The Other Side (Blake's 7 zine)

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Zine
Title: The Other Side
Publisher: Susan Smith-Clarke
Editor(s):
Date(s): 1986-1993
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Other Side is a slash and het Blake's 7 anthology published in Australia.

This zine is the reason there is no issue #6 of Beyond Antares R-Rated! See the editorial for that zine's seventh issue.

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Lana Brown
back cover of issue #1 is blank; the rust and water damage on this copy is a reminder: Please don't store your zines in the basement!

The Other Side 1 was published in March 1986 and is 141 pages long. It includes sixteen stories and poems by xBryn Lantry, Spirk & Kock, Sue Bursztynski, Susan Clarke, London Bates, Gail Neville, Sue Man Chew, Cally From the Alley and more. It has art by Gail Neville, Karen Irving, Joanne Keating, Shayne McCormack, and Lana Brown.


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for All of Twelve Hours.
See reactions and reviews for Queen of Thieves.
See reactions and reviews for Pastoral Scene: Landscape with Unicorn.
See reactions and reviews for Decision.
See reactions and reviews for Intermezzo in B.
See reactions and reviews for Creation.
See reactions and reviews for Pillar Talk.
See reactions and reviews for Manger du Sucre.
See reactions and reviews for Dealer's Choice.
See reactions and reviews for Nearly Beloved.
See reactions and reviews for Welcome to the Liberator.
See reactions and reviews for Sorry About That, Chief.
[zine]: This 'zine is in general too tasteful for me (it intentionally avoids the sexually explicit), and the writing is of wildly varying quality and mood, with a fair proportion of sheer fluff. People who really like Oblaque or Dark Fantasies will probably not really enjoy this (not high on psychology, kink or sex). People who run screaming from those 'zines will probably enjoy it.

There is poetry in this 'zine. I find the verse by xBryn fairly impressive, the rest of it is normal fan poetry standard (or, Why Did They Bother). I don't like standard Fan Poetry, which is why my slash poetic debut is a fairly technically flashy thing done with sonnets, which just happens to be an explicit sex scene (see Fire & Ice IV, forthcoming).

Now, on to the stories... [See this fans comments on the individual pages.] [1]
This fanzine purports to be erotic and eclectic. In addition to having almost no graphic details, this zine's flyer contains misleading advertising. It hints at a story involving Avon and Vila. There is none. It contains a few poems, all of which are good, but the artwork is so horrendous I had to check the cover to make sure that the drawings were supposed to represent the Blake's 7 characters. The cover has an illustration of Soolin, which is odd considering she doesn't appear in any of the stories. The stories include:

"All of Twelve Hours", a mildly erotic yarn in which Avon seduces Blake and both are out of character. <<But it was fun!;! hJc>> "Pastoral Scene: Landscape with Unicorn". Can you picture Avon, during a fertility ritual, telepathing to Cally, who worries that she won't conceive, "but if you do, let us accept the Goddess's gift with thanks"? <<!;!>> I had to break for an Alka-Seltzer after that line. While I don't oppose a matriarchal society, I find it hard to believe that Avon would respect womankind enough to live in one. And when did Avon get religion? "Dealer's Choice" contains the scene between Avon and Vila which is advertised in the flyer. Vila sort of, kind of propositions Avon in anger and Jest. Avon hits him. Vila then gets propositioned by Gan and accepts, but the author neglected to follow them into Vila's cabin. "Intermezzo in B" Is fairly well-written and pairs Avon with Jenna and Blake with Cally. Too few details. Also appeared in Southern Lights Special 2.5.

"Nearly Beloved" took a lovely concept, that of Avon turning into a masochist to Blake's sadist after Gauda Prime, and did not live up to it. The sexual details are abundant, but the story lacks the depth and richness that ten more pages of characterisation would have leant it. If I hadn't read It elsewhere, I would have accused this editor of hacking up the non-sexual scenes. Still, this is the best story in the zlne, and is available in Southern Lights Special 2.5 (USA) and In the Unique Touch (Scotland) under different titles. [2]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Lana Brown, an homage to Spock Enslaved!. This illo gets around: it was the front cover of issue #2, the back cover of issue #4, and interior art for issue #1, #6 AND #8. A fan writes: "I don’t like much of the art on the inside, and it was not very good for reading on the train/in a shared room with people who didn’t want to look at naked Travis (I didn’t either, but it was my fault – I’d brought the zine into our lives, so I was willing to accept it)." [3]
flyer for issue #2

The Other Side 2 was published in September 1986 and is 131 pages long. It includes fourteen stories and poems by xBryn Lantry, Sebastian, London Bates, Marie Celeste, Julie Dramer, Julie Bozza, Janet Kragg and more. Art by Lana Brown, xBryn Lantry,

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for Doing Time.
See reactions and reviews for So Easy to Give.
See reactions and reviews for The Slave Pits of Ursa Minor.
See reactions and reviews for You Get What You Pay For.
See reactions and reviews for Pale Lost Lilies.
See reactions and reviews for More Than Gratefully.
See reactions and reviews for Ghosts and Ghouls.
See reactions and reviews for Mirror Among the Stars.


[zine]: The Other Side 2. Slightly less "fluffy" than the first issue, although still rather too tasteful in places for me. The xBryn stories and the Sebastian story are my favourites in this issue.

So Easy to Give (A/B) -- Sebastian: A piece from Sebastian's early period, far less bleak than her later work. This is a simple PWP about Blake seducing Avon after a party, and in any other hands it would be a hopeless fluff. The quality of the writing makes it work, and makes it suggest a mood as well as just sex. Excellent illo by xBryn.

The Slave Pits of Ursa Minor (Se/Tr) -- xBryn Lantry: A splendidly dark and twisted story with an unusual view of an unusual relationship. As in _Amber Ambiguities_, xBryn characterises Travis fairly sympathetically and makes him far from the cardboard villain of some fanfic. xBryn's lovely full-page nude Travis is the perfect accompaniment: bringing out all the unexpected _beau laid_ grace that her story's Servalan sees in him.

Knight Takes Knight (A/B) -- London Bates: The editors call this a poem, but it's really a short dialogue piece (note: something does not become a poem because it has lines of irregular length and is less than a page long). Fluff, but nice fluff: I find myself warming to London Bates's writing when she's at her least ambitious and most playful, and the _stichomythia_ effect is rather nice. I like the consistent tone of... affectionate irritation, one might call it.

You Get What You Pay For (A/ocf) - Marie Celeste: I *hate* this one. A PWP: Avon is picked up by a fairly posh, fairly nervous, young girl who mistakes him for a prostitute. He initiates her with tact, charm, manners and unfailing gentleness (all of these characteristics tend to be stated by the author rather than shown in action). Like the A/D in the first issue, it seems to be more about the idea of an experienced man gently initiating a virgin than about the characters - and the use of an original character makes it even less about personal relationships than that one! Sorry about the rant, but (as well as preferring slash to het), I read fanfic for characterisation, sex, emotions, complexity, and humour, and I can't see any of that here. Maybe someone who likes the story could give a conflicting view?

Pale Lost Lilies (A/Anna) - xBryn Lantry: Ah, now this is something more like it. Avon thinking about Anna. Avon unable to forget about Anna. Avon doing Disgusting Things (unspecified) with a prostitute in order to forget about Anna - but failing to forget. Dowson's poem, heavily quoted (including the title), is marvellously effective in this context: "... I am desolate and sick of an old passion/I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! after my fashion."

More Than Gratefully (A/V) - Julie Kramer: Avon saves Vila's life and Vila offers himself in return. A bit of a sentimental wallow, and a bit too much of a "Soppy Wobbly Vila" story for me. As usual, People Who Like That Sort Of Thing will like this.

Ghosts and Ghouls (Avon/Anna) - xBryn Lantry: The famous "necrophilia" story (although suggested rather than stated) - Avon soliloquising Anna's corpse. Very much like Browning's _Porphyria's Lover_ in suggesting that only her death can give the lover absolute and unconditional possession of his beloved (although the fact that Anna wanted to kill him adds an extra twist to this). Packs a hell of a punch into three pages.

Mirror Among The Stars (gen) -- Janet Kragg: A "mirror universe" tale, in which in one universe Servalan and the Feds are "Good" and Blake's rebels "Evil", and in the other universe the other way round. Reads like Trek forced onto b7, but then I like the idea that b7 dealt with moral grey areas that more traditional telly sf didn't (and Classic Trek made a big thing of this "good vs evil" "mirror universe" concept. Am not sure whether later Trek universes used it or not).

Doing Time (B/just about everyone, but ending up with an A/B/V menage) - London Bates: Long ambitious novella that doesn't work for me (as noted before, I think Big Ideas make London Bates's writing fall flat on its face) but devotees of the more wildly romantic parts of her writing will love it (especially the weepie ending). This is the Blake-as-Bull-Alpha story (i.e. genetically-engineered to be very potent and very macho). Well, I think it's a lot of bull, myself, but don't let that stop you if the idea entertains you... [4]
[zine]: My copy is probably a bootleg, since you can very clearly see the ring-binding in the photocopy. Tut tut. I didn’t know that when I bought it, though...

Spent ages trying to work out whether the man on the cover was Avon or Tarrant, due to a misunderstanding with Fanlore. It is Avon, which makes a lot more sense, given the hair. I don’t like much of the art on the inside, and it was not very good for reading on the train/in a shared room with people who didn’t want to look at naked Travis (I didn’t either, but it was my fault – I’d brought the zine into our lives, so I was willing to accept it).

Lots of repeat authors this zine – so, if you don’t like Bryn Lantry or London Bates (not repeated unless you count the poem, but the one fic there is takes up half the zine) then there’s not much for you here. I bought the zine largely for the first fic (i.e. the one by Sebastian), which was something of a mistake since its one of her least memorable. Alas.

Still, overall I enjoyed the fic and the others in this zine enough to make the zine not a waste of my time, and I've already sold it on eBay and thus recouped any unwise money, which does help to seriously reduce the pain, if any.

So Easy to Give by Sebastian (Blake/Avon) Predatrix’s review, already posted to Fanlore, describes this, 'Melancholy' (see - below), and whatever the one is in Other Side 3 as being from Sebastian's ‘optimistic’ period. I’d disagree – I think they’re from her unfocused period (except the OS3 one, which i love! More on that later). I absolutely adore ‘Bittersweet’ and ‘Cat’s Cradle’, which have cracking dialogue and a fantastic depiction of Blake and Avon as people who can’t live with or without each other. Yes, they do end up not together really in either CC or Bittersweet, but I don’t see that as pessimistic particularly, because they could still meet up again in easier times... (but probably Avon will just shoot Blake by accident...)

Anyway, back to the fic at hand: it’s short, there’s not much conflict, Avon doesn’t seem that bothered either way about Blake :( I miss the passion.

The Slave Pits of Ursa Minor by Bryn Lantry (Servalan/Travis) Ain’t nothing wrong with this one, although there’s a random amusing series of typos in which the name Coser has been printed instead of Carnell and somebody’s had to cross out and write over it. The writing’s fine, it’s a credible depiction of Servalan/Travis and how it might work on a sexual level, but I prefer my fic more dialogue based.

You Get What You Pay For by Marie Celeste (Avon/OC) Having read the description on fanlore (Avon has sex with a girl he thinks is a prostitute but who isn’t/or is it vice versa? I don't care enough), I decided to give this one a miss after the first few pages... So I can’t comment further.

Pale Lost Lilies by Bryn Lantry (past Avon/Anna) Again, there’s technically nothing wrong with this, but it does nothing for me. It’s supposed to be sad (I think), but I can’t find a way to get into that emotion, so I just sort of casually observed. Also, I feel it may be too short. It’s very strange coming to zines from online fic, because even a 2-page zine fic is quite a long online fic (strange that we should go this way, when paper is expensive but the internet is unlimited, but it is certainly true. Maybe it’s a sort of ‘in order to make this worth publishing, I should write more’ urge, or the urge to more accurately represent what other paper-books are doing with their prose, since the fic will also be published on paper...). But the kinds of things people write about and the mode in which they write about them on the internet are different as well – i.e. I think sometimes people can say more in a smaller space on the internet than they are inclined to in zines. I don’t know – I’ll have to think about that more...

More Than Grateful by Julie Kramer (Avon/Vila) I skipped most of this one. Avon saves Vila’s life (with an action that did not endanger him really at all), so Vila tries to offer him sex as a reward. Avon says no thanks, Vila is very sad and suggests he might leave and everyone on the ship turns on Avon, who is treated as a heartless bastard (to be fair, I don’t think the others know that Avon rejected the sex, but the fic itself seems to think Avon is wrong to have been like ‘er... I never expressed any sexual interest in you and now you’re naked in my bed. This is weird, please get out’). Then they do have sex... I assume at the end of it everything was nice? Not for me, anyway.

Ghosts and Ghouls by Bryn Lantry (Avon/Anna) Ok, this one I do genuinely like and am glad I read. Avon takes Anna’s body back up to the Liberator and reflects on how he can really be sure he can trust her now... Oh yes. Not going to run away this time. It’s weird and creepy – and makes sense given how fucked up Avon is by ‘Rumours of Death’. Good good.

Mirror Among the Stars by Janet Kragg Gen? Again, I skipped most of this, which is a shame because I like a mirror universe, but they didn’t seem to be doing anything in either the normal universe (now with good Servalan) or evil universe (now with evil Liberator crew). Think Star Wars episode 2: lots of sitting around on couches exchanging passionless dialogue (though the bit where real!Servalan murders all the evil!Liberator crew is quite amusing – but where is her confrontation with evil!Avon? We just skip it! Surely that’s the most interest bit). Quite interesting to discover that Avon & co. are indeed the heroic versions of themselves (what a very depressing thought/no, it isn’t – they are good, really)... but I like the squeaky clean, good-version idea from the kink meme more. Also, I understand there are more mirror universe fics out there in the world – but at least one looks like boyfandom fic. Which is a shame.

Doing Time by London Bates Blake/everyone So, yes, in this fic by the infamous London Bates Blake has quite literally been bred for sex... oh, and you know what? I don’t hate it. I actually kind of enjoyed reading it, partly I expect because, even though I know that it’s almost certainly not, I read it as something of an outrageous satire of... the kind of fic it actually is. The extent that Blake is sexy in this fic is so exaggerated that it must be satire, or farce (it might as well be Blake as Avon who is supernaturally attractive. Personally, I find it much more convincing) – or, if not satire, at least a metaphor. And as a metaphor... I think it works. Everyone’s drawn to him against their will and Servalan is ceaselessly tracking him down across the galaxy, and then mindwipes him and puts him to work, consciously making people realise that the rebellion has failed... although it’s all because of his usefulness as a breeder.

I must admit the fic falls down at any point it tries to explain any part of the Fecund Male business. Where it succeeds though (and you’d be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t, after all that) is... in writing a Blake who is incredibly likeable, and still recognisably Blake (although he’s a bit too willing to trust people and be warm and likeable), and there’s quite a good Avon in there too – I like his crazy search across the galaxy to find Blake, and I like the way they end up together and how Avon is still irritated with him, even in the happily ever after. Personally, I’m not sure why Vila is there as well, but that’s my own preferences speaking, perhaps – I think it’s to give Blake someone it is easy to be around. Which is fair enough, maybe. I also think it hints at what could be quite an interesting ‘Blake in series 3’ plot (as you may know, I think that’s a potentially interesting AU and would read plenty more). The chronology is mixed up because we do ‘City at the Edge of the World’ AFTER ‘Rumours of Death’ (which is interesting because Blake shoots Anna so that Avon won’t know that Anna’s betrayed him and Avon then resents Blake – see: this is my absolute crack. AVON THINKS BLAKE HAS BETRAYED HIM – and in a romantic way too... Sigh. I think that’s a fabulous idea that I now want to potentially explore... but I HAVE DONE RUMOURS OF DEATH TOO MUCH, ARGH)(anyway, for some reason this idea is not explored much by the fic... Avon just forgives him or something). Blake handles the ‘City’ plot well, but it still ends in disaster – again, I think this is interesting. Unfortunately, it’s a very brief interlude in the middle of the fic, which then spirals off into Blake being used as a mindwiped sex slave... but still, the fact is that it was interesting.

If I have to treat this as a serious fic then I think I should protest about the treatment of the women – Cally dies for no reason, Jenna has some sort of bizarre miscarriage plot and then also dies (was she a Fecund Female as well? I have no idea), Soolin is brought it to be Blake’s nanny after his mindwipe... but doesn’t... do anything at all. And Jenna is described as the fastest gunslinger in the west, not Soolin.

I also do wish we’d been shown the bit where Avon decided he would shag Blake too... but perhaps that’s asking for too much emotional realism (but I liked the end). Also, there’s a Blake/Servalan scene, and it seems I am more easy for that even than I thought I might be. Even when Servalan isn’t even really being herself or thinking Servalan thoughts (alas, she’s too caught up in the Bull Alpha silly plot, but whatever).

Also, for a fic about Blake having sex with literally everyone all the time... there is remarkably little sex in it. Seems like a missed opportunity, although I understand that there would be many euphemisms and I probably wouldn’t have liked it much. Even assuming that my ship was pretty much the only one to feature, which it wasn’t.

Anyway – I was expecting not to like this one at all, so – I found the fact that I didn’t dislike it entirely quite interesting. [5]

Issue 3

flyer for issue #3 with story summaries, click to read
cover of issue #3, Lana Brown

The Other Side 3 was published in March 1987 and is 169 pages long. It includes nine stories and poems by Sebastian, Janet Kragg, xBryn Lantry, Leah Rosenthal & Annie Wortham, London Bates and more. Art by Lana Brown and xBryn Lantry.

  • Interjunction by Sebastian (23 pages) (slash)
  • It Was The Devil by Janet Kragg (13 pages) (straight)
  • Sisyphus by xBryn Lantry (35 pages) (straight and slash)
  • Taken In by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (7 pages) (straight)
  • The Unbelievers by xBryn Lantry (15 pages) (straight)
  • The Promise by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (22 pages) (straight) (reprinted from Whatever Works)
  • Cross Dominance by London Bates (45 pages) (slash) (reprinted from E-Man-Uelle #7)
  • Saturday Night by Sue Bursztynski
  • LoCs
  • reviews of Quicksilver Rising #4, and Adult Situations
  • It's Worth the Effort, poem by London Bates
  • You're a Dreamer, Blake, poem by xBryn Lantry

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for Cross Dominance.
See reactions and reviews for Interjunction.
[Sisyphus]: An extended explanation for why Avon chooses to fight the Andromedans for Blake. His thought process and the strange way he chooses to express it/his love for Blake are unusual (even for Avon's POV), fascinating and plausible. Some of Bryn Lantry's fic can be a bit difficult to get into because of the focus on the prose line, but this is both interesting on that level and very interesting on an emotional one. [6]
[zine]: A comparatively large issue this time, but several very long stories rather than lots of short ones. Some xBryn illustrations, which oddly enough I didn't really like in this issue, although I thought the ones in issue 2 were wonderful.

Interjunction (A/B) - Sebastian: The "fluffy dice" story, as M.Fae insists on calling it. Blake and Avon locked up together, start off fighting, dare each other into sex out of boredom, and end up madly in love. I know it sounds daft, but it's nice! Again, a work from Sebastian's short "optimistic" period.

It was the Devil (J/ocm) - Janet Kragg: Jenna is saved from a villain by another villain who wants to rape her -- but is it better the devil you know? PWP.

Sisyphus (A/B, J/C) - xBryn Lantry: Slash without explicit sex. Very much in the mould of Puppeteer: more about what's going on in the characters' heads than anything else, and fascinated by the darkness of the characters' motives and behaviour.

Taken In (A/J) - Leah Rosenthal/Ann Wortham: PWP. Avon and Jenna having a quick fling, thinking themselves unobserved -- but are they?

The Unbelievers (B/J, G/Kara) - xBryn Lantry: Well, if one must have het :-) , this is a good story. xBryn short-changes Jenna's character less than the series did, I think. Nicely characterised and interesting Cygnus Alpha piece (a/u branching from "if they hadn't found the *Liberator*).

The Promise (gen) - Ann Wortham/Leah Rosenthal: I admit to skim-reading this as the printing was unreadable (not only 9-pin dot-matrix, but *faint* 9-pin dot-matrix). Seems to be a hurt/comfort thing where Avon has been taken apart by Travis, there's not much of his mind left, but Vila has promised to put him back together again.

Cross-Dominance (clone/everybody) - London Bates: A professional sex-slave who is either Blake or the clone, but "intensely male. Heroically male" -- yes, we must be in a story by London Bates again. Sex-slave romps about with Tarrant, Avon and Vila in various combinations, while the author tries to keep us in frantic suspense as to whether this is Blake or not. [7]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4, Lana Brown -- "Tarrant looking Too Pretty To Live, all bright eyes and peachy lips - will appeal very much to fans of that sort of thing, who do not include myself (I'm no fan of pin-up boys whose main attributes seem to be legs and a smile <g>)." [8]
back cover of issue #4, Lana Brown -- this illo gets around: it was the front cover of issue #2, the back cover of issue #4, and interior art for issue #1, #6 AND #8

The Other Side 4 (144 pgs, 1987) It includes 20 stories and poems by Joanne Keating, Susan Clarke, Ellis Ward, London Bates, xBryn Lantry, Greg Dales, Linda Cox Chan and more. Art by Lana Brown, Marianne Plumridge, xBryn Lantry, Denise Loague, Rosemary Woodhouse, and Linda Cox Chan.

  • Ellis Ward, "In Lieu of Regrets" (A/V) (reprinted in Southern Comfort #8.5)
  • Julie Bozza, "By Default" (A/V)
  • Geoff Tilley, "A Touch of Love" (orgy)
  • Greg Dales, "The Naked Truth" (C/D, Se/V, A/B, T/ocf)
  • Gail Neville, "Kiss of Death" (So/ocm)
  • Julie Bozza, "Portabello Blues" (A/V, V/oc)
  • Linda Cox Chan, "Interlude in a Flat"
  • Ellis Ward, "A Form of Comfort" (A/B) (also in Southern Lights Special #4.5)
  • xBryn Lantry, "The Haunting" (B/ocm)
  • Greg Dales, "Marcus Sampson & the Orabanda Dragon" (Se/ocm)
  • Quale, "An Island in the Sun" (V/ocf, A/V)
  • Diaphanous Dolly, "Trouble With" (A/B)
  • LoCs
  • London Bates, "How May I Let you (for Avon)" (/) (poem)
  • Heather Saavedra, "No Need for Words" (A/C) (poem)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Song" (C/J) (poem)
  • xBryn Lantry, "By the Last Sun" (A/B) (poem)
  • Teleported, "Rememberence [sic] of Things Past" (poem)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Theatre" (Anna) (poem)
  • Heather Saavedra, "Confessions from Terminal" (A/C) (poem)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

[zine]: Cover art: Tarrant looking Too Pretty To Live, all bright eyes and peachy lips - will appeal very much to fans of that sort of thing, who do not include myself (I'm no fan of pin-up boys whose main attributes seem to be legs and a smile <g,d&rlh>). No Tarrant content, however.

In Lieu of Regrets (A/V) - Ellis Ward: Very nice post-Malodaar PWP - doesn't duck the issue that this is a moment's illusory comfort snatched from a world of shattered trust, and I've seen a few A/Vs set after Orbit that go way over the top in trying to convince us that Love Can Conquer All.

By Default (A/V) - Julie Bozza: Vila drunk, lonely and seeking someone to pick up, talking to Avon. PWP.

A Touch of Love (orgy) - Geoff Tilley: The Trek (IIRC) idea of Mr. Mudd and his aphrodisiac visits b7 in a fluff story owing much more to male soft porn than any women's fanfic tradition. OK, I admit that the line "Blake and Avon had exhausted themselves after furious lovemaking" nearly woke me up, but the rest of the sentence makes it clear the situation is strictly het and f/f, so I returned to my slumbers. Rather clumsily written.

The Naked Truth (everyone) - Greg Dales: Extremely silly fluff which hinges on the crew going off for a bit of r&r, only to be rudely (and nudely) teleported up by Orac when some pirate ships appear. I have a sneaking fondness for this, especially the line "But when the last two shimmered into existence, Vila blinked, gulped, and then said feebly, 'I... see you finally found Blake, Avon.'"

Kiss of Death (So/ocm) - Gail Neville: Soolin's chequered and lethal past before the *Scorpio*. she catches up with the last of the men who killed her family. He thinks she's after sex, but if Soolin asks you to take your clothes off, make very certain you're in a breathable atmosphere.

Portabello Blues (V/ocm, A/V) - Julie Bozza: Vila may have reached the end of his tether with the rest of the crew. He's been used sexually by Avon, and just used for his skills by everyone else. Now he sees a chance of escape with a boy who may love him for himself.

Interlude in A Flat (A/C) - Linda Cox Chan: One-page fluff. Cally has designs on Avon -- but is he having a more serious relationship with the one whirring under the bed?

A Form of Comfort (A/B) - Ellis Ward: Hurt/comfort PWP. Can Avon comfort Blake in his despair? Can Blake let him?

The Haunting (B/ocm) - xBryn Lantry: This is an effective way to use an original character: fill in the gaps in Blake's past and show us more about Blake's desperate need for love and memory. The twist that Yevgeny isn't what he seems is very well done.

Marcus Samson and the Orabanda Dragon (gen) - Greg Dales: Another enormously good-tempered fluff from this writer. A "Mark-Sam" (male form of Mary-Sue), but don't let that put you off! The twentieth-century hero is snatched from his own time for a little intergalactic veterinary work -- but does he trust Servalan to reward him?

Island in the Sun (V/ocf, V/A) - Quale: Vila tries to leave the ship for a new life on a tropical paradise - but his new girlfriend tells him he is too closely linked to Avon to leave, so he returns.

Trouble With (A/B) - Diaphanous Dolly: This is a hoot! Two-page fluff on the Curse of the Tribble Alphas... [9]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5, Lana Brown

The Other Side 5 (134 pgs, August 1988) It includes seventeen stories and poems by Ellis Ward, The Rat Cellar, Judith Ellison, xBryn Langry, Falcon dArenberg, Adrian Butcher, Margaret Pitcher, Severely Weird, London Bates and more. Art is by Lana Brown, Bernice Russel, xBryn Lantry, Marianne Plumridge and Joanne Keating.

  • Ellis Ward, "Reasons" (A/B)
  • From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Unbecoming Conduct" (Se/ocm)
  •  ?, "Midsummer Night's Fantasies" (A/C, V/ocf, B/J)
  • xBryn Lantry, "The Gypsy" (Xenophiles, Part One) (J)
  • Falcon D'Arenburg, "The Lady in Red" (A/Se)
  • Adrian Butcher, "Roj's Rebels"
  • Margaret Pitcher, "If Wishes Were..." (A/D)
  • Severely Weird (John Anonymous Actually and John Snidely-Whiplash), "On Sauterne" (A/V)
  • Venessa Kelly & Sue Clarke, "Mirror Image" (A/Se)
  • London Bates, "First Person" (A/ocm, A/V) (also in Southern Lights Special #3.5 as "First Person Singular")
  • From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Ill-Met by Moonlight" (gen)
  • xBryn Lantry, "At Each Other's Throats Again" (A/B) (reprinted from "touched" #6)
  • L0Cs
  • Judith Ellison, "Duet" (A/B) (poem)
  • xBryn Lantry, "The Drowned, Sea-Tossed" (J/C?) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Reply... Reply..." (?/?) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "And Thinking of Blake" (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Memories" (B/J?) (poem)
  • Sheila Tracy, "Whispers" (A/C; parody of A. A. Milne) (poem)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[At Each Other's Throats Again]: If you can, get hold of The Howling (published in Southern Comfort 6) and At Each Other's Throats Again (published in The Other Side 5, I think). These aren't a sequence but they are companion-pieces, one with Blake as a werewolf, the other with Avon as a genetically-engineered vampire. They're also very funny, and I wish I hadn't mislaid my copies. [10]
[zine]: Reasons (A/B) - Ellis Ward: As usual with this writer, a short, angsty piece. PGP hurt/comfort. Cautious rapprochement -- can they ever forgive each other?

Unbecoming Conduct - From the Archives of the Rat Cellar: PWP. Servalan shows us how she keeps (one of) her troopers in line.

A Midsummer Night's Dream - ? : The Shakespeare plot with a science-fictiony gloss. Blake, Jenna, Cally and Avon as the confused quartet of lovers, "O'Vron" and "Etania" as their alien or faery selves, and Vila as Bottom (although he seems to be a better lover than you could imagine in the case of a workman with a donkey's head). A fluff -- pans out much as you'd expect really, everything sorted out by the final curtain.

Xenophiles (J/ocf, oc?) - xBryn Lantry: A wonderfully piratical and restless Jenna, and excellent sensual imagery of quasi-erotic love between different species. One of my favourite stories in this 'zine.

The Lady in Red (A/?) - Falcon d'Arenberg: Unconvincingly romantic hazy 2-page fluff between Avon and "the lady in red". The point of it is apparently that the identity of "the lady in red" is a surprise, but the characterisation of the pair of them is so weak that it doesn't really work for me. No dialogue during the romantic bit, just very soft-focus description... you can tell this isn't my sort of thing, can't you?

Roj's Rebels (gen) - Adrian Butcher: Very silly piss-take played for broad farce. Doesn't push buttons for my particular sense of humour, but I'm sure somebody will find it amusing...

If Wishes Were... (A/D) - Margaret Pitcher: Another one inspired by the "Avon chained to a Pillar" illo. Dayna is trying the more obscure reaches of the dream simulator to get what she wants from Avon. Doesn't work, but she's determined to keep trying...

On Sauterne (A/V) - Severely Weird: A splendidly loopy piss-take of the "Avon needs a Teddy Bear" school of slash fiction. The riotously overwritten sex scenes remind me of London Bates for some reason. Excellent moment when Avon notices Vila's teddy bear tattoo and realises the factual basis of a few drugged hallucinations he once had: "...that was you as WELL??!!'[....] "I dreamed of Anna... Anna with a tattoo!!'"

Mirror Image (A/Se) - Susan Clarke/Venessa Kelly: Servalan, with, apparently, a very sweet, innocent clone of Avon. However, she doesn't know the whole truth.

First Person (A/ocm, A/V) - London Bates: I don't believe it! A London Bates story with Blake dead! However, along comes the Baron, who is powerful, masculine... and looks exactly like Blake except that he's a natural redhead. Business as usual, then. Vila (and the Baron) help Avon back to sanity after Gauda Prime.

Ill-Met By Moonlight - from the archives of the Rat Cellar: Very silly fluff. Nice punchline - which I won't give away.

At Each Other's Throats Again (A/B) - xBryn Lantry: Even xBryn's fluffs are memorable. I think of this as a vampire companion piece to the werewolf in _The Howling_ (_Southern Comfort 6.5). Excellent humour and dialogue. One of my two favourite stories in this 'zine. [11]
What a relief after the last few [zines I've read and commented upon] - this is a real zine, with real stories in it.

Ellis Ward, "Reasons" (A/B) It's a PGP, Blake's people do horrible stuff to Avon before Blake wakes up and tells them off. It's fine - I've read this plot a lot and I rarely like it - this one doesn't even have any sex in it! But it's OK. It's a lot better than anything in 'Avon Anyone?'

From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Unbecoming Conduct" (Se/ocm) Not bad. Quite a nice idea.

?, "Midsummer Night's Fantasies" (A/C, V/ocf, B/J) Lots of fun - though it could have been better with more characterisation during the crazy we-love-Jenna section. I particularly like that while Jenna and Cally should (to follow the story) start fighting over the men, they actually just shrug. What's interesting is that Blake, a character we know (and who we know has issues with brainwashing), has to play Demetrius - he's not interested in sex as he's too into the revolution. So it seems a bit creepy to basically magically brainwash him away from this interest and into Jenna's arms.

xBryn Lantry, "The Gypsy" (Xenophiles, Part One) (J) Too Bryn. Didn't read.

Falcon D'Arenburg, "The Lady in Red" (A/Se) Didn't read.

Adrian Butcher, "Roj's Rebels" I actually found this consistently funny, so well done parody. Probably my favourite bit is: Jenna put an arm around her beloved leader. "Blake's right. He always is - that's what makes him so wonderful." / "Jenna's right," Blake agreed. but lots of other funny stuff. I also like that it's based around a specific episode.

Margaret Pitcher, "If Wishes Were..." (A/D) Paper-thin plot - Dayna is trying to arouse Avon with a fantasy of himself chained to a pillar. Surely we could do better with the prompt.

Severely Weird (John Anonymous Actually and John Snidely-Whiplash), "On Sauterne" (A/V) This one I didn't find funny, so skipped after not too long.

Venessa Kelly & Sue Clarke, "Mirror Image" (A/Se) Another Avon!sex slave, though this one is a clone, and Avon is the son of the new leader of the clonemasters. This is actually a semi-interesting plot, which is completely misused (i.e. not used at all beyond the fact that Avon has a clone). Bizarre ending, which is either implying that Avon's been replaced by the clone ... or it's just laughing about the fact Avon has a clone. Not sure.

London Bates, "First Person" (A/ocm, A/V) To my shame, I kind of like London Bates stories - at least she likes Blake! (and she likes a powerful man of property and influence) Anyway, this is another Avon!brothel story, but he chose it this time as he can make more money this way than by computer skills. Apparently. There's someone who looks like Vila as a brothel customer, as well as someone who looks like Blake (the brothel owner) - but it's not a clone story; it's just a coincidence! Alas, Avon and the fake!Blake never have sex either - fake!Blake just provides Avon with the real Vila to help him get over his pain. Ultimately, it's not very good, but I enjoyed reading it anyway...

From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Ill-Met by Moonlight" (gen) Nothing to do with Midsummer Night's Dream - a very long, very confusing excuse for a single joke. Not worth it.

xBryn Lantry, "At Each Other's Throats Again" (A/B) This one is squirrelled away at the back of the zine, behind letters of comments, adverts etc. Fortunately I found it - as it's quite good. Avon's a vampire, like all the old families, and can't resist Blake once Blake is also (I think) bitten by a vampire bat (though primarily he doesn't partake). It has this line, which I particularly like: "After all, if rare, exquisite food and handsome, husky men are two of your favourite hobbies - why not take the logical step and combine the two?" Erin says, I should remark on how vampirism is here used as an awkward metaphor for homosexuality (though she generally liked the fic significantly more than I did), although I feel that this is more what vampirism is in general used for, and that it's only lightly hinted at here. That said, I'm a very bad reader for Bryn Lantry in general because I'd have to spend a lot more time reading the prose than I am willing to and this means I miss a lot. [12]

Issue 6

front cover of issue #6, Lana Brown

The Other Side 6 was published in 1989 and contains 128 pages.

It includes fourteen stories and poems by Quale, Margaret Pitcher, London Bates, Annie Wortham & Leah Rosenthal, Linda Cox Chan, xBryn Lantry & Judith Ellison. Art by Lana Brown, Linda Cox Chan, Denise Loague & Andrew Williams. Art by Lana Brown, Linda Cox Chan, Denise Loague, and Andrew Williams.

  • Lost Dreams by Linda Cox Chan (slash) (6 pages)
  • Avon's Law by London Bates (slash) (9 pages) (reprinted from Southern Lights #3.5)
  • For the Birds by Leah Rosenthal & Annie Wortham (originally published in 1986 in the gen zine Melange #8) (16 pages)
  • Dreams Realised by Kris and Ty Downs (slash) (6 pages)
  • Shadows in the Rain by Quale (62 pages) (also in Adult Situations #3)
  • To Dream No More by Margaret Pitcher (5 pages)
  • Not in Death by London Bates (slash) (9 pages) (also in Southern Lights Special #3.75 as "Not in Death nor Sleep Repose")
  • You're a Dreamer, Blake by xBryn Lantry (poem)
  • Regrets by Janet McNeil (poem)
  • G.P. by Judith Ellison (poem)
  • Letting Go by Judith Ellison (poem)
  • Held by Judith Ellison(poem)
  • Thin Walls by xBryn Lantry (poem)
  • The Trendy Rebel by Andrew Williams (poem)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

[For the Birds]: One of the earliest serious stories Leah and I collaborated on. In fact, I think it might be the first serious one. Although it isn't a slapstick type comedy like Bizarro 7, it does have its own element of absurdity. The original illustration is included. Originally published in Melange and later reprinted in B7 The Other Side #6 (Why was this printed in an Australian "adult" zine? I don't know. The story is not even R-rated). [13]

Issue 7

The Other Side 7 90 pages. This issue contains a single novella by Moira Dalhberg called Old Friends and is illustrated by Yvonne Hintz.

Issue 8

cover of issue #8, minds-i-view

The Other Side 8 was published in May 1992 and contains 100 pages. It includes seventeen stories and poems by xBryn Lantry, Sean Charles, Natasha Barry, Judith Ellison, Maree Celeste, Margaret Pitcher, minds-i-view, Kris & Ty Downs, & Gail Neville. Art by minds-i-view, Lana Brown, Theresa Buffaloe, and Adrian Morgan.

Fiction:

  • From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Sauce for the Goose" (A/Se)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Victory" (A/B) ("Imprisoned, Blake must finally make the choice between the cause and Avon.")
  • Sean Charles, "Defences" (A/B, B/J) ("Pride -- even more than Jenna -- keeps Avon from what he desires most -- Blake.") (also in Avon's Gadget Works and Double Vision)
  • Natasha Barry, "Blake's Sin" (A/C, A/B) (also in Resistance #7)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Tangents" (C/J)
  • Margaret Pitcher, "A Fate Worse Than Death" (A/Ta)
  • Kris & Ty Downs, "Return to the Scene of the Crime" (A/V; sequel to "Dreams Realised")
  • minds-i-view, "Alone and Silent" (A/Se)
  • Gail Neville, "In the Flesh" (Flesh Gordon crossover, with largely offscreen A/C, B/J/V)
  • Peighi, "Preoccupied Thoughts" (B/J, A/B)
  • Maree Celeste, "Reprisal" (B/Tr)

Poems:

  • Judith Ellison, "Reaching and Searching" (?/?) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Reflections" (?/?) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Talking to Himself" (A) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Wanton Impulses" (A/B) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Enough for Now" (A/B) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Taste of Tears" (A/B?) (poem)
  • Judith Ellison, "Guidelines" (poem)
  • Peighi, "Love in a Vacuum" (poem)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

[zine]:

From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Sauce for the Goose" (A/Se): This is a short jokey fic - I want to give away the joke so I can talk about it, but that seems cruel. It's short - I enjoyed it.

xBryn Lantry, "Victory" (A/B): Lots to like in this one, which is PGP and has truth drugs (or does it?) and pyschostrategist, and Avon making The Ultimate Choice. Not sure whether Avon heard the word 'brother' in what Blake said about him, but maybe Blake is confused. Nice ending.

Sean Charles, "Defences" (A/B, B/J): This fic begins with a line so brilliantly apposite that elviaprose, x_los and I have been amused by it since the zine arrived: Avon struggled to control his feelings. Well, indeed. They apparently enjoyed this one - I found it really hard going and had to stop after a few pages. It's really long.

Natasha Barry, "Blake's Sin" (A/C, A/B): Bizarre S3 fic in which Cally comes to tell Avon that she knows he's in love with Blake (he's like - sigh, yes, though I don't like him), but she wants to have sex with him anyway. This seems very odd for Cally, though perhaps I've just been trained by fandom to think Cally is true love or nothing, because I'd think it was OK for Tarrant. Or Jenna.

xBryn Lantry, "Tangents" (C/J): This is nice (if slightly confused), and has the nut-brown line of hair between Cally's breasts that Nova refers to in her 'Sleer as Folk' essay. Interestingly alien. The open ending doesn't help the general air of confusion about what it all meant. Also has some previous B/J (this is S4/PGP).

Margaret Pitcher, "A Fate Worse Than Death" (A/Ta): Another very strange fic - Avon pretends to rape Tarrant to distract an 'old friend' of his while the Scorpio fires on it. Apart from how uncomfortable this whole fic is, I also find it bizarre that the first line is "You arrogant, empty-headed blond idiot!" because Tarrant... isn't a blond.

Kris & Ty Downs, "Return to the Scene of the Crime" (A/V; sequel to "Dreams Realised"): Didn't read.

minds-i-view, "Alone and Silent" (A/Se): Avon tied to column fic. Very short and simplistic - Avon is beaten by Servalan and is irritated and sad.

Gail Neville, "In the Flesh" (Flesh Gordon crossover, with largely offscreen A/C, B/J/V): What's weirdest about this (fairly amusing) crossover is that, as my note above says, all the sex is off screen! And Avon ends up having a lot of conversations about science with Doctor Jerkoff. Why isn't it leuder? There is a sex ray, though, and a planet porno. Wikipedia tells me there's no on-screen sex in Flesh Gordon either, so perhaps it's appropriate. But surely it would be better with some actual sex it in?

Peighi, "Preoccupied Thoughts" (B/J, A/B): This is the craziest shit. Avon's thoughts are preoccupied with all the rocket babies he's given life to. He seems completely uninterested in anything else, except these babies, until the final paragraph when he realises he should be in a slash fic and propositions Blake.

Maree Celeste, "Reprisal" (B/Tr): Travis rapes Blake - something that is surprisingly rare in this fandom. It's quite well done, except that I think it's set PWB... in between Blake's two trials ... I think. Timing could basically be much clearer. [14]

Issue 9

The Other Side 9 (118 pp., February 1993) This issue contains 2 large stories by Fran Ward & Susan R. Matthews (a reprint, previously published in Southern Seven 1), plus new series by xBryn Lantry. Poetry by xBryn Lantry & Judith Ellison. Cover - minds-i-view.

cover of issue #9, minds-i-view

Fiction:

  • Over the Styx by xBryn Lantry (A/B)
  • Don't Send Me Back by Fran Ward (A/C, "After Ultraworld, Avon & Cally must deal with being in each other's bodies... & minds.")
  • Love and Necessary Discipline by Susan Matthews (64 pages) (Gen, A-T, "No sex, but something adult & uncomfortable, delving into the working of the mind, the stresses, its collapse & rehabilitation.") (reprinted from Southern Seven #1)

Poems:

  • Pity by xBryn Lantry, poem
  • Appeasing by Judith Ellison, poem
  • A Short Tale by Judith Ellison, poem

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

See reactions and reviews for Love and Necessary Discipline.
[zine]: The Other Side tends to be uneven in what they present. This edition is no exception. It includes only three stories and some poems.

The second story is a longish 'the-tubes-got-switched-at-ultraworld', and I, who will willingly read almost any tripe, just cannot bring myself to read this plot. Once was enough.

The third story is a long one, 'Love and Necessary Discipline', by Susan R. Matthews. Matthews is a frustrating writer for me to read, because I think she does some of the most effective 'hurt' writing around, but falls down on resolution, and absolute avoidance of slash. In this one, a PGP, the Scorpio crew meets up with the rebels on GP, who go underground during the long, hellish winter and invite the strangers to winter with them. Avon has been mindlessly beating Tarrant, who is nearly dead when they stumble into the rebel hideaway. (Two of the rebels are familiar characatures...green eyes and temper, blue eyes and twitchy.) Now while Matthews writes out the dysfunctional dynamics of the group (Tarrant does not defend himself, no one moves to stop Avon; his interaction with Tarrant is ignored by Vila, Dayna and Soolin, altho they know Tarrant is dying) thru the eyes of the two GPers, then the POV of the crew, then Tarrant and finally Avon, the story is effective and horrific. But when she at last allows Tarrant to receive medical help, the story turns nice, Avon sees the error of his ways and is contrite, they start working together again, and no one desires anyone carnally, even while the final nice scene plays itself out in a steambath.

Ah, and the first story, 'Over the Styx', is by Bryn Lantry, one of my personal favorites. And it is another gem. Lantry explores the situation on the London, if the Liberator had never appeared, and throws another curve: ex-Space Commander Travis is a prisoner too. Lantry writes very good Blake - she captures his humor, his dedication, and in this incarnation, his acceptance of what has been left of his mind and body. He also finds himself falling for Avon, and can only laugh at the irony of it. Lantry writes perhaps the only sympathetic Travis around - flawed, but understandable. She tells most of the story in dialog, which is exquisite. No sex, tho, just a couple of promising kisses and sad longing. It is labeled as part one, and I'm looking forward to reading part two. Meantime, I rummaged thru the stacks, and found 'Amber Ambiquities', another favorite Lantry story. I don't really know how she does it, because her dialog is not what aired, but it is often more true to the characters' spirits than what is heard in the episodes. At least, what I like about the characters. Ah, *metacharacter*, is that it?" [15]
[zine]: "General comments: I love this series, it's one of my favorites. This issue had only 3 stories, though -- one slash, one adult, one gen but rough.

OVER THE STYX (part 1) by Bryn Lantry. AU, A/Travis, B/A. I want part 2!!! Travis is a fellow prisoner on the London (his first name is Sven 8-) and he and Avon team up, more or less, while poor Blake is mistreated by Raiker (the mutiny failed, no Liberator). Avon has the hots for Blake, though, and finally lets on to Blake who reciprocates ...and then the story ends! I want part 2!!!

DON'T SEND ME BACK by Fran Ward. Avon and Cally are lovers at the time of "Ultraworld" and Tarrant mixes up the tubes.

LOVE AND NECESSARY DISCIPLINE by Susan R. Matthews. Avon killed Blake and is slowly killing Tarrant, abusing him day after day because he can't handle what happened. Tarrant lets him because...well, read it for yourself. It's sort of the psychology of a batterer. [16]
[zine]: Nothing really to say about this, except that I shouldn't have bought it. I read 'Love and Necessary Discipline' in 'Southern Seven' ages ago (and didn't particularly like it). I like bodyswap, but I've become less interested in reading A/C as time's passed, and 'Over the Styx' is on the internet. I do like it, though - definitely one of my favourites (interestingly it's not one of x_los's. I guess we have the opposite taste in Bryn, which is interesting). Loads of things I like about this fic - the moment where B/A almost looks like it's going to happen and then gets derailed (while we still feel the sense of possibility) into A/Tr. It's an interesting premise even without Travis (what would happen if the Liberator hadn't appeared?). I like Blake's nickname being widely used (disgustingly, I'm into rank and position, so I like him being called 'General'), Blake's dignity and good humour in response to both Travis and Raiker, and Avon, of course. Alas that it does not have the promised sequel. [17]

References

  1. by Predatrix at Knightwriter
  2. from "touched" #11
  3. from aralias; reference link
  4. from Predatrix at both Knightwriter and Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  5. Aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on DW; reference link
  6. from Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, August 5, 2013
  7. from Predatrix at Knightwriter
  8. from review
  9. by Predatrix at Knightwriter
  10. 2002 comments by Predatrix
  11. from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  12. comments by Aralias, see full post at Lots of not very good zines, November 13, 2015
  13. Ashton Press, 1998
  14. review by aralias at zines: the other side 8 and 9, avon calling 2; archive link, , January 27, 2016
  15. In 1993, Nicole V. posted this review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  16. Subject: Zine review: The Other Side 9 by Sue C. on Lysator dated August 4, 1993.
  17. review by aralias at zines: the other side 8 and 9, avon calling 2; archive link, , January 27, 2016