The Epic

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Title: The Epic (originally published as Defects of Loneliness)
Publisher: Horizon
Author(s): Catherine Knowles
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): see below
Date(s): written in 1978, published in 1979, republished in 1990 by Horizon
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links:
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The Epic is a 122-page (50,000 words) gen Blake's 7 novel. It was originally published anonymously.

The author was later revealed to be Catherine Knowles.

It is an early post-1st season story, the very first fan-written novel in the fandom. It was written not long after the first season ended and before the second season was broadcast; at the time it was the longest B7 fan story ever published.

Summary from a distributor: "Set in Series 1, this story has everything - adventure, romance, tragedy, drama, intrigue and humour (including the infamous Nude Bathing Scene!). Two new races are introduced, and all the characters get a chance to shine - even Gan! The story also offers insights into Avon's early life."

Published in 1979 As "Defects of Loneliness," Re-titled in 1980

cover of the 1979 version, titled: "Defects of Loneliness" (has an inexplicable semi-colon after the title)

In 1980, it was reviewed in Horizon Newsletter and the title "The Epic" was used.

In 1983, the editors of Horizon Newsletter wrote:

...a 120 page B7 story of 'epic' proportions. We are hoping (one day) to get this professionally printed, but at the present it has to be photo copied. Therefore, vast quantities of this zine will not be available, and orders for the Epic may take quite a while to process. Sorry for the inconvenience. [1]

Republished in 1990

In 1990, it was professionally typeset and laser printed as a glossy A4 size zine, with all new artwork by Fliss Davies, Tim Pieraccini, Kevin Davies, Steve Haines, and Jacqueline Rachel.

From its 1990 publisher:

The very first Epic Length B7 single-story zine first published in 1980-ish. This has always been available in VERY limited supply, but Horizon have finally managed to get a prof. printing (with plenty of excellent artwork) done with a new exotic Laser Printing, as an A4 zine. The story is set in Series 1, and introduces a race called The Phoenix to the B7 universe. There is Romance, Adventure, Tragedy, Drama, Intrigue, and Humour (the infamous Nude Bathing Scene for one!) and insights into Avon's past life... (nothing like "Terrible Aspect" but it was written in 1978!

From May 1990:

Now, look out of your window. Does the moon look blue? Are there pink elephants flying by? Has a U.F.O. landed on your lawn? Well, try believing this, then: THE EPIC IS READY!!! Astonishing but true! All of you who ordered it should have received it by now (okay, you should have received it 4 years ago, but we won't go into that!). And those of you who haven/t ordered it should seriously consider doing so - it's huge and glossy and glorious - a thoroughbred racehorse of a zine! (...Ed.- And due to the printers mucking :: up three times and having to reprint it, we ended up with a zine which looks - and indeed cost the printers - at least double what we are charging!!) [2]

Also from May 1990:

THE EPIC - the very first Epic Length B7 one-story zine, first printed in 1980-ish. This has always been available in VERY limited supply, but Horizon have finally managed to get a prof, printing (with plenty of excellent artwork) done with new exotic Laser Printing, as an A4 zine. The story is set in late Series 1 and introduces a race called The Phoenix to the B7 universe. There is Romance, Adventure, Tragedy, Drama, Intrigue, and Humour (the infamous Nude Bathing Scene for one!) and insights into Avon’s past life... (nothing like ’A Terrible Aspect’ but it was written in 1978!) [3]

Reactions and Reviews

...all the characters got to shine, even Gan! [4]

This full length, novel-type Blake's 7 ’epic' has one obvious advantage at first sight, and one disadvantage. Firstly, it has 120 pages, foolscap size, typed in small print, which whets the appetite of the avid reader. Secondly, the lettering on the cover is poor. I consider that a cover gives an important first impression - the cover is poor, but the content is not. I can assure future readers of ’THE EPIC' that the story contained within its pages is very much worth the money paid. (NOTE: We quite agree with the comment on the covers and new covers have now been printed - Ed)

The story line is well constructed, with only one or two lapses into ’managed' situations for sensationalism. The handling of the handkerchief to Blake is one - it was unnecessary, and smacked of 20th century silliness. The intricate names of the servants and menials in the sub-plot were unnecessarily confusing, and I had to stop trying to remember them all, although I had to keep checking that I was not discounting main characters as well, which was slightly irritating.

The nude bathing scene (yes, it really has been included) was very skillfully done. In fact by the time the bathers reached 'the bath', it seemed the most natural thing for them to have done!

The main characters are well constructed entities, and travel through the story and adventure admirably with Blake and his crew. Blake, Jenna, Avon,'Vila, Cally and Gan all emerge as we are used to seeing them, with more besides. Blake is slightly less the man in charge, with Avon taking centre stage for most of the story.

Servalan is there at her schemes, with flashes of that evil-doer Travis causing our heroes the usual type of trouble. The story was started in 1978, which explains the lack of Orac in the mainstream, as we are used to seeing 'him'.

Romance - on a scale not quite suggested by Terry Nation and the rest of the scriptwriters, but nonetheless skillfully handled, is never over-played - but always potent.

The conclusions to the story are strong and poignant. Bitter and sweet to the pitch of eloquence.

My suggestion to you all - OBTAIN A COPY OF 'THE EPIC'. My suggestion to the author - hurry up with the sequel!

Here ends my review. I hope the author takes her courage in her pen, and decides to reveal herself, the story is worthy of praise.[5]

Who is the author? Try to work it out for yourself, it isn't too hard; he/she has nothing to be ashamed of - right at the first page you are straight into the action. Everything you wanted to see, but the BBC wouldn't DARE! Vila the lion - while Avon is tamed; Blake overruled on his own ship! Fantastically funny mixed bathing scene.

A B7 zine at its best, loads of adventure - worth it for this only - but keep a supply of hankies handy, it can toy with your emotions, like a dog with a rag! 120 pages of small print and pictures with believable visions of the future and some brilliant character studies. Give this zine a try even if you don't try any others. [6]

This is a SUPER TALE, and although not quite how I personally see Avon’s past, it is still absolutely riveting reading AND logical and sensible and FUN. Don’t excuses such as that it was written so long ago...It doesn’t age. Highly recommended. (Ed... no, Ros hasn't had an advance copy of the new mega—professionally printed, lasered, illustrated and hideously expensive to print Epic — she's just pre-empting our re-release and remembering how brilliant the story is from reading a very old copy!!) [7]

Originally published in 1979, probably one of the very first B7 fanzines. Current reprint very nicely done. Novel length - 121 pages. Excellent story, well-written, interesting characters, something for everyone -romance, adventure, surprises. [8]


  1. ^ from Horizon Newsletter #10
  2. ^ from Horizon Newsletter #24
  3. ^ from Horizon Newsletter #24
  4. ^ from a 1990s distributor, Knightwriter
  5. ^ from Horizon Newsletter #2 (1980)
  6. ^ from Horizon Newsletter #2 (1980)
  7. ^ from Horizon Newsletter #23 (1989)
  8. ^ from Aspects #9