The Way Forward

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Zine
Title: The Way Forward
Publisher:
Editor(s): Sondra Sweigman
Type: APA
Date(s): 1995-ongoing
Frequency: quarterly
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links:
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The Way Forward is an apazine dedicated to the discussion of the Blake's 7 character Roj Blake.

The APA began in 1995 and was still ongoing in August 2017.

In 2001, members of the APA produced a Blake-centric zine with the title The Way Forward: Crusades of Blake.

"The Way Forward" was described in a Lysator post soliciting new members as:
A quarterly publication whose central focus is the character of Roj Blake. We engage in discussion about a variety of topics, both intrinsic to the series and relating to real-world issues. We also have fiction, poetry, artwork and reviews (of both zines and professional material, such as the new series of audioplays)--basically, anything the members want to contribute, as long as the character of Blake remains the focal point. (He doesn't have to be your favorite character for you to be a member of TWF, but you do have to *like* him. Anti-Blake fans can stop reading now :-)) [1]

Its central mailer was Sondra Sweigman. Sweigman had been a member of Rallying Call until mid-1995 and left that APA when slash and explicit het comments were included in the main section, rather than a special supplement.

A fan in October 1996 commented about probably restrictions of content in this APA:
I understand Sondra has started an APA of her own. I wonder how it's going? I don't intend to join it though. I like RC and think it'd be hard to be in two APAs. Plus I'd probably have to watch what I said in Sondra's APA, and I'm too used to the freedom this APA allows. [2]

Other Letterzines/Apas With Much Blake's 7 Content

Also see: List of Letterzines.

Issue 1

The Way Forward 1 was published in 1995.

Issue 20

The Way Forward 20 was published in October 2000 and contains about 30 pages.

There were nine members.

Issue 30

The Way Forward 30 was published in April 2003.

Issue 48

The Way Forward 48 was published in October 2007.

Issue 66

The Way Forward 66 was published in April 2012.

Issue 68

The Way Forward 68 was published in October 2012.

Issue 87

The Way Forward 87 was published in August 2017.

There are six members.

Issue 88

The Way Forward 88 was published in November 2017.

There are eight members.

Issue 89

The Way Forward 89 was published in February

There are eight members.

Sondra Sweigman's preview of the contents:

Katy's trib discusses the character of Roj Blake in the context of (if you can believe this) the Vampire Diaries. Jean offers us the script to a humorous skit she and a friend performed at a convention 30 years ago. Curt describes his most recent B7 dream and discusses two series with parallels to B7: The Last Kingdom and the aforementioned Dark Matter. Patricia presents us with a letter which the adult Roj Blake writes to his younger self. Natasa reviews three Blake-centric fan stories (for what it's worth, I've always found her reviews to be spot on). Lastly, my own trib (once again) consists only of responses to other people's prior tribs.

Reasons for continuing membership

This issue includes responses to a question posed by a new member in the previous issue:

What is that draws membership of The Way Forward to continue to contribute to this particular form of fannish venue? ... I feel like that could be what keeps the APA going in a wider sense, too – a pleasing sense of tradition upheld. Well, you are all Blake fans, aren’t you?

Other theories include: existing relationships, liking getting things in the post that aren’t bills, physicality, the fact that the format encourages character analysis in a way few others do, and perhaps the very fact that the zine is slightly off the radar. You could be in a secret online community (I can think of a few B7 ones), but it would probably still be findable (that’s why I know about them). The days of Blake-Bashing are largely behind us, I think, but perhaps there’s still a desire to go somewhere private and say that Blake is smart and principled without being scoffed at.

Please do share the real answers, though. I’d like to know. (Aralias)

Answers included:

Why is TWF still around and why are we in it? Call us old-fashioned, but we like paper. I'm running out of shelf room in my not-big-enough house, and I do have several e-books on my Kindle-for-PC, but I keep buying books anyway. I write all my stories on paper in longhand before I do a second draft on the computer. And I make copious notes in the margins of each TWF issue as an outline, of sorts, for what I want to say in the next one. The fandom is definitely still here, and as to why TWF is still going, well, "a pleasing sense of tradition upheld" is an excellent way of putting it. (Jean Graham)
As for what it is that draws people to TWF: Apart from it being (as far as I know) the only "haven" for fans of Roj Blake specifically, I daresay each member has his or her own reasons. Your speculation sounds reasonable to me, but now that you've posed the question, I expect we'll hear from people directly in the next issue. Re not discussing B/A: You're perfectly free to "discuss it" - as long as you don't portray it. The reason I laid down that rule from the start is because its been my observation that once erotica enters the picture, it tends to dominate everything else - and I wanted to keep the focus on issues such as psychology and politics. (Sondra Sweigman)
Why am I in The Way Forward? Can I just quote you and say, "I am here because I love Roj Blake"? It's true that there are many online forums and communities for B7 fans, but none of them has this particular focus (none is dedicated explicitly to Blake's character). Admittedly there is also my 'Roj Blake' page on FB, but I feel that in itself it wouldn't be enough to satisfy my need to discuss Blake. I also appreciate the quality of the writing in TWF, and the serious attention that the members give to each other's posts. If you publish an essay or a story in TWF, you can count on receiving some thoughtful feedback. I need this for my ego :) (Though I hope I also manage to provide such feedback for other members in return.) You say that 'the days of Blake-bashing are largely behind us'. Perhaps largely, but not completely. Every now and then i still have unpleasant experiences with fans who launch quite irrational attacks on Blake. (Natasa)

References

  1. Lysator, 1995
  2. from Rallying Call #19