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Title: Stranded
Author(s): Matilda Willard
Date(s): 1994
Fandom: Blake's 7
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Stranded is a Blake's 7 Avon/Blake story by Matilda Willard.

It was published in Avon Calling #3.

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

One of those Blake-enjoys-going-Back-to-Nature stories. Blake and Avon fall in love, stranded on a wild planet, away from the pressures of Liberator. I'd have liked this better without the tragic ending, because I really enjoyed their getting close slowly (and I'd recommend, say, xBryn's Fugitives to any other rare happy-A/B fans out there), but it's a good story. [1]
The longest story in the zine at around 20 pages. This is one of those Back-to-nature stories, which I have mixed feelings about in general. There are some excellent ones (like Linda Knight's genzine story "A Time For Everything"), but these usually fail for me in that for anyone who's ever been camping. the reality of back-to-nature is anything other than idyllic, especially when you have to hunt your own food. This is still not a bad story, however, and A/B fans will probably enjoy it. The sex scenes manage to be fresh and different.[2]


One example of this transformation was in the story STRANDED by Matilda Willard which appeared in AVON CALLING III (available from Denetia Arellanes at [address redacted]). This story contains all the elements that conspire to make a great fan story; two men, stranded and alone; danger in the form of native fauna; the need to cooperate for survival; a cave as a "home base". The cave, in my mind, serves as the perfect frame to unite these basic components. Add to this a fine, big helping of angst in the form of mutual longing between the two men, and you have everything needed for a emotionally charged tale.

Willard has done a splendid job of convincing me of her reality...she spent the time to "world build" without being over tedious in her detail. The description of the initial fight with the bear, their mutual fear at facing the beast, how their hands are torn and blistered from outdoor labor have realistically set the scene. I, as the reader, need only follow the trail the writer has blazed on this planet.

The story is simple (as all good stories are) and very much in the time honoured tradition of fandom: Blake and Avon struggle to survive on a wild planet. They have managed to kill a large bearlike creature and assume control of the cave it lived in, but the creature's mate is lurking about. Blake and Avon gradually become intimate, even though memories from Blake's past make it difficult for him to consider, much less consummate, a relationship. In the course of time, the two men reach a new level of exchange and commitment, only to have it nearly snatched away when the creature attacks and badly injures Avon. Blake, frantic to preserve Avon's life, makes a "deal" with the fates, vowing to pay any price if only Avon can be spared. The resolution is such that the two men are unable to continue their new found intimacy.

The cave is the womb which enfolded and protected this story and the characters in it. The primitive surroundings allowed our very civilized men to "let go" and get in touch with their feelings and actually share them with each other and, vicariously, with the reader.

STRANDED was a tremendously satisfying read...all but for the very last page. I felt it was possible to end the story, in a typically dark Blake's 7-ish fashion, without what I come to view as the "Bitter Embattled Avon" ending. But for Blake fans, I feel this is a great tale—Roj is caring, mature, committed (versus committable) and a hell of a fine person.

I hope my romanticized ramble regarding the joys of caves hasn't been too excruciating and I conclude here with the following thoughts—many sincere thanks to the folks of fandom and those few script writers who have nurtured my love of hurt-comfort with their warm and giving stories and scripts. In my own small way, I hope to add to this legacy, thus continuing the chain. Even now, I'm starting work on a cave story of my own. [3]
I read that story 'Stranded' you spoke of, in a borrowed copy of the zine so I don't have it here for reference. That one bothered and puzzled me a lot. It almost felt as though it were started by one person, and finished by another. It was a nice, warm, sexy and loving story--until Blake gets religion and turns into a sanctimonious jerk. You give thanks to an allegedly loving god by taking the person you have just painstakingly taught to love and trust, and volunteer to hurt him in the worst way possible? Does this make sense? The "fates" you spoke of were pretty obviously to me the Christian god; Blake did not hear a voice from somewhere demanding that he make this particular sacrifice, he apparently came up with it on his own. This suggested to me that the 'ending Blake' had the idea that his loving Avon was offending this god concept and that's why he 'bargained' to give it up. By the time I got to the end of the story as written, what I found myself wanting to see happen was Avon saying, "You say you renounced our love to save my life?" (Cool Avon smile here.) "Call and raise you," and with that, he raises his gun, places the business end under his own chin and blows his brains out. I would find that immeasurably more satisfying than the ending the author gave us. [4]


I'm a bit conflicted about this one and ultimately if asked (and I was, yesterday) I would... not recommend it. But I did like the sex talk a lot. What I don't like is... well, my main problem is that Blake seems to hate his cause and be delighted for the opportunity to drop it forever in favour of frolicking around with Avon (Please shoot me three times in the gut now.) Also, I've read enough fics that make use of it that the 'can't get it up because of fear of child abuse' plot trope better be coupled with a lot of other good stuff (which it often is, to be fair to it), because I don't find this trope interesting in and of itself. Basically, I'd rather be in a universe where Blake and Avon haven't had sex before whatever fic it is because of their conflicting views and fear and anger, etc, not because Blake can't get it up/Avon was raped/Avon is a virgin (see above). Personal preference, you may say, but that's the only kind I have. The writing is also more purple than usual, and it's quite long (too long. I'd be willing to be more tolerant if it was short), and I like Willa Shakespeare's 'White Knight' (which admittedly has problems of its own) of F&I 4 (and the internet) much more and can't help comparing as I read them quite close together. [5]


  1. review by Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake' s7 site; WebCite.
  2. review by Sonja at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site;WebCite.
  3. this review in Rallying Call #14 (1995) is prefaced by a essay about the appeal of Cave Stories; see that page, or "Rallying Call" for the excerpt.
  4. from Rallying Call #15
  5. Aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth; WebCite