Tales from Space City

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Zine
Title: Tales from Space City
Publisher: Helen Patrick (second editions of issues 1 and 2 were also published by Judith Proctor)
Editor(s): Helen Patrick
Date(s): 1998-2004
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size: issues 1 and 2 A4, further issues A5
Genre:
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links: bits of 1, 2, 3, complete 5 and 6 on HelenPatrick's Wordpress, or HelenPatrick's AO3 listing
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Tales from Space City is a Blake's 7 mixed slash, het and gen zine. The zine is a collection of material from members of the Space City mailing list that was generally too short to be published in other zines. At the time of zine publication, most of the material was not available outside the mailing list, though some of the fiction and some of the editorials have now been published on the internet by the editor Helen Patrick, both on her Wordpress site (bits of 1, 2, 3, complete 5 and 6) [1] or on Archive of our Own (bits of 1, 2, 3, complete 5) ([2].

Dead Boyfriend of the Week is a special edition of this zine.

About

As to the origins of the zine, this is what the publisher has to say:
Tales from Space City was started as a paperzine archive for the Space City/Freedom City mailing list (with some bits from the Lysator B7 mailing list). Its specific purpose was to provide a dead tree home for material from the list which was too good to lose, but which for various reasons didn't suit other zines. Too short, too weird, too in-joke... you get the idea. It was also a way to get a lot of themed stories from the annual Labor Day Party collected in one place. It never had an open call for submissions outside the City and the Lyst (although I did get the occasional outside submission anyway), so most of the material was first seen online. Vem Quest was a round robin from the mailing list, Tales material but long enough to warrant having its own zine. [3]

Beware: Pirates

Nobody other than Judith and her overseas agents has permission to sell this zine. Nobody has permission to sell it in anything other than A4 paper size. Legitimate copies are individually numbered in metallic ink. Please don't support pirates - like other zine publishers, if I can't sell enough copies to cover the costs I've incurred in publishing and printing it because some swine is selling ripped off second-generation copies, I won't be able to do any more zines. If you see a pirated zine, I'd appreciate knowing about it, as would the various publishers who've had material stolen. [4]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1, Whitby27
editor's printer's notes for issue #1

Tales from Space City 1 was published in October 1998 and has 130 pages of story text with approximately 106,000+ words. It features a large collection of stories written for Space City's first two Labor Day Parties - Smut Hotel and Dreams of Love.

All art was by Whitby27, including colour cover and frontispiece, one ink and nine pencil interior illos, all reproduced by digital photocopying. It premiered at Eclecticon 98.

A second edition was published later by Judith Proctor with the permission of Helen Patrick[5]. Due to Judith's stricter policy on adult art, these later editions did not feature any of the art published in the previous edition (except for the colour cover, which remained).

Some of the content is now archived online here and here.

An original flyer read:
"Tales from Space City", a Blake's 7 mixed slash, het and gen zine, will be premiering at Eclecticon 98, available from the Waveney Zines table in the dealers' room. The zine is a collection of material from members of the Space City mailing list. Some of the stories are archived on the Web, but most of the material is not available outside the mailing list, and some is appearing for the first time anywhere. Con price is 10 pounds sterling or US$18. If you are going to the con and would like a copy reserved for you, please let me know within the next couple of days. I have limited suitcase space, and will only take as many copies as I think I can be reasonably certain of selling.

The zine has 130 pages of story text, or 106 000+words. Stories range from half a page to nine pages, and from the extremely silly to the serious. Just like the mailing list, in fact. All art by [Val W], including colour cover and frontispiece, one ink and nine pencil interior illos, all reproduced by digital photocopying. Contents list available by email on request.

It will be available by mail order after the con, when I have recovered from jet lag - ie I will start processing orders after 15 Nov 1998. Email me at... [6]
The editor commented in 2015:
Yes, the first two volumes really are a dead tree version of the mailing list conversation, and not just the fiction. :-) There was less of the random research conversation in the later volumes, because they were a different physical format which a) needed less short filler material, b) had less room for short filler material.

Many of the party pieces are not likely to make much sense unless you were there at the time, and one of the reasons Tales exists is to provide a print archive of the stuff *we* thought too good to lose but wasn't going to be of interest to non-list members. The party collections in the zine are somewhat skewed to the "Whuh?" pieces, because the ones that did make sense to a general audience often went to other zines.

It was a short print run series intended as a dead tree archive for list members and people who couldn't subscribe to the list for one reason or another but didn't want to miss out. So it was never promoted outside the list and there aren't many copies (I think Tales 1 sold about 100 copies, and the rest a good deal fewer), which is why new B7 fans can't find it on eBay. [7]

Fiction:

  • Catharine Roussel, "Derek" (gen; S0; A-A's brother)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Night" (S1?; uc A/B)
  • Predatrix, "MSWank 5/0" (S1?; uc Se/Tr; humor)
  • Helen Patrick, "A Trifling Affair" (originally published as "Boots and Cream" in webzine ORACnid, S1?; A/B)
  • Linda Norman, "Blake's Seven Go Camping" (AU S2; children's book parody; A/V, C/J, A/B, B/Tr, C/J/Se; humor)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Impossible" (S1, post-SLD; Se-Anna, A/Anna, A/B)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Gamble" (S2; A/B)
  • Predatrix, "Automatic Reactions" (S2?; A/B)
  • Julia Henry, "Red Leather and Silverleaf" (S2; A/B)
  • Ivor Brian Gunn, "Trigger Happy" (S3; C/D)
  • Cami, "A Snippet by Cami" (gen; S3; A-O; humor)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Orac and the Art of Programming" (S3; A/C)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Forfeits" (S3; D/V)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Dream" (S3; dream A/B)
  • M. Fae Glasgow, "Hammer House of Horror" (S5?; Sl-hc?, O/Sl?)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Comfort" (S3; S2, post-Countdown; implied A/B)
  • Steve Rogerson, "Snippet" (S3, pre-City; Ta/V)
  • Sandy Stein, "End Thoughts" (gen, but violent; S3, Rumours)
  • Cami, "Delirium" (S4, Rescue; Ta/Link)
  • Steve Rogerson, "A Cockpit Tale" (S4; D/Og)
  • CaeVye, "Avalon-- the Silly Version" (S4; A/Se/Ta)
  • A.A.L., "That Word Beginning with 'C'" (S4, pre-Orbit; A/V)
  • Andrea, "Premise" (S4; A/B)
  • Aurora Rowan, "Comp Tech" (gen; alt-S4, alt-Blake; humor)
  • CaeVye, "Godot 7" (serious parody of Waiting for Godot; S5; A/B)
  • Linda Norman, "Pandora's Box" (S5; uc A/Se)
  • Linda Norman, "To See Ourselves" (S5; ocms, A/Se)
  • Steve Rogerson, "Continuum" (S5; A/B)
  • Christabel and Vanessa Mullen, "Dome Cycle Lament" (assorted alternate endings for M. Fae Glasgow's "The Dome Cycle;" S5; A/V, A/B, B/V, B/A's mum, V/Christabel, A/B/V menage; humor)

Anniversary Parties

  • Twisted Sister, "Which Way: Blue" (AU S4; So/Ta, implied A/So, D/Ta)
  • Twisted Sister, "Which Way Story-- Gan Gets Some" (AU S4; A/G, implied G/So, G/Ta)
  • Susan Cutter, "Dreams" (S?; oc; intro for party stories)
  • Susan Moore, "Dreams: Giving" (S?; ?f/?m)
  • Susan Cutter, "Sunday's Dream" (gen; S1, Spacefall)
  • Airan Wilkinson, "Dream" (gen; S0; J)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Dream" (S1?; A/B)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Speaking to the Subconscious" (S1?; B/J)
  • Alison Page, "2,000,0001 B.C.: A Blake Odyssey" (gen; prehuman AU)
  • Steve Rogerson, "Jenna's Dream" (S2; dream J/Chewbacca)
  • Noah Sassenach, "Wet Dreams" (S1?; dream A/C, dream A/B)
  • Jenner, "Dream" (?/?m)
  • Pat Fenech, "Love and Other Enigmas" (gen; S1; B, C, V, G, J, A)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Tarial Dream" (gen; S2; O)
  • Arachne, "Dreams" (gen; S2?; V)
  • Steve Rogerson, "Servalan's Dream" (gen; S1 or S2; Se)
  • Sandy Stein, "Addictions" (gen; A-D)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Del..." (S3; C/Ta, D/Ta)
  • Sandy Stein, "Afterdreams" (S3; uc A/C)
  • Deneb, "Why Should I Dream of You?" (S3, post-Rumours; dream A/Anna)
  • Carol K., "Dream" (S3; dream A/B, dream A/Se, dream A/C, A/Ta)
  • Sandy Stein, "A Dream of Peace" (S3?; dream A/B)
  • One of Those Damn Lurkers, "Everyone Needs Someone to Love" (S4; Bomber the Space Rat/Goldwing 2000 Jr. Space Chopper)
  • Susan Cutter, "A Dream" (S4; dream implied A/So, dream implied A/D, dream So/ocs, dream D/topiary bear)
  • Susan Cutter, "Another Dream" (S4; Ta/Zeeona)
  • Noah Teuchter, "Dreams Are Nuthin' More Than Wishes" (S4, post-Orbit?; dream A/B/C/D/G/J/So/Ta orgy, dream A/V)
  • Sandy Stein, "Nightmare"(gen; S5; A-hc, A-B)
  • Various Perpetrators (Orac, Andrea, Malissa, Misha, Alicia Ann Fox, Steve Rogerson, Tom Forsyth, Ellie, Deborah, Susan, Cami, Twisted Sister, Calle, Alara, Helen, Sandy, Harriet, Robert, Christabel, Alison), "The Black Round Robin" (script; AU; A/Susan, A/Ta, G/Ta, C/Ta, A/C, V/Avalon, C/V, implied D/V, implied D/Og, B/J, A/B, implied J/V, implied B/V, A/Og, Andrea/Tom Paris; humor)

Nonfiction:

  • "Technical Details"
  • Helen Patrick, "Editorial, or, 'How the hell did I let myself be talked into this?'"
  • FAQ
  • "BUARA" (humor)
  • Tom Forsyth, "Kippers" (non-B7 humor)
  • M. Fae Glasgow, "Avon Rules!" (humor)
  • Various (Christabel, Alicia Ann Fox, Tom Forsyth, Lorna), "Alicia's Having Trouble with Furniture" (non-B7 humor)
  • Alicia Ann Fox and Helen Patrick, "Hypnotist" (humor)
  • Tom Forsyth, "Phoning Roosters" (sex info, humor)
  • "Dream Statistics," compiled by Susan Cutter, using Catherine Roussel's index

Poetry:

  • Nicola Collie, "Haiku"
  • Susan Cutter, "A Visit from Saint Nick" (written for Christmas 1996; parody; humor)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Red Roses" (filk, Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?; for Red Rose Con, July 1998)
  • Susan Cutter, "Santa Does Space City" (won a 1999 FanQ)
  • Tom Forsyth, "Time Distort" (filk, Time Warp; S3-4; orgy; humor)
  • Judith Proctor, "Redemption Filks" (written for Redemption Con, to be held February 1999): "Take the Last Train to Ashford" (f, Take the Last Train to Clarksville), "I'm a Redeemer" (filk, I'm a Believer)

Art, all by Whitby27


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

[Automatic Reactions]: An aphrodisiac story that takes full advantage of the comedic potential inherent in the trope but still takes the characters themselves seriously. Great dialogue. The prose is sensual but not purple. Goes down like drugged cognac. [8]
[Automatic Reactions]: Every fandom has to have stories with aphrodisiacs, yeah? Pred’s not-entirely-solemn take on this trope is “Automatic Reactions” (Vila steals Jenna’s expensive aphrodisiac, but the doctored cognac ends up inside Avon, as for that matter does Blake: Automatic Reactions)[9] The title comes from a crucial slash moment in canon: Avon throws himself in front of a bomb menacing Blake. Blake asks why; Avon says “Automatic reaction. I’m as surprised as you are.” Blake says, “I’m NOT surprised.” Make of that what you will. [10]
[zine]: You've already seen the basic list of contents, but here it is in full with my usual annotations. What a zine! Full of fun stuff, and some serious goodies too. My favorites include Linda Norman's stunning Servalan monologue, "Pandora's Box" (have your gen-only friends read this one-- it's really, really good and I think it's a prospect for "best gen story"); Alison Page's "2,000,0001 B.C." (er, isn't there an extra zero in there?); the story of Bomber the Space Rat and his true love; and CaeVye's "Avalon," in which both Avon and Servalan find themselves trapped in Tarrant's body. Not to mention all the juicy smut! I have a few questions. What were the stories first published in paper zines? I couldn't identify them. Linda N., is "Blake's Seven Go Camping" a parody of a particular work-- something by Enid Blyton, perhaps?-- or just a general stylistic parody? And what do other people think is going on in M. Fae's bizarre short-short, "Hammer House of Horror"? Someone (presumably Avon, presumably PGP) painstakingly repairs poor Slave, and it then turns out that Orac was hidden within Slave. But she said it was an Oblaque story, so is there some kind of kinky sex involved??? I remembered all the hairy het stories, but I had forgotten there is a leafy het one too-- the very strange dream sequence in which Dayna is ravished by the topiary bear! [11]
[zine]: (Probably?) not going to review every fic in this or Tales#2 because there are so many and so many are short, but they are fascinating objects these first two because it's like reading the internet, but printed out and bound together. I mean, that's the idea in a way, but all of the others (3-10, and yes, I'm guessing in some cases because I haven't read them all but I know lots of the material) feel like regular anthology zines of short fic - often very good short fic, but basically business as usual. There's lots to enjoy here, too, in terms of fic (and Automatic Reactions is obvious fab), but more than anything it's an experience of random stuff, more random than anything else in any B7 zine, washing over you. It's like a kink meme, except it's not that - it's an email list. But lots and lots of short things, and more random pairings than exist anywhere else.

VV interesting. Very glad I could read them, and very glad I was sent copies, because looking at them in the zine library quickly wouldn't have done them justice. I would have just read the 5 pages or so of B/A and put them down, and then I would have missed Tarrant/Link. Oh yes, we're not in Kansas any more.

Particularly nice art as well, and it's printed very well on special paper, which helps. Lots of the genre my girlfriend has christened 'lounging Avons', but plenty of Avon/someone as well, including a v nice B/A (next to 'Gamble'), a v nice A/Anna, a clothed Avon (!), and a Tarrant/Zeeona!

As well as art and fic, there's also some Christmas themed poetry (which was quite funny), and some non-fiction that is often only barely related to B7. I found the discussion of whether or not cockrings would stop orgasm v interesting - and I shall promptly forget about the facts because I like the idea that they would.

Catharine Roussel, "Derek" (gen; S0; A-A's brother): Nice dialogue in this, which is, as it says, gen. Sad Avon backstory.

Vanessa Mullen, "Night" (S1?; uc A/B): Lots of Vanessa Mullen B/A fics in this zine, but alas they are all short. This one is very very short.

Predatrix, "MSWank 5/0" (S1?; uc Se/Tr; humor): This is a nice idea - calling it S/Tr (which the author didn't, I'm sure, it's just cataloguing) is a bit of a stretch as it's a tiny joke on one bit of a page. Oh those 90s computer programmes - how we laughed.

Helen Patrick, "A Trifling Affair" (originally published as "Boots and Cream" in webzine ORACnid; S1?; A/B): This is one of the first B/As I ever read. It's nice, with good sex (and a nice ending), though a bit too stupid!Blake/hypercompetent!Avon for my tastes - though Blake is pissed, so fair doos.

Linda Norman, "Blake's Seven Go Camping" (AU S2; children's book parody; A/V, C/J, A/B, B/Tr, C/J/Se; humor)

Vanessa Mullen, "Impossible" (S1, post-SLD; Se-Anna, A/Anna, A/B): Impossible is about how Anna can't imagine Avon as a gay (unlike everyone else in the world). Vanessa Mullen, "Gamble" (S2; A/B): I don't know what Gamble is about - as I said, nice picture, though.

Predatrix, "Automatic Reactions" (S2?; A/B): I love Automatic Reactions! The title's brilliant for it, too - I love the stuff where they're negotiating whether they'll have sex or not, and Blake is leering at him and Avon has no idea that he's all over the place, and I love his reasons for not going for it/going for it. Very sexy, obviously, and my favourite versions of these characters by this author. I also really like aphrodisiacs as a trope - and this is a great example of why. V good all round.

Julia Henry, "Red Leather and Silverleaf" (S2; A/B): I would have preferred this not to have its rather confusing ending - up until that point as a fantasy fic, it was v hot.

Ivor Brian Gunn, "Trigger Happy" (S3; C/D): This is very good! Welcome, femslash! Truly we have arrived. Lots of silly messing around and having fun together, as well as good use of telepathy for hot sex.

Cami, "A Snippet by Cami" (gen; S3; A-O; humor) Alicia Ann Fox, "Orac and the Art of Programming" (S3; A/C) Vanessa Mullen, "Forfeits" (S3; D/V) Vanessa Mullen, "Dream" (S3; dream A/B) M. Fae Glasgow, "Hammer House of Horror" (S5?; Sl-hc?, O/Sl?) Nothing much to say about most of these - snippet and hammer house are very short. x_los is still going on about how Dream 'just ends!! How can it just end??' because it's an interesting beginning to a story, but not really a whole fic in and of itself.

Vanessa Mullen, "Comfort" (S3; S2, post-Countdown; implied A/B): Really like this one. Nice idea, well executed, sad ending.

Steve Rogerson, "Snippet" (S3, pre-City; Ta/V) Sandy Stein, "End Thoughts" (gen, but violent; S3, Rumours) Woah - a T/V (but very short). And then something about Shrinker killing himself in the cave, which isn't bad.

Cami, "Delirium" (S4, Rescue; Ta/Link [sex of Link unknown]) Steve Rogerson, "A Cockpit Tale" (S4; D/Og) And here we arrive at modern fandom in a different way! (The 'sex of Link unknown' makes me laugh, btw. As though it matters.) The weirdest thing about this fic is that Tarrant feels the Link was a v good lover. Dayna thinks the same of Og, but in a more animal way, whereas the Link made Tarrant feel special... idk.

CaeVye, "Avalon-- the Silly Version" (S4; A/Se/Ta): This is too short! Why are they inside Tarrant's head? What happens next?

A.A.L., "That Word Beginning with 'C'" (S4, pre-Orbit; A/V) Andrea, "Premise" (S4; A/B) Nothing to say about The Word (THE WORD! THE WORD!) etc, but 'Premise' is quite a nice B/A, though with a weird random bit about Tarrant being a bad guy in it.

Aurora Rowan, "Comp Tech" (gen; alt-S4, alt-Blake; humor) CaeVye, "Godot 7" (serious parody of Waiting for Godot; S5; A/B) Linda Norman, "Pandora's Box" (S5; uc A/Se) Nothing to say about these, although Godot 7 is very long.

Linda Norman, "To See Ourselves" (S5; ocms, A/Se) This isn't an Avon/Servalan fic, it's a Chris Boucher soldiers chat outside a room fic! Ace! The ending saddens me a bit actually, as I preferred it without the twist.

Steve Rogerson, "Continuum" (S5; A/B) Christabel and Vanessa Mullen, "Dome Cycle Lament" (assorted alternate endings for M. Fae Glasgow's "Dome Cycle;" S5; A/V, A/B, B/V, B/A's mum, V/Christabel, A/B/V menage; humor) Nothing to say.

The Anniversary Parties Twisted Sister, "Which Way: Blue" (AU S4; So/Ta, implied A/So, D/Ta) Twisted Sister, "Which Way Story-- Gan Gets Some" (AU S4; A/G, implied G/So, G/Ta) Labor Day Party-- 1997 Blue stops before it gets going (alas, someone else wrote the rest and didn't publish it here), but Gan Gets Some is great fun. Alas that the Gan/Soolin is published somewhere else.

Susan Cutter, "Dreams" (S?; oc; intro for party stories) Susan Moore, "Dreams: Giving" (S?; ?f/?m) Susan Cutter, "Sunday's Dream" (gen; S1, Spacefall) Airan Wilkinson, "Dream" (gen; S0; J) Vanessa Mullen, "Dream" (S1?; A/B) Alicia Ann Fox, "Speaking to the Subconscious" (S1?; B/J) Alison Page, "2,000,0001 B.C.: A Blake Odyssey" (gen; prehuman AU) Steve Rogerson, "Jenna's Dream" (S2; dream J/Chewbacca) Noah Sassenach, "Wet Dreams" (S1?; dream A/C, dream A/B) Jenner, "Dream" (?/?m) Pat Fenech, "Love and Other Enigmas" (gen; S1; B, C, V, G, J, A) Alicia Ann Fox, "Tarial Dream" (gen; S2; O) Arachne, "Dreams" (gen; S2?; V) Steve Rogerson, "Servalan's Dream" (gen; S1 or S2; Se) Sandy Stein, "Addictions" (gen; A-D) Alicia Ann Fox, "Del..." (S3; C/Ta, D/Ta) Sandy Stein, "Afterdreams" (S3; uc A/C) Deneb, "Why Should I Dream of You?" (S3, post-Rumours; dream A/Anna) Carol K., "Dream" (S3; dream A/B, dream A/Se, dream A/C, A/Ta) Sandy Stein, "A Dream of Peace" (S3?; dream A/B) One of Those Damn Lurkers, "Everyone Needs Someone to Love" (S4; Bomber the Space Rat/Goldwing 2000 Jr. Space Chopper) Susan Cutter, "A Dream" (S4; dream implied A/So, dream implied A/D, dream So/ocs, dream D/topiary bear) Susan Cutter, "Another Dream" (S4; Ta/Zeeona) Noah Teuchter, "Dreams Are Nuthin' More Than Wishes" (S4, post-Orbit?; dream A/B/C/D/G/J/So/Ta orgy, dream A/V) Sandy Stein, "Nightmare" (gen; S5; A-hc, A-B)

Nothing to say about any of these, which are all really short and interesting to have en masse as a piece of history, but not really in and of themselves - the weird alien premise was clearly inspiring (a weird creature from another universe is like - show me love! hence these fics, but... most of them don't use this premise/it's weirder if they do). Plenty of them are deeply strange.

Addictions is quite cute, and I feel like the Tarrant/Zeeona is hampered by the dream premise (which it does not need) and should just have been some porn. It's pretty good.

Various Perpetrators (Orac, Andrea, Malissa, Misha, Alicia Ann Fox, Steve Rogerson, Tom Forsyth, Ellie, Deborah, Susan, Cami, Twisted Sister, Calle, Alara, Helen, Sandy, Harriet, Robert, Christabel, Alison), "The Black Round Robin" (script; AU; A/Susan, A/Ta, G/Ta, C/Ta, A/C, V/Avalon, C/V, implied D/V, implied D/Og, B/J, A/B, implied J/V, implied B/V, A/Og, Andrea/Tom Paris; humor)

I enjoyed this round robin a lot more than either 'Vem Quest' or the round robin in Space City 2, both of which I felt were really difficult to get into if you weren't actually there. This obviously features a lot of the writers too, but to a lesser extent. It also has lots and lots of Gan (thanks Twisted Sister!), whom I enjoy a great deal, and a relatively sustained A/B section by Helen P, which amused me: In defence to the sensibilities of those Space Citizens who are not R B/A SH (Raving B/A Smut Hounds - ed), we will forgo the usualhard core pornography, and subsitute images of machinery with pistons moving smoothly in and out, gleaming with their light covering of oil (Blake is an engineer after all). Predatrix can just use her imagination. Ha. Then Og takes over! What is it with Og? Jeez. [12]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Whitby27

Tales from Space City 2 was published in March 2000 and contains 80 pages. Portions of the zine are archived online here.

A fan's comment in 2015:
Yes, the first two volumes really are a dead tree version of the mailing list conversation, and not just the fiction. :-) There was less of the random research conversation in the later volumes, because they were a different physical format which a) needed less short filler material, b) had less room for short filler material.

Many of the party pieces are not likely to make much sense unless you were there at the time, and one of the reasons Tales exists is to provide a print archive of the stuff *we* thought too good to lose but wasn't going to be of interest to non-list members. The party collections in the zine are somewhat skewed to the "Whuh?" pieces, because the ones that did make sense to a general audience often went to other zines.

It was a short print run series intended as a dead tree archive for list members and people who couldn't subscribe to the list for one reason or another but didn't want to miss out. So it was never promoted outside the list and there aren't many copies (I think Tales 1 sold about 100 copies, and the rest a good deal fewer), which is why new B7 fans can't find it on eBay. [13]

Fiction:

  • Predatrix, "Vampire Snippet"
  • Sandy Steiner, "A Snippet-- Avon's Eyes"
  • Calle Dybedahl, "Interlude"
  • Oliver Klosov, "Unlikely Challenge"
  • Predatrix and Helen Patrick, "Keeping Warm"
  • Julia Henry, "The Diamond Prince"
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Zipper"
  • Anfrolenthis, "Shadowscapes"
  • Anon., "Decline and Fall"
  • Steve Rogerson, "Revenge"
  • Predatrix, "Dear Diary"
  • Nova, "Dreams of an Insomniac"
  • Susan Cutter, "Language and Morals Crackdown" (story to be continued; S1 or S2)
  • Oliver Klosov, untitled (continuation of "Language and Morals Crackdown" by Susan Cutter; D)
  • Judith Proctor, untitled (continuation of "Language and Morals Crackdown" by Susan Cutter; C)
  • Deborah Rose, untitled (continuation of "Language and Morals Crackdown" by Susan Cutter; A/C)
  • Fifitrix, untitled (continuation of "Language and Morals Crackdown" by Susan Cutter; A/?)

The 1998 Birthday Party

  • Susan Cutter, "Party Theme"
  • Susan Cutter, "Hidden Facet"
  • Lydia McMartyn, "The Lesson"
  • Judith Proctor, "Gan"
  • Catharine R., "Irreversible"
  • Lydia McMartyn, "Just a Quickie"
  • Oliver Klosov, "Mr. President"
  • Kassandra West, "Korda Sings"
  • Calle Dybedahl, "Hidden Facets"
  • Christabel, "Hidden Facet"
  • Steve Rogerson, "Secret"
  • Paula Robinson, "Hidden Facets"
  • Oliver Klosov, "Party Favour"
  • Carolyn, "Hidden Facets"
  • Count Jockula, "A Source of Innocent Merriment"
  • Christabel, "Hidden Facets"
  • Predatrix, "Hidden Facets"
  • Predatrix, "Hidden Facets 2"
  • Kate Hall, "Hidden Facets 2"
  • Jenner, "Hidden Facets"
  • Susan Cutter, "Hidden Facet"
  • Susan Cutter, "Hidden Facet"
  • Catharine R., "Flight"
  • Christabel, "Hidden Assets"
  • Kate Hall, "Hidden Facets 1"
  • Andrea, "Desertion"
  • Louise Rutter, "Hidden Facets"

Round Robins and other things

  • Susan Cutter, Lorna Payne, Oliver Klosov, Pat Fenech, Cami, Helen Patrick, Christabel, "Avon at the Con" (S3; real world crossover; humor)
  • Calle Dybedahl, "Spacerebels of Gor"
  • Jenni-Alison, "Some Scribbling"

Nonfiction:

  • "Editorial, or, 'Actually, I could get to like this.'"
  • "Technical Details"
  • Richard Proctor, untitled one-liner
  • Jenni-Alison, "Snippet"
  • Lisa Williams, "Eye Colour Genetics" (short article)
  • Susan Cutter, "Snippet"
  • Kat W, una, Harriet, predx, Rob, "Space City room party at Redemption 1999"
  • Helen Patrick, "I Was Corrupted by Space City!!!"

Poetry:

  • Kat W., "Touch-A Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me" (filk)
  • Airan Wilkinson, "There's a Rocket in my Pocket"
  • Cami, "12 Days of Christmas" (filk)
  • Predatrix, "Vilanelle"
  • Christabel, "Packing for Redemption"
  • Susan Cutter, "Santa Saves the Day"
  • Christabel, "Christmas Carols" (filks)
  • An anonymous Significant Other, "Lament"

Art, all by Whitby27

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[zine]: For a slim zine, this has an amazing lot of good stuff in it. Almost all of the stories are short and most are funny, but there are some serious ones too. I think my very favorite is an angst-fest, Jenner's "Hidden Facets" A/B. (One very minor complaint: I think that this and the other party stories deserve to have individual titles, rather than all using the title of the frame story. Some of the writers did give their stories titles, and I wish all had. I have to admit, though, that I didn't even notice this when I was reading the stories-- only afterward, when I was cataloguing.) It's Avon's POV, always difficult, and very well handled here. Wrenching; rather like an Oblaque story, but more wallowy, in a very elegant way. For a pick-me-up after reading Jenner's story, try Nova's story, "Dreams of an Insomniac" (fanon strikes!), as an antidote to melancholy: equally well-written, with a lovely, cynical Avon POV, but this time with a happy ending. There's more angst in "Shadowscapes" by Anfrolenthis. This is an excellent post-Deathwatch V/Ta (with perhaps a hint of A/V? I couldn't decide) that reminds me a little of a slash version of "Hearts of Glass" (the beautiful D/V story in Straight Blake's #2 that I think is one of the all-time best B7 stories of any genre). In a similar vein, "Decline and Fall" by Anon. is a gen D-V story that captures the hopeless, tragic feel of the fourth season as Vila tries to comfort Dayna after the events of "Animals." On the funny side, I especially like "The Diamond Prince" by Julia Henry, in which we discover that Dayna's sister Lauren is a slash fan; and Oliver Klosov's "Mr. President," in which President Sarkoff of Lindor becomes well acquainted with the entire crew of the Liberator. The latter reminds me somewhat of "The Late, Great Blake" in Liberator Fantasies, another of my favorite stories. I was also very taken with "A Source of Innocent Merriment" by Count Jockula, which I mentally subtitled "Del Grant Gets His." Ralli, the female rebel in "Countdown," abducts him and takes him to a planet that sounds like just my kind of place. :) Another memorable story, serious but not particularly angsty, is Susan Cutter's first "Hidden Facet," about a girl and her horse. I found her adventurous, sexually precocious young Dayna very plausible, and there's a lovely picture by Val to accompany the story. "Avon at the Con," a round robin by Susan Cutter and others, is very funny-- a kind of adult version of stories like The Other Side of the Cheeseboard. Not that there's any actual sex, but I loved the visions of Tarrant at the art show, Dayna watching "Charles Bravo," and Avon causing consternation at the slash panel merely by showing his familiar face there. And there is loads more that I haven't the energy to describe in detail, plus several more illos including a color Avon portrait. Recommended as a souvenir for those who fondly remember the original posts, and especially for new members who wonder what went on in these parts in the past. [14]
[zine]: I have so little to say about this one that I'm not going to write a review at all! But I do like Dear Diary, I like Dreams of an Insomniac though it's very weak for Nova, 'Gan' is sweet, 'Mister President' is amusing, as are some of the others but in a quite a forgettable way. As I said above, Avon at the Con I found pretty impenetrable (whereas I highly recommend 'Totally Imaginary Cheeseboard).

Sandy Steiner's ‘A Snippet - Avon’s Eyes' has somehow made it's way onto Nova's A/B Slash list, but it isn't really A/B, though it jokes about it. Don't go there if you are looking for a fix, though (she said, bitterly ;) ) - the others all are, though relatively unremarkable (except the ones I've already mentioned). Jenner's 'Hidden Facets' has an absolutely lovely paragraph about orgasm after a somewhat difficult beginning that seems slightly strung together from familiar plot points.

Interesting as history, but generally less good and less bizarre/less notable stories than the first one (which is drawing, one assumes, from a much greater pool of material than this second edition). I have the version without explicit art, so alas I don't know whether the B/A art or naked Dayna on a horse is good. Probably yes.

I was going to review some more, but they can wait. Plus - gives me something to post about later. [15]

Issue 3

Tales from Space City 3 was published in December 2002 and contains 76 pages. The entire zine is online here.

front cover of issue #3, Willa Shakespeare

Fiction:

  • Belatrix Carter, "Someone to Watch Your Back"
  • Executrix, "Backup Disk"
  • Belatrix Carter, "Natural Habitat"
  • Executrix, "Breakup Value"
  • Tom Forsyth, "My Love Is Like a Purple, Purple Prose"
  • Predatrix, "Living Doll"
  • Manna, "Mindswap"
  • Anna S., "Closing the File"
  • Sally Manton, "Party Peace"
  • Sally Manton, "The Past Is an Open Book"

Nonfiction:

  • Tom Forsyth, "Self-inflating..."
  • Helen Patrick, "On web vs. zines"
  • Tom Forsyth, "Planet Names"
  • Helen Patrick, "Editorial," "Submission Guidelines"

Art:

  • Willa Shakespeare, front cover, photo manip
  • Helen Patrick and Photoshop, assorted photos

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[Party Peace]: This isn't a fandom for conventional happy endings. Even when they're basically positive, they tend to be hushed and downbeat, and even if the revolution succeeds, things are never that simple. This is a post-Gauda Prime fic, set some time after the final episode, in which most though not all of the rebels have survived and the rebellion looks like winning – is in fact holding victory celebrations, though there are still pockets of resistance from the old regime. Avon is central to it, and trying to come to terms, as are others, with the traumatic events of Gauda Prime and his own part in them. And an old enemy unexpectedly turning up doesn't help. What I like about this fic is its autumnal, elegiac tone, which reminds me of the later parts of the Musketeers cycle… Anti-angsters might care to note that despite the gut-twisting wrench of the ending, it does hold out a possibility of redemption. [16]
[Living Doll]: Back to the flat-out filth. The funny flat-out filth. This is very much Avon as geek with more enthusiasm for toys than common sense - or ethics. Canonically, one of the Federation's evil schemes is to substitute an android for a recently captured rebel leader, in the hopes that the android will be rescued. Avon is inspired to build an android replica of Blake that will do exactly as it's programmed, unlike the real thing. Unfortunately, it does indeed do exactly what it's programmed to do, often at the most inopportune moments. [17]
[Natural Habitat]: Why It Must Be Read: B7 canon should be VERY ashamed of itself for including an episode (Ultraworld) in which a group of aliens demand that crewmembers perform "The Human Bonding Ceremony" for their information.

However, gold has been panned out of dross by Belatrix, who posits that Blake and Avon find themselves captured by insect scientists whose very funding depends on producing a mating pair of humans. (Belatrix has been Belatrix since before there was a Potterverse, much less a Potterverse Belatrix.)

I'm sure you'll be touched and inspired by the ingenuity that the scientists show to preserve their grants. (B7 canon, however, is very tough on Grants.) WARNING: Don't read this while you're drinking coffee--fandom disclaims all liability for consequential damages to keyboards caused by spit takes. [18]

Issue 4

Tales from Space City 4 was published in December 2002. It is a digest size zine, 71 pages and 29 000 words of non-editorial text.

cover of issue #4

Fiction:

  • Sally Manton, "New Year's Resolutions...Not?"
  • Belatrix Carter, "Two Minutes on the Way to Terminal"
  • "The Atonement Cycle"
    • Hafren, "Sentence"
    • Willa Shakespeare, "Penance" (part 2 of 7; S5; uc A/B; 3 pp.)
    • Hafren, "Recompense" (part 3 of 7; S5; uc A/B, uc B/Deva, uc V/Carnell; 10 pp.)
    • Willa Shakespeare, "Consequence" (part 4 of 7; S5; A/B; 8 pp.)
    • Nova, "Evidence" (part 5 of 7; S5; V/Carnell, A/B; 5 pp.)
    • Willa Shakespeare, "Indulgence" (part 6 of 7; S5; A/B; 4 pp.)
    • Hafren, "Once" (part 7 of 7; S5; A/B; 2 pp.)
  • "Much Ado, or, The Nova and Executrix Show"
    • Nova, "A Lot of Fuss About Nothing" (S2; A/B; 14 pp.)
    • Executrix, "More Fuss About Less, Or, A Story Kilt with Kindness" (S2; A/B; 8 pp.)

Nonfiction:

  • Helen Patrick, "Editorial"
  • Tom Forsyth, "The Other List"
  • Nova, Executrix, and Willa Shakespeare, authors' comments on "Much Ado"

Art:

  • Willa Shakespeare, front cover, photo manip
  • Helen Patrick and Photoshop, assorted photos

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

[zine]: This issue focuses on the interplay between writers that email facilitates. The Atonement Cycle started as a story Hafren posted to the list. Willa Shakespeare asked if she could show the story from the viewpoint of another character, and Hafren, Willa and Nova then wrote further stories showing what happened next. The Nova and Executrix Show is a pair of stories on the same theme, by two writers with very different styles. And there are individual stories, inspired by comments on the list, suggestions for story themes, and just the time of year. [19]
[zine]: The theme of this one is "the interplay between writers that email facilitates" (Editorial). There's a pair of linked stories that came about because one writer sent another a gift of a story written in her style, whereupon the recipient promptly reworked it the way she saw it, so that you end up with something the same but different. And a cycle of stories spinning off from one, with writers joining in to create sequels, change the viewpoint and what all. Also some unrelated stories, like Sally Manton's "New Year's Resolutions... Not", where resolve gets tempered by reality, so that "I will not get taken over by aliens becomes "...more than twice a month" and Belatrix Carter's "Two Minutes on the Way to Terminal", some agonising thoughts on what might have been if only computers could keep their bloody mouths shut when people are about to say something interesting.

The Atonement Cycle (title courtesy of Executrix) started because I wrote a PGP, in Avon's POV though not his voice, where he is living in a cell (without a lock), doing what Blake orders him to and is more or less deprived of speech or touch. He doesn't know how long the sentence will last but is sustained by a book of Hans Andersen fairy tales which seems to promise redemption if you pass enough tests.

Some folks on the list protested that Blake wouldn't be that cruel. In my mind, Blake was humouring Avon's craving for redemption, afraid that otherwise he might kill himself. But I didn't say that, because Willa had already asked if she could write it from Blake's POV and I didn't want to pre-empt what she might do. As it happened, her take on it was exactly mine, but with a brilliant twist - Carnell had devised the plan and was overseeing it. Since I love writing him, I decided to take it further. In subsequent episodes, he devised a scenario that would allow Avon to redeem himself and Blake to remit his sentence. Meanwhile Carnell had fallen for Vila and nearly got his wish, but backed off because Vila was scared. Avon found out the truth about the set-up, got mad at Blake but, since Willa was writing this bit, ended up happily shagging him and finally honeymooning in a hotel with an enormous bubble bath. In another part of the forest, Nova could not bear to leave Carnell unHEXed and wrote a reconciliation for him and Vila in the same hotel (and you thought the RPG was complicated?) The Nova story, in Carnell's (drunken) voice, is lovely. The whole thing is an interesting example of how fanfic writers get inspiration both from profic writers and each other.

The same happens in Nova and Executrix's exchange of stories based on "Much Ado About Nothing", Nova's "A Lot of Fuss About Nothing" and Executrix's "More Fuss About Less". Same setting, same characters, same outcome - but it's like getting to the same place by two quite different routes and neither is the "right" one; they're just viable alternatives, AUs. Nova's makes more of the characters' emotional journey; Executrix's version has her trademark dry humour ("the drummers were out in full force. Mercifully, four of the pipers were dead drunk") and gets our heroes in kilts. There's no way you could choose between them and happily, we don't have to. This little exchange is fascinating to any reader because the stories are so good; for a writer it has the additional fascination of being able to watch, both via the stories and via the two writers' comments on them, how they go about it. [20]

Issue 5

Tales from Space City 5 was published in 2003. It is now available online here.

cover of issue #5, Helen Patrick
  • Editorial by Helen Patrick
  • Shattered Silence by Zenia
  • While My Insides Gently Bleed Harriet Monkhouse
  • Vent Act by Hafren
  • Tangled Reflections by Predatrix
  • Bedtime Stories by Hafren
  • Move Along There by Predatrix
  • Face In The Crowd by AnnaS
  • Among the Dead by Executrix
  • Consequences by Steve Rogerson
  • Once More, With Feeling by Zenia
  • Addiction by Zenia
  • P.G.P. by Willa Shakespeare
  • HEXed
  • Zenia's "Silence"
  • Belatrix Carter's "'Til Death"
  • Jenner's "Swept and Garnished" (winner of a 2004 FanQ)
  • Susannah Shepherd's "A New Life"
  • Jenner's "Decision"
  • Nova's "Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry"

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[A New Life]: Here's an author who doesn't get recced much, which is a pity, for though not prolific she has a nice style and a real understanding of the characters. She does a good Vila, and this is Vila-centric. Post-Gauda, he finally seems to have what he has wanted so long - then, suddenly, something happens to remind him of old allegiances. This is fairly explicit het, which usually makes me run for the hills, but it works here. [21]
[zine]: As the title indicates, this had a specific theme; it was fiction posted on FC to mark the 20th anniversary of the first showing of "Blake", that episode so many of us admire but wish hadn't happened. It follows that there is a *lot* of angst, and that the focus is mainly on Blake (and to a lesser extent his relationship with Avon). That suits me fine, being as I'm an angst fan and they are two of my favourite characters. But there is also something for those who prefer, say, plot or politics. "Tales" is a mixed zine, which means you can find gen, het and slash all between the same covers. I prefer it this way, because it makes things less predictable. AnnaS's thought-provoking gen story "Face in the Crowd" is one of my favourites. Told in the second person, it addresses the ordinary citizen, the "face in the crowd", watching the execution, on Earth, of Blake and the others after GP. This particular citizen would have liked to be part of the revolution but never was, for exactly the same reasons most of us probably wouldn't have been. "Would it have done any good if you'd risked your dreams and damned your family and gone to find him? Would it have mattered? Would it have made a difference to how things ended here, today? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Now you'll never know." Another very short but incredibly powerful piece is Jenner's "Swept and Garnished", based on Kipling's short story of that name, where cleaning up blood becomes a symbol for expiation. And a third brief piece is Executrix's "Among the Dead", which is beautifully written and I think would probably make as much impact on me as the other two, except that it's based on Hitchcock's "Vertigo", which true to form I haven't seen... Other stories I really liked: Susannah Shepherd's "A New Life", with a girlfriend, children and bittersweet ending for Vila. It's a good Vila voice, which makes almost any story work for me. Another crackinig Vila voice in Nova's "Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry" Belatrix Carter's "Til Death" which, IMO, provides the only possible canonical happy ending and has a wonderful wallow factor. Zenia's "Slience", another good wallow. Steve Rogerson's "Consequences" has a convincing original character voice and Predatrix's "Tangled Reflections" is funny and well writen, though nobody, but nobody, will ever convince me that Vila/Tarrant is a goer. And Willa Shakespeare's "PGP", apart from being a much-needed cheering-up fic at the end, is beautifully sensual. Cinnamon and peppermint... The pervading tone, as you would expect, is melancholy - GP was hardly a barrel of laughs. But if it does leave you depressed, by far the best remedy would be to buy Tales from Space City 6, in which Willa convincingly HEXed all the sad ones in here. [22]

Issue 6

Tales from Space City 6 was published in 2003 and is a zine of HEX fic all by Willa Shakespeare.

cover of issue #6
  • "Can You Hear a Pin Drop?" is a HEX to Zenia's "Silence"
  • "Reception" is the HEX of Belatrix Carter's "'Til Death"
  • "Cleaning Up" is the HEX to Jenner's "Swept and Garnished"
  • "Living Beyond Your Means" is a HEX to Susannah Shepherd's "A New Life"
  • "Consequences" is a HEXl to Jenner's "Decision"
  • "Sorry Doesn't Cut It", is the HEX of Nova's "Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry"

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

[zine]: This is an unusual issue. Tales 5, produced to "celebrate" the 20th anniversary of Last Episode, had centred on the events of Gauda Prime, and so naturally had a fairly high angst quotient even for this fandom. The HEX tendency could not be expected to ignore this, and Willa Shakespeare duly produced HEX sequels for many of the Tales 5 stories. That doesn't mean there was no angst along the way, but each ended positively. These stories form the content of Tales 6, and it follows that any review of Tales 6 is in some measure a spoiler for Tales 5. So if you haven't read that yet, you may not want to read this first.... Also both 5 and 6 are massive spoilers for the final canon episode "Blake", and 6 especially is slashy - end of warnings, you know now... [23]
[zine]: (Sex? Yes) If you like 'fix it' stories, this zine is a must read. 'Tales from Space City 5' contained a particularly brutal collection of PGP stories, so Willa Shakespeare, the master of the 'fix it,' decided to write a series of addenda. These stories, with one exception ('Living Beyond Your Means') work more or less as stand alones and display Willa's creative flair to its fullest.[24]

Issue 7

Tales from Space City 7 An A5 zine, 76 pp, about 30,000 words with cover art by Willa Shakespeare. This zine is a collection of short stories based loosely round the theme "It seemed like a good idea at the time" and presented during the list's recent Labor Day Party.

cover of issue #7

Summaries to stories below from Knightwriter:

  • Empty by Nickey Barnard (A nice short to open the book, written beautifully, as one would expect, by the experienced hand of Nickey. This is first person Travis reflecting on Blake's capture and trial and giving an insight into why that particular crime was chosen.)
  • Mistaken Identities by Nicola Mody (Swirly thing in space time, and this not only seriously drains the Liberator's energy banks but causes the crew to swap bodies. So Vila finds himself in Jenna's body, and vice versa, Gan and Cally swap, as do Blake and Avon, and, weirdest of all, so do Orac and Zen. Servalan sees a stranded Liberator and prepares to take over, until Blake - or was it Avon - realises that one of their problems could be the answer to the other. Very humorous if at times confusing.)
  • The Inkplot Thickens by Willa Shakespeare (Vila hatches a plot to make some money out of a different kind of contraband and one that is amusing given recent events in fandom. He finds an unlikely ally in Blake, before he gets beaten by a different type of crook.
  • Limericks by Linda (Six limericks, one each for Vila, Avon, Soolin, Dayna, Blake and Dorian.)
  • Rumour Control by Leia Fee (A drunken Vila tries to interest Orac in the latest gossip.)
  • You're the Top by Jen C (This is a filk but I don't know what the music is meant to be. I read it to myself John Hegley style and it seemed to work. A little tour round some of the variants of fan fic.)
  • Freedom City Follies by Willa Shakespeare (An AU about the events in Gambit. Krantor works out who Vila and Avon really are and sets a trap for them, along with Blake, Jenna and Cally. Though his intention is to hand them over to Servalan for the bounty, first he wants them to perform, with the aid of a drug, for his porno vids, from which he makes a nice little side profit. The pairings are Avon/Blake, Jenna/Cally and Vila with an interesting alien. Add a chocolate bust of Gan to the proceedings, and it all gets very messy.)
  • Avon Needs Muslin by Willa Shakespeare (A drabble on the dangers of silver satin sheets.)
  • Hostage by Matilda Jones (Avon and Blake have a heart to heart after the events in Hostage.)
  • Pressure Point by Matilda Jones (After Gan's death and before the events in Trial, Blake first turns to Avon for a little solace.)
  • Countdown by Matilda Jones (This time it is Blake's turn to offer some comfort and warmth to a traumatised Avon.)
  • Pyrrhus' Song by Matilda Jones (A familiar theme for this series of shorts from Matilda. This time we are left to guess that it is Avon and Blake, but a reasonable guess as they celebrate a victory in the usual fashion.)
  • Thoughts on the Fall of Empires by Dormouse (After the Andromedan War, Jenna sets herself up again as a free trader, and is doing very nicely thank you. But she needs a cargo for a return trip and starts enquiring round the bars, until she meets a familiar face.)
  • Drabble by Sally Manton (Avon interviews an unusual potential new crew member.)
  • Stopping the Spread of Evil by Steve Rogerson (Can't really comment on this as I wrote it. Just to say it is set in season four and the crew have to deal individually with an old evil.)
  • Yes, it is Quiet in Here by Sally Manton (Another drabble from Sally, with a nice twist for a story so short.)
  • Salt by Hafren (A PGP love story between Blake and Avon. Blake, recovered from his bullet wounds, agrees to go on a romantic holiday with Avon, with whom he has just signed wedding vows. Nice but soppy.)
  • Sonnet by Nova (Avon's last good idea put into song to finish off the zine.)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

[Thoughts on the Fall of the Empire]: One of the favourite fic-writers' questions in B7 is "what was Blake doing between the end of season 2 and the end of season 4, and was he together with Jenna for any of that time?". His words to Tarrant in the final episode imply it, but since he's not necessarily telling the whole truth, we shall never know, which is how fic writers mostly like things anyway.

Jenna is a neglected character in fic. Canonically you can't deny that she fancies Blake like mad, and apparently without result, but a lot of writers can't see beyond that, to give this hard-bitten, ruthless ex-criminal a life and personality of her own. All the more interesting when someone does. Here's the start, with Jenna deciding the world owes her a bit of r & r: ( excerpt )

This Jenna is a woman in her own right with her own story – even though her feelings for Blake play a crucial part in that story. Unusual, original fic with a lot of detail about what kind of world these people might atcually live in when not on a space-ship. This is also in print, in the fanzine Tales from Space City 7, ed. Helen Patrick. [25]
[zine]: This zine is a collection of short stories based loosely round the theme "It seemed like a good idea at the time" and presented during this list's recent Labor Day Party. Some of the stories have been on the web, but it is still nice to have them in a collection. The zine does contain explicit sexual material and as such is for sale to those aged 18 and above only.

Empty by Nickey Barnard: A nice short to open the book, written beautifully, as one would expect, by the experienced hand of Nickey. This is first person Travis reflecting on Blake's capture and trial and giving an insight into why that particular crime was chosen.

Mistaken Identities by Nicola Mody: Swirly thing in space time, and this not only seriously drains the Liberator's energy banks but causes the crew to swap bodies. So Vila finds himself in Jenna's body, and vice versa, Gan and Cally swap, as do Blake and Avon, and, weirdest of all, so do Orac and Zen. Servalan sees a stranded Liberator and prepares to take over, until Blake - or was it Avon - realises that one of their problems could be the answer to the other. Very humorous if at times confusing.

The Inkplot Thickens by Willa Shakespeare: Vila hatches a plot to make some money out of a different kind of contraband and one that is amusing given recent events in fandom. He finds an unlikely ally in Blake, before he gets beaten by a different type of crook.

Limericks by Linda: Six limericks, one each for Vila, Avon, Soolin, Dayna, Blake and Dorian.

Rumour Control by Leia Fee: A drunken Vila tries to interest Orac in the latest gossip.

You're the Top by Jen C: This is a filk but I don't know what the music is meant to be. I read it to myself John Hegley style and it seemed to work. A little tour round some of the variants of fan fic.

Freedom City Follies by Willa Shakespeare: An AU about the events in Gambit. Krantor works out who Vila and Avon really are and sets a trap for them, along with Blake, Jenna and Cally. Though his intention is to hand them over to Servalan for the bounty, first he wants them to perform, with the aid of a drug, for his porno vids, from which he makes a nice little side profit. The pairings are Avon/Blake, Jenna/Cally and Vila with an interesting alien. Add a chocolate bust of Gan to the proceedings, and it all gets very messy.

Avon Needs Muslin by Willa Shakespeare: A drabble on the dangers of silver satin sheets.

Hostage by Matilda Jones: Avon and Blake have a heart to heart after the events in Hostage.

Pressure Point by Matilda Jones: After Gan's death and before the events in Trial, Blake first turns to Avon for a little solace.

Countdown by Matilda Jones: This time it is Blake's turn to offer some comfort and warmth to a traumatised Avon.

Pyrrhus' Song by Matilda Jones: A familiar theme for this series of shorts from Matilda. This time we are left to guess that it is Avon and Blake, but a reasonable guess as they celebrate a victory in the usual fashion.

Thoughts on the Fall of Empires by Dormouse: After the Andromedan War, Jenna sets herself up again as a free trader, and is doing very nicely thank you. But she needs a cargo for a return trip and starts enquiring round the bars, until she meets a familiar face.

Drabble by Sally Manton: Avon interviews an unusual potential new crew member.

Stopping the Spread of Evil by Steve Rogerson: Can't really comment on this as I wrote it. Just to say it is set in season four and the crew have to deal individually with an old evil.

Yes, it is Quiet in Here by Sally Manton: Another drabble from Sally, with a nice twist for a story so short.

Salt by Hafren: A PGP love story between Blake and Avon. Blake, recovered from his bullet wounds, agrees to go on a romantic holiday with Avon, with whom he has just signed wedding vows. Nice but soppy.

Sonnet by Nova: Avon's last good idea put into song to finish off the zine. [26]
[zine]: This was the result of a list party theme: "it seemed like a good idea at the time". So there's a unifying factor, though part of the fascination is seeing how differently people interpreted and handled the one theme.

There's a mix of stories, snippets and fan poems/filks. The cover is a more vivid lime green than I care to have around something I'm trying to read discreetly on the bus; on the other hand, it features Vila, which isn't all that usual and always welcome.

Stories first. Nickey Barnard's "Empty" is a Travis voice, eaten up with resentment and vengefulness and unable to get Blake out of his head. It gives a chilling sidelight on a bit of early canon.

Nicola Mody's "Mistaken Identities" has the crew's minds swapped into each other's bodies as nearly happened in Ultraworld, but this is the S1/2 crew and Nico is a better writer than Hoyle. How she manages to convey who's speaking without getting us totally confused I don't know, but she does. Gan mouthing Auron platitudes is hilarious and the Jenna-Vila swap results in a real rapprochement between them. As usual, Nico uses humour not only for its own sake but to explore the characters and, sometimes, make serious points. In the plot, they use their misleading appearances to get the better of an invading Servalan and Travis, who for a while think they've won. At one point Servalan proposes to take Blake back for mindwiping, and is interested by the reaction:

... "although Blake seemed unmoved by her threats, Avon growled low in his throat and half rose from his seat. So Avon cared about what happened to Blake. Now there was an interesting little fact to store away in case it came in useful."

Of course she's wrong, in this instance; what she sees is Blake's reaction to her plan for him, while Avon, in Blake's body, stays poker-faced. But in the long term she's right, and it is that knowledge that sets up "Terminal". The idea that she could have found that out accidentally, almost by mistake, is such a pricelessly B7 irony that I may have to adopt this story as personal fanon.

Willa Shakespeare's "The Inkplot Thickens" has Vila writing RPF about his crewmates. He and Avon see money to be made; Blake sees it as propaganda for the revolution. The money-making side goes awry, but Vila is not defeated and at the end is branching out into a new fictional field....

Vila is again centre stage in Leia Fee's "Rumour Control", having a teasing conversation with a tetchy Orac about the sexual possibilities among the crew. It's an odd one, this; it feels like a scene from a longer story, maybe one where Vila somehow tries to use Orac's information-gathering capabilities to enhance his chances with his crewmates? Or maybe that's just wishful thinking!

In Willa's "Freedom City Follies" the crew are captured in Freedom City and forced to perform sexually to entertain Krantor and Servalan. But with rather poetic justice, this is also how they manage to get away. Despite Jarriere and the well-endowed alien Tiger Lil, the star of this is Kapok, Krantor's cat.

Next comes a little series of A/Bs from mid-season 2, by Matilda B Jones – Hostage, Pressure Point and Countdown, all linked, and "Pyrrhus' Song", from around Gambit. After Gan's death, Avon and Blake circle each other offering comfort and rejection in equal amounts until finally reaching some understanding. What was really interesting was the decision to tell Hostage and Pressure Point out of chronological order, which together with the point of view didn't half ratchet up the angst factor.

"Thoughts on the Fall of Empires" by Dormouse is a welcome "what Jenna did after Star One" story and one of the best interpretations of the party theme, IMO.

Steve Rogerson's "Stopping the Spread of Evil" is a vampire story, but also in some ways a reprise of "Assassin", with Soolin playing the same saviour role she does there. Thankfully the female villain is a lot less irritating than Piri, and I liked very much seeing a strong role for Soolin. Two things I liked less. Avon is a grammatical man and would not refer to "a bacteria", as in "it could be an extinct bacteria" (Tarrant also uses "bacteria" as singular, but then he would). And I don't like Vila groping a female corpse (or what he has every reason to think is one). He may not be a paragon of virtue but he isn't a creep either.

The other story, "Salt", is mine so I'll say only that it involves going on holiday, which in my experience generally seems like a good idea at the time and turns out quite the opposite.

Among the short pieces, Sally Manton's "Yes, It Is Quiet In Here" made me laugh out loud when I realised what the new crew member had dined on. And I really liked both Nova's sonnet and Jen C's filk, which is rare for me. I think most fan poetry is, shall we say, on the amateurish side, and as for filks, I've only ever liked two: one was Nova's filk on "I've been to a wonderful party" and the other is Jen C's "You're The Top", to the Irving Berlin song of that name. This must have been hell to write, because though that song moves so lightly, its rhythms and internal rhymes are really complex. All the more credit that the filk sparkles so. Nova's sonnet is a beautiful bit of melancholy to end a zine which has a partly rueful and partly humorous tone throughout. [27]

Issue 8

Tales from Space City 8 was published in 2004, is digest-sized, 76 pages and 28,000 words.

cover of issue #8

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

[zine]: There's no particular theme to this one and in some ways it seems bittier than some other issues - there are normal-length stories but also quite a few snippets, filks etc. There's also a more humorous tone than in most, I think. Like all this series, it contains adult material - in this case both het and slash.

It opens with an absolute knockout of a story, Jennifer McGee's "A Mouthful of Feathers". This has to be one of the best B7 stories I have ever read. I must be careful when reviewing it because it packs a massive punch at the end, in the way that fanfic is so good at - ie it'd be good enough just as a story, but because of shared information we already have, the impact is exponentially deeper. It starts with a sister and younger brother surviving the massacre of their parents on a frontier planet; the sister is brave and resourceful, the boy, who tells the story, less so. She escapes but he is taken back to earth by one of his captors.

It isn't hard to guess who the sister is; the point of the story is who the boy is, and why his dreadful experiences lead him to do what, at the end, we know he is about to. The title is one of those you go back to at the end and reassess. And even when you read it again, knowing who the boy is, the story is just as harrowing. A real star, and worth the money on its own. It's also what I'd call an example of positive angst - though the end is tragic, you could say it was also redemptive in that the boy finally does something he can be proud of.

The "five things that never happened" pattern was a fanfic craze a while back, but Belatrix Carter, in "Five Things That Never Happened to Kerr Avon", interpreted it in the light of her own growing interest in very short fic. The result was beautifully terse and bleak. I was so intrigued by the form that I copied it in "Five Things That Never Happened to Roj Blake", as a companion piece.

Predatrix's "Art & Crafty" is a pastiche of some Helen Patrick themes, but also influenced by Executrix (the short titled scenes) and Willa (weird motifs that shouldn't work but do). Complicated, isn't it... This, apart from being very funny and stylish, is an interesting example of how referential fanfic sometimes gets. In most fandoms the allusions tend to be to litfic; in B7 we seem to have enough stylists of our own to turn them into a sort of style canon. I particularly liked the "feetnotes".

Snowgrouse's "Murdering Mouth" is an A/B PWP that is less about sex than language and metaphor. It's very sensual and evocative, as is her "Soolin Hair Poem".

Helen Patrick's "Ugandan Affairs" comes with a footnote explaining the title, which makes me feel old as I recall the phrase very well. Not quite a PWP, because what stays in the mind as much as Avon's kink about performing in public places is his unexpected but believable loyalty to Blake when it matters.

Predatrix's "Desert island" is another A/B PWP, on a desert island with a magic wand, borrowed from Pratchett, that turns things into pumpkins. Not much two people can do on a small desert island except quarrel and shag. So they do, enjoyably and characteristically.

Nickey Barnard's "Victory" is quite different, a Servalan at Star One piece. It's very fluent and literate, but I do have a problem with most Servalan stories. In my mind, canonical Servalan, like most truly evil people, is both superficial and predictable, and to make her more interesting you almost have to make her uncanonical. This story, at the end, has her feel a moment's compunction about the death of a young woman, and though it would make her a more interesting character, I just plain don't believe it.

Jenner's "Unlikely Pairing" is a bit of fun about different writers' preferences which I think will mean more to list members than anyone else. Again it must go back a fair way.

Snowgrouse's "Somnifera" is an Avon/Soolin, which is potentially quite an interesting pairing. But if you're going to use purple prose I think you're better off telling the story in third person, or at least not choosing Avon as a narrator, because for the life of me I can't hear him exclaiming "Golden goddess!" even in the privacy of his own head.

Belatrix Carter's "Once, before the End" is a Vila/Tarrant, which seems very unusual from her, and I wonder if it was in response to a challenge or request, because I can't see her believing that one! But of course she does it with great skill and as convincingly as anyone could. It's got a very good S4 atmosphere, disillusioned and doomed - the innocent-looking last line is a killer when you know the canon.

"Sunrise" by Zenia and "Sunset", a response to it by Snowgrouse, are a pair of very lyrical, melancholy A/B PWPs where, again, heightened language is more the point than sex. (Or maybe it is the sex....).

There are other little fragments, poems, songs etc. So far, I think 7 is my favourite of the Tales, but there is a lot to like in this one, and "A Mouthful of Feathers" is essential. [28]
[zine]: This 76-page A5 zine is the latest in the series edited by Helen Patrick, featuring stories that started life in some way on the Freedom City (and its predecessor Space City) email list. It contains explicit sexual material and is not for sale to under 18s.

A Mouthful of Feathers, by Jennifer McGee: The opening story is a brutal tale of gangsters abusing two children. It doesn't take long to realise who the sister is, especially when we learn she has blonde hair and is learning to shoot a gun. But the story is told first person through the eyes of her younger brother, and the twist is when we discover whom he really is.

Five Things that Never Happened to Kerr Avon, by Belatrix Carter: Five short what-ifs to amuse the reader, followed quickly by:

Five Things that Never Happened to Roj Blake, by Hafren: a similar entertaining set of what-ifs. I liked the last one. B7 would have been an odd show if that had happened.

Art & Crafty, by Predatrix: An odd little piece this. It is all A/B and it is funny with nice section heads that make up the editor's once listed writing preferences, hence the story is dedicated to the editor as a birthday story. A strange mix of gay porn and cross-stitching.

Murdering Mouth, by Snowgrouse: No plot here, just a longish, well-written sex scene between Avon and Blake. Very graphic, and the title should give you a clue as to the nature of some of the action.

Ugandan Affairs, by Helen Patrick: Blake has the unpleasant task of chairing a meeting of squabbling rebels and Avon goes along to keep him company. During a toilet break, Avon uses the estimated five minutes to heighten his relationship with Blake knowing there is a risk of being caught. A more relaxed debriefing follows when they get back to the ship.

Desert Island, by Predatrix: Predatrix muses on what she would take to a desert island and decides on a magic wand so she can replace herself with Blake and Avon, and then watch the inevitable sex that takes place. Afterwards, when the wand is used to turn a pumpkin (don't ask) into a pair of teleport bracelets, the author seems to have forgotten to dress the pair before they snap on the bracelets.

Victory, by Nickey Barnard: No sex, which came as a bit of a shock given the content so far. This is set just before the start of season three and the action takes place on Servalan's ship as she views the battle and decides how to boost morale and at the same time boost her own standing. We see a very stressed Servalan in an extremely well written missing scene.

Unlikely Pairing, by Jenner: Avon and Blake wonder what kind of story they have to look forward too as they compare the tastes and styles of various fan fiction writers and look back at previous stories by this author. A short tale aimed at those who know the fan fic writers.

Somnifera, by Snowgrouse: A crew member is seduced by Soolin and tells the tale in first person. I won't spoil it by saying who the lucky person is, just that the experience is beautifully narrated.

Once, Before the End, by Belatrix Carter: Vila decides to let Tarrant share his booze and gives him comfort following the death of Zeeona. Then one thing leads to another. I generally quite like Tarrant/Vila stories, but this one troubled me because Vila was the dominant one, and I find that hard to gel with the characters on screen. Well written, but I couldn't get into it because of that problem.

Avon Calling, by Harriet Monkhouse: This is a filk to London Calling by The Clash. It is set on Gauda Prime, as Harriet's Christmas filks traditionally are. I like the line:

My base is exploded, my space ship is downed,
My people are missing on unfriendly ground,

The filk is basically Avon calling in on Blake. I can't help wonder though whether The Clash song "I fought the law" might be better suited to Gauda Prime. Maybe next year.

Sunrise, by Zenia, Sunset, by Snowgrouse: These two apparently linked short stories finish the zine off in the Avon/Blake style that is almost but not quite a theme of the publication. Sunrise takes place many years after Gauda Prime. Blake has become a recluse and discovers he is dying, and thus seeks comfort in the arms of Avon. The story merges nicely into Sunset, a beautifully written sex scene between the two of them.

Other stuff: Snowgrouse gives us a poem about Soolin's hair and the editor explains how a piece of art was more than what it seemed at first glance and how it inspired the Ugandan Affairs story. An unusual piece of ascii art from Spacefall brought a smile to my face. Whitby27's front cover art shows a gen shot of Blake and Avon and Willa Shakespeare gives a sinister look from Servalan on the back cover. Bondage is the subject of a couple of filks from VM. [29]

Issue 9

Tales from Space City 9 was published in October 2004, is digest-sized, 71 pages and is "over 26,000 words". Stories are mostly from the 2004 Labor Day Party. The theme of this zine is Teleport Duty/Shore Leave. It's set in 11pt Garamond, with Arial, Garmond and Papyrus.

  • Joining by Willa Shakespeare (B/A - sort of)
  • Exiles: Regret by Nickey Barnard
  • Desperate Measures by Hafren (B/A)
  • Measure for Measure by Willa Shakespeare (B/A)
  • Exiles: Joy by NIckey Barnard
  • Dead Ringers by Laura Campbell (Carnell, OFC)
  • Calculated Risk by Belatrix Carter (Avon, Jenna)
  • Tatter-Coats by Susan Cutter (Vila)
  • Won't Get Bitten Again by Harriet Monkhouse (Avon, Vila)
  • Left On Shore by Steve Rogerson (Servalan/Travis/phibans)
  • Exiles: Contentment by Nickey Barnard
  • Driftwood by Dormouse (B/Chenie)
  • Exiles: Ambition by Nickey Barnard
  • Filk by Cat
  • Silent Night by Hafren (B/A)
  • Dawn Chorus by Willa Shakespeare (B/A)
  • Time Well Spent...? by Sally Manton (crew)
  • Exiles: Hope by Nickey Barnard
  • Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting by Domino (Travis, Jenna)
  • Hypnophilia by Petronia the Arbiter (Predatrix) (B/A)
  • Angels by Hafren (B/A)
  • Cygnus A (filk) by Predatrix

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

[Dawn Chorus]: Because it's an ace story..and an ace HEX! One characteristic of B7 stories is the amount of gloom and angst strewn in the reader's path. A custom of the Freedom City list is to HEX a story--that is, for a Happy Endings Expediter to re-work the story in a happier frame of mind. This is a HEX of my previous recommendation, Hafren's Silent Night. It's written from Avon's point of view, MUCH later. In fact, it's what one might call a non-GP: the Worst has been averted at Gauda Prime, but nobody's happy. Willa takes Hafren's organizing metaphor of the thin streak of light, and gives it a new twist (like the sestet of a sonnet) and in just a few words, the mood shifts from melancholy to wry to sweet. [30]
[zine]: A lot of material and a lot of variety. Short stuff first: there are two filks, Cat's, to the tune of "Iris" and Predatrix's "Cygnus A" to the tune of "Jim Jones of Botany Bay". I don't know either tune, but the first is clearly in waltz time while the second's a folk ballad. I like Cat's better, but really, filks don't come over at their best on a page; they need to be sung drunkenly, after respectable folk have gone to bed.

Then there's a vicious drabbly gem by Belatrix (Calculated Risk), a brief humorous tease by Willa (Joining) and a set by Nickey Barnard called "Exiles", terse, sharp pieces on various characters on strange shores. These are very powerful but hard to quote, as they depend for some of their impact on gradually realising who's who. I think my favourite is "Joy", for the savage irony of its end.

There are two double-handers where I'd abandoned a scenario where it got hard or uncongenial (ie where I had to write a sex scene or a happy ending), knowing that Willa could be relied on to step in and sort it out. In the first, I'd written "Desperate Measures" in response to an LJ demand for cavefic or at least fic in enclosed conditions. Vila, tired of Blake and Avon quarrelling, teleports them into a locked broom cupboard, pretends there's a malfunction and leaves them for an hour to work out a way of coexisting at close quarters. In Willa's sequel, "Measure for Measure", they naturally coexist like rabbits. The other one of these is "Silent Night" (me) and "Dawn Chorus" (Willa) in which I leave them as miserable as sin, knowing Willa will come along and HEX them for me.

Laura Campbell's "Dead Ringers" is one of that small but joyous genre that attempts to explain the existence, and dissimilarity, of two Traves. I think this is one of the funniest I've seen, and worryingly plausible.

Susan Cutter's "Tatter-Coats" is a puzzle: if Vila ends up on an island surrounded by nubile virgins in red fur, how can it be a sad ending? But it is, because it depends on what you want most in the world. Harriet Monkhouse's "Won't Get Bitten Again", though it begins lightly, has dark undertones too; here Vila and Avon are enlivening the time by playing some fairly unpleasant jokes on each other, which go badly wrong.

Then we come to "Left on Shore" (Steve Rogerson), on which I'm disqualifying myself from commenting because I don't get the squick genre at all. I don't myself get any pleasure out of being nauseated and don't really see where it's meant to come from. Every squick story I've ever read, I'd rather chew an arm off than re-read, this included. If you're interested, it's Servalan, Travis and some phibians.

Dormouse's "Driftwood" is a Blake/Chenie interlude, an interesting pairing which I thought might have been even better at greater length. Sally Manton's "Time Well Spent" imagines what Our Heroes do to combat boredom on teleport duty. Some of the sections are out-and-out comic, like Tarrant's and Dayna's ("It's peaceful. Calm. Quiet. Serene, even. I like that. I think I'll make another bomb."). But others are far darker - this is B7, after all.

"Saturday Night's All Right for Fightin'" by Domino is a novel extract, with an AU Travis and Jenna. The characters and situation were certainly interesting and I'd read more. One caveat, the bartender's fractured English with its backward syntax: "Not fine whisky is, but better than slop drinking you have been." This trick seemed vaguely familiar, though I can't place it. I do know that if much more of it I to read had, zine throwing across room I would be.

Predatrix's "Hpynophilia" is a revamp of the "stop or I'll tell my father" anecdote from the Satyricon. In stories like this, (ie, unexpected fling in hotel room) Avon is normally very defensive and waspish next morning, This is a bit of a variant.

And the last is "Angels" (me), which I wrote because it was snowing and I wanted the lads to have a play. It didn't set out to be innocent, but it ended up that way. Damn! [31]
[zine]: The theme of this one is teleport duty (this is a difficult prompt to make interesting, but people have gone with it) and shore leave (which is much less difficult, much more popular usually, and almost entirely absent from this zine).

Joining by Willa Shakespeare (B/A - sort of) Do you like puns? Do you like B/A? If so, you will almost certainly lightly enjoy this very short story.

Exiles: Regret by Nickey Barnard; Exiles: Joy by Nickey Barnard; Exiles: Contentment by Nickey Barnard; Exiles: Ambition by Nickey Barnard; Exiles: Hope by Nickey Barnard; Collected all of these together, though they're scattered through the zine, because I don't have much to say about them individually. It's actually a nice idea, particularly the way that the ideas of the previous five fics (five exiles and one man coming home, maybe) are subverted by the last fic. But in execution, I find the 'guess who it is' device a bit wearing.

Desperate Measures by Hafren (B/A) Basically a set up for the next fic.

Measure for Measure by Willa Shakespeare (B/A) Short and quite funny. I am for comedy teleport in flagrante.

Dead Ringers by Laura Campbell (Carnell, OFC) Entirely dialogue based. Nice and quite serious, really, discussion of Travis 1->Travis 2, and what makes those men who they are.

Calculated Risk by Belatrix Carter (Avon, Jenna) Very very short AU of Cygnus Alpha. Works well.

Tatter-Coats by Susan Cutter (Vila) I know I believe they're all friends and love each other right, but in a way I wonder why Vila doesn't end this fic going - oh well! Never liked those guys much, anyway. Takes a long time to get started, but has with a nice 'foiled by your own cleverness' ironic ending.

Won't Get Bitten Again by Harriet Monkhouse (Avon, Vila) Along with Dawn Chorus, this is my favourite thing in the zine. We linger slightly too long on the shopping maybe, but the pay off is hilarious.

Left On Shore by Steve Rogerson (Servalan/Travis/phibans) Man, this is weird - and clearly part of a genre (I know we did use to do squickfic in Harry Potter about the same time, but I haven't seen it around for ages beyond people saying 'don't write that, it squicks me'. Maybe it died out). Anyway - what's weird about this is how seriously the idea is taken. And that Servalan dominating/desperate for sex is part of any squickfic - surely, that's fantasy material.

Driftwood by Dormouse (B/Chenie) So sad!fail!Blake isn't my thing, but having him talk to a bartender about his woes is a really nice idea. And their relationship is v well rendered, showing them both to be sympathetic and likeable characters.

Silent Night by Hafren (B/A) It's not the same idea exactly, but close enough that I'm going to say 'Understood' does A and B could get on better without talking (which is quite sad, really, and not how I see it at all) in a way that's more interesting. Which is harsh on this fic, which is nicely done, and has a good pay off in 'Pressure Point'. Also - second person = never better than third.

Dawn Chorus by Willa Shakespeare (B/A) This one I like much better, because Avon's despair/isolation feels more real than silent loving sex. The decision to echo the open door also feels more important, and is a really nice remix/sequel/HEX to the first. Someone should write an essay about HEXing and remixing one day - and why other fandoms don't do this so aggressively (no Willa Shakespeare, I'm guessing). V good example of mirroring the style of the original, even though second person still sucks. Lovely final line.

Time Well Spent...? by Sally Manton (crew) The first and third switching between sections mentally confuses me, I wish it had stuck to first all the way through. Otherwise - really like. Nice mixture of funny, and genuinely moving in Cally and Gan's sections. V good ending, too ;)

Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting by Domino (Travis, Jenna) Didn't read as it's the beginning of a novel that isn't here, and I have only a passing interest in Travis and (even though I love her) Jenna, or them being together.

Hypnophilia by Petronia the Arbiter (Predatrix) (B/A) Having to share a bed room! One of my favourite tropes! The story that this fic is based on sounds quite random, leading to a nice but vaguely random fic (without the gods, there's even less pretext, so even more random - except that they both know the story, which I guess is a nice in a different way, complicity etc). Nice sex, though, and I v much enjoyed Avon being really shit at pretending to be asleep.

Angels by Hafren (B/A) This fic feels like it has a lot of backstory (when is it set? What is their relationship? Why are they seeing Sarcoff???), all of it elegantly implied and obscured. The plot is almost non-existant, and I don't think the angels are symbolic, so much as the more traditional trust game of falling backwards is important, and perhaps the icy snow (of Avon's tragically frozen heart). Beautifully written, and I really like the ambiguous closeness between them. [32]

Issue 10

Tales from Space City 10 was published in October 2004, is digest-sized, 67 pages and is "over 27,000 words". It's set in 11pt Garamond, with Arial, Garmond and Papyrus.

  • Incorrigibly Plural by Predatrix (B/A)
  • Bored Games by Nico (B/A, with background C/V)
  • (TA)RDIS by Helen Patrick (B/A)
  • Happy Ending by Hafren (Travis)
  • Ghost In The Machine by Julia Stamford (B/A)
  • Soulmates by Hafren (Vila, Slave)
  • In My Hands by Hafren (B/A, Vila)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 10

Generally they seem to be themed, but this one... isn't?

Incorrigibly Plural by Predatrix (B/A) Lots to like about this fic, particularly once they start having sex (long, involved, surprisingly non-perfect), although it takes a really long time to get going. If I hadn't trusted Predatrix when I began I would not have sat through 10 pages of Avon bitching about Blake using his toothbrush and needing a shower.

Bored Games by Nico (various - ultimately B/A, C/V) My favourite stuff here is about Gan trying to just have a normal evening. Otherwise it's all good fun, etc. Feels v influenced by the first writer, incidentally (Living Doll, obviously).

(TA)RDIS by Helen Patrick (B/A) I don't know why the fic is called this, but it is great fun. B and A have a literal dick measuring contest, which keeps escalating - to the point where they stop and Avon says "I think we may have made an error in judgement." A surprisingly tense turn in what is clearly a cracky sex fic. I like it a lot.

Happy Ending by Hafren (Travis) So much of the fic in this zine is B/A that this one (and Soulmates to be fair) feels as though it got lost and wandered in by mistake. I haven't read it before - or anything like it, except perhaps Hafren's Groff's Wife. I prefer GW, but this is very good, as you'd expect.

Ghost In The Machine by Julia Stamford (B/A) This is a spiffy idea. It feels like, although the fic is nicely closed off, it could be a much longer-running thing.

Soulmates by Hafren (Vila, Slave) Lots of nice stuff in this fic, although it stops a bit suddenly/doesn't really have anywhere to go with the ideas it brings up.

In My Hands by Hafren (B/A, Vila) Not one of my most favourite Hafrens, but I enjoyed reading it a lot more in the context of this zine. Sometimes that happens, and I do not know why. The ending is stunningly beautiful and effective - and altogether it's a very good evocation of the central idea. Heaven/hell in the B7 universe in that way that feels natural and yet important. I love the devil taking Avon's shape, but not quite convincingly enough - and, as I say, I love the ending and them looking at each other. [33]

References

  1. A Little Light (and Dark) Reading, Helen Patrick's zine page at her Wordpress site
  2. HelenPatrick's AO3 listing
  3. from Helen Patrick, Archived version
  4. Lysator, Julia J., October 1998
  5. Judith's notes to the printer for new edition
  6. Lysator, Julia J, October 1998
  7. julesjones replied to aralias at zine reviews! Part 2
  8. from Procrastination Central - Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, Archived version, August 5, 2013
  9. [1], Archived version
  10. from Crack Van, Archived version, recced by Executrix, October 2, 2003
  11. from Sarah Thompson at Knightwriter and at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  12. comments by Aralias, zine reviews! Part 2, December 29, 2015
  13. julesjones replied to aralias at zine reviews! Part 2
  14. from Knightwriter and Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  15. comments by Aralias, zine reviews! Part 2, December 29, 2015
  16. from Crack Van, Archived version, recced by hafren, September 1, 2004
  17. from Crack Van, Archived version, recced by grumpoldusenaut, May 27, 2004
  18. from crack_van: Natural Habitat by Belatrix Carter, Archived version, recced by Executrix, October 5, 2003
  19. from Blake's 7 - Tales from Space City, at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site]
  20. by Hafren at Blake's 7 - Tales from Space City #4, at Knightwriter
  21. B7 Recs, Archived version, 2006
  22. from Hafren at Blake's 7 - Tales from Space City #5,
  23. from Hafren at Knightwriter, much more of the review here,
  24. from Procrastination Central - Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, Archived version, August 5, 2013
  25. from Crack Van, Archived version, recced by hafren, September 3, 2004
  26. by Steve Rogerson at Blake's 7 - Tales from Space City #7,
  27. by Hafren at Blake's 7 - Tales from Space City #7,
  28. by Hafren at Blake's 7 - Tales from Space City #8,
  29. by Steve Rogerson at Knightwriter and at Blake's Seven Fan Fiction - A place to use your warped mind to warp poor Blake, posted May 19, 2004
  30. from Crack van, Archived version, recced by executrix, October 7, 2004
  31. by Hafren at Blake's 7 - Tales from Space City #9,
  32. Review by Aralias; Tales from Space City 9 and 10, Archived version, July 15, 2015
  33. Review by Aralias; Tales from Space City 9 and 10, Archived version, July 15, 2015