The Other Side (Blake's 7 zine)

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Title: The Other Side
Publisher: Susan Smith-Clarke
Date(s): 1986-1993
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
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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.

Art: Avon and the Pillar

The illo by Lana Brown of Avon chained to a pillar appears in every issue.

"Avon and the Pillar"
the illo is an homage to the cover of Spock Enslaved, art by Karen Flanery

In issue #5, one of the editor refers to its appearance as "continuing our tradition." In issue #7, he is referred to as the zine's mascot.

Inspired stories: 1) Sue Bursztynski's story, "Pillar Talk" (issue #1) ends "with apologies to the author of "Spock Enslaved" 2) "To Dream No More" (issue #6) by Margaret Pitcher

Some titles of this art: "Avon and Pillar," "Avon Enslaved to a Pillar," "Avon with Pillar," "Avon and the Pillar," and "Avon and His Pillar."

Issue #1: interior art
Issue #2: cover
Issue #3: small detail on the editorial
Issue #4: back cover
Issue #5: interior art
Issue #6: interior art
Issue #7: small detail on the editorial
Issue #8: interior art
Issue #9: interior art

General Fan Comments

I was glad to see TOS. I find it odd that a series that was almost asexual makes writers think of sex. hind you, all it takes is Mr Darrow scowling or smiling and.... (well you know). I was glad to see the Avon and Pillar drawing again, it makes all kinds of plots start going around in my head. Servalan had a wall, Avon a pillar. Male and female symbols perhaps? I enjoyed the stories as usual. There's not a lot of Blake's Seven stories around these days so that makes TOS doubly nice. Keep up the good work. Please. [1]

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Lana Brown - a fan's comment: "That's a beautiful picture of Soolin on the cover, but I didn't find one single story with Soolin in it. I would like to have seen one. I am still waiting for someone to write a Tarrant and Soolin love story - I like Tarrant. And I love Soolin - especially the Soolin portrayed in Warlord." [2]
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 contains 141 pages.

flyer for the 1st issue from the back of Southern Seven #1, click to read

It has art by Gail Neville, Karen Irving, Joanne Keating, Shayne McCormack, and Lana Brown.

From the editorial:

We know there will be disapproval to some of the content, but we tried to have as many different types of stories and poems so that there would something to appeal to everyone. If you don't like slash, then don't read those stories, but enjoy the others, and try and be tolerant to those who do enjoy them.

We'd like to thank our contributors whose works inspired us and our artists. Mind you, there were times - like trying to read contributions whilst under pre-med in hospital! -when we were covered in blushes.... It was an Education putting this together -in more ways than one. Mind you, we'd like to see some of this done before we'll believe it possible!

The idea of this zine mushroomed. At the beginning of January we were pushing to make 40 pages, then suddenly we had to sit on it to get it back under 150. The reason for 145 pages? It's economics, if it goes over that, overseas people would have to pay over $15 in postage alone. Mind you, if we hear that this is what they want, we may change our current editorial policy of not having any issue over 145 pages.

Do we want to hear from you? Well, yes, we can't really tell if this zine has been favourably received, or just totally ignored, by dead silence. So if you can spare a little time to write, or contribute, we would like very much to hear from you.

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 Bryn 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.] [4]

[zine]: 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. [5]

[zine]: Reading the zine, I’m not surprised

people used pen-names. Phew!

My favourite was ’’Queen of Thieves” - a delightful little story and quite believable -typical Vila!

I tried very hard to suspend disbelief for the ’slash' stories - as you know, I’m not into that type of story -but I’m afraid both stories ‘failed to convince me. ’’All of Twelve Hours” might not have been too bad if it hadn’t been for Avon’s line about women being ’the equivalent of sandwiches’. There my attempt to believe broke down, I’m afraid; I simply can’t see Anna’s passionate lover dismissing women so casually. If he’s that way inclined (and the line suggests that he is, rather than the more common ’slash* reasons that the heroes are expressing their friendship physically), why didn’t the Feds send their best-looking male agent to spy on him? Surely they’d have that much information about him and if they didn’t, they’d know soon enough when Anna came back in disgust! And even if Avon had had an affair with her, it would have been a casual thing; you don’t allow yourself to be tortured for five days for someone you regard as ’the equivalent of sandwiches’!

”Manger Du Sucre” was fun and I enjoyed "Dealer’s Choice” (poor Vila) and "Welcome to the Liberator”. "Intermezzo in B” had some nice lines; my favourite was the one about Avon being a charmingly rumpled study’. It conjured up images -Avon swaying slightly from drunkeness, hair ruffled, clothes messy -lovely!

Not sure I can see Blake and Gaily together, though - those two are far more likely to spend the night boring everyone but each other exchanging stories about their rebellion experiences!

Throughout there tended to be a use of such cliched terms as ’tower’ for the male organ; I really don’t know why people who aren’t embarrassed to write graphic stories should worry about calling it by its right name!

I loved Lana’s illos to my stories, especially that Avon chained to a pillar! She’s quite an artist and I’m very lucky. [6]

[zine]:I do hope you intend to publish a second issue (and a third, and a fourth, etc) because I loved it!

Undoubtedly my favourite story is "Intermezzo In B”. It was very unusual pairing Blake and Gaily together and Avon and Jenna together. The story was very well done and Blake and Gaily were very credible. Of course I liked the Avon and Jenna part best. What a charming idea -Jenna ’’putting the make” on Avon. I love that line, ”He was currently such a charmingly rumpled study, leaning over her more daringly intense than she’d ever seen him that if he kissed her like that again, she’s jump him.” What a delightful image! I likewise adored the line that Jenna has about why she doesn’t want to ’do it’ on the flight deck. ’In front of Zen? Whatever would Orac think of us?’ I doubt seriously whether Jenna would care what Orac would think but I think that Avon would. That makes the next line, ’Avon was too startled to ask and she snatched him away and into her quarters’ all that more endearing. I loved it! I really did!

I so liked "Pastoral Scene: Landscape With Unicorn”, It was a nice, gentle story. I kind of glassed over it at first because it was a little hard to 'get into. I especially liked the description of Avon and Gaily dancing at the Festival and the account of what happens afterwards.

I also especially liked Bryn Lantry's story. 'All Of Twelve Hours' and London Bate's story, 'Nearly Beloved', I found them both to be well-written, interesting and 'stimulating'...’. I really do like Avon and I appreciate his love for Blake. It's not so hard to imagine that he would desire Blake physically as well. After all, there were a finite number of potential subjects in Blake's little group and it would be reasonable to assume that given all the time they spent together, totally isolated from everyone else, that they would develop intimate relationships. It seems a more honourable (moral) for Avon to have the kind of relationship with Blake than for the two women to be passed amongst the four men in order to keep the relationships strictly heterosexual. After all, Avon does love Blake! And Bryn and London paint such an exquisitely beautiful picture of that love.

The only negative comments I have are modest. That's a beautiful picture of Soolin on the cover, but I didn't find one single story with Soolin in it. I would like to have seen one. I am still waiting for someone to write a Tarrant and Soolin love story - I like Tarrant. And I love Soolin - especially the Soolin portrayed in Warlord.

I just saw Deliverance for the first time the other day and I loved it. Avon was so, so sexy. I just could not believe how gentle and tender he was with Meegat. Now I really do appreciate Bryn Lantry's poem "Waiting For God". Wow! I also just saw Weapon for the first time. I thought Carnell was marvellous. Now there is someone really sexy who pairs well with Servalan. It's a nice potential story line for fans to pursue.[7]

[zine]:I liked London Bate's 'Nearly Beloved' very much (sigh, a nice, happy ending), and Sue Bursztynski's contributions, and 'Intermezzo', and 'Dealer's Choice' and 'Decision' was as moving as when I first read it. Perhaps the best thing about The Other Side is the art. Lana Brown deserves a medal for hers, Gail Neville's portfolio was marvellous, and the quotes very apt - particularly for Dayna, I love the illo of Blake and Avon by Shayne McCormack on page 19 .All in all, a wonderful zine - congratulations.[8]

[zine]: I enjoyed Bryn Lantry's poetry and story a dramatic the zine lot. The short bits I've read are mostly very good, whether as pieces that don't go into much detail or as jokes. The last one in zine... Well, I'm glad not everything is taken as farce, but that DID end the zine with a truly appropriate flourish. Loved it. And while some of the illos are, um, very much what they are (particular "Avon Enslaved To A Pillar"), I feel constrained to point out that they idealise somewhat upon the supposed subjects of the portraits. Oh, well, I'm sure the fiction does too, and what's this zine for if we're going to stick to realism? I'm not sure how well the longer stories work out. The lead artist (the cover, the "Avon & Pillar job, many others) is a real find; hope you can keep her chained to the drawing board -er, on tap to work on more conventional B7 stories, as well as any future Other Side's that may materialise. The editorial policy of 'adult' material in an adult (in more more usual senses)-level literary context is much appreciated, and I do hope you'll be able to continue with it, and the zine.[9]

I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side #1 - specifically the Vila story, "Queen of Thieves". The slash fanlit doesn't, on the whole, do anything for me. I can see why most contributors opted for pen-names. Sue B's stories are always a delight. Bryn writes with considerable sensitivity and as for Lana's artwork - beautiful! I loved the illo for "Welcome to..." as well. [10]

[zine]: When I first saw it (T0S#1)... the terrific Binding and the Cover Art... I said to myself, a typical gem from the stables of Susan Clarke and Joanne Keating. The Contents and the Art Credits also confirmed this... the zine had been put together with love and devotion. But when I started to read... I got that the feeling that the Harold Robbins style of love-making was on the pages and not that of real Sex and Love. The writers either didn’t have their hearts in the work, or they didn’t have the experience needed to write on the subject, and it isn’t easy... and I know people... writers who have been married for over ten years and they don’t know what Sex and Love are... and certainly can’t put it on paper. The stories were okay, but not the Sex side of them. Then I liked most of the Artwork. I believe the Cover by Lana has more sensuality than those with no clothes. Otherwise, I enjoyed all I read and saw... a great effort... see you next time, girls.[11]

I really enjoyed your fanzine (and "Decision"). I enjoyed London Bates’ "Nearly Beloved", though it definitely deserved the double-slash rating! Don’t be shy about publishing more! [12]

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.
flyer for issue #2

The Other Side 2 was published in September 1986 and contains 131 pages.

The art is by Lana Fahey and Bryn 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 Grateful.

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 Bryn 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 Bryn.

The Slave Pits of Ursa Minor (Se/Tr) -- Bryn Lantry: A splendidly dark and twisted story with an unusual view of an unusual relationship. As in _Amber Ambiguities_, Bryn characterises Travis fairly sympathetically and makes him far from the cardboard villain of some fanfic. Bryn'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) - Bryn 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) - Bryn 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... [14]

[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. [15]

[zine]: I like 'So Easy To Give' for its authenticity. It's simple but just complex enough, and lyrical without being 'poetic'. And believable, which may be the main thing.

'One Man To Another' was interesting because what we can deduce of attitudes in the B7 world aren't conducive to same-sex love, so happily slash tales where everybody takes bisexuality granted, aren't, in that way, realistic.

London 'Doing Time': I do like her Blake. People who genuinely like Blake, as much as Avon, seem to be woefully uncommon. Actually, I find him more gorgeous than Avon, but that's neither here nor there -I'm delighted with any story that appreciates them both equally. The only thing I am ambivalent about in London's stories is when Blake gets 'ultra male' (he was always so charmingly shy about these things in the series).

It's a pity that the women characters sometimes get cursory treatment in slash stories. Like Sue Bursztynski's comment about my sandwiches' -I agree with her, and I retract that line. For instance, if Avon and Blake are engrossed with each other, it seems undignified for Jenna or Cally to pine on the sidelines. There's a theory that slash is a feminist form of erotica'; but then it's too easy to pass over the women which is a contradiction.

Off the soapbox and back to Doing Time' -I'm a fan of London s because of her portrayal of Avon's and Blake's love. I think it an intriguing and credible relationship, so I'm always grateful for London's explorations of it. I like them both so I don't find there's any disbelief to suspend about the possibility of them falling in love. Unless you don't like 'slash' as a whole, of course, which is anyone's perrogative [sic].

I hope Brian Cotter writes us a story to show us what he means. It would be nice to have some men contribute to T.O.S. in the interests of diversity. [16]

[zine]: In London's [this writer is London and switches tenses in this letter] defence, I must say that I use words like 'tower' et al because I find the gutter terms a turn-off. London does write love stories after all and I find nothing so disturbing to alove scene, even if it's unbridled sex, than the words 'prick', 'cock', 'cunt' and the like. It can really stop the flow. And the beauty of a scene. By the same token, along string of 'penis' is boring.

'Pale Lost Lillies' was striking, even if I don't quite know why yet. It was oddly expository where I'm used to action and dialogue. But it works better that way. 1think. Odd how people picture Avon's 'agonies' over Anna. 'Ghosts and Ghouls', however, was disturbing and I trust Bryn meant it that way. Frankly, it made me shudder.

'Mirror Among The Stars' got away with an old plot with a nice twist on the Liberator crew: ruthless bastards. Make one wonder what Space Rats would be like in their universe. Travis is likely a Monk! But Anna and Blake running the Library!? Hmmm....

Avon idly on the town in 'You Get What You Pay For' is rousing. Mistaken for a whore yet! Loved that. But why does everyone seem to picture him as some kind of sexual Black Belt (and Blake as clumsy)? Not saying he isn't or at least has the capability, I'm just wondering why Avon tends to get written that way in many sexual situations. I guess It's from the same source that always pictures Vila as the 'innocent' but street-wise Delta who has no hang-ups about sex with either.

On a slightly negative note, I was disappointed with the lack of artwork. Been spoiled by #1 I guess. I can't do my own artwork and I look forward to seeing interpretations of my stories.

'Doing Time' had little other than a few portraits of Vila and Avon which were 'neutral' -that is, could have appeared in anything. And that the cover piece was also in TOS #1 was a bit of a cheat too, but it does get attention! I'm sure Paul would like to look like that too!

Well, I'm certainly looking forward to TOS #3 (& 4&5...) TOS should get a wider audience as B7 becomes better known through the States. Then again, I rather like the fact that it's more or less strictly Australian -it assures London anew audience at least.[17]

[zine]: The Other Side #1 was quite fun to read. A good selection of well-written stories and poems. Bryn Lantry's poetry is really heart-wrenching on occasion in its portrayal of the tormented relationship between Avon and Blake. I also liked her 'All Of 12 Hours'. Sue Bursztynski's 'Sorry About That Chief' was great. 'Nearly Beloved' and 'Intermezzo in B' were both well done, and Sue's 'Pastoral Scene' was charming. (I do want to see more of New Wales...) “I really enjoyed The Other Side #2; a very nice collection of stories. My special favourites were 'More Than Grateful', 'Mirror Among The Stars', 'You Get What You Pay For', and the heart-wrenching 'Pale Lost Lillies' and 'Ghosts and Ghouls' (Bryn Lantry can write). [18]

[zine]: I loved the poetry, especially 'Wild Children' and 'One Man To Another,' and again you've included some fine artwork. Winced a bit at the glitches in my own piece, but when laying out a good-sized zine, things wi11 happen, I know. Pity some of your readers object to the slash (disliking a particular story is one thing - inability to cope with the very concept is another); personally, with straight romance/erotica abounding on every side (books, television, movies, etc.), I've always found such stories a welcome change of pace. [19]


The Other Side #2 was also fun.

Once again, Bryn Lantry proves she's an expert at wrenching the heart; the depth of emotional pain she managed to portray is amazing. 'Pale Lost Lilies' was a wonderfully melancholy piece; and 'Ghosts and Ghouls' was bone-chillinq. giving me a definite 'gone' feeling in the pit of my stomach. Julie Kramer's 'More Than Grateful' read very well, and presented a portrait of Avon and Vila that I could believe. My other favourite pieces were Sebastian's “So Easy To Give”, which has a haunting melancholy flavour, the enjoyable “You Get What You Pay For” (I can see where that situation might well appeal both to Avon's ego and his sense of humour), and “Mirror Among The Stars” was an intriguing idea. All round, a fine issue, making me look forward to #3. [20]

[zine]: I'd like to rescind, or at least qualify an earlier LoC regarding B7:T0S. After an eye-popping experience with a Star Trek slash zine, I find I do mind some slash. This particular zine had been left lying around at a convention, and after my eyes had bounced around on the floor a little after a sight of the cover, I flipped it over hoping to make the zine a little less obvious - only to discover the back cover was just as bad as the first. In my view, such explicit drawings were in extremely bad taste, and only the Americans could be crass enough to use them as covers.

In the frame of reference of your zine, the stories are at least well-written and lacking in any sado-masoch1st1c tendencies. The artwork too, is restrained, and I must admit, I prefer a picture that leaves something to the imagination!

I was loaned an American B7 heterosexual sex zine recently in which the plot petered out around page ten but the 'story' dragged on for another hundred. Small wonder the actors are upset about such zines when immature exampled like this abound. For their sake it would be best to ban them altogether, however they exist and I would rather they were restricted within certain bounds of good taste as you are doing. I'm hardly an expert on American slash, but London Bates would seem to be one of the -much- better examples. [21]

[zine]: T0S#2 seems to be a somewhat Avon/Anna issue, with Bryn Lantry's 'Escape', 'Pale Lost Lillies', and 'Ghosts &Ghouls'. I have definitely become a Bryn Lantry fan and like her contributions this issue -although 'Ghosts & Ghouls' is a little... strange. Well, I'm never, too sure what to make of any Anna story, as 'Rumours of Death' left me with more questions than answers -typical of B7. It's clear how Avon felt about her -which is why I like 'Escapism' and 'Pale Lost Lillies' -but as for what he really meant to her? Given that Avon's actions in 'Rumous of Death' were obsessive and unhealthy, 'Ghosts & Ghouls' could be plausible, but It's not quite my cup of tea.

I also liked Bryn's drawing of Blake & Anna on page 10, but missed the profuse illos of the first issue. I was pleased by the cover though, even if it is idealised. It is very inspiring.

Favourites this issue: 'So Easy to Give' by Sebastian. Very nice. Don't know why B7 slash works for me when I hate it in any other fandom; the quality of the B/A I've read so far has something to do with it. Sebastian's story easily goes up there with last issue's 'All Of 12 Hours' and 'Nearly Beloved/Rogue', though It's a very different story - much more elusive. Hope we see more from her sometime soon.

Also enjoyed Julie Kramer's 'More Than Grateful'. It took awhile for A/V to grow on me, but I could really get to like stories like this. The last line was particularly nice.

And, of course, I liked 'Knight Takes Knight' and 'Doing Time' by London Bates. I had read 'Doing Time' before, and my only complaint with the story is that it leaves me wanting more. My favourite part of the story is the Epilogue; leaves me misty-eyed every time I read it. I also like that she treats Tarrant nicely, as I quite like him -and not just because of his looks[22]

[zine]: I finished 'Blake's Sevens The Other Side #2'. It was very good. My favourites were - 'More Than Grateful': This one was touching. Vila wanted to pay Avon back so bad and then Avon coldly turns him down. But then Avon is forced by Blake to talk to Vila and finally accepts Vila's offer and explains why he couldn't before. But the best part was at the end when Vila saves Avon's life and Avon is waiting for Vila in his cabin. Good story. 'Mirror Among The Stars': This was interesting - a nice Servalan from another universe. It was interesting hearing what different people were like from where she was from. Blake married to Anna? The B7 of her universe were down-right mean and nasty. The original Servalan deserved them. 'Doing Time' - boy, everyone wanted Blake in this one! I liked the family idea of Blake, Vila, Avon, Cally 8. Jenna. And the way Tarrant and Dayna were worked in to the story was very smooth. Servalan as usual was her own nasty self. [23]

[zine]: Wow! I read The Other Side #2 last night and I simply couldn't put it down! Again, huh! The artwork was great (especially the picture of Avon on page 18) and DOING TIME made me cry. Twice. [24]

[zine]: I especially found interesting the work of London Bates. 'Knight Takes Knight' is a beautiful piece of poetry. 'Doing Time' and 'Cross Dominance' - Blake has always been my favourite character in the programme. It surprised me, when I first delve into B7 fandom to find that he seemed to have taken quite a bashing. [25]

Issue 3

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

The Other Side 3 was published in March 1987 and is 169 pages long.

The art is by Lana Brown and Bryn Lantry. There is an illo by Rosemary Woodhouse that is not credited.

From the zine: "Statement: We wish to make it clear that the characters in this fanzine are totally fictitious and bear no relationship to the actors and actresses who play the roles of these characters in the TV performances."

  • Editorial (3)
  • Interjunction by Sebastian (slash) (5)
  • It Was The Devil by Janet Kragg (straight) (27)
  • Sisyphus by Bryn Lantry (straight and slash) (39)
  • Taken In by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (straight) (revised and reprinted in Southern Comfort #11.5 with the author's name: Catocala) (73)
  • It's Worth the Effort, poem by London Bates (79)
  • The Unbelievers by Bryn Lantry (straight) (81)
  • The Promise by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (straight) (reprinted from Whatever Works) (95)
  • You're a Dreamer, Blake, poem by Bryn Lantry (116)
  • Cross Dominance by London Bates ("The men Nevon looked like Roj Blake and sounded like Roj Blake, but could he possibly be Blake? And why couldn’t he remember anything of his past life?") (slash) (reprinted from E-Man-Uelle #7 with this title and content, reprinted with less sexual content in Southern Seven #2 with the title "Common Ground") (117)
  • Letters of Comment (163)
  • Zine Reviews (165)
  • Saturday Night by Sue Bursztynski (reprinted from Interface #8) (167)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for Cross Dominance.

See reactions and reviews for Interjunction.

See reactions and reviews for Sisyphus.

[The Promise]: I sometimes enjoy the comfort if it involves a recapitulation of the hurt: rescuer X exclaims over the horrendous injuries inflicted upon the nevertheless-still-beautiful body of his comrade Y, etc. (One good example was that scandalous Wortham & Rosenthal story in The Other Side #3. There was a nice scene with Vila being duly horrified at what had been done to Avon and then changing the medical computer data so that the others would not know the full awful truth.) And the suggestiveness of tough guys being tender with each other is always pleasing.[26]

[zine]: A comparatively large issue this time, but several very long stories rather than lots of short ones. Some Bryn 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) - Bryn 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) - Bryn Lantry: Well, if one must have het :-) , this is a good story. Bryn 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. [27]


... the conclusion to "The Promise" doesn't entirely ring true, but the bulk of the story is skillfully written and so convincing it hurts; I loved it.

"Interjunction" and "Sisyphus" are also nicely handled, and enjoyable despite my basic skepticism. (Bryn Lantry's LoC [in the previous issue] notwithstanding, I have no trouble visualising Avon as bisexual -in fact. I'm quite certain he is. I simply doubt he'd allow himself to become sexually involved with Blake.) [28]

[zine]: I love "The Other Side #3"! My favourite stories are "Interjunction" and "It was the Devil" - interesting ideas on both. I love the gentle way Sebastian portrayed the love between Blake and Avon. It was one of the best. [29]

[zine]: I've received B7:T0S US, and overall it's a definite improvement over #I and #2. (Those two had a number of good moments, but could be called spotty.)
Spotty ??? That's one of the more unusual descriptions we've had on the zines. Makes 'em sound like teenagers. - Joanne

The biggest change is that the long stories are better; in the peculiar genre of explicit fan fiction, short subject and Joke stories are common (and welcome); and the well-written longer story is rare, probably because it's quite hard to write.

Most of the longest stories are about B/A relationship, one way or another. This isn't always believable in a literal sense, but these stories in T0SH3 are writing about the psychology of the two personalities sex (if any) adds spice, but it's the character exploration that makes the stories work.

"It Was The Devil" acts like an adventure/rescue story, with interesting highlights on Jenna. Terra Nostra/Federation politics, and so on. If the trend of interesting stories about Jenna keeps up, I shall have to rescind her endangered character status. "Taken In", on t h e other hand, is pleasant, shallow and amusing with Just enough characterisation to make the encounter credible and a nice —very well done —funny bit of subplot for Vila. This sort of diversion lightens the zine.

"“Unbelievers" does well at rearranging the history of B7 proper, and develops Gan nicely, though the story overall lacks sparkle —unusual for Bryn Lantry. Her shorter work is generally good, and her poetry excellent; her long, plotted stories will no doubt improve with practice

"The Promise" also rearranges B7's events, though that's almost incidental to the storyline. It's a bit heavy on the hurt/comfort (for my taste, that is; h/c is certainly traditional ...). Avoiding the debacle of Star One maybe intended to balance all the anguish Avon, and the rest on his account, endure, though it isn't otherwise built into the story.

"Saturday Night" is charming, though I've seen it elsewhere, in a British zine. I'd like to register a request on that subject, since the three continents of B7 fandom have three often separate groups of fans and there is often an excuse to reprint material. Could we establish a custom of noting whether material has been previously published. In flyers and tables of contents, to let the transoceanic fan know if she's going to be buying material be may already have? I seem to own two published copies of several London Bates stories, for instance, from different continents.

We agree with you on this. We do note in our zines If a story has been previously published elsewhere. This is only fair, but we don't always know in advance if this is the case. Sometimes find out after the zine has come out, too, and can only apologise on the rare occasions this happens. — Joanne)
The dot-matrix printing is also less than perfect —it tends to fade alarmingly (and the italics are really weird). If "The Promise" hadn't had such readable prose, I might not have bothered trying to finish it. I do hope you can return to your usual clear type, for the non-dot-matrix portions of the zine were quite satisfactory.[30]

[zine]: "I received your shipment a couple of days ago and all in all, pretty well enjoyed it. I prefer stories with a good length to them over some of the more abbreviated ones I've seen elsewhere. I did get a bit of a surprise though when I got towards the end and began to read London Bates' "Cross Dominance". A couple of weeks ago, I had received my copy of SOUTHERN SEVEN 2 from Ann Wortham, which contained the same story under a different title, and rather confusingly toned down and edited for the sexual content. It definitely was a lot easier to follow fully intact. I do have a slight complaint though. Some of the print (particularly the italicized) was almost impossible to make out. One more comment: I think "Interjunction" was probably the best of the lot. [31]

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>)." [32]
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 was published in 1987 and contains 144 pages.

The art is by Lana Brown, Marianne Plumridge, Bryn Lantry, Denise Loague, Rosemary Woodhouse, and Linda Cox Chan.

  • Editorial by Joanne Keating (3)
  • Editorial: The Other Side by Susan Clarke (4)
  • In Lieu of Regrets by Ellis Ward (A/V) (reprinted in Southern Comfort #8.5) (5)
  • How May I Let you (for Avon), poem by London Bates (/) (12)
  • By Default by Julie Bozza (A/V) (13)
  • No Need for Words, poem by Heather Saavedra (A/C) (17)
  • Song, poem by Bryn Lantry (C/J) (18)
  • A Touch of Love by Geoff Tilley (orgy) (19)
  • By the Last Sun, poem by Bryn Lantry (A/B) (25)
  • The Naked Truth by Greg Dales (C/D, Se/V, A/B, T/ocf) (27)
  • Remembrance of Things Pase, poem by Teleported (36)
  • Kiss of Death by Gail Neville (So/ocm) (37)
  • Theatre, poem by Bryn Lantry (Anna) (44)
  • Portobello Blues by Julie Bozza (A/V, V/oc) (45)
  • Confessions from Terminal, poem by Heather Saavedra (A/C) (57)
  • Interlude in a Flat by Linda Cox Chan (59)
  • A Form of Comfort by Ellis Ward (A/B) (also in Southern Lights Special #4.5) (61)
  • The Haunting by Bryn Lantry (B/ocm) (65)
  • Marcus-Sampson & the Orabanda Dragon by Greg Dales (Se/ocm) (89)
  • An Island in the Sun by Quale (V/ocf, A/V) (107)
  • Trouble With by Diaphanous Dolly (A/B) (131)
  • Letters of Comment (133)
  • Advertisements (136)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

[A Touch of Love]: In thirteen of the thirty stories, the f/f element is fairly peripheral - or extremely peripheral, in stories like Geoff Tilley's 'A Touch of Love', where a love potion instigates an orgy on board Liberator and Jenna and Cally turn to each other for a quick paragraph, after their initial partners Blake and Avon become exhausted. [33]

[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) - Bryn 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... [34]

[zine]: Thanks muchly for TOS 4! Iliked the funny bits! Particularly Linda Cox Chan's, and the Tribble Alpha tale, Teleported's poem was subtle and intriguing ... more please. I wish more fen wrote poetry these days. Whatever happened to Ruth Waters, for instance? [35]

[zine]: Wow! I read The Other Side #2 last night and I simply couldn't put it down! Again, hqh! The artwork was great (especially the picture of Avon on page 18) and DOING TIME made me cry. Twice. [36]

[zine]: Pleased to receive TOS 4. Although I normally loathe 'slash', there was a rather nice Avon/Vila story this time by El 1is Ward. [37]

[zine]: Being rabid Blake/Avon fans, we and several friends were rather disappointed in #4, since the majority of the "/" stories were Avon/Vila — a relationship we just can't see, much as we all like Vila. We look forward to issue #5 and more Blake/Avon, please??? We'd prefer no reprints, but if you must, please say which stories are and where they were originally printed.[38]

[zine]: I've been having a good think about slash writing in general, as you and others have queried its growing popularity. I think there are a few reasons behind it...

To begin with, we all (fan writers, 'serious' writers, etc) tend to write a lot about love/sex, as something that we all or empathise with, and also because it can be a very important part of life. I think there are three reasons male slash in particular has grown in popularity.

Firstly, for a fan writer, the characters you are working with determine a lot of what you write about. And the fact is (good or bad) the male characters are usually stronger and fuller, and have more conflict between them. For instance, what female character in Star Trek is strong enough to partner Kirk, Spock or even McCoy? Uhura, while devastating attractive, seems stuck on the "hailing frequencies open Captain (sugar)" line, through no fault of her own. In Blake's 7, while Cally and Jenna are quite well developed characters, there's still not the tension and conflict between them and the males, like there is between Blake and Avon, and Vila and Avon. It's hard to create your own really strong female character who fits into the series/movie, to partner one of the males. And anyway, it's more fun to explore the existing characters. So the first reason is that it tends to be easier and more fun to write about the established male characters.

Secondly, a fan writer wants to write about something that deeply affects the character, that reveals something about him (eg. coming out of the closet) or creates some conflict within him (eg coming to terms with his love or lust for another male). This is all harder to do with straight stuff, partly because it's all been done before, unless you go back to when they first lost their virginity (and most characters are too old to be doing this in the series, surely!) or when they first fell in love (a different proposition altogether -this may or may not happen at any time!). There have already been a lot of stories about Avon growing to be able to love Cally - so why not get into something new , and possibly more traumatic -Avon growing to love Blake? So the second reason is that slash love/sex causes conflict within a character and between character, that straight love is less likely to.

Thirdly, I think, the environment is more tolerant, less prejudiced these days. People who enjoy slash are more able to publish, buy and sell such stories. In atruly open environment of course, the market in want/need/enjoy/understand/sympathise what we all want, in all our diversities. As it is, fandom has been dominated by straight stuff for a while, but now that slash is available too, its being greedily devoured fandom would accurately reflect in reaction to the previous lack of it.

A last thought the least often voiced through tact or bashfulness it really turns some women on, to think of two men together. I understand that men fantasize about two women together, so I guess its not odd or abnormal, though most men blanch at the horrifying through about what we daydream about, A pet theory of mine is that human beings, dreamers, yearners that they are, are only ever interested in the impossible.

There are a number of ideas of a gay male relationship that interest me -the opportunity for complete equality in a couple; the deep friendship or mateship that could lead to love and the love; the lack of social rules or expectations that too often accompany a more traditional male/female couple -one has to provide a home, one has to earn the money etc.; the idea of gender empathy between the partners (or maybe, rather, the the result of a man becoming apart of a minority, and outlook that should give him if he can grow to it; even, and this is the romantic in me, the opportunity for a good old-fashioned courtship as opposed to the straight-into-bed-maybe-we'll-fall-in-love-tomorrow type of thing so prevalent today. [39]

[zine]: I like the way you have been publishing a little 'funny' after the LoCs. It's good that you have 'adult' stories as well as 'sex' stories in TOS, if you grasp my point, for example 'The Haunting' didn't really grab me but certainly was intelligent and thoughtful in its approach to rebel 1ion/terrorism. I wonder if the PLO and IRA would see themselves as the Blake's Seven of this time? Bryn's stuff is always thoughtful.

Regarding the issue of short/long stories and slash/straight. As I have said, the long stories get a bit boring for my tastes, so I prefer lots of short ones, with maybe one long one per issue. I thoroughly enjoy slash, but I know some people have problems with it. Have you considered dividing the zine into two parts i.e. first part straight and second section slash. I know there would be sane drawbacks to this, but it's a suggestion anyway.

By the way - 'Cross Dominance' - I couldn't figure out who was supposed to be who. Whilst I enjoy London's stories, he has such an immediately identifiable style that a little goes a long way.

Oh oh oh... 'Marcus Samson & the Orabanda Dragon'!!! My absolutely all-time TOS favourite story (second only to "You get what you pay for" which was the first story to ever induce me to buy a copy of TOS). Greg Dales' writes delightfully with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. I think he's right about Servy wanting someone tender (for a change!). Marcus Samson sounds like the pleasant type about whom the other guys of the universe can't figure out why he is so successful with women. He certainly came over sympathetically, especially when the poor old Orabanda dragon was miscarrying. Truly delightful and entertaining and different. A long story that held my interest the whole way through. Also - may I be forgiven if I'm wrong - but it read as a Mary Sue that wasn't the incredibly indulgent wallow that most are. [40]

[zine]: 'Cross Dominance' -Blake has always been my favourite character in the programme. It surprised me, when I first delve into B7 fandom to find that he seemed to have taken quite a bashing. [41]

[zine]: 'In Lieu of Regret' and 'A Form of Comfort' by Ellis Ward touched me and made me think. 'Marcus Samson & The Orabanda Dragon' tickled me

very much. Any chance of Marcus meeting up with Servalan etc. again? TOS is the first magazine I've purchased that contains slash, surprised myself by taking to it, and not having to suspend belief. Mind you, even when the series was first screened in 1970, I felt there was something between Blake and Avon.

Even if I wasn't too sure of what it was at the time, watching episodes now, I still get the same impression. Little things like the way they didn't seem to mind invading each other's space. Almost deliberately standing close whenever they got the chance; the one or two times Avon held Blake, the antagonism between them; little things like I said, that now look a bit strange (depending on your point of view) - probably the scenes were written quite innocently (knowing the Beeb for what it can be...) I also think that Blake wouldn't have been so tolerant with Avon, if he hadn't loved him, if there hadn't been a deep attachment between the two men.

Being very young and very impressionable when the first series of B7 was screened over here, I took alook at Blake's shoulders and was lost! [42]

[zine]: Esteemed TOS editors. Of late I have heard several rumours about the people behind the pseudonyms that appear in TOS. I wondered if you could shed any light on the matter for your curious readers?

There seems to be several camps. if you'll excuse the expression. One theory is that the renowned London Bates is a figment of the justly famous Maree Celeste's imagination, though they keep up a mutual correspondence in an effort to convince the analyst, whilst Bryn Lantry is actually a retired boiler-maker from Purley who breeds racing pigeons. Another line of thought holds that London Bates, Maree Celeste, Bryn Lantry, Sebastian and M. LeFay are in fact, a single person who operates from a nunnery in North West Kurdistan. She shrouds her identity in secrecy because it is obviously mentally damaging to write so much slash. Last year, I knew someone who claimed to have (and I quote) "mousey eyes, gracefully greying hair and pince-nez. Unfortunately, the possessor of this priceless piece of evidence portly afterwards mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind only a cryptic note about a yak-skin. On the other hand, I have intelligence (dearly bought) that Maree Celeste (who may or may not also be Louisiana Bailey and/or A. Toyten Bankes) is a very highly-placed official of acertain South American state who cannot reveal her/his (though possibly undecided) name for fear of immediate revolution. Or can there be any truth m suggestion that London Bates in fact, edits TOS, which is sponsored by an unnamed television evangelist, while Bryn Lantry forges the editorial signatures? I hope you can clear up this perplexing question.

I enjoy your zine immensely. I believe there has also been some debate about why people like slash. I, myself, am simply kinky. [43]

[zine]: I enjoyed the Dragon story (in issue #4) and "Island In The Sun". The rest were a little bland. How about some real gutsy stuff? I know the answer to that -write it yourself! The drawings were good though. [44]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5, Lana Brown

The Other Side 5 was published in August 1988 and contains 134 pages.

The art is by Lana Brown (reprint of Avon and the Pillar), Bernice, Bryn Lantry, Marianne Plumridge and Joanne Keating.

  • Editorial (5)
  • Reasons, fiction by Ellis Ward (A/B) (7)
  • Unbecoming Conduct, fiction by The Rat Cellar (Se/ocm) (17)
  • Duet, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (20)
  • Midsummer Night's Fantasies, fiction, not credited (A/C, V/ocf, B/J) (21)
  • Xenophiles, part one, The Gypsy, fiction by Bryn Lantry (J) (35)
  • The Drowned, Sea-Tossed, poem by Bryn Lantry (J/C?) (65)
  • The Lady in Red, fiction by Falcon D'Arenburg (A/Se) (67)
  • Roj's Rebels, fiction by Adrian Butcher (69)
  • Reply... Reply..., poem by Judith Ellison (?/?) (75)
  • If Wishes Were..., fiction by Margaret Pitcher (A/D) (Inspired by the cover of "The Other Side" #2) (77)
  • And Thinking of Blake, poem by Judith Ellison (81)
  • On Sauterne, fiction by Severely Weird (83)
  • Mirror Image, fiction by Venessa Kelly & Sue Clarke (A/Se) (90)
  • First Person, fiction by London Bates (A/ocm, A/V) (also in Southern Lights Special #3.5 as "First Person Singular") (99)
  • Memories, poem by Judith Ellison (B/J?) (112)
  • From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Ill-Met by Moonlight, fiction by The Rat Cellar (gen) (113)
  • Letters of Comment (118)
  • Advertisements (122)
  • At Each Other's Throats Again, fiction by Bryn Lantry (A/B) (reprinted from "touched" #6) (127)
  • Whispers, poem by Sheila Tracy (A/C; parody of A. A. Milne) (132)

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. [45]

[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?) - Bryn 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) - Bryn Lantry: Even Bryn'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. [46]

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.

Bryn 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.

Bryn 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. [47]

Issue 6

front cover of issue #6, Lana Brown

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

The art is by Lana Brown, Linda Cox Chan, Denise Loague, and Andrew Williams.

One of the interior illos (Avon and Pillar) got around: it was the front cover of issue #2, the back cover of issue #4, and interior art for issue #1, #5, #6 AND #8.

The editorial is about The Blake's 7 War:

For all those regular Blake's Seven readers, a glance through the contents column may lead you to think we have taken leave of our senses. This is not strictly true: this little black duck doesn't really care who writes the stories (as long as they're good), or that they get themselves involved in some of the most childish and inconvenient arguments any fandom has ever seen. This goes for the actors as well, by the way. I am naming no names; those who know or care, already know, and those who don't, well, you're better off out of it, and count yourselves lucky. I am into fanzines and editing for my enjoyment, and I prefer, where I can. to stay out of the firing line. Not so Susan this time. She spat her dummy well and good the other day over the contentious issue of whose stories we are 'allowed' to print, or more to the point, whose we are not 'allowed' to print.

We have the stories, we have already accepted them, they are good reading, and we are going to print them. That was the ghist [sic] of what she said, and I have to agree with her. Neither of us really gives a damn if people out there wish to boycott the zine because of a few names on the stories. It's another case of cutting off you nose to spite your face. This zine is already paid for, so we can't be hurt financially by any 'protests', and if zine sales drop off we will simply reduce our print numbers to accommodate this. If this sounds implacable, well, yes it is. and no apologies. We're in it for the fun. not the politics, and anybody who does not feel this way can take their bat and ball and go home because we are not going to play that game any longer.

Please, do not write to us with long-winded or vehement letters over this; we have been kept up to date, to the point of over-kill, on all sides of the matter. I think we know what everybody thinks about this by now, and we don't think we need any more paperwork on it. If you want to show support for our nose-thumbing issue, please send us your letters of comment on any of the stories. In fact, do this anyway. We do like to hear what you think of the zines; and we like to be reminded that the majority of you out there are 'normal' fans.

  • Editorial (3)
  • Lost Dreams by Linda Cox Chan (slash) (7)
  • You're a Dreamer, Blake, poem by Bryn Lantry (13)
  • Avon's Law by London Bates (slash) (reprinted from Southern Lights #3.5) (15)
  • Regrets, poem by Janet McNeil (24)
  • For the Birds by Leah Rosenthal & Annie Wortham (originally published in 1986 in the gen zine Melange #8) (25)
  • G.P., poem by Judith Ellison (42)
  • Dreams Realised by Kris and Ty Downs (slash) (43)
  • Shadows in the Rain by Quale (also in Adult Situations #3) (49)
  • To Dream No More by Margaret Pitcher (107)
  • Letting Go, poem by Judith Ellison (112)
  • Not in Death by London Bates (slash) (also in Southern Lights Special #3.75 as "Not in Death nor Sleep Repose") (113)
  • Held, poem by Judith Ellison (122)
  • Thin Walls, poem by Bryn Lantry (123)
  • The Trendy Rebel, (or Secrets Of Scorpio's Laundry) (or Avon Reveals All) poem by Andrew Williams (124)
  • Letters of Comment (126)

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). [48]

[zine]:As you probably know, there's a little bit of a storm gathering over here about slash writing. Whether certain people like it or not, slash fiction is here to stay. Prejudice against this form of literature is not only annoying but worrying in the extreme. People have many different tastes in reading matter and just because your choice of reading doesn't coincide with someone else's, doesn't mean you have the right or privilege to to censor their reading.

Personally, I enjoy reading slash. For a long time, I have regarded "Avon" (the character) to be bisexual and strongly attracted to "Blake". In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with me seeing the characters in anyway I chose. If I prefer my "Blake" to be gay and "Avon" bisexual, then that is my choice. Likewise, if someone else wants their "Avon" to be strictly straight, then that's their affair. If you find slash distasteful, then don't read it. Most adult zines are usually marked with warning of content, so if you buy the zine anyway, and you don't like slash, you have no-one to blame but yourself. Slash, be it comedy or dramatic is usually entertaining and entertainment is what it's all about in the end. It's a welcome plus if a story makes you think, but not a necessity. It all comes clown to personal choice in the long run. Tolerance and freedom of choice in my opinion, is what the programme is about. All I'd like others to do is think about this.

I'll be attending a convention this year which is a fanzine based convention featuring relationship zines including slash. It is not being advertised but the information is being passed around by word of mouth. I personally find this state of affairs rather sad. The lack of tolerance is frightening. [49]

[zine]: Couldn't agree more with the editorial in #6 and the letter by Judith Ellison. Enjoyed all of #6 especially "For the Birds," "Dreams Realised" and "Shadows in the Rain." [50]

[zine]: Lana Brown's front cover illustration for the issue is the best yet; Avon looks so capable.

"Favourite story this time around is 'Shadows In The Rain'. A good long read even if it doesn't paint too attractive picture of Jenna's attitude concerning Vila. Nice, personal happy ending for Vila thought.

To Dream No More' sent a shiver down my spine and left me feeling roughly like Avon - there are worse things [to feel]. I enjoyed all the poetry especially Bryn Lantry's 'Thin Walls'. [51]

[zine]: I greatly admired Quales 'Shadows in the Rain'. Leah & Annie 'For the Birds’ was delectable, particularly Avon being morose all over the place, and Blake's winsome rescue. Well, I'm sure he was winsome. 'To Dream No More' was nightmarish and creepy and eerie and thought provoking. As always, appreciation to London without whom I would contract Blake/Avon starvation. Judith Ellison's poetry I like very much indeed and I hope the contributes forevermore. "A terrific issue - thanks!" [52]

[zine]: I did enjoy TOS #6, though I wondered where all the stories were about Servalan and Avon, Cally and Avon, Jenna and Blake, etc, which I was half expecting. Going on to 'slash‘, does anyone ever write Jenna/Cally stories? Just a rhetorical question that one. One of the most interesting things about the 'slash' stories is that they are so well written - I found the tenderness shown between the male characters challenged a few preconceptions I have apparently collected about gay sex over the years. It is, I think, a credit to the series and characterisation by the actors that the characters have a universal appeal. [53]

Issue 7

The Other Side 7 was published in November 1989 and contains 90 pages.

cover of issue #7, Yvonne Hintz

This issue contains a single novella by Moira Dalhberg called Old Friends and is illustrated by Yvonne Hintz.

Jeffra Hallam never knew where precisely she had been born, or when. A miserable, dirty squawling bundle of humanity, she had been found by a routine patrol in one of the most notorious of Delta slums. Obviously she had been abandoned soon after birth, but it was never discovered by whom. After all, the parentage of one tiny Delta baby, who seemed unlikely to live anyway, was of absolute unimportance.

But the leader of the squad, himself anew father of little more than a week, had been touched by the helplessness of the waif and had carried her to a hospital post. The staff in charge had given Jeffra little chance of survival, but she had surprised them all by clinging tenaciously to life. Washed, fed and sleeping comfortably, the baby girl bore little resemblance to the miserable speck of humanity the patrol had found. In time, with no clues to her parentage, she was placed in a State Institution and, one of many homeless children, seemed doomed to a life of miserable anonymity in the Delta Grades. She had been named Jeffra by the trooper who had found her, but then he had forgotten her, involved as he was with his own family. After placing her in the hospital care, he never gave the child another thought.

When Jeffra was fourteen years old she left the Delta Section of the domed city where she had lived all her life and presented herself at the Federation Academy, where she demanded to be permitted to sit for the entrance examinations. At first the officials and guards attempted to laugh to scorn this scruffy, not even slightly pretty, but obviously Delta born girl. She persisted however and eventually, anticipating at least some minor amusement from her results, they permitted her to enter and find her way to where hundreds of other students from the Alpha and Beta Grades were gathered to sit for the entrance examinations conducted annually.

Issue 8

cover of issue #8, minds-i-view

The Other Side 8 was published in May 1992 and contains 100 pages.

The art is by minds-i-view, Lana Brown, Theresa Buffaloe, and Adrian Morgan.

There is an announcement that Linda Cox Chan passed away on Boxing Day 1991.

  • From the Archives of the Rat Cellar, "Sauce for the Goose" (A/Se) (5)
  • Reaching and Searching, poem by Judith Ellison (?/?) (6)
  • Victory, fiction by Bryn Lantry (A/B) ("Imprisoned, Blake must finally make the choice between the cause and Avon.") (7)
  • Defences, fiction by Sean Charles (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) (15)
  • Reflections, poem by Judith Ellison (?/?) (45)
  • Blake's Sin, fiction by Natasha Barry (A/C, A/B) (also in Resistance #7) (47)
  • Talking to Himself, poem by Judith Ellison (A) (51)
  • Wanton Impulses, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (52)
  • Tangents, fiction by Bryn Lantry (C/J) (55)
  • Enough for Now, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B) (59)
  • Taste of Tears, poem by Judith Ellison (A/B?) (59)
  • A Fate Worse Than Death, fiction by Margaret Pitcher (A/Ta) (61)
  • Guidelines, poem by Judith Ellison (64)
  • Return to the Scene of the Crime, fiction by Kris & Ty Downs (A/V; sequel to "Dreams Realised") (65)
  • Alone and Silent, fiction minds-i-view (A/Se) (73)
  • In the Flesh, fiction by Gail Neville (Flesh Gordon crossover, with largely offscreen A/C, B/J/V) (75)
  • Love in a Vacuum, poem by Peighi (82)
  • Preoccupied Thoughts, fiction by Peighi (B/J, A/B) (83)
  • Reprisal, fiction by Maree Celeste (B/Tr) (92)
  • Letters and Advertisements (97)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

[Tangents]: Bryn Lantry's 'Tangents' describes a sexual encounter between a fifth season Jenna and Cally with her characteristically inventive language - "The fingers were deep; deeper than anything, working with Cally's subtlety to mysterious nodes of even more mysterious sensation.' Convinced that 'I'd found my straight line with Blake', Jenna regards love as a tangent - 'not moral deviation but a deviation from my path' - until 'the translation between heart and touch' persuades her to accept the possibility of abandoning revenge and 'leaving Avon to haunt himself', while she tests out a new direction with Cally.

<...> The other five stories could serve as illustrations of the moment in Bryn Lantry's 'Tangents' where 'Jenna could no longer tell emotional and carnal sensation apart'. The lush descriptions of 'Poison Ring' convey the feelings evoked by eroticized pain and bondage, while 'Then and Now', 'A Friendly Drink', 'Tangents' and 'Metaphorically Speaking' all use sex as a way of indicating different shifts in the relationship between Jenna and Cally. [33]


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.

Bryn 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.

Bryn 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" (Flash 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. [54]

Issue 9

The Other Side 9 was published in February 1993 and contains 118 pages.

This issue contains 2 large stories by Fran Ward & Susan R. Matthews. The cover is by minds-i-view. The sparse interior art is by Lana Brown and minds-i-view.

cover of issue #9, minds-i-view

From the editorial:

Welcome to yet another issue of Blake's Seven: The Other Side. Originally, this magazine was the "Alien Connection" part of Beyond Antares R-Rated, but, like topsy, it just grewed.

Anyway, we're up to our ninth issue and certainly not our last.

This issue sees the return of many favourite authors: Bryn Lantry throws us something strange and slashed; Fran Ward puts together a story that intrigues and tickles of hetero sex and curiosity; Susan Matthews chills us with a violent story -no sex in this one -but something adult and uncomfortable, delving into the workings of the mind, the stresses, its collapse and rehabilitation. Something different in the way of fan fiction -but then, we like to print the different. Let us know what you thought of this issues big stories.

Poetry this issue is by Bryn Lantry and Judith Ellison.

The art this issue is by minds-i-view —and is truly evocative. Lana's Avon illustration appears again —who has another story or poem for it? We'd love to see your version.

Art and fiction are both needed for the next issue. Please pull put the quills, burn some midnight oil, and think of us... other characters, especially, that have been neglected by the fan writer, or other kinds of relationships and situations.

  • Editorial (2)
  • Over the Styx, part one, fiction by Bryn Lantry (A/B) (3)
  • Pity, poem by Bryn Lantry (15)
  • Appeasing Animation, poem by Judith Ellison (17)
  • A Short Tale, poem by Judith Ellison (17)
  • Don't Send Me Back, fiction by Fran Ward (A/C, "After Ultraworld, Avon & Cally must deal with being in each other's bodies... & minds.") (19)
  • Letter Column (44)
  • Love and Necessary Discipline, fiction by Susan R. Matthews (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) (45)
  • Advertisements (114)

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 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?" [55]

[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. [56]

[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. [57]


  1. ^ from "The Other Side" #9
  2. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #2
  3. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #2
  4. ^ by Predatrix at Knightwriter
  5. ^ from "touched" #11
  6. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #1
  7. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #1
  8. ^ from a letter of comment by Bryn Lantry in "The Other Side" #1
  9. ^ from a letter of comment by Barbara T in "The Other Side" #1
  10. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #1
  11. ^ from a letter of comment (by a male fan) in "The Other Side" #1
  12. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #1
  13. ^ from aralias, Archived version
  14. ^ from Predatrix at both Knightwriter and Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  15. ^ Aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on DW, Archived version
  16. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #3
  17. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #3
  18. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #3
  19. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #3
  20. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #3
  21. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #3
  22. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #4
  23. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #4
  24. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  25. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  26. ^ from Strange Bedfellows (APA) #6 (August 1994)
  27. ^ from Predatrix at Knightwriter
  28. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #4
  29. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #4
  30. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #4
  31. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  32. ^ by Predatrix at Knightwriter
  33. ^ a b This story was discussed in (Re)Making Space for Women: A guide to f/f slash in Blake's 7 fanzines, an essay by Nova (2002)
  34. ^ by Predatrix at Knightwriter
  35. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  36. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  37. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  38. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  39. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  40. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  41. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  42. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  43. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #5
  44. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #8
  45. ^ 2002 comments by Predatrix
  46. ^ from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  47. ^ comments by Aralias, see full post at Lots of not very good zines, November 13, 2015
  48. ^ Ashton Press, 1998
  49. ^ from a letter of comment by Judith Ellison in "The Other Side" #6
  50. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #8
  51. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #8
  52. ^ from a letter of comment in "The Other Side" #8
  53. ^ from "The Other Side" #9
  54. ^ review by aralias at zines: the other side 8 and 9, avon calling 2; archive link, January 27, 2016
  55. ^ In 1993, Nicole V. posted this review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  56. ^ Subject: Zine review: The Other Side 9 by Sue C. on Lysator dated August 4, 1993.
  57. ^ review by aralias at zines: the other side 8 and 9, avon calling 2; archive link, January 27, 2016