The Kuryakin File

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Zine
Title: The Kuryakin File
Publisher: NorthCoast Press - Issues 9 and later, Faux Pas Press Issues 7-8, Peacock Press - Issues 1-6.
Editor(s): Jean Graham (issues 1-6); Gail Mihara & Lauren Katzive (issues 7-8); Lisa Madden or Lisa Brazdil (issues 9-present). Lisa Brazdil is/was the married name of Lisa Madden.
Date(s): 1985-present
Series?: yes, 29 issues as of 2010 (#30 planned for 2011)
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Language: English
External Links: http://nocoastpress.com
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Kuryakin File, sometimes collectively known as The Kuryakin Files, is an ongoing gen Man From U.N.C.L.E. anthology presently published by NorthCoast Press. Formerly published by Peacock Press (Issues 1-6), edited by Jean Graham, and Faux Pas Press (Issues 7-8), edited by Gail Mihara & Lauren Katzive. The zine is currently published and edited by Lisa Madden.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1
flyer for issue #1

Kuryakin File 1 was published in 1985 and contains 84 pages.

  • The Table of Contents is as follows-
  • The Lie by Joy Ashenfelder--"The Motherland must harbor and nourish the best of its children for the future," the KGB man had said. Five-year old Illya did not understand, but he would soon learn. (4 pages)
  • Wargame by Jean Graham--The rigid rules of Kiev's state school could make life difficult for any student who dared to test the system. Young Illya Kuryakin was to learn that 'wrong thinking' carried an unexpected penalty. (8 pages)
  • The Dissident by Jean Graham--Recalling Illya's first disillusionment with Mother Russia. (8 pages)
  • The U.N.C.L.E. Affair by Charlene Kirby (3 pages)
  • Rescue by A. M. Einicker--It was bad enough Napoleon Solo had to get himself arrested by an over-eager Southern sheriff. Illya had to rescue him. And the sheriff had a thing about Russians. (4 pages)
  • Occupational Hazard by Steve Jordenaur--The THRUSH drug had been formulated to inflict pain, horror, and eventually death. Illya fought hard to ward off its terrifying effects long enough to deliver one message to Napoleon Solo. (5 pages)
  • First Day, Last Day by Dave Wallace and Steve Jordenaur--Illya's memories of his first day at UNCLE were pleasant enough. It was the final confrontation with Alexander Waverly, on the day of Illya's resignation, that he dreaded most. (4 pages)
  • The Warning by Lisa Kirk--The injured woman brought to New York headquarters from the aborted Budapest mission had little to say to UNCLE's translators, until she began asking for Illya by name. (3 pages)
  • Revenge by Lisa Kirk (8 pages)
  • The Lucky for You I Came Along Affair by Hindman—Napoleon runs into a Russian naval lieutenant who's disgusted with the system and ready to defect. Reprinted in Relative Encounters #4 and UNCLE Gold #1. (10 pages)
  • The Greyhound Bus Affair by Gina Martin--What happens when an agent from UNCLE takes the bus? (3 pages)
  • The Russian Ballet Affair by Gina Martin—Napoleon needs to decide who to take to the ballet. (2 pages)
  • Home- by Virginia Waldron (11 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

[Wargame]: I'm really surprised that Jean Graham hasn't been recc'd here already because she has a range of tautly written gen stories that cover the range of engaging "unfilmed episode" sorts of adventures to plausibly filling in the gaps for Napoleon and Illya pre-series and pre-Return movie. Not a word is wasted in her lean plots, clever and believable OCs and sharp dialogue, and she captures the series' tone of somewhat self-serious humor to a T - think late season 1 and early season 2. We have more angsty!Illya backstories than downed Thrush goons in this fandom, but this is one of the most eerily believable to me. I'm a sucker for emotional turmoil as much as the next reader, but subtlety always gets to me the most. We can safely assume that Illya had a pretty awful childhood, but the actual familial dynamics of the Kuryakins is pretty much up for debate. Most fans believe that Illya's family died in the war, but rarely do we imagine what a reunion would be like. Jean cleverly subverts our expectations of the circumstances that shaped Illya into the man and agent he would become; her young Illya is reminiscent of Patricia Foley's characterization in the latter author's Wonderland series, but I don't mean to imply that Jean is a lesser author merely copying Patricia's work. To tell you any more would be criminal, but this story broke my heart in an unexpected way. [1]
[zine]: This is a delight for the Illya Kuryakin fan. It has lots and lots of pictures and illustrations of our favorite. The format is clean, nonreduced, and readable. There are quizzes and puzzles about Illya. I found the format of having so many short stories (10 pages or less) a very good one which worked well and maintained my interest without causing reading fatigue. It took quite a while to get used to the fact that not all the stories presented a consistent view (e.g., Illya is a defector, he is not a defector; he knew his parents through adulthood, he barely knew his parents, et cetera), but this was a minor difficulty, and I enjoyed all the stories despite this. Some summaries of the material: "The Lie," by Joy Ashenfelder, shows Illya's removal from his home to a state school in early childhood. "War Game" and "The Dissident" offer a slightly different view of Illya's early life, in which he didn't remember his mother and barely knew his father. The conflict here is mostly Illya's reaction to the state school system. "The UNCLE Affair," by Charlene Kirby, shows one way that Illya might've gotten into UNCLE. "First Day, Last Day," by Dave Wallace and Steve Jordenaur, shows Illya's first and last days with UNCLE (under Waverly). "The Lucky for You I Came Along Affair" postulates another way that Illya might've gotten into UNCLE and includes his past in the Russian navy. In "Rescue," by A.M. Einicker, Illya tries to rescue Napoleon from a jail in a southern town where the sheriff doesn't like Russians. "The Warning" and "Revenge," both by Lisa Kirk, deal with a romantic rival of Illya's. "The Greyhound Bus Affair," by Gina Matin, is based on Simon and Garfunkel's song "America" and weaves Illya into it. "Home" has Illya under the influence of a THRUSH drug which makes him believe that he's in Moscow again. "The Russian Ballet Affair," also by Gina Martin, has Napoleon trying to figure out who to take to the Ballet. I found all the stories to be well-plotted, well-characterized, and interesting. Jean Graham has shown herself to be an expert in choosing good stories, and I look forward to another issue. [2]

[zine]:

THE KURAYAKIN FILE — as the title implies — has stories basically about Illya. Since so little information was given about him in the series, there is no limit to what writers can imagine about his past. In the first two issues we are given versions of his childhood, joining U.N.C.L.E., general adventures. While none of the stories are wonderful, none are really bad either — though most are very limited in length, some only a few pages long. My favorites were "Rescue," where Illya tries to get his partner, Solo, out of a southern jail, and "The Lucky I Came Along Affair," which is a marvelous version of how Illya joins U.N.C.L.E. built around a throwaway line from an episode about setting fire to an igloo. Another good piece by [Rachelle S], "The Phoenix Affair," is another version up that is short, nasty, and all too plausible. It also has the only first rate art in either zine, though there are a number of nice photos in each. [3]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

The Kuryakin File 2 was published in 1985 and contains 86 pages.

  • Dedushka by Susan Eikenberg (4 pages)
  • Too Soon a Man by Hindman (4 pages)
  • Reunion by Hindman (5 pages)
  • The Phoenix Affair by Rachelle S. (19 pages) (reprinted in UNCLE Gold #1)
  • The Cabin Affair by Donna Sapp (17 pages) (reprinted in Relative Secrecy #4, revised and expanded and under a different title and name)
  • The Friday the Thirteenth Affair by Charlene Kirby (3 pages)
  • The Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover Affair by Stewart Johnston (3 pages)
  • The Boxcar Affair by Stewart Johnston (20 pages)
  • The Secret Agent Affair by Jean Graham--The star of a TV spy series finds genuine classified information. (14 pages)


Issue 3

cover of issue #3

The Kuryakin File 3 was published in 1986 and contains 88 pages.

  • The Get-Away-From-It-All Affair by Susan Eikenberg (15 pages)
  • The Best Man Wins Affair by Hindman (4 pages)
  • The Back in the U.S.S.R. Affair by Stewart Johnston (15 pages)
  • The Strawberry Shortcake Affair by Michele Burton (11 pages)
  • Loyalties by Paul Avon (32 pages)
  • An Affair to Remember by Gail Mihara and Lauren Katzive (5 pages)
  • PLUS- An excerpt from "Final Affair"


Issue 4

cover of issue #4

The Kuryakin File 4 was published in 1987 and contains 144 pages.

  • The Kuryakin Affair by Mara St. James (22 pages)
  • Exit Only by Gail Mihara (3 pages)
  • The Fatal Flower Affair by Rachelle S. (16 pages) (reprinted in UNCLE Gold #1)
  • The Mad Russian Affair by April Giordano and Mary Gerstner (6 pages)
  • The Double Cross Affair by Kathy Kipper (7 pages)
  • The Vacation Affair by Sandy Nelson (10 pages)
  • It's All in the Game Affair by Gina Martin (2 pages)
  • Trust by J. M. Sayers
  • The Price of Friendship by Susan Eikenberg (5 pages)
  • The Highland Affair by Stewart Johnston (26 pages)
  • The Mind Ripper Affair by Kathy Kipper (6 pages)
  • The Stake-out by Gloria Vargas (2 pages)
  • Illya by Gloria Vargas (1 page)
  • The Morning After Affair by Jo Mulvey (14 pages)
  • The Earthshaking Affair by Hindman (21 pages)
  • I Was Never a Child by Jo Mulvey
  • The Code Book Affair by Jean Graham--A librarian stumbles across a deadly secret (3 pages)
  • A-MUSING-S One by Randie Cowan


Issue 5

cover of issue #5

The Kuryakin File 5 was published by Peacock Press in 1987 and has 182 pages.

  • The Terminal Set Up Affair by Janice Sayers and Charlene Kirby
  • The First Blood Affair by Gloria Vargas
  • The Loner by Barbara Krivulka
  • The Like Father Like Son Affair by Jody Palm
  • UNCLE Word Search/ Spy Rhymes by Barbara Krivulka
  • The Diamonds in the "Ruff" Affair by Susan Eikenberg
  • It's Not Nice to Make Fun of Your UNCLE by H. Saavedra
  • The Driftwood Affair by Gail Mihara and Lauren Katzive
  • Limericks by Barbara Krivulka
  • Devoutly to be Wish'd by Jo Mulvey
  • The Drugged Dough Debate by Gail Mihara
  • The Muscle Mountain Affair by Randie Cowan
  • Sing a Song of Two Men/ The Search by H. Saavedra
  • The Deja Vu Affair by Barbara Krivulka
  • The Beauty and the Beat Affair by Jennifer Adams
  • Insomnia by Gail Mihara
  • The My Partner the Ghost Affair by Gina Martin
  • Shadows by H. Saavedra
  • The Mickey Mouse Affair by Charlene Kirby
  • The Han Solo was a What? Affair by Jo Mulvey
  • The Bequest by Hindman (reprinted in UNCLE Gold #1)
  • The Tolstoy Affair by Jean Graham--A sequel to "The Code Book Affair" in #4. Thrush is determined to crack the code.
  • Amusings Two by Randie Cowan


Issue 6

cover of issue #6

The Kuryakin File 6 was published by Peacock Press in 1988. It has 221 pages. It contains fiction, puzzles and poems.

  • Decisions by Susan Eikenberg
  • Pressure Point by Carol Mel Ambassador
  • "8-16-24-32-Up!" by Gail Mihara
  • The Furry Friend Affair by Kathy Norton
  • The Menage a Trois Affair by Joan Marie Verba
  • Illya: A Vintage Choice by Barbara Krivulka
  • The True Faith Affair by Gail Mihara and Lauren Katzive
  • Puzzles by Barbara Krivulka
  • The Changeling Affair by Lisa Brazdil
  • The Batcave Affair: Missing Scenes by Kathy Norton
  • Poetry by Carol Mel Ambassador
  • Limericks by Barbara Krivulka
  • The Solo Affair by Gina Martin
  • Mother Russia by Renaissance
  • The Cold War Affair by Jean Graham--The KGB decides that Illya Kuryakin has defected. Has he? (reprinted from The U.N.C.L.E. Special #3)
  • Deuce in the Side Pocket by C.W. Walker (reprinted in The St. Crispin's Day Society #4)
  • The Angel of Death Affair by C.W. Walker--Napoleon and Illya hitch a ride with 'The Angel of Death,' the man who reports the death of UNCLE agents. Reprinted in The St. Crispin's Day Society #2.
  • Illya's Song by Barbara Krivulka
  • The Long Lost Memory Affair by Tiffany Case
  • The My Brother the Spy Affair by J.S. Mulvey
  • So There! Story #2 by J. S. Mulvey
  • Photo Section from the Collection of : Denise Loague


Issue 7

cover of issue #7

The Kuryakin File 7 was published by Faux Pas Press in 1989. It has 99 pages.

  • Filksongs by J. Hindman & Gail Mihara, Limericks And Other Schtick by Barbara Krivulka (10 pages)
  • Presumptuous by J. Hindman (4 pages)
  • Rock-A-Bye-Baby Affair by Charlie Kirby (16 pages)
  • Shadowmage Fugue by Jennifer G. Tifft
  • The Beetlejuice Affair by Charlie Kirby (5 pages)
  • The Masters Touch Affair by Kathy Norton (8 pages)
  • The Music Box Affair by Gina Martin (4 pages)
  • The Outer Banks Affair by Paula Wilshe (11 pages)
  • The Scoundrel Days Affair by Gail Mihara & Lauren Katzive (20 pages)
  • The Touch of Death Affair by Jean Graham--A deadly viral strain & an evil woman from Solo & Illya's past. (6 pages)
  • The Undead Affair by Jaqueline Archer (15 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

As the son of the great and terrible Jan Bowman, I was asked to give a teenaged male perspective on the U.N.C.L.E. zine of my choice. I chose Kuryakin Files #7, because the first story hooked my attention.

The first story, "The Beetlejuice Affair" by Charlene Kirby, was a nice concise story. The characterization of Beetlejuice was right on, showing both his irreverent personality and his sleaze factor. It was an interesting, light spin on a death story with a good punch line.

"The Outer Banks Affair" by Paula Wilshe was a cute story, very first or second-seasonish. The young girl character was played out very well and the author's style was very much in the tone of the show that my mother has forced me to watch OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER ahem...uh, where was I? Oh yeah. Reviewing. The setting felt very real, Ms. Wilshe did an excellent job with the descriptions and narrative.

"The Undead Affair" by Jacqueline Archer (Archer? Bowman. Hey?) had a good, crabby Waverly in the beginning scene. I felt sorry for Napoleon early out. First Waverly dissed him, then Illya zinged him but he got even later by trying to dump a maskful of lagoon water on Illya (who had it coming). The interaction between the characters feels very real, I liked the character of Madeleine Dominique also. The voodoo theme was cool, I liked it overall.

On the downside, I felt that the story "Presumptuous" by [Hindman], while a very inreresting take on Napoleon and Illya's first meeting, did not feel true to the characters as I perceive them. Napoleon was a bit too harsh and Illya was too gung-ho in the ending scenes.

Mom continues to pressure me to join the Darkside of the Force...uh, I mean U.N.C.L.E. fandom and write some crossovers with Men in Black and/or Gargoyles (which is my absolute favorite show.) [4]

Issue 8

cover of issue #8

The Kuryakin File 8 was published by Faux Pas Press in 1990. It has 10 stories and is 102 pages long. On the cover: "Glasnost Edition."

  • Crossword Puzzle by Lisa Madden
  • Limericks by Barbara Krivulka
  • Noble Kings And Other Affair by Kristen Keck
  • Perestroika by Gail Mihara
  • The Big 10 Basement Affair by Jennifer Adams-Kelley
  • The Comic Book Affair by Gina Martin
  • The Double Oxer Affair by Paula Wilshe
  • The Kitchen Window by Jo Mulvey
  • The Mary Sue Affair by Kathy Norton
  • The Rainy Day Affair by Jean Graham--An urban shoot-out lands Illya and April Dancer in hot water.
  • The Shining Dome Affair by Charlie Kirby
  • The Valentine Affair by Jaqueline Archer


Issue 9

cover of issue #9

The Kuryakin File 9 contains 167 pages. It was published in 1990. It has 11 stories, plus original poems, filks & artwork.

  • Learn The Russian Alphabet by anonymous (2 pages)
  • The Fly by Night Affair by Charlie Kirby. Batman crossover. (13 pages)
  • The Concrete Overcoat Affair by Kathy Norton (9 pages)
  • A Hard Day's Night Affair by Gina Martin (6 pages)
  • The Battalions of Sorrows Affair by A.F. Allison (33 pages)
  • A Rainy Day by Gloria Vargas (14 pages) (part of The Nowhere Man Affair universe, written with permission from Paulie)
  • The Guardian Angel Affair by Lisa Madden (19 pages)
  • Filksongs by Barbara Krivulka (2 pages)
  • Web of Intrigue by Barbara Krivulka. Music score. (2 pages)
  • 101 Ways to Make a Wet Russian by Kathy Norton (5 pages)
  • The My Mother the Concert Pianist Affair by Grace Kanninen (7 pages)
  • The Juvenile Delinquent Affair by Kathleen J. Easley (20)
  • The Rescuers Affair by Jean Graham--Rescuing Solo from Thrush backfires when Illya is caught. Posted online as "The Deadly Deception Affair". (6 pages)
  • The Wall of Reticence by Barbara Krivulka (2 pages)
  • Band of Gold by Melissa Mastoris (poem)
  • Only Thursday by Melissa Mastoris (poem)
  • The My Partner Wore Tights Affair by Jennifer Adams-Kelley. Winner of a 1991 FanQ. (19 pages)
  • Thrush Detail by anonymous (1 page)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

I recently obtained KF 9 by mail for $14.00 (Book Rate)—what a bargain! This 170-page zine is chock-full of stories, illos, and features, with something for everyone.

"The Fly-by-Night Affair" written and illoed by Charlene Kirby, is an U.N.CUE./BATMAN (the movie) crossover featuring an interesting approach. Napoleon and Illya are assigned to protect Bruce Wayne, who is likely to be the next target of a psycho kidnapper. It suffers from a lopsided structure: most of the story was spent getting to know Bruce Wayne, as Illya and Napoleon met him and pored over his dossier; then there was a brief flurry of activity dominated by Batman; then it was over. Considering how much time they spent studying him, Illya and Napoleon seemed awfully DUMB not to guess Batman's identity. There were some nice touches of dry wit: I liked it when Illya thought Batman was weird because he dressed all in black and pounded bad guys! I also enjoyed the description of eerie Gotham City. Kathy Norton's vignette from "The Concrete Overcoat Affair" fills in the missing scene alluded to in the aired episode when Dr. Von Kronen praises Miss Kikeman for her skillful torturing of Illya. Basically, this story gives us the torture scene. We got your braided whips, we got your miniature cattle prod, we got your severe bondage, we got your gloating psychotic. Oddly, the professor's remark is not accounted for in the story! He is not present nor are we ever told that he is observing. The chiaroscuro illo by Lisa Brazdil is extremely well done. "A Hard Day's Night Affair" by Gina Martin is a fun, short piece in which the Fab Four get mixed up in an U.N.C.L.E. errand. It's a madcap adventure, with a nice Beatles and U.N.C.L.E. portrait by R. Stein. "The Battalions of Sorrows Affair" by A. F. Allison is a well-constructed and exciting story. The violence, while explicit in a graphic and clinical fashion, is introduced only when necessary to the plot. The plot is complex and contains at least one unexpected yet logical twist. The characters are well-drawn and the premise is fascinating. With its dark tone and tightly plotted suspense, it would have made a good fourth-season story. J. McClure's illos complement it nicely. When I originally read the novella THE NOWHERE MAN AFFAIR by Paulie (Otter Limits Press), in which an amnesiac and temporarily brain-damaged Illya is taken in by a kindly group of people in New Orleans' French quarter, I was almost disappointed when Napoleon found Illya. I just loved the scenes with his New Orleans "family." I think a lot of readers felt the same way. Well, "A Rainy Day" by Gloria Vargas, written with Paulie's full consent and blessing (and a gorgeous Paulie illo of Lewis and "Johnny"), provides us with one warm, loving day from that time. In addition to a nice touch with the NMA character and setting, the writer also captures the personality of a four-year-old quite well. If I try to tell you the plot—Blue takes "Johnny" (Illya) to visit a friend and he works through a bad memory—it won't sound like much. So let me just say that it is a wonderfully nostalgic trip back into that world and I didn't want it to end. If you've read and enjoyed NMA, you'll love this story. If not, it might serve as a nice introduction. "The Guardian Angel Affair" by Lisa Brazdil is a little weird, but sweet. I liked the mysterious beginning; we are not introduced ta the "guardian angel" for quite a while and the suspense builds nicely. I don't want to give away the plot, but it is a pleasure to watch the story unfold. Perhaps a little too much unnecessary "getting" of Illya, but otherwise a good read. It is illoed with a portrait of Illya in a nice, smiling pose by T. Vermande. The filks were generally to songs I didn't know, so I'd have a hard time judging them. The tidbits of Russian lessons and recipes were a nice diversion. I'm awful at doing Search Puzzles but a lot of people enjoy them, and Barbara Krivulka has done a nice job of putting one together (with U.N.C.L.E. words, natch!). "Web of Intrigue" by Barbara Krivulka is an original work of instrumental music. Usually when you see original music in a fanzine, it's just got a melody line and chords for guitar; this, on the other hand, was fully scored for piano. I took the zine over to the house of some friends who have a piano and played the piece. It starts out simply, with a dramatic repeated theme; then goes into an Allegro section that starts out like a Bach Invention, with a rapid legato melody swapping back and forth between the hands, followed by some odd-looking but very satisfactory chord progressions. It sounds altogether spooky and, for some reason, Russian. I was very impressed. This would be great music to read the zine by! Oddly enough, the author of my least favorite story (the Concrete Overcoat excerpt) also wrote one of my very favorite pieces in the zine! In "101 Ways to Make a wet Russian," Kathy Norton has painstakingly compiled all the instances in which Illya, bless his little heart, gets soaked (dripping clothes clinging to his physique...). She even tells us how he gets it and what he's wearing at the time. Her lascivious glee and careful research are both-appreciated! So was Lisa Brazdil's illo of a dripping and slightly disgusted-looking Illya. The story "The Ply Mother the Concert Pianist Affair" by Grace Kanninen didn't seem to have enough meat on its bones, given that it introduced a close relative of a major character. (Mind you, saying "I want more!" is more of compliment than a criticism.) Other than that, it was a fun story to read and I particularly enjoyed Mr. Waverly's role. It is accompanied by a lovely portrait of Napoleon by Adrian Morgan. "The Juvenile Delinquent Affair" by Kathleen J. Easley is a touching and funny story in which a ten-year-old boy becomes involved in a race between Thrush and U.N.C.L.E. to obtain an important microdot. I won't give away anymore of the plot, but Things Are Not As They Seem! Hindman's illos, depicting scenes from the story, are great, and her concluding "Dog From U.N.C.L.E." logo is a stitch! "The Rescuers Affair" by Jean Graham concerns a sneaky U.N.C.L.E. counterplot to a Thrush operation. I liked the way it introduced other U.N.C.L.E. agents as characters rather than cannon fodder (unlike the show!). There's a nice Charlene Kirby headshot of a thoughtful Napoleon to go with it. "The Wall of Reticence" by Barbara Krivulka is atypical in that it is not an episode-style affair; rather, it explores Illya's inner feelings through a dream and his reaction to it. A somber illo by Lisa Brazdil captures the story's mood well. The poetry by Melissa Mastoris was pleasant, although I did not find it exceptional. "Only Thursday" was my favorite; it touched a sympathetic chord. "The My Partner Wore Tights Affair" by Jennifer Adams is a romp on the level of a good Batman (TV) episode or a silly third season MUNCLE, say, the Off-Broadway Affair. Illya goes undercover as a superhero to capture a self-appointed "fashion police" character who has been stalking the laundromats of New York. I admit with a certain sense of shame that I enjoyed it immensely. How can you not like a story with lines such as (Napoleon to Illya): "Holy Sleepdust, Scarlet, Fashionman means business!" The illos by Charlene Kirby of Fashionman and the Scarlet Manuka are delightful, quite in keeping with the story.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this zine very much. Illya gets "got" an awful lot—but then, most U.N.C.L.E. fans won't find that a problem! The zine has a wide range of stories, from silly to suspenseful, whimsical to mystical, plus lots of good illos and some fun and unusual features. The editor has done a good job ensuring that every piece has an ilia or at least a graphic. The cover is an attractive collage of still shots of Illya; the back cover, a handsome portrait of Illya and Napoleon by the editor. I recommend this zine highly. The editor is also very prompt about sending out orders. [5]
...by UNCLE fandom standards, it's above average, but that tells more about the fandom than KF9. There is one very, very good story, set amid a passel of average-or-worse ones. Brazdil's layout is alternatively ambitious and a bit cheap-looking (the quality of the xerox reproduction of dot matrix-printed masters is not the best, but it is readable). One filler illo (K. Eastly's) was so badly reproduced in my copy, I have no idea if she is a competent artist or not. The art by McClure, Paulie, Tami Marie, T. Vermande and A. Morgan—mostly portraits—was good. Less acceptable were the works of C. Kirby, Rachelle S, Hindman and Brazdil herself, but these folks are better known as writers... The all-purpose illo is a trend in more fandoms than just this one, and like many things there's a monetary reason for it. Real illustrations are more troublesome and time-consuming than a knock-off portrait. They also don't sell for big bucks at con art auctions these days, both because they are too specific to appeal widely, and because they are black-and-white line drawings... Jean Graham's "Rescuers Affair," Kathleen Eastly's "Juvenile Delinquent Affair" and Brazdil's "Guardian Angel Affair" are good, competent stories. You can't run a zine without stuff like this. They are not highlights, but they aren't filler, either. Graham's and Eastly's pieces are the more mundane; Solo and Kuryakin stop Thrush with the aid of gadgets in one and a dog in the other. Brazdil's is more ambitious, and succeeds well. It is also more fantastic. The UNCLE universe supports the most astonishing crossovers—Star Trek, Star mars, Batman, Beatles, Doctor mho—because it itself has one foot in the outrageous (but plausible). Brazdil knows how to write, too, and in these days of zines published by near-illiterates, who in school were not encouraged to read and write, that is saying something. Her dialogue is characteristic of the players, her plotting is logical, and her narrative is clean. Ditto for Graham and Eastly. "My Mother the Concert Pianist," by Grace Kanninen, however, is probably the poorest piece in the zine. Kanninen is apparently new to writing. Although she has a facility with words and character, she is clearly in such a hurry to get the writing onto paper and over with, that the result lacks all pacing. She manages to cram four acts, a prologue and an epilogue into five and a half pages. Events tumble over each other breakneck, leaving the reader with the impression that the whole adventure took place in approximately ten minutes. Napoleon's mum, a concert pianist, is kidnapped by Thrush, and Napoleon flies to Athens to rescue her, and Mrs. Solo thinks the Thrush is really romancing her, and Napoleon and lllya storm the Thrush castle, and everyone is tossed into the dungeon, and they get rescued, and Mrs. Solo plays at Lincoln Center. The End. Kathy Norton's hidden agenda in her "Concrete Overcoat Affair" (missing-scene hurt/comfort from the eponymous episode) and "101 Ways to Make a Wet Russian" should be pretty obvious, but this is Guilty Pleasure time. Who cares if it's mindless; it's sexy! In the Too-Cute-To-Live division, the runner-up is "A Hard Day's Night Affair," by Gina Martin. It is competent, but basically a toss-off.. The winner is "Rainy Day," by Gloria Vargas. This short story is an extension (with permission) of Paulie's 1987 The Nowhere Man Affair. Given the premise of Paulie's universe, that lllya Kuryakin has been so mentally traumatized that he regresses to the level of a four-year-old boy, Vargas does a capable job of subcreation. But I have the same reservations to her story that I do to Paulie's original. Intellectually, it may be that such a severe amnesiac regression could occur. But it cannot be physically so; lllya has an adult's body, adult hormones, and these should give him the angers and lusts of an adult (granted, in the adult lllya, these are evidently not too pressing). This aspect is almost totally ignored in both stories, and I feel it is a fatal omission. Honorable mention in this division goes to Jennifer Adams' "My Partner Wore Tights." It is very silly, but oddly logical, after its own premises, which are comic-bookish. If you compare it to a typical third season episode, it looks even better. "Fashionman" is terrorizing NYC by destroying style solecisms, as well as a lot of people's laundry. Only "The Scarlet Manuka" (a.k.a. "The Grey Ghost"? "The Iron Paw"?) can stop him. Witty, characteristic dialogue especially sets off this piece. Adams has a good ear. Speaking of superheroes, Charlene Kirby has Napoleon and lllya meet the movie Batman in "The Fly by Night Affair." I am in no position to complain about this particular crossed universe, as I once wrote an Illya-Robin teamup; and in fact, I don't complain. This is a fairly standard Kirby piece—she is celebrated for her prolificity—with guns, gore and a gothic manor. It does show an advance in Kirby's handling of her characters emotionally; they act far more in character than was typical of her stories of many years ago. Outstanding in its handling of emotion is Barbara Krivulka's "Wall of Reticence." It is a dream vignette, so nothing happens, and it is completely divorced from any objective meaning. However, Krivulka displays a very powerful pen. Watch this space. But the pride of place goes to A.F. Allison's "Battalions of Sorrows Affair." This is a very fine piece, and indeed proper science fiction by Theodore Sturgeon's definition: a real problem, involving real human beings, that would not have occurred without its scientific element. The element here is the ability to record the sensation of chopping off a man's hands. If you cringe upon reading that sentence, good; you are meant to. Allison faces squarely the horror of her jeopardy, and through it forces her characters to as well. It is a serious and extremely well-crafted piece, ending with the need for Napoleon to make a real decision. Perhaps he chose wrong; perhaps there was no right choice possible. That is good writing. [6]

Issue 10

cover of issue #10

The Kuryakin File 10 contains 242 pages. It was published in 1991. Front cover art is by Ellen Druda; back cover art is by Lisa Brazdil; and interior art is by Hindman, Lisa Brazdil, and Charlie Kirby.

  • Alexander The Greater: The Benefits of Solitude by Michael Macomber--Poem. (2)
  • The Dark & Stormy Night Affair by Michael Macomber--Investigating a spooky mansion turns out to be more enjoyable than Illya had anticipated. (3)
  • The Rear Window Affair by Jennifer Adams-Kelley--An injured Illya accidentally becomes entangled with a student film-maker and the efficiency-obsessed THRUSH manager who terminates an employee in her apartment. (7)
  • The Hurricane Ridge Affair by Kathy Norton (26)
  • The His Fair Lady Affair by Julia Donnelly (42)
  • Crystal Blue by Melissa Mastoris--Poem. (46)
  • The Adventures in Babysitting Affair by Lola (47)
  • The Chimera Affair by Jean Graham--Illya falls into the hands of a vengeful enemy. Solo to the rescue. (56)
  • The Old Friends from Home Affair by Lisa Madden & Jon Heitland (68)
  • The O. Illya Affair by A.F. Allison (102)
  • Dance Lessons by Michael Macomber--Poem. (105)
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Affairs Word Search Puzzle by Barbara Krivulka (106)
  • Limericks by Barbara Krivulka (107)
  • The Mos Eisley Affair by J.K. Dwyer--Crossover with Star Wars. (109)
  • The You Call This a Date Affair by Darlene Kepner (137)
  • Empty Life by Melissa Mastoris--Poem (139)
  • Manhattan Morn by Barbara Krivulka--Music. (140)
  • The Mrs. Waverly Affair by Jan Kraft & Wendy Karmell (142)
  • The Old Habits Die Hard Affair by Carol Jones (160)
  • Filksong by Barbara Krivulka (162)
  • Strigas by Michael Macomber--Poem. (163)
  • The Egg & I Affair by Grace Kanninen (164)
  • The Lion of Ngambo Affair by C.W. Walker--Napoleon and Illya are caught up in the passions and politics of an emerging African nation. Winner of a 1991 FanQ. (180)
  • The Bomb Detail, drawing by Lisa Brazdil (236)
  • Word Search Answers (237)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 10

[The Lion of Ngambo Affair]: Sometimes I will warm to a gen piece if it is both well-written and examines or evolves the qualities of the principals in some way, as in this accomplished novella, set during a power struggle in an emerging African nation.

It may be well within canon to portray superspy Napoleon Solo as the idealistic American and his partner Illya Kuryakin as the pragmatic Russian. But what happens when Napoleon's idealism hits a blank wall of futility? What happens if Illya is forced to choose between his own pragmatic instincts and blind solidarity with Napoleon? The answers may be more emotionally complex than they at first appear.

The Lion of Ngambo is reminiscent of the better-written MFU tv episodes. The writing has grit and flavor and there is a robust cast of supporting characters. The agents are seen wrestling with moral uncertainties, figuring out plot and counterplot without support, their sympathies and relationships evolving as they are drawn ever deeper into a chaotic and dangerous world. Caught up in events they may influence but not determine, they are at odds as much with themselves and each other as with the intervention whose validity and wisdom they question.

Just add a few mental whip-pans and you're there! [7]

Issue 11

cover of issue #11

The Kuryakin File 11 was published in 1992. It has 15 stories and is 145 pages long.

  • A Time to Every Purpose Affair by Jennifer Adams-Kelley. Sam Beckett and Illya Kuryakin exchange places in the leap that could spell death for them both. Quantum Leap crossover.
  • Every Han Has His Price by Melissa Mastoris
  • Illya's Resignation by Melissa Mastoris
  • In the Lower Thirties by Paula Smith
  • Poor Illya by Melissa Mastoris
  • The Friend in Need Affair by Wendy Karmell & Jan Kraft
  • The Glitter Gulch Affair by Charlie Kirby. Solo and Kuryakin are about to learn everything they never wanted to know about a Las Vegas casino.
  • The Greek Affair by Loretta Greco
  • The I Can See Clearly Now Affair by Lisa Madden
  • The I.K. and N.S. Affair by Rebecca Wiesel
  • The Lunch Break Affair by Lola
  • The Morgue Affair by Jean Graham--Agents have started disappearing from inside NY's U.N.C.L.E. HQ.
  • The Princess and The Pea Affair by Julia Donnelly. Illya has a new girlfriend, and Napoleon will do anything to find out who she is.
  • The Secret of My Partner's Success by C.W. Walker. Have you ever wondered why Napoleon is such a success with the ladies? Illya knows, and he's about to tell all.
  • The Stopping Horses Affair by Rebecca Wiesel. Illya is sent to the race track to discover why the same horse wins every race. What are his odds of getting more than he bargained for?
  • Visions: The Seeing in Darkness Affair by Theo Rezik (reprinted in UNCLE Gold #1)


Issue 12

cover of issue #12

The Kuryakin File 12 was published in 1993 and contains 151 pages. It was edited by Lisa Brazdil.

  • She Waits by Linda Cornett (1 page)
  • Invitation to the Dance by Linda Cornett--Illya Kuryakin hasn't "danced" in years. April Dancer is now head of U.N.C.L.E. Can she and a cocky young agent convince Illya he's still got what it takes--before it's too late? (14 pages)
  • Partners & Friends by Melissa Mastoris (1 page)
  • Secret Past by Melissa Mastoris (1 page)
  • The Affair by L.R.H. Balzer--They say love is blind. For Napoleon Solo, it's also deaf and dumb. But for his partner, it could mean the end of a friendship, or even spell death. An expanded version of this story was reprinted in The Collection: Year One. (30 pages)
  • The Dog Byte Affair by K.C. Noel--Computer hackers invade U.N.C.L.E. New York, and Alexander Waverly's hired them--and ordered Illya Kuryakin to keep them under control! (19 pages)
  • The Feathered Friends Affair by A.F. Allison--A lonely woman's mysterious cries for help send Kuryakin and Solo on a merry race through England and Wales. (27 pages)
  • The He Blinded Me With Science Affair by Jennifer Adams-Kelley--Prominent people in society are going blind, and it's time for Illya's annual eye exam. Will he see the danger before it's too late? (16 pages)
  • The Ladies' Sewing Circle & Terrorist Society Affair by Jan P. Kraft (11 pages)
  • The Southern Comfort Affair by Tammy L. Croft (14 pages)
  • The Way Out West Affair by Jean Graham--Solo & Illya go undercover -- as two guys named Heyes and Curry! (8 pages)
  • The White Elephant Affair by Charlie Kirby--Just how hard could it be to get THRUSH to steal a new secret weapon? It could get you killed. (6 pages)
  • Without Apology by D.H. Bryn (2 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 12

[She Waits]: The original The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was usually light and witty and the agents would often crack wise in the most dire circumstances. This was true even at times other than the third “silly season.” Over the years, MFU fanfic writers (including yours truly) have been influenced by newer trends in espionage fiction and later spy series and films, and so, the fiction has generally become a bit more serious and occasionally, a lot darker.

But for this month, in keeping with the summer season, I’m going to highlight the sunnier side of MFU fiction which, like the guys, can be smart and witty and even downright funny.

First up, is a short piece that is not only amusing, but, like the most memorable jokes, has a great twist at the end. It also ties into canon, too, and those who’ve seen certain episodes (I won’t spoil it and point out which ones) will really appreciate what is, essentially, a character study.

He comes to me only when he's desperate, when he has waited too long and can no longer deny his suddenly frantic need for my services... His friend, the dark-haired one, isn't like that at all. He's a regular. We two are long familiar with one another. I know what he wants, he trusts me to do my job. Because we know one another so well, in this one area, it doesn't take long at all, just a few minutes, really.

I promise the pay-off will make you chuckle. [8]
[Invitation to the Dance]: Want to convert a newbie to this fandom? Have her read Linda Cornett, who fearlessly experiments with points of view and tells a story so well that she leaves most published authors in the dust. Her words folds so effortlessly that you almost forget that there must have been an incredible amount of thought behind writing prose that smooth. You become totally immersed in her world, not realizing until you're done reading that you're not actually in the room with the characters witnessing the action as it unfolds. Her Angelique, who makes a guest appearance here, is one of the best in the fandom, and considering that we've been around since the 60's that's saying quite a bit!

Despite the romantic implications of the title, this story's more about passing on the torch while continuing to run a different leg of the race. A retired Illya finds himself guarded by a paternalistic UNCLE, only to realize that the times have changed less than he thinks they have. The dry humor her older, Napoleon-less Illya displays in this story belies the steely resolve that made him such an invaluable agent - think of the Maze Affair, where he finishes the mission with ruthless efficiency just after he believes his partner to be dead. That determination, as Thrush knows all to well, is his Achilles heel as obvious as the target painted on his back in the Virtue Affair; he refuses to give into threats or renounce his personal dignity even when it would be better to give in, as much as he enjoys fooling his captors with his apparent physical weaknesses. Like his predecessor, Linda's roguishly winsome OMC knows how to take advantage of the chink in the armor to everyone's benefit. It's a beautifully unsentimental perspective of what essential things about UNCLE stay true as the years pass.

Oh, and have I mentioned that writes the best ending sentences I've ever read anywhere? I don't think my review can pay tribute enough to her work, so just start reading this already! [9]

Issue 13

cover of issue #13
another version of the cover of issue #13, Suzan Lovett is the artist -- the zine provides no explanation for the dual covers

The Kuryakin File 13 was published in May 1994 and contains 170 pages. It won a 1995 FanQ and was edited by Lisa Brazdil. Art by Suzan Lovett, Charlie Kirby, Warren Oddsson, Diane Roe, Vanya, Jeanne McClure, Lisa Brazdil.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 13

See reactions and reviews for The Flower Power Affair.

Issue 14

cover of issue #14

The Kuryakin File 14 was published in 1995 and contains 219 pages.

  • Blonde or Blond: Ruminations on the Gre{a)y Areas in the English Language by A.F. Allison
  • Close to a Knockout by Linda Cornett
  • From Michael to Michael: A Brief History of the Romanovs by A.F. Allison
  • The Getting of Wisdom Affair by C.W. Walker
  • Gunmetal Madhouse by Melissa Mastoris
  • Lesson #1 by Joey Rodrigues
  • Letters of Lavinia Braithwaite as told to A. F Allison by A.F. Allison
  • Partners by Melissa Mastoris
  • Silent Partner by D.H. Bryn
  • Sitting the Fence on The Character Issue by A.F. Allison
  • Statues in the Snow by Patti Ellis
  • The Fungus Humongous by Elise Van Drusull
  • The Masters Residue by Gina Martin
  • The Pool and The Well by Jean Graham--Young Napoleon Solo tests a legend about reflections in wells. (also in 11 & 2 #2 and Syzygy #2)
  • The Touring Affair by Charlie Kirby
  • Was He or Wasn't He? The Kuryakin Question Answered by A.F. Allison

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 14

[Close to a Knockout]: I came across this story recently when someone posted a query about it on that splendid fic-finding community, mfuficfind, so it isn't exactly unknown, but it's so brilliant that I couldn't resist reccing it to the wider world. Linda is one of those multi-talented comic writers who can combine humour, drama and emotion in the most satisfying way. Her stories are hugely entertaining: funny, exciting and moving, and wonderfully written. Many of them are told in the first person, from the point of view of an innocent who gets caught up in UNCLE activity, either tangentially or directly, and the voices of these original characters are an absolute joy. The narrator of "Close to a Knockout" is a Chandler-esque private eye (so Chandler-esque, in fact, that his name is Chandler), and the pastiche is spot on. What I love best about the use of OC's as narrators is that it opens all sorts of possibilities for dramatic irony and comic misinterpretations, because the readers know what's going on so much better than the narrator. Linda makes the most wonderful use of this trope. [10]

Issue 15

cover of issue #15

The Kuryakin File 15 was published in 1996 and contains 217 pages.

  • The Beijing Scientist Affair by P.R. Zed (13 pages)
  • If Ever a Good Christmas There Could Be by D. Rojano (7 pages)
  • No Escape by D.H. Bryn (20 pages)
  • Pampas Plutonium Affair by Elise Van Drusull (29 pages)
  • Roses Are Red by Paula Smith
  • Spooks by C.W. Walker (7 pages)
  • The Finished Kiss by P. Ellis (4 pages)
  • The Future Tense Affair by Jean Graham--Are there aliens among us? Solo & Illya are about to find out. (12 pages)
  • The Lost Time Affair by M. Flynn (5 pages)
  • The Musical Affair by L.B. Sternmacher (24 pages)
  • The Prisoner Affair by L. Cochran (25 pages)
  • The Rather Large Russian Affair by T. Croft (22 pages)
  • The Revenge is So Very Sweet Affair by Jill Thomasson (24 pages) (reprinted as a standalone)
  • The Wedding Ring by K.C. Noel (6 pages)


Issue 16

cover of issue #16

The Kuryakin File 16 and was published in 1997. It is 219 pages long.

  • Lorelei's Journal by Linda Cornett
  • A Conversation Overheard by D.H. Bryn
  • An Affair of the Heart by Lin Cochran
  • Hush Hush Kush Thrush Affair by Elise Van Drusull
  • Lonely Nights, Vodka, and a Good Friend by Heidi Manzone
  • The After the Vacation Affair by Heidi Manzone
  • The Compiwter Affair by Liza Jones
  • The Down Under Affair by Jill Thomasson (reprinted as a standalone)
  • The Driving Me Crazy Affair by Patti Ellis
  • The Fantastically Realistic Affair by Lisa Madden
  • The Game Piece Affair by Gina Martin
  • The Halloween Wish Affair by Deborah Rojano
  • The Morning After Affair by Maggie Flynn
  • The Next Generation Affair by Amanda le Bas de Plumetot
  • The Slaves of the Sahara Affair by Liza Jones
  • The Witches of Hull by Corey Brazdil
  • Whatever it Takes by Connie Crouch
  • Winter Child by Maggie Flynn
  • Enigma & Stranger Friend & Brother by Heidi Manzone
  • Faded Photographs by Melissa Mastoris
  • Fifteen Years by Melissa Mastoris
  • That's Enough! by Melissa Mastoris

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 16

[The Compiwter Affair]: Illya and Napoleon have each been given one-half of an important code, but before they can complete the mission they are separated and don't know each other's condition or location. In addition, Illya now has partial amnesia and is also partially paralyzed from what he has been told was a bad accident. The people in the house have informed him they are UNCLE agents but he's not sure if he believes them. Unfortunately, when he tries to eavesdrop on them he discovers he can't understand their language. Fortunately, he finds an ingenious way to comprehend them without letting them find out. So, are they friends or foe? And where is Napoleon and how can Illya rescue him if he can't walk? Could Napoleon possibly be free and coming for Illya? [11]
[The Driving Me Crazy Affair]: This story is something different than I've recommended before, because it isn't a partnership story. Although Napoleon appears in this story, he isn't central to what's going on here. This is an Illya character piece, plain and simple - and one that knocked my socks off. Patti takes the All-American obsession with personal freedom and material possessions, and juxtaposes it against Illya's socialist sensibilities. The end result is a delightful examination of one man's struggle to reconcile his ethics and world-view to the new society in which he now lives. But don't be alarmed - it's not a heavy-handed examination, either. The author's touch is light and the story is leavened with the same self-mocking awareness that permeates the show itself. [12]

Issue 17

cover of issue #17

The Kuryakin File 17 was published in 1998 and contains 176 pages.


Issue 18

cover of issue #18

The Kuryakin File 18 was published in 1999 and contains 222 pages.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 18

See reactions and reviews for Roots of the Present.
See reactions and reviews for La Famiglia Affair.
[zine]: When I look at my early copies of KF, it's hard to believe that those slim volumes have evolved into this hefty collection —17 stories, 222 pages, a scattering of art inside and a colorful IK portrait by Jan Davies on the cover. The stories run the gamut from those with the feel of an episode to the more fanciful. In fact, several involve other worldly elements— is this new, or have I just noticed it? Fodder for Channel W, perhaps. There are some interesting glitches in the 'zine, varying from alternating italic, bold and normal text to squashed together words to editor's or author's notes (NEW STUFF HERE). Sorry, I got a tribber copy so don't know the price.

The First Love Affair by Patti Ellis — NS and IK on a stakeout have a charming exchange, basically NS saying, tell me a story. IK refuses, lies on the cot thinking about his first love, a girl he met when he was 17 and working on a collective farm. Nicely complex characters — the girl is neither gorgeous nor angelic but very intriguing. IK is an uncertain kid looking for a role model of courage and defiance. A very believable story, one that stuck with me.

The Lady Luck Affair by J.E. Bowman — IK and NS lost in a snowstorm are led to shelter in a WWII plane by an apparition. IK finds mementos the crew left behind when they abandoned the crippled plane. NS dreams o f himself as the crewmember who died when his parachute fouled. That crewmember, using NS' body, fixes the plane's radio so the agents can call for help. Sentimental, but well written. I really, really hate the word startlement.

The Collaborator Affair by Jill Thomasson - IK frets over having killed Nexor because o f the physical resemblance; could they have been related? Posing as Nexor, he is exchanged for an UNCLE agent and ends up in the hands of Marshall Gumius and an evil Nazi scientist who abused Nexor as a child. IK is tortured while NS works on finding him. Gurnius is about to kill IK when NS rides to the rescue. He gives IK a picture o f his parents and proof his father died before Nexor was born, so happily there's no relationship.

The Time is Relative Affair by Jennifer Adams Kelley - Crossover between UNCLE, X-Files, Dr. Who and Quantum Leap. Well-written, complex yet logical interconnections. I don't happen to care about any o f those other shows and ended up skipping so much I lost track of the plot. More eclectic fans will love the skillful interweaving.

Vampirus Interruptus by Tammy L. Croft - AU story where IK and AW are vampires and IK is reaching vampiric maturity (sort of like vampire puberty, I suppose) just when he's likely to be bitten by one of the other kind of vampires who are bad which would make his body turn against him and drive him mad, in AW's words. IK is bitten and has a seizure. Dying in the hospital, he is saved when NS suggests giving him a transfusion of his own blood. The story is told by NS in first person and a pensive introduction cleverly lets the reader in on the altered universe in which it occurs. However, in this story and the vampire story that follows, explanations of the arcane rules o f each vampire universe slow the action a bit.

The Southern Hospitality Affair by Donna — If you like to see Illya suffer, this story is a feast. He is captured, beaten, recaptured, rebeaten, kicked, whipped, hung. And then the real torture begins. Solo is paired with a noble female black doctor as he follows the trail to IK. Having grown up in Alabama in the 1960s, I expected more friction resulting from that pairing. It's that eternal issue of writing a show or risk distracting readers with attitudes and beliefs that have faded? The doctor is an appealing innocent, tough and smart and dignified. Second Sight by Mo Boldock — Poor IK; more suffering ahead, I'm afraid (well, OK, I'm titillated). Captured, beaten, stripped (!), beaten more. Meanwhile, NS is struggling with his incredulity so that he can accept the help of a psychic with the useful ability to hone right in like a bloodhound. I thoroughly enjoyed the Danny character. Offered a piece of IK's clothing to help with the search, he insists, "No underwear. I don't do underwear." Mo, was the Boulder reference a happy coincidence, or a "howdy"? A confusing melange of straight, ital and bold text distracted me periodically.

The Paperwork Affair by P.J. Gray — IK, regarded as a privileged "commie" by rank and file, including Napoleon's old partner, is intentionally injured by the ex-partner during a mission, with dangerous results. Or was the injury intentional? The answer is not clear, and perhaps that's just what the author had in mind — to give readers a taste of the discomfort of never being sure. The anti-IK factions are boorish and unlikeable, definitely unsuitable for the egalitarian ranks of UNCLE.

The No Deposit, No Return Affair by Bill Koenig — A lovely female scientist is in danger from vengeful Thrush minions and this time it's IK who gets (well, already has) the girl and NS who must perform most of the agent duties. This is an action story, with lovingly detailed fight scenes and little exploration of the relationship between IK and the innocent. The story is fast-paced, clean and straight-forward.

The Company You Keep by Cindy Walker— Oh, Cindy, I do love the way you write IK stories. This one is delightfully gritty and happily resolved. April Dancer's husband is in danger and the retired agent must call on her old training to keep him safe, with the help of a cynical old friend. It's a fascinating peek into the aftermath o f a career with the UNCLE. Compare this story with the last in the 'zine, where IK and AD are not so friendly.

The Christmas Shopping Affair by Linda Routh — For the lovers of light and sweet, this short story is a bon-bon. You must also swallow a couple of facts from Linda's universe - NS and IK are retired, married with children and as befuddled by what to buy for Christmas as are the rest of us. There's a teasing tenderness between the two shoppers that will appeal to lovers of relationship stories.

Nosferatu Affair III by J.E. Bowman — Another vampire tale, this time part of a series of UNCLE crossovers with Forever Knight. UNCLE is given the bulk of screen time, so even non-fans of Forever Knight aren't off-put. Zark makes a repeat appearance, this time in very dark form as he attempts to engineer Thrush soldiers with vampire proclivities. NS is drained clinically while IK is attacked and gang drained and Nick is imprisoned by sunlamps and garlic. A character named Janette (a FK regular, I assume) plays the hero. Again, action must stop so we can learn the peculiarities of this vampire universe.

The Roots of the Present by N.L. Hayes — A pre-story about the recruitment of a young Soviet Naval officer. Waverly travels to Moscow to meet and assess IK's suitability for service. There is convincing detail about the settings and the relationships of the characters involved that gives the story a very real feel. This is a piece for fans o f philosophy and politics, conversation rather than action, as Waverly and Soviet officials attempt to plumb the depths of the prospective recruit's belief system.

The Tellochranitel Affair by Angela Field — I love the start of this story, with the arrival of NS and IK at a remote cabin seen through the several eyes of a resident spider. IK has been injured in an explosion that also robbed him o f the vital information supplied to him by a Thrush turncoat who died in the explosion. Thrush would like him in custody or dead. NS takes him to his love shack (for recovery and protection — this is a gen story). We're talking h/c — IK in pain, waking from nightmares and heartily resenting NS' solicitude and care. Thrush assassins interrupt the peaceful interlude, nearly finishing off IK but bringing back his memory of their fiendish plot.

Stormbound by Jennifer Lon — IK is lost in a snowy wilderness without his survival supplies or communicator, and fretting about an argument he had with NS, who is relying on him for help with the administrative duties he has assumed after Waverly's death. IK stumbles upon the campsite of an elderly woman who gives him mulled wine and advice and sends him off in pursuit of a rabbit that leads him to a search party, and NS. A gentle little story of magic.

The Awful Truth by Jennifer Adams Kelley — IK is a jerk, rude and dismissive to new agent April Dancer. He's not alone in his attitudes, but manages to get under her skin more than anyone else. NS and Mark decide the two have to work out their differences, so get them tipsy and lock them in a room together. The result is surprising, but feels somewhat truncated. More. I want more. [13]

Issue 19

cover of issue #19

The Kuryakin File 19 was published in May 2000 and contains 200 pages.

  • The "Who Knows What Evil Lurks" Affair by Chajka (15 pages)
  • Episode Title Crossword Puzzle by Lisa Madden
  • The Danse Manchac Affair by J.E. Bowman (14 pages)
  • The Double Affair (The Adventures of George & Quentin) by Bill Koenig (38 pages)
  • The Ghostlight Affair by Charlie Kirby (27 pages)
  • The Read Between The Lines Affair by Linda White (17 pages)
  • The Seafood and Die Affair by Lara Garek (43 pages) (winner of a 2001 FanQ)
  • The Sounds of the Symphony Affair by Marlene Martin (14 pages)
  • The Trainer by Linda Cornett (5 pages)
  • Try a Little Tenderness by Cathy S. Ellis (9 pages)
  • You Always Hurt the One You Love (or: Let's Trash the Russian) by Kathy Norton (13 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 19

[The Trainer]: Why this must be read:

Because this is the best deathfic I have read in this fandom (and many others). No, don't run away! I avoided this story for a long time because of its 'take no prisoners' opening line: "My partner is dead."

Once I overcame my squeamishness, I regretted every minute I'd delayed reading it. Linda does far more than superbly encapsulate the mental, physical and emotional shock of grief. She also reveals the human side of an often inhuman profession, and demonstrates how the end of one partnership can become the beginning of another.

Trust me, and pull the bandage off quickly. It's worth it. [14]

Issue 20

cover of issue #20

The Kuryakin File 20 contains 185 pages. It has a color cover by Jennifer Adams-Kelley and inside art by Corinna Hansen.

  • The Twilight Zone Affair by Kei
  • The Never Never Affair by Bill Koenig
  • A Pause in the Creative Process by Jennifer Adams-Kelley
  • The Blue Beast Affair by Kathy Norton
  • A Partner's Good-Bye by Melissa Mastoris
  • Bad Day by Melissa Mastoris
  • Chains of Love by Melissa Mastoris
  • The Amphibian Affair by Marlene Martin
  • The Between Affairs Affair by Anna Sawitzky
  • The More Than Human Affair by Kei


Issue 21

cover of issue #21

The Kuryakin File 21 contains 160 pages. Contents description from the publisher:

  • The Welsh Rabbit Affair by Vicky Loebel (White rabbits are popping up everywhere at U.N.C.L.E. New York. But from where? How did they clear Security? And are they the forerunners of some evil Thrush plot, or has the world just jumped through the looking glass?)
  • The Christmas Carol Affair by Diana Smith & Pat Dunn (It's the Christmas season once again. Alexander Waverly just can't get into the spirit, however. Until the spirits pay him a nocturnal visit, that is... Now who has the last "Bah Humbug"?)
  • The Rusting Away Affair by Lara Garek (winner of 2003 FanQ) (They say rust never sleeps. When anything iron is turned into a pile of red ash in a matter of seconds, however, not only is it not sleeping, but it is racing to the top of U.N.C.L.E.'s priority list! To compound the issue, Mr. Waverly has assigned two new recruits to tag along with Solo and Kuryakin on this affair. Are they mere babysitters, or will they be able to teach as well as learn something valuable before it's too late?)
  • The Yesterday's Gone Affair by Rebecca Lee (Quite a few people are afraid to fall asleep because they fear they will not wake up. For Illya Kuryakin, it is the fear of waking to a new day that is more terrifying. You see, each day he loses more of his memories. He knows once he falls asleep he will not remember anything that happened that day, nor, most likely several days before that. What is causing this strange phenomenon for our favorite Russian spy? Is it in the New York water supply, or some dastardly Thrush plot?)
  • The Early Days Affair by Vicky Loebel
  • The Forget-Me-Not Affair (Smith & Dunn) by Diana Smith & Pat Dunn

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 21

[Welsh Rabbits]: I hesitated between "Early Days Affair" and this one and eventually decided for the rabbits! (but don't be shy, read both; you won't regret it). I chose to favour the fancy over the more serious stuff (though there is the same sharp wit in both) because it's not so easy to blend humour with action, suspense and mystery and there are not so many examples of the sort in MFU fanfiction.

For this is a real action/adventure story, with all the required ingredients (danger, thrill, surprises, villains), faithful to the show's spirit (two innocents, a convincing characterization, a brisk pace and the expected banters between competitive partners), quite reminding of the third season light tone without the silliness. Add a big dose of SF and a pungent, show off, rather obnoxious original character and you'll have the recipe of "The Welsh Rabbit Affair" for your greatest pleasure.

As the author writes: "When bunnies start popping up in strange places around U.N.C.L.E. Headquarters, where else could Napoleon and Illya expect to find themselves but on the other side of the looking glass?"

So, jump with them through the looking glass and have fun. [15]
[The Early Days Affair]: Napoleon is trying to get a promotion from Number 25 to a higher position in section Two. He's been assigned his first team of his own and it's beginning to look that by the end of the mission Napoleon will be working a courier job in Section Three, quite possibly based in Greenland. Waverly has stuck him with a Russian who is getting a reputation as deadly efficient but irritating, and with an Australian prone to wearing flamboyant Hawaiian shirts and calling Illya "Ms. Kuryakin" and other complimentary names. Poor Napoleon has to build them into a team while searching for possible spies at a missile base, assisting the FBI who definitely doesn't want the help. His two agents are going to get themselves killed if they don't start working together, always assuming Napoleon doesn't kill them both himself. The story is filled with humor, mixed with a strong plot and glimpses into the people Napoleon and Illya will later become. According to the website, this was Vicky's first story, but you wouldn't realize it. [16]

Issue 22

cover of issue #22

The Kuryakin File 22 contains 153 pages. Cover is by Ellen Druda. Content description from the publisher:

  • How to Write a Man from U.N.C.L.E. Script by Kathy Norton (Ever wonder if you have it in you to write a MFU script? Well, Kathy has come up with a formula to guarantee your success....and it's not even very secret!)
  • The Me and My Mummy Affair by Charlie Kirby (The man's voice was cut off, replaced by screams, and when Amun turned, Vanderpelt was gone. He turned and ran as if Anubis himself were pursuing him...... Join Napoleon and Illya as they venture to Egypt in search of a lost Egyptologist, and trying to stay at least one step ahead of Hatshepsut's curse!)
  • The Man from Kansas Affair by Patti Ellis (Illya Kuryakin and Napoleon Solo have just finished an assignment in Manhattan.....Kansas. Their plane doesn't leave for over twelve hours. Solo takes the opportunity to renew family acquaintances from his childhood, and introduce his "business partner" to the joys of life down on the farm.)
  • Small Kindness Affair by Vicky Loebel (winner of a 2004 FanQ) (Ever wonder what an U.N.C.L.E. Christmas party would be like, especially one put together as a benefit for Miss Leslie Mittens' Home for Children? No time like the present to find out, is there? Complete with burning Christmas trees and exploding shoes....and a sinister Thrush plot, of course!)
  • Awaiting the Tiger by Kathy Norton
  • Day's End by Francis Kerst
  • Meanwhile Back at the Farm… by Kathy Norton
  • The Blowback Affair by Linda Cornett
  • The Prisoner of Desire by Kathy Norton
  • The Russian Feast Day Affair by Kathleen J. Easley
  • The What Are You Doing Here Affair by Eleanor Clark

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 22

[The Small Kindness Affair]: Why this must be read:

Because her stories usually appear in print first and then are archived at her own website, Vicky Loebel’s work is not as well known around MFU fandom as it probably could or should be. That’s too bad because she’s a lot of fun to read. She has a quirky, playful sense of humor and her stories are always rich with incisive and occasionally unexpected details. If you want to get a real feel for what it must be like to work for U.N.C.L.E. --- the office politics, the competition among the field agents, the resentment and jealousies that swirl around Solo and Kuryakin’s luck and status, read Vicky.

Many of her stories are set before Solo becomes CEA, which means we also meet his predecessor, the gloomy, by-the-book Gordon Hutchinson, a wonderful character who, though he isn’t canon, should be. Vicky has a couple of other interesting OC’s, the snarky Australian, Paul Matthews chief among them, but she also does a great job giving the canon support staff their due. Most notably, she gets a lot of mileage out of the nebbish, bespectacled George Dennell (“The Waverly Ring Affair”) who has a rich inner fantasy life and fancies himself U.N.C.L.E.’s version of Clark Kent.

In this story, U.N.C.L.E.’s charity front is throwing a party on Christmas Eve for a group of orphans. It’s told from multiple viewpoints, which gives it a sort of Rashomon quality, with all the main characters observing and commenting on the situation and each other.[17]

Issue 23

cover of issue #23

The Kuryakin File 23 was published in May 2003 and contains 144 pages. Inside artwork by Susan Scott. Content description from the publisher:

  • A Mother's Touch by Kathy Norton--What really happened when Illya was alone with Mother Fear? Kathy has done it again with filling in the blanks for a 'missing scenes' scenario that leaves nothing to guesswork.
  • The Waverly's Ghost Affair by Linda White--My name's Tuula Crighton. I'm head of Section Three, New York. But enough about me. I'm here to tell you about the day Solo and Kuryakin rescued Mr. Waverly's ghost.
  • The Burglar Affair by Emrys--Rule One of the successful burglar: check out the mark thoroughly. Rule Two: it has to be a challenge. Rule Three: pick some place worth burgling. To Arthur Gordon, Napoleon Solo's place fit the bill and he couldn't wait to get started. He didn't count on what he'd find once he got on the other side of the door, however.
  • Solo's Luck by Vicky Loebel won a 2005 FanQ.
  • The Because I Miss You Affair by YumYumPM
  • The Black Boots Affair by Di T
  • The Brothers & Other Strangers Affair by Nickovetch
  • The Deerwood Sanctuary Affair by AJ Burfield-- Illya goes undercover and loses his mind.
  • The End-All Affair by M.E. Wells
  • The Garden by Emrys

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 23

[Solo's Luck]: So why is Napoleon Solo so damn lucky? This story provides an answer of sorts and it will surprise you.

Like most of Vicky’s pieces, this one is fairly long and intricately plotted, with gritty action and memorable OC characters. Solo and Kuryakin’s task is simple: retrieve a package containing an extremely dangerous nerve gas before Thrush can get it. Waverly’s orders are direct and ominous: accomplish the mission whatever the cost.

But the way the story is told is complex and it jumps around in time and POV, with a mix of narrative voices. If you stick with it, however, you’ll see that everything eventually falls into place like a jigsaw puzzle.

What I like best about this story is its edgy, take-no-prisoners’ tone, the satisfying denouement, and best of all, its layered literary quality. For example, here we're privy to Solo’s ambivalent thoughts and feelings as he romances an Innocent purely as a means to an end... [18]

Issue 24

cover of issue #24

The Kuryakin File 24 was published in 2005 and contains 194 pages. Inside art by Charlie Kirby. Cover by Cat's Meow Creative Arts.

  • The Bite Me Affair by Charlene Kirby. Crossover with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (winner of a 2006 FanQ) (26 pages)
  • Merrily We Roll Along by Vicky Loebel (11 pages)
  • The Loose Cannon Affair by Jan Beckwith (11 pages)
  • The Hourglass Affair by M.E. Wells (2 pages)
  • The Recall Affair by YumYumPM (7 pages)
  • The Cool and Dark Affair by Linda Cornett (13 pages)
  • The Take Two Aspirins Affair by Nickovetch (4 pages)
  • The Aftermath Affair by Amanda le Bas de Plumetot (14 pages)
  • The U.N.C.L.E. Olympics Affair by AJ Burfield-- Five UNCLE Headquarters, five pairs of experienced agents. Who's going to come out on top? (27 pages)
  • The Oracle Affair by M.E. Wells (24 pages)
  • The Shooting Affair by Vicky Loebel (2 pages)
  • Incident at Chickasaw Bayou Affair by Chajka (58 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 24

[Merrily We Roll Along]: The Man from UNCLE has been going for a long time (it has a claim to be the oldest media fandom) and has been extraordinarily lucky in continuing to attract outstanding writers over the years. I want to celebrate this remarkable longevity by reccing both older and newer stories and writers; some of them are UNCLE stalwarts, whilst others have only recently arrived here, but they have all left their mark one way or another, both on the fandom in general and on me in particular.

I'm beginning with Vicky Loebel. Vicky is one of the most amazing writers in any fandom, ever. Her stories are beautifully written, cleverly plotted and packed with stunning little details and insights into the characters. She's also very witty and a master of the art of perfect phrasing. Vicky usually publishes in zines, but, luckily for us, she puts her stories online after two years have elapsed (and how I wish more zine writers would follow her example). Her Small Kindness Affair, which has already been recced, is possibly my single favourite fanfic of all time, but her most recent transfer from zinedom, “Merrily We Roll Along”, is also a wonderful story.

Amnesiac!Illya battles an icy mountain road, a snowstorm, a lorry full of Thrush and a partner who thinks he's an enemy. The story is told in the first person, and Illya's voice is a wonderful mixture of dry understatement and ironic humour, as he tries to knit himself together, to work out who he is and why he's here, all the while trying to avoid dying. The opening line gives a clear indication of the pleasures to come: “There is an art to driving an automobile down a steep mountain slope in a blizzard that is almost impossible to acquire as a member of the Soviet Submarine Service.” The rest of the story is just as good! [19]

Issue 25

cover of issue #25

The Kuryakin File 25 was published in May 2006 and contains 182 pages.

  • The What Christmas Isn't Affair- by feathers
  • Flight Feathers by Nickovetch
  • Limericks by Periwinkle and Jaye
  • Dancing and Deadly (poems) by Periwinkle and Nocturna
  • The You Drive Me Batty Affair by Lisa Madden
  • The Bamboo Bumbershoot Affair by Charlie Kirby
  • Medals of Honor by Periwinkle
  • The First Season Affair (word search) by Periwinkle
  • PS: I Love You by Emrys
  • Smart Russian by Molly Cate
  • UNCLE Crossword Puzzle by Periwinkle
  • Never Spoken by YumYumPM
  • Archery (poem) by Francis Kerst
  • The Voices of Niagara Affair by Emrys (winner of a 2007 FanQ)
  • Waiting by Periwinkle
  • Ghosts Never Die by Francis Kerst
  • The Hidden Word Affair (word search) by Periwinkle
  • The Last Affair by Loretta Greco
  • Puzzle Answer Keys


Issue 26

cover of issue #26

The Kuryakin File 26 was published in May 2007 and contains 210 pages.

  • The Paper Trail Affair by Hazelayes and Periwinkle
  • The Mrs. Beasley Affair by Loretta Greco
  • The Old Habits Die Hard Affair by Carol Jones
  • The Dancing in the Dark Affair by Mustang
  • The Casablanca Affair by Anonymous
  • Aedes, Morpheus, and the Blond... by Molly Cate
  • Perspective by Nickovetch
  • The Burglar is Back Affair by Emrys
  • The Butterfly Affair by Linda Cornett
  • The Thomas Crown Affair by Anonymous
  • The Tie That Binds Affair by Mary Catherine Marshall
  • The Needle in the Haystack Affair by Mustang
  • For the Lone Wolf by a Fellow Russian
  • The Just Shoot Me Affair by Periwinkle
  • The Panic Room Affair by a Fellow Russian


Issue 27

The Kuryakin File 27 was published in May 2008 and contains 170 pages.

cover of issue #27
  • The S.O.S. Affair by Emys
  • The Last Survival School Affair by a Fellow Russian
  • The If the Suit Fits Affair by Ashley-Pitt
  • The Russian Interpreter Affair by Jan Beckwith
  • The Puzzling Affair (MFU Crossword)- by Periwinkle
  • The Out in the Cold Affair by A Former Russian
  • Crossword answers by Periwinkle
  • The Babe Comes Back Affair by Linda Cornett
  • The In the Past Affair by Loretta Greco
  • The Mud in Your Eye Affair by Hazelayes and Periwinkle
  • The Reds, Whites, and Blue Affair by Nickovetch
  • The Goldfinger Affair by Anonymous


Issue 28

cover of issue #28

The Kuryakin File 28 was published in May 2009 and contains 208 pages. Stories by Charlie Kirby, YumYumPM, Hazeleyes & Periwinkle, among others. color front and back covers by Brad Ferguson.


Issue 29

The Kuryakin File 29 was published in 2010 and contains 230 pages.

cover of issue #29 by Romanse

Issue 30

The Kuryakin File 30 was published in 2011. It contains 276 pages, with 20 stories and art. Color cover and comb bound.

cover of issue #30
  • Operation FicFind (6 pages)
  • Dying is Easy (4 pages)
  • A Bullet for Illya Affair (9 pages)
  • The Red Letter Date Affair (22 pages)
  • Which Came First (1 page)
  • The Kindness of Strangers (5 pages)
  • The Wish You Hadn’t Quoted MacBeth Affair (16 pages)
  • Winds of Change (3 pages)
  • The Russian Samovar Affair (15 pages)
  • The Long Way Home Affair (26 pages)
  • Clothes Make the Man (23 pages)
  • The Two Birds, One Stone Affair (15 pages)
  • The Copycat Affair (41 pages)
  • A Snowy Evening (7 pages)
  • In the Beginning (1 page)
  • No More Secrets (9 pages)
  • The Sloop John B Affair (12 pages)
  • Once Upon a Time (5 pages)
  • The Final Affair (3 pages)
  • The Men from the United Network Command for Law & Enforcement Affair (45 pages)
  • All the Answers (2 pages)

Issue 31

The Kuryakin File 31 was published in 2012 and contains 234 pages (23 stories).

cover of issue #31
  • You That I Defend by Francesca (4)
  • Haunted by Avery (10)
  • Endangered Species by Avery (14)
  • Pitch Perfect by Glenna Meredith (18)
  • Lost in Translation by Avery (22)
  • Petrushka by MLaw (28)
  • The Ten Plagues Affair (parts 1, 2, and 3)
  • The Nightmare Affair by Mustang (74)
  • Graduation Day by Avery (98)
  • The 7 Deadly Sins Affair by Charlie Kirby (102) (nominated for a 2013 FanQ award)
  • Forgetting by Avery (131)
  • Changing of the Past Beliefs by Patricia Krupski (132) (nominated for a 2013 FanQ award)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream by Avery (153)
  • Spring Thaw by Avery (158)
  • The Shining Dome Affair by Charlie Kirby (162)
  • Illya's Folly by Glenna Meredith (171)
  • Mind Game by Avery (180)
  • The Chocolate Box Affair by Helen Parkinson (185) (nominated for a 2013 FanQ award)
  • The Wild Hunt by Avery (198)
  • The Cut Rate Romeo Affair by Mustang (206) (nominated for a 2013 FanQ award)
  • Poisson D'Avril by Avery (229) (nominated for a 2013 FanQ award)

Issue 32

The Kuryakin File 32 was published in 2013 and contains 260 pages. It has a color cover by Charlie Kirby and is comb bound.

Issue 33

The Kuryakin File 33 was published in 2014. It is/was available as a PDF only. It contains 342 pages and 20 stories.

Issue 34

The Kuryakin File 34 was published in 2014. It is/was available as a PDF only. It contains 184 pages and 14stories.

Issue 35

The Kuryakin File 35 was published in 2015. It was available as a PDF only. It is 261 pages, with 24 stories and 3 filks with a color cover by Svetlanacat4.

Issue 36

The Kuryakin File 36 was published in 2016. It was available as a PDF only. It is 136 pages with cover art by Charlie Kirby.

References

  1. a 2007 comment at Crack Van
  2. from Universal Translator #29
  3. from Cheryl Rice in The Clipper Trade Ship #54
  4. from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.2
  5. from Zine Scene V.2 N.1
  6. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #2. The reviewer, Paula Smith, gives it "3 trees." The reviewers in "Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?" rated zines on a 1-5 tree/star scale.
  7. a 2006 comment at Crack Van
  8. a 2007 comment at Crack Van
  9. a 2008 comment at Crack Van
  10. a 2007 comment at Crack Van
  11. a 2006 comment at Crack Van
  12. a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  13. from Z.I.N.E.S. v.2 n.1
  14. a 2007 comment at Crack Van
  15. a 2005 comment at Crack Van
  16. a 2006 comment at Crack Van
  17. a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  18. a 2006 comment at Crack Van
  19. a 2007 comment at Crack Van