The Measure of Affection

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Title: The Measure of Affection
Publisher: Peg Kennedy and Bill Hupe
Author(s): Ros Williams
Cover Artist(s):
Date(s): 1992
Medium: print zine, fanfic
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links: Online at AO3
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The Measure of Affection is a 199-page slash Blake's 7 novel by Ros Williams. It required an age statement.

front cover by Pam Ardmore -- "Frankly, even a bad color cover (ever seen the cover for Measure of Affection?) would probably get my attention over a black ink drawing on a color background." -- a 1995 comment on Lysator
back cover by Baravan



From Media Monitor: "The puppeteer, Carnell, is back, and aboard the Liberator. Is he really on the rebellion's side, Servalan's side, or his own side? What are his motives? And what designs does he have on Avon?"

Author's Notes and Synopsis

I've always said this could never happen to Avon and it wasn't at all what I intended when I started out on this tale, but the plot crept up on me and then refused to go away... [1]


In early 1994, the author wrote of a possible sequel: "A sequel to The Measure of Affection is faintly possible -I never intended to write one in spite of the comment at the end, but am being pressed to do it by some people, and of course I'd love every minute of it." [2]



[A] writes that she does not want preejaculate cluttering up an erotic scene.

I don't especially want it either. It's the relationship I'm looking for, not 'insert tab a into slot b.' I tend to skim the graphic sex bits until I get to some conversation or inner thoughts. And I don't have much of a visual imagination; I never picture the participants in my mind; I prefer the haze, rosy or not, of inarticulate feeling.

The problem with Measure is that there is little or no relationship. Avon and Carnell are never a couple; the story is really about glorious Carnell, manipulating the galaxy for its own good. It's been a while since I read it, and I never plan to read it again. It's boring, unless you are infatuated with Carnell or Scott Fredericks."[3]
This is slash story about Carnell and Avon. The plot involves Carnell manipulating the galaxy to change the Fed from within and he uses Servalan and Avon and everybody else to do it, but Avon goes along because he trusts Carnell even though he doesn't know the whole strategy. Strategy does not make for an exciting plot. Now, that doesn't necessarily make for a dull story, though, and especially not in adult or slash stories but, unfortunately, the relationship between the men is tepid at best -- I never got a feeling that they cared about each other at all, it wasn't convincing.

I'm still trying to make up my mind about Blake in this. I like the tragic dimension toward the end, that the conditioning was too much to really break through but if the Feds hadn't got their hands on him, he would have been great. But, this is an Avon story, so of course Avon has to be the best and all-wise.

Maybe I should only read zines with short stories. [4]
I agree with you wholeheartedly on this! It wasn't just wasn't that great, either. I got my copy yesterday and was somewhat disappointed, but it helped that I also got a copy of _A Companion For My Death_ (by Tashery Shannon) at the same time. *Much* better. [5]
... slash doesn't offend me, but I don't read it either, so I can't comment on Ros Williams' novel, except to say that I find the very idea of pairing Avon with Carnell even more preposterous than I find most B7 slash pairings. [6]
40 pages into this zine, I was convinced that the slightly negative reviews of this zine were all too kind. In fact, I was ready to throw it across the room. The appeal of slash to most people, is that adding sex, or sexual attraction, to the emotional mix between two people, ups the emotional stakes between them, It makes their relationship more intense. None of this is shown in this novel! Even worse than the Avon/Carnell relationship, the Blake Avon relationship was very poorly drawn. I much disliked Carnell's oft expressed belief to Avon that Blake was totally expendable; in fact Carnell seems to think Blake would be better off dead by the middle of season 2 (i.e., well before the Star One obsession) even though it is Blake that has hired him. Carnell himself is drawn as a little tin god, good at everything he does (including major surgery), and surrounded by little Meegats within his staff. Of course Cally, Jenna and Servalan are immediately drawn to him. I'm surprised Dayna didn't fall for him too. And not least, the author doesn't quite have a handle on colons. I have never seen them used as profligately as they are in this novel. On the other hand, there are some nice things here. This is an entire alternate novel, integrated seamlessly into the events of the show as we know them. That is, nothing in the novel actually contradicts anything that happened on the show, and yet, it is *very* alternate. That's hard to do, and very impressive. I also like the idea that without being a spy, Carnell is a true patriot of the Federation, even when on the run from Servalan and working with Avon. [7]
MEASURE OF AFFECTION is probably enough to put anyone off the idea of Carnell with anyone. 8-) Nevertheless, Blake/Carnell would be fun for all the mindgames they could play on each other (amid the other games, of course).[8]
This was a disappointing read--I too thought Carnell was fascinating, and throughout the rest of tthe series, I kept waiting for him to reappear--after all, he'd burned his bridges with the Federation, so his best shot would clearly have been to throw in with the rebels, and I could imagine with glee his crossing swords with Avon, vying for Blake's attention, etc. When I found out about fan fiction, my first question was "What about Carnell!?" (another example of wanting to "fix" the errors made by the series, eh, Sandy?), but until "Measure..." I hadn't seen any--{you mention "Puppeteer" and "Innerspace"--where do I find them?} but this turned out to be a really dull boy-gets-boy, boy-loses-boy, boy-gets-boy-back-despite-the-vicissitudes-of-the-universe story with, as you say, no relationship to speak of...sigh!! [9]


  1. for the rest of the lengthy explanation, see here/WebCite
  2. from Horizon Letterzine #8 (January 1994)
  3. fan commenting on the story on the Virgule-L mailing list in 1993, quoted anonymously with permission.
  4. Zine Review by Sue C on Lysator dated March 1993.
  5. Zine Review by Matthew G, agreeing with Sue C on Lysator dated March 1993.
  6. Zine Review by Sondra S responding to Sue C on Lysator dated March 1993.
  7. Zine Review by Sandy Hereld on Lysator dated April 6, 1993
  8. Lysator, Erszebet B, dated August 26, 1994.
  9. from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (March 11, 1993)