Space City (mailing list)

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Are you looking for Space City (convention), the UK Blake's 7 convention?

Mailing List
Name: Space City
Date(s): 1995-1999
Moderated:
Moderators/List Maintainers: Susan Beth
Founder(s): Susan Beth
Type:
Fandom: Blake's 7
URL: Space City FAQ @Hermit.org (archived version)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
BLAKE: So. That is Space City.
VILA: Also known as the Satellite of Sin.

Space City was a slash-friendly Blake's 7 mailing list, founded at the end of August, 1995. It was superseded by Freedom City in 1999.

Origin of the Titles

The name of both mailing lists came from the episode 'Gambit':

VILA: They say it's wide open.
AVON: What is?
VILA: Freedom City.
AVON: So I've heard. Wide, wide open.
VILA: Got everything a man ever dreams of, they say.
AVON: Space City pales by comparison, they say.

About

Space City was spun off the general Blake's 7 mailing list, Lysator (or "the Lyst"), in August 1995, to allow discussion of slash and adult topics without controversy. It was moderated by Susan Beth. Unlike the Lyst, posts were not archived centrally online. In 1996, a 95kb file of archived messages could be obtained from Chris Croughton's private server.

1996: From the FAQ

Its audience:

The Space-City list is intended to be a forum for the free discussion of interpersonal relationships involving characters from Blakes 7. This most definitely includes discussion of sex, both hetero and slash. Other topics that branch from those discussions, or other matters that have or might result in unwanted friction on the main Blake 7 list are also welcome. This list is intended to be a specialized supplement to the main Blake 7 list, not a replacement for it.

The mailing list accepted all applicants:

Because of the possibly "adult", aka "explicitly sexual", nature of some of the posts on this list, its membership is restricted to consenting adults. Therefore subscriptions through anonymous remailers will not be accepted. There are no other qualifications for membership. *Everyone* who submits a proper application will be admitted, as quickly as I can take care of the paperwork. I particularly want to stress that no one will be kept out for "historical" reasons, and no one can be blackballed by any other person(s); everyone starts with a clean slate. (I enjoy gossip as much as anyone. If you want to email me all the dirt on why you and Person X have been feuding for years, I will be fascinated. It will *not* affect Person X's automatic admission to the list.)

Adult topics and language were welcomed:

Anything that derives from the interpersonal relationships of the B7 characters is acceptable, whether those relationships are platonic or sexual, straight or homosexual. In addition, other B7 oriented subjects that have proved, or are anticipated to be, "too sensitive" for the main B7 list are welcome.... This is an "adult only" mail list, and there are no taboo words....OTOH, note that your messages are being read by many other people, who have varying degrees of tolerance for vulgarity. You are free to express your ideas in whatever terms you like, but you may find that being gratuitously offensive will only result in people ignoring you and your ideas.

And the list adopted an equally adult approach to conduct:

Unacceptable behavior:

a) The usual. Meaning the restrictions we all should be familiar with from the net in general: no blatant ads for non-B7 items or services (ads for B7 zines/filktapes/artworks/cons/etc are welcome), no libel, no calls for the violent overthrow of the government, and so forth. You are all experienced net-citizens, please show it.

b) Personal attacks. There *is* an important difference between saying "That is a stupid idea" and "You are stupid."

c) Whining about the contents of other people's posts.

If you find a topic being discussed offensive or boring, note the headings being used for that discussion and skip over them. The fact that those topics are being discussed means that *some* of the list find them acceptable and interesting. You have a right not to read about subjects you dislike -- but you *don't* have a right to ask others to stop writing about them.

If you find a particular person(s) topics and/or manner of expression offensive, skip over his/her posts. Reread the last sentence of the previous paragraph.

Suggestion: Check into the details of your local system's kill file capabilities. You may very well be able to ensure you never have to lay eyes on the offending subjects and/or people again.

If you are unhappy because there isn't a discussion on a topic you are interested in -- start it! If you really want to read about Zen/Orac, complaining about the preponderance of Avon/Cally posts is not the way to satisfy your desire. Instead, post something fascinating about Zen/Orac. With luck this was draw out (or even create!) other fans of that pairing.

If you try this, and get no responses, well, that's unfortunate, but there's no getting around the fact that people's interests vary. Some characters are more popular than others, and the number of posts about them will undoubtedly reflect that. For example, Avon is the favorite character of many more B7 fans (including myself) than Gan is, so I anticipate that there will be many more posts about him than Gan. This is one of those unfortunate facts of life that Gan fans will have to learn to deal with.

If you find that your participation in this list leads to more aggravation than pleasure, the solution is to unsubscribe. See the next section for methods.
And last, the list offered "Official Space City merchandise":

We here at Space-City have an extensive line of quality merchandise, including gloriously studded black leather clothing, fully faceted feldon crystals, fine aged soma, and absolutely uncut Shadow!

Well, no, actually we don't.

What we do have is a few Space City buttons. These are standard 2 1/2" pin backed buttons, light powder blue. They read "Space City" in large type in the center, with "The Satellite of Sin" and "space-city@world.std.com" printed in smaller arcs around the top and bottom rims. Just the thing for spotting never-before-met list friends at conventions.

The cost to get one at a U.S. address is 5 first class stamps and a self-addressed label. (All "profits" from this project were split between The Salvation Army and the Red Cross.)

1995: Announcement by a Fan

The big news is: Space-City is the new B7 slash list in town. The bad news is the "Blakies" seem conspicuously absent from this forum. (Can I refer to us as "Blakies"? Well, "Blake Police" sounds so storm-trooperish somehow. Wearing size 15 Blake boots We wouldn't...stomp anyone with these boots, would we? Naaah. So "Blakies" it is then.) To be fair, occasionally a reference to Blake crops up and in one case a full-fledged B/A-nette, as in a page and a half. This is a goofy fun mailing list and worth getting online for this alone, especially if you like getting blitzed with messages. Anyone wishing to give Tarrant a run for his money, contact [redacted]@world.std.com (Susan B. Schnitger) with the pertinent info that you're over 18, etc etc. Anti-slashers be warned, it gets rather explicit at times. Speaking of that, no pink pages this time. Anyone reading this is just going to have to take their chances <evil cackle>. [1]

Fanfiction

Susan Cutter compiled stats for the second Labor Day Party in 1997, which was on the theme of 'dreams of love'. There were 24 gen stories, 14 het, 8 slash, 2 multiple/orgy & 4 other. The most common pairings were Avon/Servalan 5, Avon/Blake 4, Avon/Cally 3 & Avon/Anna 3. Avon was by far the most popular character, especially in slash, featuring in 21 pairings, followed by Blake (7), Tarrant (7), Servalan (6) & Cally (5); surprisingly, no stories featured Vila in a pairing. Unusual pairings included Dayna/topiary bear, Jenna/Chewbacca & Tarrant/Link.[2]

Closure & Freedom City

In 1999, Space City was shut down and Freedom City took over the mantle of adult Blake's 7 discussions, with Tiger M as the first moderator. The two mailing lists are often mentioned interchangeably, even though they were founded and moderated by separate people.

Events

  • Labor Day Party, a themed fiction party held annually from 1996
  • Several Round Robins were held on the list, including the 'coloured Round Robins' of 1997, 'Avon at the Con', a virtual alternative to WorldCon 1998, and the Vem Quest

Fannish Reviews & Recollections

Helen Patrick writes in the editorial to the first Tales from Space City in October 1998:
Somewhere out in the reaches of the internet, there's a virtual pub, where people sit around of an evening, talking about the things people talk about in pubs; sex, food, things like that... It's called Space City, and it's the Blake's 7 fanfic mailing list. If you don't understand why it's called Space City, then you need to watch the episode Gambit again.

A lot of the time we do the things that we do on the main B7 list at Lysator, or we wibble in general, or we discuss the last or the next con. The rest of the time we do fanfic. Research for stories, and the stories themselves. Often, it's a story that's being offered up for beta-reading before it goes to a zine, or a sneak preview, but some of the time it's just for us – and for one reason or another many of these never go to a zine, or even a website. Space City is not and never will be archived, by the express desire of the Citizens and for very good reasons, but this means that newer members and those without email access don't have easy access to much of this fiction. It's not impossible, but it's not easy. This is a shame, because the quality of the material submitted to Space City is astonishing.

This resulted in discussions about archiving fiction in a diskzine, but the number of people interested in such a format didn't make it look worthwhile for the work that would be involved. I was then stupid enough to mention at a con that I had access to printing facilities at a cost that might make short print runs financially feasible... Some arm-twisting and emotional blackmail later, I put out a call for stories. You're holding the result.[3]

From a fan discussion in two issues of Rallying Call in 1996:

In the last few months, I unsubbed from the Blake's 7 list on Lysator in favor of the Space City list and frankly it's been a real disappointment to me. The mail has primarily consisted of a Round Robin story that branches off into a dozen directions, with each episode followed by anywhere from six to twenty-six messages saying essentially, "Hot story, keep up the good work." Occasionally a spark of discussion appears in which the participants congratulate each other on their insight and wisdom, name-dropping like crazy. I usually feel like I have stumbled into a private party that I am not completely welcome to attend. Why don't I unsub? Because I keep hoping against hope that some brave soul will venture to spice up the conversation with a little disagreement, some debate. I know there is quite a contingent here who participates in Space City. If I have offended you, I apologize, but I call 'em like I see 'em. (Since writing the above, I have unsubbed from Space City. The entire tone bored me to tears and I decided that, since I was killing the posts unread, why bother. More often than not I got the feeling I had stumbled into a slumber party, comprised of very young women who just found out they could talk dirty. Perhaps after five years, the gild is off the fannish e-mail lily?.

[A second fan's response]: Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Space City. Re: the junior high school atmosphere, well, yes, but that's one of the things I find enjoyable about it. Sometimes it's very relaxing just to be silly for a while. [4]

Judith Proctor on the overlap between the Lyst and Space City:

Actually, quite a few of us are still here. We simply divide our discussions between two different lists. If I want to discuss something that is primarily concerned with character relationships, especially with a slash angle, then I'll put it on Space City. If I want to post explicit fiction, then I will definitely do it on Space City. Some things I feel are appropriate to both lists (which is why you'll sometimes see a posting of mine that says 'duplicate from Space City' - saves people reading it right through twice)... The split seems to work pretty well. Space City is relaxed and happy with a mixed bag of readers (not all slash readers and not all female). This list is much happier than it used to be, because arguments about slash don't erupt any longer. When the split originally occurred, I wondered if it would work, but it does. It took a while for Lysator to pick up mail volume again as some people ended up on just one list, and some people while on both lists, didn't have time to post to both.[5]

Some 2015 memories of SC & FC:

A lot of the time 'Tales from Space City' was composed of fic from our once a year birthday party (the mailing list began on Labor Day- the US holiday) and we used to make suggestions for themes and vote on them, and then many of us tried to write fic inspired by the theme.

It was never easy to find SC. As I recall, I was directed to it by a fan I corresponded with by snail mail but couldn't join at first because I had no internet capable computer! I think the only place you could find the directions to sign up was at Hermit, and even that wasn't obvious.

It was deliberately made unlikely to be found by anyone other than serious B7 fans because the more experienced ones of us feared an influx of non-fans just looking for porn. Space City (which later was renamed Freedom City, although the zines created from Freedom City days kept the Space City name) was an offshoot of a general B7 mailing list (which I never was a member) created after frequent flareups of intense disagreement on the general B7 mailing list over acceptable content.

FC's main rule was 'play nice' and 'anything goes'. I don't recall there ever being a true flame war. Sometimes there would be a brief scuffle of difference of opinion, but we never had any trolls.

It was a lot of fun. :^)...

The rule on SC/FC was/is that you could save a copy of anything you read while you were an active member, but you couldn't share them with anyone who wasn't on the mailing list at the time without express permission from the author.

Privacy and security was very important to some of our members for all sorts of reasons. Family and Work were probably the most common, but fear of being Flamed was up there, too.

I don't think anyone refused to allow their material to be in the zines, though, so most, if not all, of the Party Pieces got printed. I thought at one time the editor was going to PDF the zines and put them on line, but maybe that was just a rumor I heard.

A lot of the non-published stuff on FC was just chatting and free-wheeling zaniness, though. Great fun, but not really suitable for archiving as fic.[6]

References

  1. from a fan in Rallying Call #15 (October 1995)
  2. Susan Cutter. 'Dream Statistics' Tales from Space City 1: 123
  3. Tales from Space City: Editorial: or, "How the hell did I let myself be talked into this?", Archived version (accessed 21 September 2015)
  4. from Rallying Call #17 and #18
  5. Lysator, Judith P., January 1996
  6. comments by feng shui house July 16/19, 2015 at Aralias' Dreamwidth journal, Archived version