On the Wing

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Zine
Title: On the Wing/Adult Supplement
Publisher:
Editor(s): Leigh Moto'oka & Carol McCoy
Type: apazine
Date(s): late summer 1990 to at least 1997
Frequency:
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake’s 7
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

On the Wing is a Blake's 7 Tarrant-centric apazine with at least twenty-five issues.

There is a filk by Angela Reese called "Sandbox Built for Two" in issue that won a 1992 FanQ.

In 1994 and 1995, the zine won a STIFfie Award.

From an ad in a 1992 Zine Scene: "An APA dedicated to our favorite decorative and resourceful space pilot. Tarrant-bashers need not apply! Quarterly publication, with optional Adult Supplement."

a 1993 flyer from Bill Hupe's catalog

Issue 1

On the Wing 1 was published in late summer 1990 (probably August, maybe September) and contains 36 pages. The next submission date was October 21, 1990.

front cover of issue #1 [Leigh M]
back cover of issue #1, [Fliss D]
  • the APA has thirteen members (12 female, 1 male)
  • this issue has two cartoons by Leigh, one previously published in Magnificent Seven #8 and The Seven Live On #3.
  • a fan says that the first thing she said to the man who would become her husband was "Can I come and see your B7 videos sometime?" and that when they got married, they had the B7 theme song played at their wedding
  • a fan suggests a name for this apa: "Terminally Tarrant"
  • this issue contains a story by Rebecca Ann called "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven"
  • this issue contains a lot of fans' introductions to Blake's 7, their appreciation of Tarrant, and short bios
  • this issue has short comments by [Angela R] called "Tarrant vs. Avon: A Comparison"
[Leigh]: Desperately seeking cover art... I have taken the liberty of reserving on fo Fliss Davies' lovely Tarrant portraits for the next issue's cover, and using another as a back cover this time, just this once. (I didn't think you'd mind, Fliss!) But from now on, if you would like your art used as a cover, you must give me explicit permission. Please understand that I may not be able to use it right away, and that I may add things to it, such as a border or lettering.
[Leigh]: Special thanks to [Eileen M], who donated some extra $$ to get this thing off the ground.

[Leigh]:

ZINE REVIEW SERVICE: Carol and I have put together a list of B7 zines, and given them ratings according to quality as well as Tarrant quotient. Copies are available from me for a SASE. If you would like to add to the list, or contest our ratings, feel free.

[Bill]:

Dr. Who is my other chief fannish interest though I also have a healthy Star Trek interest and am currently watching Star Cops. My hobbies are astronomy, Maya studies (you know, the people who live in southeastern Mexico and Central America), science fiction (Darkover in particular), and collecting original science fiction and fantasy art (especially book covers). I am a member of the Gaylaxians and am heavily into "/" zines. As to mundane things, I am 55, male, work as an astronomy publisher, and am something of a computer freak.

[Pat, writes that her "B7 magnum opus went on ice with the Controversy"]:

I was introduced to B7 when [ Liz S ] deposited several videotapes on my coffee table, about a second before we got into my car to drive to MediaWest. I may forgive her for that someday. When I began watching them, the degeneration of my brain cells progressed quickly ... in two weeks I was making plans to go to Scorpio IV, a con I had loudly declared that I had not intention of attending. Fortunately, it was one of the best of the Scorpios. The only sour note was some fool who took a poll on who liked and didn't like Tarrant. I was a distinct minority.

I should in fairness say that Avon is, narrowly, my favorite character and Tarrant's the close second. I became interested in Tarrant because of their relationship, which — again I'm a minority — I think is more interesting, because less obvious, than the Blake-Avon relationship. As a writer, it's fun to write scenes with Tarrant and Avon, because their differing personalities make for witty and interesting dialogue. More to come on Tarrant's appeal in the "general comments" section.

Favorite B7 Episodes: "Rumours of Death" — besides the Avon angst, I love Tarrant's bow, "Deathwatch," "Sarcophagus," "Terminal," "Sand," "Blake." And, no, I don't think it's Tarrant's fault that Avon blows Blake away, but I do think it's interesting that Avon takes Tarrant's word on it. Stories? That's difficult. "Double-Edged Sword" is a natural choice, I like many of the Hellhound stories, many of the Bizzaro stories ... but no outstanding Tarrant stories come to mind. Does anyone out there know some?

[Pat]:

Is anyone besides me tired of fifth series fan stories that either kill off everyone but Avon and Vila or — only slightly better — let Tarrant (and others) live, but pretty much treat him like a fairly uninteresting piece of scenery? I suppose this is somewhat a function of imitation, since the public statements of Paul Darrow and Terry Nation indicate only Vila and Avon live to fight another day, but it isn't really terribly logical.

Consider: Everyone except Blake and Avon (who isn't shown being shot at all) seems to be hit by the same kind of gun. Therefore, the fan writer who rescues Vila at Tarrant's (or any other character's) expense better have a good reason why the guns worked better on the other characters. Oh, it can be done ,.. a glancing hit to the character you wish to preserve, for example, would do it. It's just the assumption that Tarrant, et. al. are less Important and their deaths is only a momentary inconvenience that rather irritates me. I will admit that in "Fortune's Fool" (referenced above) that Jacqueline and I kill off several major characters without so much as batting an eye, but that because I got a rather perverse pleasure from killing off the characters that usually come through scatheless. My own version of cosmic justice.

Why does Tarrant get bashed? I can think of three basic reasons (though there are no doubt others): 1.) The assumption that people, once adult, can no longer change, 2.) a touching but irritating belief that class distinctions do not exist (despite the evidence of the show and our own society) and 3.) a distrust of characters who do not suffer constantly.

Host Tarrant-bashers I know think Tarrant — who does sometimes rush in where angels fear to tread — cannot change. He is fully grown and is set in concrete. Nonsense. Hot only is he a young man, but my feeling is that anyone can change their behavior, even basic ideas, if the desire is there. Tarrant has the desire ... he's the only one in B7 who's willing to admit and apologize for his mistakes and that's halfway there. Determinists will not like Tarrant, but those who believe in character development probably will.

Another reason for disliking Tarrant is, of course, his treatment of Vila. Okay, sorry, but Vila is presented as lower class ... there is a class system in England (where the program was made). There's a more subtle class system in America. I doubt if the division of people into classes is going to radically change in future; it's too convenient a way of making an initial choice of whether you want to further your acquaintance with another person. Give Tarrant the credit that he rises above it enough to recognize when he's wrong with Vila, Also, I think it's valuable to recognize — sorry, Vila fans — that Vila often is irresponsible. Sometimes, Vila rises above himself ... other times, he huddles in a corner and drinks. For a crewmerober depending on his backup, the main problem is that one never knows which course he'll take in any given situation.

As for reason number 3, this just occured to roe! Tarrant is practically the only crewraeraber (aside from the females who — in my opinion — aren't consistently characterized anyway) who doesn't go haywire from fighting the Federation, By the end of the second series, Blake is willing to destroy a lot of lives at Star One ... now, this may be only good military strategy, but his exchange with Cally indicates she thinks it's gone beyond that. "Blake" gives us hints about Blake's bitterness, though not a whole picture. Avon? Well, I don't go with the idea that he's crazy, but he's certainly showing signs of considerable stress (possibly combat syndrome, maybe just plain lack of sleep) during series four. Vila ... well, he doesn't seem interested in fighting the revolution at any point.

Tarrant is the only male crewmember who wants to fight, does fight and doesn't show any sign of extraordinary stress. Perhaps this is partially a result of his training ... no one else is the program has gone through any kind of military training (so far as we are told). So it could be that Tarrant's training has prepared him to encounter prolonged stressful situations, without showing overt psychological strain.

He's also the only member of the crew (male or female), who doesn't have an emotional stake in the fighting (at least until after "Deathwatch"). Blake's been worked over by the Federation, Jenna's emotionally tied up with Blake, Cally's group o£ fighters have been slaughtered, Dayna's father was murdered by Servalan, Soolin's whole family was wiped out and (if Vila does want to fight at all) his reason could be traced to the "fooling around" in his head by the Federation. Tarrant Is given no such overwhelming motivation, at least until after the death of his brother.

[Lisa]:

Hello and welcome to "The Summertime Knight". My name is Lisa, and as you can guess, I like Tarrant very much. If you had told me three years ago that I would be joining a Tarrant Apa, I would have laughed you out of my presence. I was interested in Doctor Who, and I didn't think I had time for another fandom.

I'm not sure exactly what changed all that. I went to a combined B7/DW Creation Con and heard people talking about this great program. I refused to go see the B7 actors who were there, and went home.

But, by the time Saturday night rolled around, my interest was piqued. I sat in front of the TV and turned on Blake's 7. I remember enjoying the credits, and as soon as the show came on, I was captivated. I can't exactly remember which episode I saw first, but it was something from the third season. I was hooked.

I started out liking Vila. Vila was funny, and he reacted the way I would if I was in the show. I had a kindred soul. But, by the time I saw the next few episodes, my eyes were drawn to "the tall hunk with the curly hair". Who wasn't ?

My immediate attraction to Tarrant was sexual, I must admit. Just one look at that long, lean body, and sexy, little-boy face, and my saliva glands (not to mention a few other glands) were working overtime. I liked the way he stood up to Avon, who I extremely disliked, even if it was sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

He caught my eye, especially in his blue velour jumpsuit, and I soon found myself liking him more and more. I was surprised when few others in fandom seemed to like him. They were fixated on Avon, the leather freak.

I found fanzines/ and devoured them eagerly for Tarrant stories. (Even now, my fanzine library is about 75% B7. My favorite episodes are: (in no particular order) Aftermath, Sarcophagus, Sand, Powerplay (of course), and Mission to Destiny. In zines, I favor Southern Seven, Return of the Seven, Forbidden Zone, The Flotsam Chronicles (Someone finally killed off Avon and left Tarrant alive hooray 1), Powerplay, Bizarro Seven, the Hellhound series, Banzine and Naughty Bits. (the last two are multimedia.)

My favorite stories are "Trust, like the soul" by Jean Lorrah, "Curtain Call" by [ Liz S. ], "Writhing Lawn Sprinklers" by Vera Laster, "Hypothermia" by ?, "Going Home" by Susie Molnar, "Broken Trust, Broken Promises" by Delaven, and the "Slumber Party" series by D.J. Driscoll.

[Carol]:

I am interested In Tarrant for a variety of reasons, (Maybe being tall, blue-eyed... and having dark curly hair has something to do with it!) Moving right on... I think I really started liking Tarrant after reading tons of letters and hearing hosts of B7 fans bad-mouth Tarrant for being a bully or something and never saving anything against Avon. Avon was excused for almost anything -- Tarrant was not excused for anything. I see Del as trying to do the right thing, the moral thing, in spite of what he says sometimes. I am anxiously waiting see what other Tarrant fans think.

[Rebecca Ann]:

Always knew there were other Tarrant fans out there, despite it being fannishly unacceptable to find anything of worth in the Boy Wonder, I am, primarily, a Blake fan [really, he and Avon are in a dead even tie for #1 favorite B7 character], but Del Tarrant isn't far behind. It's always been a source o£ puzzlement to me why, when a particular character does become a favorite, it then becomes a necessity to trash and bash all the others. Afterall, much of what we like about our special pet comes from how he interacts with the others, and what that reveals about him [or her, to be fair]. Actual criticism based on the evidence of the episodes is acceptable, but my number one fandom pet peeve is the way a fandom can skew things around so that it bears virtually no resembelance to what was shown in the series. I expect we've all read stories where the only things we recognize are the names. I'll be interested in seeing what others think may be the reason[s] Tarrant comes in for that so much. My first contact with B7 came via Doctor Who, back in 1982 when I bought some issues of a U.K. zine that had material covering both series. Practically all of the B7 content had to do with the final episode which had aired there very recently; it was thoroughly baffling, but intriguing, and my curiosity was severely piqued—although it would be another three years before it was satisfied. Anyway, there wasn't a great deal of material relating to Tarrant, but what was there was not all that critical, and I believe there was even a fan club for Steven Pacey at one time over there. Based on that, and some comments from friends over there, it seems as if the Tarrant Defamation League had its start over here. Ditto for the Trash-n-Bash Blake Society. The tone of those U.K. zines, especially in the LoC section, was stunned disbelief that the series would end with Avon killing Blakej and a sampling of early B7 fanfic shows that a lot of Brit fans vere very favorably disposed towards Blake and the others.

So, do American fans dislike Tarrant because he replaced Blake? Well, that doesn't make sense because Blake has also been unpopular over here. Is it because, having got rid of Blake, rather than turning it into The Kerr Avon Show, the powers that be went and got a replacement [who is taller, younger, and at least as handsome]? Does Tarrant get kicked because he's young? Because he doesn't worship the ground Avon walks on? Maybe because he isn't always amused at Vila's antics? Because he dares to be that most despised of beings, a hero?

There are a lot of reasons for my liking B7, and one of those is that—despite what many fans would have us believe—they are not a bunch of warped and twisted quasi-psychos wallowing in the dark side of human nature. The only ones who do fit that description are Servalan and Travis II [Travis I was ruthless, but now and then did show a certain passing acquaintance with honor]. The crews of Liberator and Scorpio have their flaws, some are more shaded in gray than others, but still good guys. Each one has qualities that are less than admirable, and there are many instances throughout the 52 episodes when I feel like shaking one or another and telling them to stop behaving in a particularly unattractive fashion. But that only illustrates how real they seem: if you cut them, they do bleed.

[Eileen]

A few years ago, I heard of the T.V. show Blake's 7, but all I know was that it was science-fiction and made in Britain. Much to my surprise our local PBS station decided to air it four times a week late at night. I watched the first show and was hooked. I continued to watch the entire series, seeing them in order, with no knowledge of who was in it or what was going to happen. I enjoyed all of the characters and actors, but at the end of "Aftermath" when I saw Tarrant for a few seconds, I immediately perked right up. I had no idea he'd be joining the cast as a regular, so I was quite happy at the end of "Powerplay."

[Carol]:

... I soon realized that there was an active fandom associated with the series and began making my first tentative contacts. The response was deliriously euphoric, both the kindness of veterans to a neophyte and discovering the large amount of printed B7 material available. Fanfictlon sealed my fate, Unlike other favorite books, movies, and tv shows, Blake's 7 offered a continuing and viable universe to retain my interest and enthusiasm. I now require regular fixes of fellowship, zines and conventions to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

[...]

It's interesting that Tarrant seems to have had a good image with the first American fans. The early zines and stories are very fair, even complementary. I would find it fascinating to hear from veterans of the days of fuzzy camera copies as to how, why, and when that reversed.

I wonder if it is possible for Tarrant to gain respect in fandom. It is encouraging to see more fans willing to defend the character, though it is still often with some qualifications. "I even like Tarrant." "I won't apologize for defending Tarrant." Tarrant is not the one-dimensional bully, ass, wuss, arrogant SOB, that he is often mislabeled.

Interestingly, I've heard two fan writers admit that their opinion of Tarrant changed for the better when they wrote him. In their stories he came out (surprisingly to them) much more admirable than they had expected. I would say those women were very honest writers, who made the effort to explore all of the characters in their stories, not just the main one or two.

[...]

It is really hard for me to single out just a few pieces of fanfiction as favorites. I have many favorites. They all have several things in common: the characters are portrayed close to how I see them, Tarrant has a visible, interesting part in the story, and the plot is well developed. I'm also an admitted wallow addict so if there is angst, the story gets an even higher rating. That said, I'll just mention for now some of the stories that I was first exposed to that have become perennial rereads: Seeds of Legend by Judith Seaman, Love and Necessary Discipline by Susan Matthews, Doppleganger by Suzann Lovett, and Project Aeolis by Brenda Callagher.

What is currently most exciting in fanfiction is to have very talented friends who share my interest in Tarrant. They not only provide some of the best Tarrant stories that I've read, but they offer me encouragement and help with my own writing efforts. I just wish more authors would explore Tarrant - there is so much untapped material that would provide a refreshing change from the world-revolves-around Avon deluge.

Favorite zines are also based on their Tarrant Quotient. Zines that will give you a lot of Tarrant for your money include: Blake's Doubles 3, Fifth Season 2 and 5, Forgotten Seven, Gambit 2 and 5, Something Unfriendly 1 and 2, and Southern Seven 1, 3, and 5. I hope many APA members will participate in the proposed zine TQ (Tarrant Quotient) rating project, and that we can eventually publish a comprehensive list, adding new zines as they appear.

I'm really delighted to have this forum to focus on Tarrant. It's especially nice to have APA members whose first loyalty is not to Tarrant so that we will have views from several perspectives.

[Leigh]:

I can't help by agree that the popularity of Tarrant-bashing is related to the rise of the Church of Meegat. The really early B7 zines were far kinder to Tarrant than later ones. There seemed to be many people who were Tarrant fans and not afraid to admit it. And it can't be coincidence that Blake and Jenna, the only other characters who had the gonads to stand up to Avon, are also much-despised.

[Mickey]:

"Getting Myself Mixed Up in Other People's Wars" -- I figured I'd follow the custom of sf apas and give my apa-zine a title, although I've noticed that's not necessarily the custom in media apas. The title is part of Tarrant's own job description to Avon in "Powerplay." It seemed appropriate because I'm primarily a Blake-and-Avon fan, not a Tarrant fan per se. Over the past couple of years, though, I've found myself talking quite a lot about Tarrant to other fans. To my surprise and annoyance, I've found it necessary to defend Tarrant a lot. When I first got interested in B7 in 1982, Tarrant actually had a fairly loyal following and he didn't come in for any more criticism than any other character. But by the time I threw myself into serious B7 discussions in 1988, Tarrant had turned into B7 fandom's favorite punching bag. Tarrant fans were isolated and in a state of siege. Some of them would write me just because they heard I thought Tarrant was an OK guy.

Issue 2

On the Wing 2 was published in 1990 (probably December) and contains 54 pages. The next submission deadline was January 31, 1991.

front cover of issue #2, Fliss
back cover of issue #2, Leigh
inside page from issue #2, art by Denise, vignette by Carol M
  • the apa has 15 members, two more than last time: "Tarrant fans seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days; isn't it wonderful?"
  • it includes a fourteen-page excerpt from the unfinished novel Rumours of Life by Pat Nussman and Jacqueline Taero -- the novel was left unfinished due to the complications and turmoil following The Blake's 7 War
  • several fans mention Paul Darrow's poor opinion of the character of Tarrant; a fan says that Tarrant may be becoming more popular because "these days there are a lot of people who are no longer afraid of contradicting Darrow's opinion of Tarrant in public." A fan also comments: "I wouldn't be surprised if you could track a correlation between a drop in Tarrant's popularity and the rise of "guest-cons" in the U.S."
  • there are some comments about G.R.O.T.: a fan calls it "petty behavior," another fan says she bought it and didn't find it very offensive (the serious stories that slander Tarrant are more distasteful)...
  • this issue contains a story called "Bitter Aftertaste," the author is not credited
  • this issue has a review by Fliss of the play "An Inspector Calls"
  • this issue contains a poem by Teresa called "Little Brother," -- "a poem that was deemed too sentimental by one zine editor, but I have hopes it will eventually find a home. Meanwhile, all you wallow addicts can enjoy this, if it really is too sentimental, sob sob. ~ Til Tarrant fans outnumber Avon fans..."

[Teresa]:

It seems that early on in both British and American fandoms, Tarrant was viewed somewhat favorably. It's only been recently that his Hate Clubs have formed. Why? I only wish we all could have been around at the start of B7 fandom, so we could have nipped that in the bud before it got out of hand.... I agree with your statement that it's usually Avon fans who bash Tarrant. I think it's because since Avon felt a little threatened by him, then Avon fans do, too. Vila fans aren't as bad, but they still use the old "Tarrant bullied Vila" saying. Avon and Blake bulled Vila more than Tarrant ever thought of. Vila fans are just blind to Avon's faults as much as Avon fans are blind to their hero's faults.

Why are more people coming out into the open and admitting to liking Tarrant? Maybe because we old die hards have "fought the good fight and kept the faith" and others see we really mean it. We're not just saying all this to cause a few waves, then'll we'll be gone. We really do like Tarrant; we think it's perfectly fine to like Tarrant' and others should feel the same way. Watch out world: We're Here!

[Carol]:

"The Good, the Bad, and the Unique" (A blatantly prejudicial, biased non-review of some recent zines.) Before going on, please read this disclaimer. I admit that this considers zine stories for only three things: if they are fair in characterizing Tarrant (The Good) if they greatly misunderstand, malign, or ignore Tarrant (The Bad), if they have some refreshing premise or twist (The Unique). I will not comment on quality of good writing and will ignore or pan stories that are better written than some of "The Good" ones. All ratings are based on my own personal impressions, tastes, and interpretations.

Forgotten Seven [see that page]
Dark Between the Stars [see that page]
Something... Unfriendly #2 [see that page]
Gambit #6 [see that page]
Standard by Several #3 [see that page]
Plain Man's Guide to Alien Invasions #2 [see that page]

[Eileen]:

... I also see Tarrant as chivalrous and a gentleman. That's why I dislike fan stories that make off-the-wall statements such as, "Tarrant was always rude." "Cally never liked Tarrant." "Tarrant was never polite." Where do they get this stuff?! Tarrant has plenty of faults but bad manners is not one of them. One of the things I like about him is his awareness of other people's feelings, which he demonstrates in "Children of Auron," "Rumours of Death," "Death-Watch," and "Terminal," to name a few. I'd rather read a story where Tarrant doesn't appear at all than one where the author is too biased to write him accurately. If a person is going to write a Blake's 7 story, I feel they are under some obligation to pay attention to the information given in the broadcasts. The characters are "set" to some degree and when a writer gets too far off the mark the story is usually unsatisfactory at best and downright annoying at the worst.

[Virginia]:

Apparently certain people were under the impression that Paul Darrow did not like the character of Del Tarrant. These particular people were Paul Darrow Mega-fans. Anything Paul disliked was trash. Therefore, Tarrant was meant to be bashed. I don't particularly care if this version of the story is correct, since I happen to know many B7 fans who don't think of Tarrant as their favorite...

For some bizarre reason, American fans (and perhaps Aussies, too) have a tendency to root for their favorite character as they might root for their favorite football team (which might explain in part why they perceive that someone else must "lose" in order for their side to "win."), and where possible, they use the actor in question as a rallying point.

[Rebecca Ann]:

Issue #1 of On The Wing made for interesting reading, although I didn't agree with a few things here and there — mainly the idea that the B7 sun rises and sets on Del Tarrant. But [Fliss] and [Micky] kept me from feeling like a Blakie who'd lost her way. Then, too, I can understand the bit of hyperbole about Tarrant here, given the abuse the poor guy has gotten elsewhere; being a Blakie that's something I can sympathize with. It's just that for me, Roj Blake is intrinsic to my enjoyment of B7; the 28 episodes with him are (in my opinion) head and shoulders above the 24 without him, but those Blake-less episodes are still worth watching—and a lot of that is because of Tarrant. (Although I have to say that it's Avon who is essential to maintaining my interest, once Blake's gone; had the series also lost him it would surely have died a quick death.

[...]

Pat also made a good point about the erroneous belief that people can't change, which leads some to dismiss Tarrant. It's a bit hypocritical, too, given these same people probably turn out stories where Avon and Vila undergo so much personal growth that they cease to he recognizable. Tarrant had a far greater potential for greater maturity than Vila ever does, mainly because Tarrant has a desire to improve himself; Vila thinks he's peachy the way he is and rarely shows an inclination to better himself. One of the things a writer can do in a 5th season story is have Tarrant live up to the potentials that were sometimes only hinted at in the series, and to not do so because of personal bias is poor writing. There are some B7 characters that I don't care for all that much, but I always make a conscious effort to not let that show; I do Vila quite well because of sticking to the qualities of his character that I do like and not trying to turn him into some superhero. If someone cannot find something positive about Tarrant, even if it's just his skills as a pilot, they are being incredibly narrow minded, (The one exception to all this is Servalan. It's becoming increasingly difficult to write her with any sort of detachment, as the more I have to think about her the more I grow to loathe her. On the other hand, as she has no redeeming qualities it's not really a matter of doing her some grave injustice.)

[Bill]:

Most of the B7 rebels are likable, with the following exceptions. Vila can be annoying (face it, who likes whining?). Avon is often, in my view, downright despicable, though always fascinating. Having attended "Orbit," I can say that I see a lot of Paul Darrow in Avon, whereas I see little of Michael Keating in Vila except for the charm (which Vila turns on from time to time). This is, of course, all highly subjective. Soolin never seems to develop as a major character and Dayna's chief function appears to be to get in trouble and be rescued (rather like a Doctor Who companion). Gan by design seems to be a foil for the rest of the characters - the strong, silent type. I admire Jenna and Cally. For the most part they are strong and competent, and appear to have a pretty good idea of what they want.

This leaves Blake and Tarrant. In some sense they seem to be two sides of the same character. Both have curly dark hair. Both are good looking in the conventional sense (as opposed to, say, Leather Boy). They come to the struggle from completely different backgrounds and with completely different objectives. Blake is driven, doubtless due mostly to his earlier treatment at the hands of the Federation, while Tarrant is not. As mentioned by many participants in the last issue of On the Wing, there is a real mystery surrounding Tarrant's defection from the Federation. There doesn't seem to be much mystery at all about Blake with one exception: How could he destroy Star One once he realized how many innocent lives it would cost? I don't think any of us would make the decision he made. The answer to this is not at all obvious {and no, I don't know what it is).

Tarrant, on the other hand, falls into the rebellion by accident. All he wants at the beginning is the Liberator. With it he gets a crew that already has an agenda which he soon makes his own. Yet I can't recall any indication of what the motivation is, other than the fact that tie's a Federation outlaw. There's quite a difference between smuggling and piracy engaged in-for economic reasons on the one hand and rebellion on the other. Here's a mystery to be solved!

Servalan and Travis, as the chief baddies, certainly deserve attention. The expression 'too good to be true' comes to mind for Servalan, though in her case it becomes 'too bad to be true.' She doesn't seem to have any real foibles, and really gets away with too much to be totally believable. Her function seems to be as the person you love to hate. Travis' unswerving hate of Blake is his weakness and his ultimate downfall, making his character believable if unappetizing.

[Leigh]:

A couple of people mentioned fanfic cliches this time around, as I thought I'd start off there. Here, from the home office in Kealakekua, Hawai'i, is the Top Ten list of B7 Fan Fiction Cliches!

10. Avon has allergies.
9. Cally is a virgin.
8. Avon had an older brother who was mean to him.
7. ____ is actually a Federation agent. (Fill in the blank with any regular character, including Orac.)
6. Avon and Vila are brothers.
5. Servalan (or Cally, or Jenna, or some other woman who ought to know better) accidentally gets pregnant.
4. Vila is secretly an Alpha.
3. Avon is nuts.
2. It's Tarrant's fault that Avon is nuts.
1. It was the clone.

[Leigh]:

Pet peeves: Since I'm on the subject of Blake...don't you hate those PGPs therein Avon immediately throws his loyalty to Blake, completely forsaking his own crew? Sometimes they're all dead, and Avon barely notices. (Even then it's Blake's fault that they're all dead.) In other stories, Avon threatens anyone who doesn't accept Blake with severe bodily hen. Give me a break! Avon and Blake have been apart so long, and have changed so much. It would be impossible for then to resume their relationship as if nothing had happened, no matter how close they were before. (If your husband took off for four years, you'd think twice before welcoming him back with open arms.) These writers obviously love the 1st & 2nd series. I can sympathize, as I feel the same way about the 3rd & 4th. However, it isn't very realistic to postulate that Blake means more to Avon than Tarrant, Vila, Dayna, and Soolin, after all that the Scorpio crew have been through together. It would be better to do some sort of alternate universe, rather than trying a PGP with that scenario.

One of my favorite 'backlash' stories is Judith Seaman's 'This Ill-Wresting World,' in Down & Unsafe #4. Though I can't quite see Tarrant acting as be does in this PGP, Avon & Blake are interesting. Judith has Blake shoot Soolin in the back, for the bounty. (He needs money in order to fund the revolution.) Not knowing the Scorpio crew, Blake doesn't think Avon will mind very much. Avon does mind, however...

[Leigh]:

No, I don't think the 4th series was 'more American' than the others. Certainly, it had higher production values; if that's considered more American, we Yanks should be flattered, But its content was like nothing found on American TV. The quality that makes B7 unique is most evident in the 4th season: its dark, cynical view of the universe. STAR TREK this ain't! On American TV, the good guys always win, the bad guys are punished, and everyone lives happily ever after. By this criteria, it's the 1st series that seems 'most American.'

[Leigh]:

You may not have seen Tarrant and Dayna as interlopers, but many fans did. This is especially noticeable in the Aussie zine, Chonicles. B7 was shown in Australia only a little after it was shown in the U.K. Thus, Aussie fen had advance notice of what was to come in each series. Many of them gleefully looked forward to the 3rd series. They despised Blake and couldn't wait to get rid of him. They seemed to hate Tarrant and Dayna even wore, however. Apparently, they were expecting B7 to become The Kerr Avon Show after 'Star One,' and were extremely annoyed when these newcomers turned up, stealing screen time from their idol.

Awhile back, there was a discussion of Blake-Vila going on in FEDERATION ARCHIVES. Many fen seemingly believe that Blake's treatment of Vila was even worse than Avon's and Tarrant's. I gather you disagree...

[...]

I fear you'll have to put up with the sun rising and setting on Del Tarrant around here! That's sort of the point of this apa, after all! You can get your revenge in RALLYING CALL, the Blake apa. Seriously, I appreciate the tolerance and understanding you Blakies have of us Tarrant fen. It's something many Avon and Vila fans seem incapable of. I have a couple of friends who are forever pushing 1st & 2nd series lines at me. I've repeatedly explained that I'm really not interested if there's no Tarrant, but apparently they find this impossible to believe, (Though they themselves would never bother to read a story without Avon and/or Vila!) One of them recently suggested that I make a music video about Blake. I politely said that I didn't have that much interest in Blake. 'But it would be from Avon's point of view' was the earnest reply. It honestly did not occur to her that it was Tarrant I wanted to make videos about, though she knew darn well who my favorite character was. Blake fans, thankfully, tend to be more perceptive than this. 'No doubt because they, too, are in the persecuted minority.)

Issue 2.1 (Adult Supplement)

On the Wing 2.1 was published in 1990 (probably December).

Issue 3

On the Wing 3 was published in February 1991.

Issue 3.1 (Adult Supplement)

On the Wing 3.1 was published in 1991. The front cover is by Randym, and it was inspired by Connie Faddis' contribution to The Fantasy Showcase Tarot.

  • the front cover of the third issue's adult supplement causes fans to comment in #4.1: "Oops, Naughty Naughty... From which you'll guess that I've been looking at the Adult Supplement. As I don't know Connie Faddis (who, what, he, she?), I don't know if the viper on the cover is a his-viper or a hers-viper. Either might be fun." And "More superb art! Very erotic cover (and even a hint of leg this time). One's eye seems drawn to the snake and fighting...the snake. Is that the normal focus of the picture or is it just my "curiosity" showing? The provocative bit of bare shoulder on page 1 is equally appealing. There's something to be had for leaving it to the imagination. And one can imagine all sorts of reasons why Tarrant is shirtless, especially combined with that intriguing expression, it's like he's looking at someone else, but who and with what in mind?"

Issue 4

On the Wing 4 contains 38 pages. It was published in spring 1991 (probably about May 1). The next submission date was July 1991.

The front cover was in color (the image here is a black and white photocopy). It is by Tammy R.: "Tammy is a Darkover fan, and chose to depict Tarrant as Dani Syrtis!"

The back cover is by Leigh M.

inside page from issue #4, art by Leigh for Love and Necessary Discipline. It is original to this apa
  • the apa now has nineteen members
  • this issue has a review by Fliss of the play starring Steven Pacey at the Liverpool Playhouse: "Around the World in Eighty Days"

[Fliss]:

On the subject of fan fiction, Carol you asked Micky what she doesn't like about it - dare I admit I don't like much of it either? In my case it's because I'm a purist (Micky, perhaps you'll agree with me here?) and so many times I find I just can t see the characters as being the ones in the series. I like stories that keep true to the style of the series, not ones that are too much of their own interpretation on things - I'm just naturally boring, I suppose! For that reason, I've largely given up writing B7 stories, because I think most people who buy zines wouldn't want re-read the kind of stories I want to write, i.e. ones that I can envisage on TV as an episode.

[Ros]:

... I love writing about the B7 characters -- all of them. But I always liked Tarrant anyway and I was surprised how much some fans hated him. I guess I just can't understand fans who get so passionate about hating characters who seem to threaten their hero. The only character I seriously didn't like was Anna Grant.

[...]

Zines my stories have appeared in -- quite a few! Mostly Horizon, Vilaworld, Avon club zine, Rebel, Orbit, and not forgetting Forgotten Seven. Mostly English/Scottish zines.

[Ros]:

Did bashing Tarrant and Blake start in the US? We had a few hard-core Avon fans like Judith Seaman who despised and bashed Blake systematically but most people seemed to think Avon really did, deep down, respect Blake and most fiction expressed that view. Tarrant received a bit of flack bit it was more a case of him coming well down the list of favourite characters rather than active hate. The Blake and Tarrant bashing seemed to become markedly virulent in the heyday of American conventions when the remarks of actors, however flippant and casual, had a lot of influence, and there's not a backlash from those of us who feel all the characters deserve equal respect. You are right that we could not believe Avon would kill Blake for any reason, not even that implied. I was stunned and annoyed when I heard it was Paul Darrow's idea, something I didn't know until after he had aired his views at American Cons. Do you think US fans associate themselves more with the actors and their remarks than with the characters they played, have perhaps become overly partisan? Many of us here hardly ever see the actors, and never talk to then personally about anything.

[...]

Let's get one thing clear, in the UK we do not in general see Avon as a stark raving nutcase and I was pretty surprised when some American fans informed me that this is how you all see him. You may be assured that stark raving nutcases are not popular heroes to the average Briton (we like 'em brave and touch and macho, which Avon is, and SANE.); and, had Avon been seen off his head, he would not have become hysterically popular here, not under any circumstances. I was advised by an American that UK newsletter seemed to indicate most British fans felt Avon was mad, and I pointed out that most of the many millions of British viewers never joined a fan club. In any case, I disagreed with her on the remark about nls although I agree there was a period when the possibility was discussed a great deal. Don't forget B7 was not a late-night cult series here but at around 7.15 pm, drawing a large proportion of the viewing public... The first I heard of this insanity idea was when I joined a fan club and read an intense article by Judith Seaman which discussed the idea in response to a nl competition. Paul Darrow himself stated in the nl that he did not agree with her. I get pretty bored with stories which show Avon as crazy -- yes, we have some such stories too. So far as I can understand, Americans can't abide the idea that Avon is a rather objectionable thug at times, instead they are sure he must really be a sweetie... so he has to be mad. We can cope with his nastiness -- which probably says some awful things about our collective personality!

[Eileen]:

[Regarding the writers and the scripts by their adherence to B7 continuity and good sense: I just don't see why I should turn my interpretation of B7 on its ear because of some hack who did less homework on the series that I did.

[Teresa]:

Please tell us the name of the editor of Serendipitous Scenarios so I won't ever submit to her. Expecting you not to be able to use your work for five (!) years is insane, I don't care what zine it is or who puts it out. People can do whatever they wish with their stuff in Forgotten Seven; I don't mind. I WOULD like to sell the last 30 or so, though...

[Leigh]:

First of all, I'm sorry if I gave the impression last time that I dislike Susan Matthews' story, 'Love & Necessary Discipline.' That is not the case. If I seemed critical, it's only because I'm the analytical type; I dissect everything, whether I love it or hate it. Anyway, I admire the story very much; it's an all-too-authentic depiction of an abusive relationship. While some aspects of the story disturbed me, it's entirely possible that Susan intended that effect. Much has been made of fans' tendency to inflict pain and suffering on their heroes. At first glance, the wallow/hurt-comfort/angst genre may seem frighteningly sadistic. But I don't think those of us who read and write such stories are abnormal or disturbed, because the intent of this violence is not is the least sadistic. The idea is not to degrade the hero, but to ennoble him. Also, suffering, like sex, is used to intensify intimacy between characters. It's a way to get the characters to let down their guards. (The B7 characters have unusually thick emotional barriers; therefore, it takes a lot of pain to get past them!)

[...]

Re: 'Love & Necessary Discipline': your comment about people being unable to face a plot in which Avon abuses a child or a woman hit the nail on the head. Given the story Susan wanted to tell, it had to be Del. Many readers were extremely upset to see Avon callously beating up Tarrant. But can you imagine how they would have reacted if it had been, say, Dayna, instead? That would have been completely unpalatable -- far too realistic for comfort. I suspect that writing about male characters, rather than female ones, allows the mostly female fans the emotional distance necessary to deal with subjects that would be just too painful to tolerate otherwise. This is true for gen as well as slash stories.

Issue 4.1 (Adult Supplement)

On the Wing 4.1 contains 8 pages. It was published in spring 1991 (probably about May 1).

cover of the fourth issue's "adult supplement"
cartoon by Randym, from issue #4.1
  • it has four contributors
[R W]: T/B as a potential couple? Not in this universe or any other! If Tarrant went for men (I doubt he would), it'd be Avon - well, they all go for Avon in some fanfic, but I suppose I could imagine it - or one of the guest stars. Vila? Maybe. T/A would, I agree with Eileen, be brief. Avon would probably find it hard to cope? Adult relationships in B7 thin on the ground? Yes, a tricky subject as it was shown early in the evening here and so popular with children. And having no adult relationships means we can't get upset over any we might have disagreed with, I suppose.

[R W]:

Those sordid fiction rapes make me wonder about the writers -- are they mostly abnormal? You can read their stuff with a view to psychoanalysing them, I suppose. They mightn't appreciate that.

[...]

You have to be careful that [the love story element in the fanfic you write] doesn't become maudlin. So much that's normal in real life just doesn't work in writing, but like Victor Hugo I agree that the best stories always have a good love story included in the plot. In some stories I've deliberately kept the love interest very controlled, very understated. As for slash, fine if it's sensible. In certain circumstances even rap can be an acceptable story, but it's got to be believable. Once it becomes a prurient and vicious wallow by the writer, it's fit only for the nearest incinerator. I draw the line at most rape stories and also at anything abusing children. Some fanwriters seem to revel in depicting our characters as abused children or, worse, themselves abusing children. God knows there's enough of that in real life. Do we want it in B7? Those writers are mostly despicable. If they have emotional problems, I wish they'd see a psychiatrist. There's a difference between a serious discussion or worthwhile (if grim) story questioning whether a character was abused and some sick fan wallowing in describing every kind of cruelty he/she can think up. Urk.

One-night stand stories I normally find trivial. I think it's insulting to see the characters as that shallow. That isn't to say they can't, or that normal people don't ever do it -- of course they do. But why waste writing talent on such a shallow tale?

[M D]:

I'd rather have forced sex than have my head vacuumed, too. Death before dishonor (or mind rape before body rape) has always struck me as screwed-up priorities.

[C M-1]:

[addressing I M]: The reason there wasn't much to comment on was because not many contributed. And it was a certain person didn't have anything in Supplement 2. And that certain person, if you will recall, kindly made herself look like a pig to fetch you food from the con party -- going back for your food after she had consumed enough salmon dip to get an urge to swim upstream and spawn. (If anyone has a recipe for the Mostly Eastly salmon dip, please send it to [I M] who will forward it to the certain person.)

[...]

[addressing M D]: I second your "Pooh" -- our adult section is so tame. Even with [L M's] steamy (or did a heat wave just pass through?) art, we aren't looking to collect a decent adult rating. How does one do an Adult Loc? Did the Naughty Nookie pages ever sizzle?

[...]

[addressing L M] More superb art! Very erotic cover (and even a hint of leg this time). One's eye seems drawn to the snake and fighting...the snake. Is that the normal focus of the picture or is it just my "curiosity" showing? The provocative bit of bare shoulder on page 1 is equally appealing. There's something to be had for leaving it to the imagination. And one can imagine all sorts of reasons why Tarrant is shirtless, especially combined with that intriguing expression, it's like he's looking at someone else, but who and with what in mind?

The cartoon is yummy! Doesn't it make you feel sorry for Dayna though? The poor girl never had much of a chance at a normal life or to mingle with the multitudes. Her opportunities for meeting the opposite sex were very limited. What does a young female do in that situation? Is that why she was infatuated by the likes of Justin?

I know there it some tendency in fanfiction to pair Dayna with Avon (everyone with Avon actually). But aside from AFTERMATH, I couldn't detect any sparks between them. What cooled her? Did she find Vila and/or Tarrant (or Cally?) more interesting? Or did getting to know Avon make him lose his appeal? Back to fanfic, the stories with Avon tenderly initiating Dayna do not ring true for me. I can't see Avon desiring that job or acquiescing out of sympathy for Dayna's need. Tarrant would try his best, but his youthful hormones might make it less than satisfactory for a virginal Dayna. Vila would be my prime choice to deflower Dayna. He could handle it both physically and emotionally, and I do like the few V/D stories that I've read. One intriguing Dayna possibility that isn't often touched on is PGP D/B. Dayna might relate best to an older man, and Blake would be a considerate if often times distracted lover.

While on the subject of Dayna, was she a virgin or had she managed a liaison on Sarran?

I don't know why Kerril survived the Cartwright symptom. I think Vila could have weathered her death, but then I see Vila as pretty resilient. As a member of a lower class, I picture him learning to roll with the punches as he grew up.
[L M, #3.1's front cover's artist explained]: Constance R. Faddis is a well-known American fan artist. She got her start in Trek fandom about twenty years ago, and has done illustration and writing in Starsky & Hutch, Dr. Who, and probably lots of other fandoms. She is especially famous for the editing of Interphase, a Trek zine published in the mid-seventies. (It had excellent writing and lavish art; the covers were in color, individually silkscreened. It even came with a pull-out illustrated calendar supplement!) The reason I offered apologies to Connie is that the cover of lastish was based on a card she did for The Fantasy Showcase Tarot (Each card in the deck is done by a different SF artist; Connie's was "The Lovers.')

Issue 5

Issue 6

Issue 7

Issue 8

Issue 9

Issue 10

Issue 11

Issue 12

Issue 13

Issue 14

Issue 15

Issue 16

Issue 17

Issue 18

Issue 19

Issue 20

Issue 21

Issue 22

Issue 23

Issue 24

Issue 25

On the Wing 25 was published in 2001 or before.

  • Last Tango on Eccentrico, fiction by Aurora
  • other unknown content