relationship is different, not a struggle for dominance between two powerful men; rather, it often centers around the need to resolve class inequalities before true intimacy can be achieved. In Hakucho’s “Just Say No” (1990), Vila, the submissive Delta, cannot refuse Avon’s sexual attentions, having spent a lifetime being raped, threatened, and manipulated by powerful Alpha men who took what they wanted from him. Avon must teach him how to refuse attentions before either man can enjoy the sex shared between them. [63]


Recently I was lucky enough to read SOUTHERN COMFORT 5.5 and wish to say how impressed I was by the standard of writing (and the thickness of the zine — it was a feast!) Most particularly the stories that lingered in my awareness were: "A Friendly Drink and "Against All Odds," "Revelation" and "Pick Up The Pieces."

The characterization was there, a story-line existed, the writing was good, and the stories bore several readings. That's not to denigrate the rest of the zine — impressive, too — you have a convert.[64]


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? [65]


[Everybody Gets In in the End]: Kerrvert's first season story 'Everybody Gets In in the End' splices a deft parody of A/B cliches that ends 'I love it when you're sullenly submissive' with a serious interlude where Vila tries to pay for Gan's protection in kind and discovers that Gan actually likes him. In contrast, Cally discovers a new setting on her gun that turns it into a 'throbbing, pulsating rod' and Jenna shows her how to use it, leading to dialogue like: "I did not think you were a natural blonde." "Shut up and roll over, you alien bitch."

Kerrvert slips into relatively unparodied porn cliches in the C/J section but the later comic stories share out the humour equally. [16]


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. [66]

Issue 6 (Southern Lights, multifandom)

front cover of issue #6, Leah Rosenthal: Wiseguy

Southern Lights 6 was published in May 1993 and contains 132 pages.

The front cover is by Leah Rosenthal, the back cover by Laura Virgil, the inside art is by Leah Rosenthal, Laura Virgil, Sheila Paulson, Tami Vermande, Susi Leinbach, and Adrian Morgan.

The editorial addresses a concern. For more on this topic, see The Revelcon Zine Piracy Letters.

[From the editorial]:

I have a concern to express to you. Bootlegging of zines seems to be on the rise again, and this time the problem is not really dealers who copy zines to resell, but folks who buy one copy of a zine and then make duplicates for their fiends. This is not all right. This is stealing. But, I think the people doing it already know that and don't care. However, YOU should care. Because if you bought a legitimate copy of this zine, you just paid a lot more for it than you would have if the thieves weren't stealing my property. It works like this: the more copies of zine that can be sold, the lower the price of each individual issue becomes. You see, the cost of supplies, postage, equipment, and contributor's copies is figured into the cost of each copy. The more copies that can be sold, the more the "hidden" costs can be spread out and therefore the lower the cost of the copy. There's another reason you should care about fans stealing zines. This is the last issue of SOUTHERN LIGHTS. There won't be any more. The fans at Revelcon in Houston who ripped me off, ripped off you, too. I have absolutely no desire to invest my hard-earned money and even harder to come by time, in producing a zine that can't pay for itself. Other editors have expressed the same opinions to me.

My gratitude and thanks to those of you who have supported this zine over the years by buying legitimate copies.

  • When Nero Smiled by Liz Sharpe (4)
  • The Game -- By the Rules by Linda Knights ("A man from Castillo's past could be the end of Crockett...") (Miami Vice) (5)
  • Parental Concerns by Kimberley McCarthy (Kill the Dead) (26)
  • Hayride by Kimberley McCarthy (Kill the Dead) (27)
  • 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!) (Blake's 7 crossover) (29)
  • Crown of Thorns by Liz Sharpe (Blake's 7) (43)
  • Rain by Maureen Shields (Blackadder) (44)
  • Our Favorite Themes by Liz Sharpe (52)
  • Thoughts on a Hill Over Tulotef by Kimberley McCarthy (Kill the Dead) (54)
  • The Anything Goes Art Portfolio: Leah Rosenthal (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Leah Rosenthal (general science fiction), Leah Rosenthal (Phantom of the Opera), Leah Rosenthal (Blackadder), Sheila Paulson (Indiana Jones), Laura Virgil (Starman), Laura Virgil (Man from U.N.C.L.E.), Susi Leinbach (Star Trek: The Next Generation) (63) (56)
  • Bright Lights, Big Kitty by Erika Frensley (Star Wars/Beauty and the Beast) (64)
  • Farewells at the Gate by J.P. Reedman (Robin of Sherwood) (70)
  • The Beast Goes Solo by Carolyn Golledge (Star Wars/Beauty and the Beast) (72)
  • Beltaine Enchantment by Janet P. Reedman (Robin of Sherwood) (82)
  • Shadowman, poem by Merlin (84)
  • The Wolves of Metracla (Star Wars) (85)
  • Madhouse Blues by Kaye Dunham (A mission to rescue a rebel prisoner holds a few surprises for Avon's crew...) (Blake's 7) (97)
  • Sherwood's Magic by Janet P. Reedman (Robin of Sherwood) (104)
  • Esprit De Corps by Dee Beetem and Sue Wells (Blake's 7/Robin of Sherwood) (106)
  • Liz's Rules for Surviving a Science Fiction Series by Liz Sharpe (125)
  • The Prized Possession Raid by CarolMel Ambassador (The Rat Patrol is desperate to rescue a captured Troy, and Dietrich equally desperate to prevent them.) (Rat Patrol) (126)

Issue 6.5 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

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 the 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" [67]
inner front cover of issue #6.5, Leah Rosenthal
back cover issue #6.5, Melody Rondeau
flyer for issue #6.5, note there is a story called "No Respite" by Daley Kelly ("Vila hasn't forgotten Malodaar and he wants to make certain Avon never does, either.") that does not appear in this issue, but is in #7.5

Southern Comfort 6.5 was published in April 1991 and contains 260 pages.

The art is by Leah Rosenthal, Melody Rondeau, IBACH, Randym, Adele Pates, Howarth & Daniels, London Boots, Linden Boats, Bundon Lates, Gayle F, Sara S., Laura Virgil, and CeleBates.

Some of the art is reprinted from #5.5; this is due to it being used in the "Second Southern Comfort Writing Contest."

From the editorial (comments about the lateness of the issue, personal sacrifice, and ungrateful fans):

Hello, and welcome to issue 6.5 Of SOUTHERN COMFORT! The zine's appearing a little bit later than I had originally intended, but hey, that's life. And, you know, mundane life interferes with us zine editors the same as it does with all of you readers, so try to remember that when you're longing for your latest zine fix! It's hard to wait, I know, but think how you'd feel if, after working for 12 hours, driving in rush hour traffic, dealing with sick cats, suffering from a migraine, trying to get the bills paid, and somehow during all this trying to work in time to bind zines, fill orders and type on the latest issue, you got a letter from some "fan" demanding to know why you don't have the "courtesy" to answer the ten pages of questions she sent you last week (and didn't bother to enclose a SASE, I might add). It makes me want to throw up my hands and scream! But, I haven't given up and I'm still here and you can count on me still being here long after a certain actor and his sycophants have gone the way of the dinosaurs. I was in fandom long before I met any "actors" and I'm still going strong. Just use a little common sense when you write to me (or any zine editor) please we have feelings the same as you and the worst feeling in the world is the one you get when someone makes you feel like a failure just because you aren't super human.

And, please, please, please, remember you MUST enclose a SASE with your correspondence (overseas, enclose TWO IRC's and an SAE) or you absolutely, positively, will not receive a reply of any kind!!!

From the editorial (comments about using another fan's altered material and an apology):

A few words about SOUTHERN COMFORT 5.5; there was a very popular "article" in 5.5 called "The Official Delta Sex Test." This article was mistakenly printed without the permission of the original author. The original author was "Sasha Sokolnikov" and the article appeared in a slightly different form in the MAN FROM UNCLE zine, COMRADES. [68] (If you would like to order Sasha's zine, her address is [redacted]. My apologies to Sasha for the misunderstanding.

From the editorial (hooray for Tarrant, and mind the warnings):

As for this issue, I know you're going to enjoy it! Isn't it amazing how Tarrant has been enjoying such an upsurge in popularity of late? There are several Tarrant stories in this issue, much more than the norm, And I already have a Tarrant/Vila story planned for the next issue, There is, of course, the usual mix of straight and slash material. My suggestion to those of you who do not like slash is that you try to avoid those particular stories. If you read them and are offended I don't want to hear about it; you've been warned.

From the editorial (do your part):

Make sure you read all of the wonderful entries in our story contest from last issue and let me know which one is your favorite! Write Letters of Comment! The Letters column doesn't begin to match the one in SOUTHERN SEVEN. I know you guys can do better than this -- don't be so shy! You can see that I don't use anybody's name unless they give me permission to do so. So, what's stopping you! And why not submit something to the new story contest? Or send a piece of artwork for the next story contest? Come on and participate in your fandom instead of being passive consumers.

  • Editorial (4)
  • On the Town, fiction by Victoria Towers ("R&R takes an unexpected twist for Avon and Jenna.") (Avon/Jenna) (5)
  • Severely Weird and Really Bad Vogon Haiku, poem by Linda Terrell (12)
  • Victim of Love, fiction by Daley Kelly (Avon/Vila) (13)
  • No Promises, No Regrets, fiction by Kody A. Young (Avon/Blake) (17)
  • Adrift, poem by Judith Ellison (Avon/Blake) (21)
  • The Warden's Pet, fiction by Chris Kessler ("A mission done wrong leaves Vila stranded and at the mercy of his jailers.") (Avon/Vila) (21)
  • Commitment, fiction by Randym ("Tarrant knows something is wrong following Malodaar.") (Avon/Tarrant) (25)
  • Morning After, fiction by Mistral (Blake/Avon/Cally) ("The attraction is mutual but what will be the explosive results?") (27)
  • Promise Kept, poem by Judith Ellison (A/Anna) (32)
  • Tarrant the Terrific, fiction by Carnella & Comatose (Tarrant/Orac, with Avon/Vila and Dayna/Cally) (33)
  • Dichotomy Unbound, poem by London Bates (A/B) (41)
  • Castle in the Air, fiction by Phillipa Scott (Blake/Avon, Blake/Jenna, Avon/Anna - incorrectly labelled as Tarrant/Avon) (41)
  • Tangled Webs, fiction by P.T. Russell(Blake/Jenna, with Avon/Cally) (54)
  • 9/10ths of the Law, fiction by Henrietta Street (Cally/Vila) (57)
  • Friendly Persuasion, fiction by Daley Kelly (Avon/Vila) (62)
  • Nightmusic, fiction by Paula (Tarrant/Avon) (66)
  • Fantasies, fiction by Matilda Willard (Avon/Vila, with past Blake/Avon and Blake/Vila) (74)
  • Discovery, poem by Melissa Mastoris (D/So) (81)
  • Spaceship Sherbert Blues, fiction by Meg Garrett (81)
  • Situations, fiction by Ty Downs ("A "command performance" leaves Vila showing Blake a thing or two.") (Vila/Blake) (83)
  • Stranger Things, fiction by Shoshanna ("Avon and Jenna keep running into each other in the strangest places.") (Avon/Jenna) (88)
  • Unspoken, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (91)
  • On Credit, fiction by Daley Kelly (Avon/Vila) (92)
  • Mind Games, fiction by Cathy Conrad ("Being a prisoner sometimes has its advantages.") (Cally/Carnell) (96)
  • Command Performance, fiction by M.J. Dolan (Jenna/Cally) (99)
  • "You're Kidding, Right?, fiction by Jane Carnall (104)
  • Double Jeopardy, fiction by Sara Avery & Sylvia Dennison ("Vila's attempt to leave the Liberator results in tragedy.") (Vila/Avon) (105)
  • Libelous Liberator Limericks, poems by xBryn's Teddy Bear (128)
  • The Quality of Mercy, fiction by Victoria Towers (Soolin/Vila) ("Vila is ill after his experiences over Virn and missing Cally.") (was originally planned for #5.5.) (129)
  • Gratuitous Eroticism, fiction by Rose St. Clair (Blake/Avon) (130)
  • Gratuitous Revenge, fiction by Rose St. Clair ("A study in human psychology... from both characters' points of views... simultaneously!") (Blake/Avon) (141)
  • Aftermath Too, fiction by fiction by Anna Lee (Servalan/Avon) (143)
  • The Howling, fiction by xBryn Lantry (Avon/Blake) (145)
  • A Delta's Love, poem by Melissa Mastoris (A/V) (149)
  • The Road, fiction by Deirdre Hughes (Vila/Soolin) (149)
  • Dearest Enemy, fiction by Brendan O'Cullane and Adrian Morgan (Servalan/Avon) (151)
  • The Second Southern Comfort Writing Contest (156)
  • Discovery, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (162)
    • A Room with a View, fiction by Aurora Borealis ("Cally discovers Avon’s secret places.") (Avon/Cally) (was originally planned for #5.5.) (162)
  • Story Contest Winners (from issue 5.5) (170)
    • Worth the Cost at Any Price, fiction by Mistral (Avon/Blake) (171)
    • Second Chance Loving, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (182)
    • Up in (Blue) Smoke, fiction by Sonia (Avon/Blake, Avon/Blake/Cally, Vila/Jenna, Orac/Zen) (182)
    • Switch, poem by Judith Ellison (J/V) (199)
  • Continue to Continue, fiction by Northwest Smith ("The Federation did horrible things to Blake's mind.") (Avon/Blake) (201)
  • Bondsmate, fiction by Dorian Gale (Avon/Tarrant) ("An unlikely paring but one that could just end up saving both of their lives.") (was originally planned for #5.5.) (227)
  • Perpetual Enchantment, poem by Judith Ellison (C/J) (252)
  • Hard to Get, poem by Melissa Mastoris (C/V) (254)
  • Letters of Comment (255)

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.

[Stranger Things]: Jenna and heterosexual relationships: I really like your A/J -- 'Stranger Things' and its sequel. I prefer A/J to either A/C or B/J, and your take on it strikes me as very realistic (not to mention hot!). Definitely not mushy romance - but maybe, one day, more than a one-night stand. (And I'm not the only one who liked the stories; both my MediaWest roommates, Carol McCoy and [Lorna S], loved them too.) [69]

[Stranger Things]: SOUTHERN COMFORT 6.5 arrived yesterday, a zine I had completely forgotten about. I read through and here are my comments: 1 ) My favorite story in the zine was "Stranger Things" by [Shoshanna G]. I didn't like it, but it moved me because of its cold and gritty feel. I pitied Avon and Jenna at the end; I'm not sure if the author meant that or not. [70]

[You're Kidding, Right?]: Kerrvert slips into relatively unparodied porn cliches in the C/J section but the later comic stories share out the humour equally. Jane Carnall's 'You're Kidding, Right?' is a short but hilarious list of everyone's reasons for not sleeping with everyone else, none of their reasons having anything to do with gender or sexual preference. In the first section, Jenna snaps, 'I don't care if it's coming up to Auronae mating season or not... My mother warned me about telepaths like you.' In Season 3, 'Cally shrugged and gave up on Dayna. //Just too goddamn warped to be true.//' [16]

[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. [71]

[zine]: I was impressed by the three Avon/Tarrant stories. I'd never seen one attempted before. [Tarrant seems to have come into his own. He's in a number of stories this issue! Ed.] 3) Glad to see a Jenna/Cally even though the situation was forced. Are there any men out there who'd give writing that pair a try? [72]


A few comments on SOUTHERN COMFORT 6.5... "Tarrant the Terrific" was a stitch, although I can't believe Tarrant as the dominant male on the Liberator even under totally ridiculous circumstances. Of course, two of the symptoms of XYY syndrome are above-average height and below-average intelligence. "Tangled Webs" had a nice twist on the traditional brothel story. "Command Performance" had an overly familiar plot, but it's always nice to see the girls having fun. "Room with a View" was a nice, sweet story.

I'm looking forward to the next issue! [73]


I read SOUTHERN COMFORT 6.5 the other night and I thought I'd write a LoC. I enjoyed all of the stories in the zine. I

particularly liked "No Promises, No Regrets." After a while I get tired of dominance games between Blake and Avon, so it's nice to see a loving story. "Morning After" was also quite... interesting. Blake, Cally and Avon? A menage a trois that works. "Friendly Persuasion," doing it in Blake's cabin? How wickedly delicious. I usually can't stand Tarrant stories, but I enjoyed "Nightmusic." That Tarrant would go to Avon for comfort and that Avon wouldn't blast him into the next galaxy fro even suggesting that Avon would be on the bottom is amazing, but Paula made it seem believable. "Situations," with Vila teaching Blake what sex can be was great. I could just see the look of astonishment on Blake's face when Vila kissed him. And Vila's fantasy man? Hmm... I wonder who? I think my favorite story int he zine was "Up in (Blue) Smoke." So sexy and funny. Be still my beating heart. I also liked "Continue to Continue." Vila finally gets the recognition that he deserves and is able to help Blake. They go on and on about how poor Blake has been mindwiped, etc. but Vila had his head adjusted several times. The only difference is that it didn't work. The only problem I had with "Bondsmate" is that it was so one-sided. It's not that Tarrant is too macho, (which he likes to think he is) it's that Avon takes the submissive role too easily and too often for my tastes. Maybe it's because I don't like Tarrant. Ever since he threatened Vila to get him to do what he wanted to do. He's a bully. Anyway, the story was very nicely written, though. I liked the idea of Vila and Soolin together. Of course Jenna and Blake could settle down and have little Blake juniors. Overall, the zine was very good. The artwork was fantastic. I especially liked Leah's Vila, Avon and Kerril on page 1, Gayle had a very nice Avon on p. 113, Virgil's Avon and Servalan on p. 152 was also very good. The cartoon on 226 was precious. The artwork for the next contest will no doubt inspire writers. I know it does me. Keep up the good work. [74]


I just wanted to tell you how much I love SOUTHERN COMFORT 6.5. The luscious 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. The variety of offerings in this zine is impressive and much appreciated. I'm delighted with the multiplicity of unusual pairings and the mix of serious and humorous pieces, art, and poetry. The relatively high Tarrant quotient doesn't hurt, . either! My favorite of the zine is "Nightmusic." 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.) But that last line! Arrgh! There has to be a sequel! Also loved "Bondsmate." Finally, a PGP in which Avon doesn 't dump Tarrant in favor of Blake. And Tarrant gets to awaken Avon with a kiss—now there's a unique twist on the Avon's-in-a-coma scenario! Got a real kick out of "Tarrant the Terrific," even if it did bash dear decorative Del. (So that's why he took out all Klegg's squad, one by one...) Dayna, Cally, Avon and Vila have absolutely no taste, leaving poor Tarrant to punch the wall in frustration. Mhpf! Just as I always suspected— Orac is the most intelligent member of the crew. Love the accompanying illos of Avon and Vila in drag and Tarrant on steroids! A nice surprise were all the Jenna stories. My favorite was "On the Town." Avon and Jenna are a great couple. Much enjoyed all the lovely humorous bits. Particular favorites were the cartoon on page 155, "Blake County," the back cover, and the "Vogon Haiku" (especially the paraphrase of, William, not Roj!). Well, thank you for yet another fantastic zine. And I'm thrilled to see you're already working on SOUTHERN COMFORT 7.5! Looks promising so far—more Tarrant, more Avon/Jenna, and a Cally/Vila! I can hardly wait! [75]


“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.[76]


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. [77]

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. [78]

Issue 7 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

Issue 7.5 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

front cover of issue #7.5, Leah Rosenthal
back cover of issue #7.5, Leah Rosenthal: "'s the award winning "Weenie Caught in Spiral Binding" by Lumpy Bites" -- from IMHO* #2 (1995)

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

flyer for issue #7.5

The art is by Leah Rosenthal (front and back cover), ORmaC, Adrian Morgan, IBACH, Randym, Melody Rondeau, Linden Boats, Sarah, Howarth, and Flatbush Bates.

From the editorial:

Hello everybody. Just a few quick words here to fill up the white space. As you can see, SOUTHERN COMFORT 7.5 is our biggest issue to date. I decided to go ahead and publish everything I was holding rather than make any contributors wait longer for their work to see print. Some of this material I have had a while and I know how frustrating it can be when you're waiting to see your story published!

I hope to do more issues in the future and continue on as always. Hopefully, the zines will not be quite as hard to produce, either, since I now have a computer to work on and contributors can send their work on diskette. However, future issues are dependent on two things: 1) contributions (I'm all out now!), and 2) sales of this issue.

Bootlegging seems to have reared its ugly head in fandom yet again and zine editors are taking big hits from the folks who bootleg a copy here and a copy there for friends. Every copy that gets bootlegged means YOU pay more for your legitimate copy, but it also means zine editors are less and less interested in continuing to publish. Doing a zine is a lot of hard work and takes a tremendous outlay of personal funds to put into print. So, if you know someone who is stealing zines at least make the effort to let them know that you do not appreciate their activity anymore than the editors being ripped off do. As an aside, I just received a letter justifying the bootlegging of my zines based on the fact that I have been late in publishing the last few issues. My zines have been LATE. That is hardly the same as if I'd said, "You paid for the zine but you're not getting it." There is NO justification for stealing.

  • Letters of Comment (4)
  • Stand-in, fiction by Riley Cannon (A/V) (7)
  • Sword of Heaven, poem by Robin Hood (9)
  • Opposites, fiction by Willa Shakespeare (A/V) (10)
  • Twin Thieves, poem by Robin Hood (25)
  • A Credit for Your Thoughts, fiction by Jacklin Scott ("Cally begins to think that Vila will never get the message she keeps trying to send to him.") (C/V) (26)
  • Reliquary, fiction by Daley Kelly (A/V) (36)
  • The Last Seska, fiction by Willa Shakespeare (A and T and V/essentially OFC) (40)
  • Before the Madness Claimed Them, fiction by -Kay- (Tr/A) (52)
  • In the Company of Strangers, fiction by Shoshanna (A/J) (62)
  • What I Did for Love, fiction by Madelyn Darring & Coral Court (humor, commentary on Nearly Beloved) (65)
  • Misericorde, fiction by Randym (T/V, A/So) (68)
  • Never Love a Stranger, fiction by Willa Shakespeare (A/V, with B/A, A/Anna) (76)
  • War of Escalation, fiction by Estelle Daniels ("A few innocent "lessons" turn into much more for the embezzler and the pilot.") (A/J) (90)
  • An Innocent Man, fiction by R.L. Parker ("Even Vila finds it hard to believe that he ends making love with Avon, of all people.") (A/V) (98)
  • Innocence and Wrath, fiction by R.L. Parker (A/V) (98)
  • Paths of Destiny, fiction by C.A. McCoy ("Sequel to COLLIDING DESTINIES from SOUIHERN COMFORT #5.5 — Vila and Tarrant are rescued from the prison planet, but their greatest challenges still lie ahead.") (T/V) (110)
  • Birthday Story, fiction by Daley Kelly ("Avon promises Vila anything he wants for his birthday.") (A/V) (139)
  • Compromising Positions, fiction by Sonia (A/B - sort of) (146)
  • Time Off and Good Behavior, fiction by Nicely Nicely ("): A little R&R and some fun between friends.") (A/V) (166)
  • Family Traditions, fiction by "?" (170)
  • Celebrating Life, fiction by Cassandra (T/A/V) (176)
  • The Taste of Dust, poem by Robin Hood (181)
  • No Respite, fiction by Daley Kelly ("The aftermath of Malodaar takes a bizarre turn that Avon never expected!") (was originally planned for #6.5) (A/V) (182)
  • The Southern Comfort Story Contest (189)
  • Mice and Men, fiction by Mistral ("A shocking alternate 4th season that pits Avon and Tarrant against each other in a battle of strength and forge a surprising ending.") (A/T, A/B) (193)
  • Pushin' the First Amendment #1 (humor, parody of a proposed zine) (271)
  • To Care for You, poem by Robin Hood (272)
  • Brothers in Arms, poem by Riley Cannon (273)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7.5

See reactions and reviews for Mice and Men.

See reactions and reviews for A Credit for Your Thoughts.

See reactions and reviews for The Last Seska.

See reactions and reviews for Before the Madness Claimed Them.

See reactions and reviews for What I Did for Love.

See reactions and reviews for Misericorde.

See reactions and reviews for Never Love a Stranger.

See reactions and reviews for Compromising Positions.

[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.


... though I did skim 'Mice and Men' because it was so infamous. Not worth it. [79]

[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. Parker's 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 fan's comments about Mice and Men.] [80]

[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. [81]

[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 have 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 everyone 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 comment 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... [82] [83]

[zine]: [in response to Sandy Herrold]'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. [84]

[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.] [85]

[zine]: [Sandy Herrold] 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! [86]

[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. [87]


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! [88]

Issue 8 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

Southern Comfort 8

Issue 8.5 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

Southern Lights 8.5 was published in November 1994 and is 268 pages long. The art is by Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Undone Grate, London Grapes, and Randym (back cover).

cover of issue #8.5, Leah Rosenthal
flyer for issue #8.5
  • Into the Fire, fiction by Catocala (Avon/Blake, "Blake only wants to help Avon, whether Avon wants his help or not!") (also in "touched" #11 and Resistance #5) (1)
  • Into the Dragon's Jaws, fiction by Catocala (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)
  • Out of the Embers, fiction by Catocala (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."") (14)
  • The Right Place to Go, fiction by Jane Mailander (Blake/Vila) (22)
  • Sand Sculptures, fiction by Cami (Tarrant/Soolin/Dayna/Servalan, "The sand of Virn takes its toll on Tarrant in a most unexpected way...") (23)
  • First of a Thousand and One, fiction by Catocala (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...") (37)
  • Suffered Facts, fiction by Irish (Avon/Blake, "Avon ran from Blake after Gauda Prime, but now the rebel leader has caught up with him!") (43)
  • Cucumbers Are Not the Only Fruit, fiction by V. Lasic, G. H. Erkin, & K. Osher-Dill ("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...") (47)
  • The Nothing That Is, fiction by Lexa Reiss/Brooke Barker (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.") (58)
  • The Agony of Victory, fiction by Catherine S. (Avon/Blake) (78)
  • Tell Tale Eyes by Jude (Avon/Blake) (86)
  • The Great Orac, fiction by Leah S.("Orac's abilities to predict the future are sorely taxed!") (87)
  • Turn, Turn, Turn, fiction by Irish (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Avon/Vila - incorrectly labelled as A/B/V) (89)
  • Waiting in the Wings by Jude (Avon/Vila) (91)
  • You Ought to Be in Pictures, fiction by Rhapsodie(Tarrant/Dayna, Tarrant/Soolin, Tarrant/Servalan, "Tarrant has become a famous film star...unfortunately some embarrassing "flicks" from his past have surfaced...") (92)
  • Repercussions-- A Love Story, fiction by Paula (Jabberwocky) (Avon/Blake, "Set in the Jabberwocky universe. Avon and Blake finally realize that they care for each other...") [89] (reprinted in Jabberwocky #5) (101)
  • Betrayers, fiction by Mireille (Avon/Blake) (114)
  • A Man Alone by Jude (Avon/Blake) (118)
  • Moral Minority, fiction by S.E. Thompson (Avon/Cally, "On Auron, men who dress in tight black leather are considered "sluts"...") (118)
  • The Southern Comfort Writing Contest (119)
  • An Oblique Song, filk by Jane Mailander (to the tune of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun") (winner of a 1995 STIFfie Award) (124)
  • Moral Minority by S.E. Thompson (Avon/Cally) (125)
  • Sweet Revenge, fiction by K. Ann Yost (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Blake/Jenna - incorrectly labelled A/B/J) (128)
  • Hold and Heal by Jude (Avon/Cally) (130)
  • Substitute, fiction by Vanessa Mullen(Avon/Gan, with unrequited Blake/Avon, "Gan can see that Avon needs him. But can Avon learn to give Gan what he needs?") (131)
  • Purr, fiction by Aurora (Avon/Blake) (137)
  • Farewell Performance, fiction by Pat Nussman (Vila/Soolin, "Vila and Soolin are partners after Gauda Prime and down on their luck...") (139)
  • Kokopelli's Dance, fiction by Jane Mailander (Avon/?, Jenna/?, Blake/?, Blake/Avon) (148)
  • Journey's End, fiction by Riley Cannon (Avon/Blake) (156)
  • In Lieu of Regrets, fiction by Ellis Ward (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...") (171)
  • Sex and Sensibility: An (Im)Morality Tale, fiction by W.K.D. Ways (Vila/everyone, Cally/Avon/Dayna/Tarrant, "Vila has suddenly become irresistible to the entire crew ...") (175)
  • A trilogy by J.R.:
    • Beyond the Far Horizon, fiction by J.R. (Avon/Blake) ("Avon and Blake are surprised to 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.") (183)
    • Echoes of Love, fiction by J.R. (Avon/Blake, with Avon/Soolin and Cally/Jenna) (199)
    • Coming Out of the Dark, fiction by J.R. (Avon/Blake, with Cally/Jenna, Blake/Jenna and Avon/Cally) (232)

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.

See reactions and reviews for Coming Out of the Dark.

[The Great Orac]: In 'The Great Orac', all the first season crew ask Orac for predictions about their love life and he [sic] organizes them into the combinations that will guarantee him the fewest interruptions - pairing Blake with Avon and Vila with Gan, nudging Cally towards Jenna and then snapping irritably at Jenna, 'Yes, yes. There is no future with Blake but Cally would be very receptive.' While the story's punchline is reserved for Avon, Jenna benefits the most from Orac's manipulations, changing tack on the spot.

'Cally...' Jenna murmured speculatively. 'Uh, thanks,' she added, heading off the flight deck.' [16]


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. [91]


"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. [87]

Issue 8.75 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

cover of issue #8.75 Phoenix
flyer for issue #8.75

Southern Lights 8.75 was published in November 1994 and contains 66 pages (50,709 words).

The fiction is all Avon/Vila.

The art is by Phoenix (front cover), Adrian Morgan, and 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!

From the editorial:

Welcome to -- at long last! --another issue of an all-Avon/Vila adult special. The last one we did was 4.75, so it's been quite a while since Avon and Vila have had their own zine! I'm often asked at conventions and through the mail whether or not I'm going to do another .75 A/V issue, and I've always replied "whenever I get the submissions." This time around, with Southern Comfort 8.5, I did have so many submissions (275 pages even after I pulled out some of the A/V stories for this zine!) that I decided to go ahead and save some of the A/V stories for a special edition. I hope you enjoy the stories and find the zine was worth the wait. I'd like to do more . 75 issues, of course (A/V remains my favorite pairing). I've noticed that most of the slash B7 zines currently being produced carry a heavy bias toward Avon/Blake. So, you closet Vila fans get busy and do two things: 1) support this zine by it and buying it; 2) submit to future issues! My heartfelt thanks to all of my wonderful contributors. Some of them wrote A/V stories specifically for me!

I would also like to offer thanks to both Ellis Ward and Stew for allowing me to reprint their stories. Both of them ("Lest Madness Returns and "Portobello Blues") are long-time favorites of mine. I was rereading much of my B7 collection recently and chanced upon these stories. I decided to ask the authors if they would mind letting me reprint their work, and happily, they both agreed. If you haven't seen their stories before, and you like angsty A/V stories, you're in for a treat.

Along with the reprinted stories, please welcome a writer new to B7 fandom (although not to other fandoms!): [J R]. [J R] writes primarily Avon/Blake stories (please check out her work in Southern Comfort 8.5) but she wrote an epic series of Avon/Vila stories when she heard how much I liked. that pairing. There are more stories in the Saint of Circumstances series; they will be appearing in Serrated Comfort. Jamie, I have fast learned, is an incredibly prolific writer!

The issue is rounded out with several fantastic stories by relative newcomers to Ashton Press: Irish and Mireille. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I have!

  • A Practical Solution, fiction by Irish ("Avon finds Vila's constant scrutiny of him amusing at first. Then,he realizes why Vila is always watching him...") (3)
  • Never Say Never, fiction by Mireille("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...?") (6)
  • Things That Go Bang, fiction by Irish ("A pre-series story detailing the circumstances of Avon and Vila's very first meeting...and the unexpected consequences.") (14)
  • Saint of Circumstances, fiction by J.R. ("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!") (The editorial mentions that other stories in this universe were going to appear in "Serrated Comfort." There is no zine with that title. The editor may have been referring to Serrated Seven, but that zine is gen, and has no stories by J.R.) (22)
  • Easy to Love You, fiction by J.R. ("Avon and Vila struggle to survive as the rebellion continues under the leadership of Del Tarrant.") (37)
  • Promises, Promises, fiction by Mireille ("In the aftermath of Gauda Prime, Vila reflects on all of the promises Avon once made him... and broke.") (56)
  • Lest Madness Return, fiction by Ellis Ward ("Following Malodaar, Avon attempts to reconcile matters with Vila. A sequel to "In Lieu of Regrets"") (reprinted from "touched" #11) (58)
  • Portobello Blues, fiction by Stew ("Vila risks everything for one last-ditch chance at happiness") (reprinted from The Unique Touch #2 The Other Side #4) (61)

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. [92]

Issue 9 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

Issue 9.5 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

cover issue #9.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 9.5 was published in May 1996 and is 229 pages long.

The art is by Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Whitby27, Randym, and Maryann Jorgenson.

  • While I Live, fiction by Irish (2)
  • Interlude, fiction by Catherine S. (10)
  • Beyond Trust, fiction by Linnadel Cameron (15)
  • The Travis Affair, fiction by Vanessa Mullen (43)
  • Captive Thoughts, fiction by Jane Mailander (52)
  • Time, Corruption, and Appetite, fiction by Willa Shakespeare (55)
  • Nightsongs, fiction by Paula (66)
  • Such a Fool, fiction by Irish (92)
  • Machinations, fiction by K. Ann Yost (96)
  • For the Moment, fiction by Irish (100)
  • Duty, fiction by Pat Jacquerie (106)
  • Take My Heart, fiction by Irish (163)
  • A Moment's Surrender, fiction by R. Tabitha Roarke (173)
  • Sweet Savage Delta, fiction by Audrey Weirdsley (178)
  • Twilight, fiction by Taliesin (181)
  • Taking Notes, fiction by Audrey Weirdsley (192)
  • Episodes That Should Have Been Made... But Weren't by Buster Hymen & Oliver Klosov (humor) (199)
  • Letters of Comment (201)
  • Shared Nookie, fiction by T.S. Gruimmer (204)
  • The Devil You Do, fiction by Taliesin (214)

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... [93]

[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. [71]

[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. [94]

[zine]: My taste runs to plain vanilla slash (you've been warned!), so I'll suggest Southern Comfort #9.5. It has a couple of long, very well-written, extremely hot A/Ts, plus a long Tarrant/Blake. And a bunch of other stuff, of course! [95]

[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. [96]


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.) [97]

Issue 10 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

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 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

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

Southern Lights 10.5 was published in May 1999 and contains 131 pages (about 103,587 words).

It has a color cover by Leah Rosenthal.

The zine and two stories were nominated for a 1999 STIFfie. The zine and a story won a 2000 Fan Q. [98]

The art is by Leah Rosenthal (front cover) and Whitby27.

  • Under the Influence, fiction by Riley Cannon (3)
  • My Alpha, poem by Willa Shakespeare ("As told to Willa Shakespeare by Roj Blake (after StarOne) with sincerest apologies to John Kendrick Bangs, author of My Dog.") (8)
  • Beggars Can't Be Choosers, fiction by Willa Shakespeare (sequel to "An Embarrassment of Riches" in Diverse Doings #2) (9)
  • Night Discord, fiction by Paula (nominated for a STIFfie) (12)
  • It's Snow Wonder, vignette by Willa Shakespeare (45)
  • Circle, fiction by Vanessa Mullen (nominated for a STIFfie) (46)
  • Transmission, fiction by Andrea (50)
  • Memories, fiction by Jenner (55)
  • Exit Interview, fiction by Lexa Reiss/Brook Barker (sequel to "Nothing That Is") (winner of a Fan Q) (57)
  • Nor the Race to the Swift, vignette by Susan Cutter (62)
  • But That's the Way to Bet, vignette by Susan Cutter (63)
  • Don't Get Me Wrong, vignette by Willa Shakespeare (64)
  • Fool's Interlude, fiction by Catocala ("Authors’ Note: This story takes place within the context of another story called “Fool’s Paradise,” which appeared in Raising Hell #4. In “Fool’s Paradise,” Avon and Blake set up the Gauda Prime scenario in order to fool the Federation into thinking that Blake and Avon are both dead. Avon, however, fails to tell the Scorpio crew in advance that it is all a set-up. Afterwards, when the crew awakens, Vila is so badly shaken by the incident that he escapes from Blake’s ship and disappears into the nearest city. Avon, in the meantime, has made a deal to give Blake Orac in exchange for a lot of money. Avon has booked passage off-planet when he unexpectedly encounters Vila wandering the city streets in a distressed state. Feeling somewhat guilty, Avon determines to treat Vila to whatever he would like for the next day and night before he leaves for good, including fancy food and drink, dancing, and, of course, a nice hotel room for the night...") (reprinted from Rebel Desires #1) (65)
  • Night Class, fiction by T.Z. Trouper (70)
  • That Word Beginning with 'C', fiction by Ada L. (75)
  • Outcast of Auron, fiction by Pat Jacquerie, Lexa Reiss/Brooke Barker, and Erika Bloom, art by Whitby27 (based on an idea by Tashery Shannon) (80)
  • The House of Judgement, vignette by Willa Shakespeare (109)
  • Zipper by Susan Cutter ("Author’s note: This story was inspired by a comment by Sarah Thompson, who has compiled a massive alphabetical listing of erotic Blake’s 7 stories. Once she pointed out that none of the titles began with the letter Z, well, we couldn’t let that continue....") (110)
  • The Ultimate Unauthorized Hellhound, fiction by Willa Shakespeare ("Author’s Note: I know the authors are eventually going to snuff everybody and I can’t stand the suspense any longer.") (reprinted from Avon Calling #2) (112)
  • Hitting Bottom by Catocala (117)
  • Delta Math, vignette by Willa Shakespeare (120)
  • Forget-Me-Not, vignette by Willa Shakespeare (121)

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. [99]

[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. [100]

[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.) [101]

Issue 11 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

Issue 11.5 (Southern Comfort, Blake's 7)

cover of issue #11.5, portrays Kerr Avon and Anna Grant, artist is Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 11.5 was published in May 1999 and is 129 pages long (108,529 words). It has a color cover by Leah Rosenthal. The interior art is by Whitby27 and Sarah S.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 11.5

[If There Were Dreams to Sell, What Would You Buy?]: While Darring's f/f is definitely secondary, 'subplot' doesn't seem quite the right word for the f/f element in Misha's 'If There Were Dreams to Sell, What Would You Buy?', a long and complex story with multiple layers of dream and illusion. Cally is tortured and raped by Travis, using a psychic projection of her clone sister Zelda for extra sadistic effect, after which she is taken back to Auron by Tyce Sarkoff and a rather idealized version of Gan - a pacifist and diplomat, who meditates, moves fluidly and talks fluently. Somewhat surprisingly, when Cally wants to break the 'association between sex and violence', Misha has her opting for Gan, rather than Tyce, even though Cally's declared aim is to restore her sexual connection with her sister. After that, Cally and Zelda succeed in making love but the story ends with Cally and Tyce competing to help Gan overcome the sexually inhibiting effect of his limiter.

<...> Three more stories separate sex and emotion, giving detailed accountes of sexual activity but withholding the characters' emotional reactions or reserving them until later in the narrative - a technique that works well for the unsouciant erotica of 'Window Shopping' but less well in 'If There Were Dreams To Sell' and 'Asphodel', where the descriptions of rape and sexual violence require more contextualizing. [16]

[Delinquent]: This was the first Nova’s fic that I read and one of my favorite ones so far. It has some problems - while I like good boy/bad boy pairs, I think she sometimes tries too hard to shove Blake and Avon into these roles; the way Avon regains his rebelliousness after getting together with Blake felt too abrupt, almost comically so (I know that Magical Healing Cock is a thing; perhaps we should come up with the B7-specific version, Magical Class-Consciousness Rising Cock); and, of course, “undesirable associates” gets repeated ad nauseum. But I just find the idea of Avon being Blake’s childhood hero so adorable, and it’s for sure one of the most original takes on “they knew each other pre-canon” trope in this fandom. It’s interesting to review it after reading other Nova’s fics - now I can clearly discern some tropes and headcanons she used in many other fics, e.g. exploring characters’ backstories, accentuated differences in Blake’s and Avon’s upbringing, love restoring the fighting spirit in characters and so on. [102]

[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. [103]


  1. ^ "Welcome to the fifth issue of the "SPECIAL" edition. This marks the last time the zine will appear under this name. Some of you have probably noticed that the "SPECIAL" has been published separately from the regular edition of SOUTHERN LIGHTS for some time now. In order to avoid confusion (I invariably get letters every time a "SPECIAL" appears from people demanding to know where SOUTHERN LIGHTS #so-and-so is)) and also because the next issue of SOUTHERN LIGHTS will be the last one for some time, I'm changing the name of the "SPECIAL". It will now be called "SOUTHERN COMFORT" but will retain its numbering (in other words, the next issue will be "5.5".) So, when you see SOUTHERN COMFORT, it ain't a brand new zine, it's just the next issue of this one." -- from the editorial in #4.5
  2. ^ Subject: Sex and B7 by Sandy Herrold on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  3. ^ Subject: Sex and B7 by Lorna B. on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  4. ^ from Strange Bedfellows (APA) #8 (1995)
  5. ^ from Rallying Call #16
  6. ^ a b c d e f g from a letter of comment in "Southern Lights" #2
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h from a letter of comment in "Southern Lights" #2
  8. ^ from Datazine #39
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #3
  10. ^ Actually, the first slash story is "Have Another."
  11. ^ reviewed by Chris Blenkarn in AltaZine #2, summer 1996; the review can also be read at Judith Proctor's Blake' 7 site
  12. ^ from The A-Team Fan-Fiction Index
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k from a letter of comment in "Southern Lights" #4
  14. ^ "adult and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula'
  15. ^ from Textual Poachers, page 219
  16. ^ a b c d e This story was discussed in (Re)Making Space for Women: A guide to f/f slash in Blake's 7 fanzines, an essay by Nova (2002)
  17. ^ by Anon at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 page
  18. ^ reviewed in 1987 by Jane Carnall in "touched" #10
  19. ^ from Textual Poachers, page 219
  20. ^ from CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  21. ^ from Rallying Call #17 (April 1996), from a list of a fan's favorite Blake/Avon
  22. ^ quoted anonymously from Virgule-L (May 28, 1996)
  23. ^ from Sandy Hereld on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (April 30, 1993)
  24. ^ This comment about "offense" is explained in the editorial for The Unique Touch #2
  25. ^ a review by Jane Carnall in The Unique Touch #4.5
  26. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  27. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  28. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  29. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  30. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  31. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  32. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  33. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  34. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  35. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  36. ^ from a letter of comment in "Southern Comfort" #4.75
  37. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  38. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  39. ^ comment by Wortham in "Southern Lights" #9
  40. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  41. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  42. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  43. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  44. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  45. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  46. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  47. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  48. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  49. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  50. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  51. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  52. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  53. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5, AND oddly, reprinted in issue #9
  54. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  55. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  56. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  57. ^ from an LOC in issue #5.5
  58. ^ a satiric LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  59. ^ a b c d e f g a LoC in "Southern Comfort" #9
  60. ^ from CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  61. ^ from an LoC in "Southern Comfort" #10
  62. ^ bruinhilda.tumblr, August 21, 2016
  63. ^ from Textual Poachers
  64. ^ from "Southern Comfort" #7.5
  65. ^ comment at Lysator, August 9, 1994
  66. ^ review by aralias, February 22, 2015 at her journal, Archived version
  67. ^ comarum.tumblr
  68. ^ This fanwork was "Test Your English Skills" by Sasha Sokolnikov from the Man from U.N.C.L.E zine Comrades #1 (1988).
  69. ^ from a fan in Strange Bedfellows (APA) #6
  70. ^ from "Southern Comfort" #7.5
  71. ^ a b Favourite Avon/Tarrant Stories
  72. ^ from "Southern Comfort" #7.5
  73. ^ from "Southern Comfort" #7.5
  74. ^ from "Southern Comfort" #7.5
  75. ^ from "Southern Comfort" #7.5
  76. ^ bruinhilda.tumblr, November 16, 2016
  77. ^ these are the shorter comments by Aralias; for longer ones, see individual fic pages; reference link.
  78. ^ from IMHO* #2 (1995)
  79. ^ comments by Aralias, see full post at Lots of not very good zines, November 13, 2015
  80. ^ review by Anonymous at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  81. ^ MFae Glasgow on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  82. ^ Review posted by Sandy Herrold to Lysator on March 6, 1994, quoted in its entirety with permission.
  83. ^ A week later, Sandy made a post to Virgule-L explaining why she wrote this review: "Those of you on the B7 list know that I recently reviewed Southern Lights 7.5. The zine is just under 300 pages, and has lots of short stories (and because another poster had complained of my harsh criticism of the zine by saying it had *some* good stories, I felt honor-bound to trash/review them *all* to show how wrong she was-#;-)). It took a couple of hours to reread the zine alone." -- quoted from Virgule-L with permission (March 15, 1994)
  84. ^ Comment posted by Susan S. to Lysator on March 8, 1994.
  85. ^ Review posted by Lorna B. to Lysator dated March 8, 1994.
  86. ^ Lysator, M. Fae Glasgow, dated March 6, 1994.
  87. ^ a b Carol McCoy, focus is Del Tarrant, in IMHO* #2 (1995)
  88. ^ from Strange Bedfellows #3 (November 1993)
  89. ^ "adult and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula'
  90. ^ zine reviews: other side 2, fire and ice 2, southern comfort 8.5, July 30, 2013
  91. ^ Aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on Dreamwidth, Archived version
  92. ^ In July 1995, Michelle Christian posted this review of the zine to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  93. ^ Lysator, the zine's editor, dated September 4, 1994.
  94. ^ from Rallying Call #18
  95. ^ from Strange Bedfellows (APA) #14 (August 1996)
  96. ^ from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  97. ^ from Rallying Call #19
  98. ^ Southern Comfort 10.5 at, accessed 3 December 2009
  99. ^ from Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, August 5, 2013
  100. ^ from TM at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  101. ^ from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  102. ^ From the tumblr post Reviews of Some Nova’s Fics, Archived version
  103. ^ from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site