The World Turned Upside Down (Blake's 7 zine)

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Title: The World Turned Upside Down
Publisher: Spice Press
Author(s): Sandy Hall
Cover Artist(s): Karen River
Date(s): July 1987
Medium: print
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
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cover of volume #2, Karen River, covers of both issues may be identical

The World Turned Upside Down is a gen Blake's 7 novel edited by Sheila Willis and written by Sandy Hall. It was issued in two volumes due to its size.

Art is by Karen River, Nancy Kolar, T.J. Burnside, Tim Pieraccini, Jean C., Pat Cash, TACS and Sheila Willis. The cover of both issues may be identical.

Another fan wrote a sequel to this called Tying Up Loose Ends.


From Bill Hupe: "A focus on the changing relationship between Avon and Dana, Sandy Hall's novel weaves through the continual political intrigue and battle against the Federation in the lives of Vila, Tarrant, Soolin, Cally, Blake, the Commissioner and others.

Issue 1

The World Turned Upside Down 1 contains 264 pages.

Issue 2

The World Turned Upside Down 2 contains 297 pages.

Reactions and Reviews

At over 500 pages of small print, there's no doubt that this is a novel!

And I confess, I've never been able to get all the way through it. Now that I finally own a copy (bought in Pat's used zine sale, after looking for some time for a copy that was both in reasonably good condition and reasonably priced), maybe I will. I have mixed feelings about the zine. It's extremely well written stylistically, and I like the author's other work, but IMO this one should have been edited down to a shorter length. An awful lot of it is what's going on inside people's heads, and I for one tend to get bogged down in all this introspection and lose track of the plot.

But other people whose taste I respect and often agree with love it; one says it's her very favorite B7 story. So, YMMV.

What I really bought the zine for is the yummy art. The Karen River color cover is gorgeous, and most of the interior illos are really nice too.[1]
I have just finished reading volume II of the story. It had been very slow reading because the author buried the story in the details, more specifically in character introspection and analyses. There wasn’t enough plot to justify the sheer amount of words it had been typed, the slow pace dragged on and on and my interest became dimmer and dimmer. The whole story could have been told in one tenth of the words and nothing would have been lost. Everybody thinks too much! Every action, every situation was analyzed in detail by everyone involved, going over the same thing five or six times; everyone’s feeling were explored throughoutly, even the OCs, the same OCs who despite having had so much description, didn’t come alive at all.[2]
The World Turned Upside-Down is a very good title for this novel. The stress of losing the Liberator has strained and broken the relationships of the Liberator crew as they struggle to survive the aftermath of "Terminal", and like puzzle pieces tossed in the air, they may not all come down in the same place. This AU story takes the situation of "Rescue" but makes things go somewhat differently. The price of Cally's survival may be too high -- but if they don't hang together "they will assuredly all hang separately". But how can they hang together when they all have different ideas of what is best for the group? And when some of those ideas are born of willful misunderstanding, then trust is a very fragile commodity indeed.

I liked this. Yes, it's a rather psychological novel, since it goes into the thoughts and motivations of all the main characters, but that's because the plot is largely character-driven, in that, while crises arise to push them hither and thither, it's the motivations of the characters which drive them to do and say the things they do, and the actions and words of other characters which then influence character reactions in their turn. Poor Tarrant gets the worst of it, in a way, since he's the main one that "doesn't understand", but he's not portrayed unsympathetically, since we're also seeing inside his head. Mind you, some may find all this head-seeing a bit much, since on more than one occassion we get the same scene through more than one set of eyes, but it managed to keep me hooked enough to finish it fairly quickly.

If this story has a theme, it's the question: can you trust the judgement of others when you yourself don't have all the facts?

The cover is a lovely Karen River cover of Dayna and Avon, and the whole story is actually in two volumes. I got this second-hand (thanks Sally M!) and I expect that's the only way to get it now.[3]
I read "The World Turned Upside Down" in its entirety (borrowed from a friend in the late lamented Liberator Atlanta) and found it Stultifyingly Boring. I have this opinion because the author gave every single characters' point of view o view on every single event, one after the other, complete with their convoluted reasoning out of every event, often repeated more than once. This zine was 2 huge volumes long. The only thing I liked was that the author did a good job with the relationship between Dayna and Avon. I only wish she hadn't EXPLAINED every step of that relationship to me! Can you tell this is one of my pet peeves, telling the reader everything rather than than showing and letting the reader extrapolate? [4]


  1. review by Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 page
  2. Read the full review "Rant: Blake’s 7 fanzine: The World Turned Upside-Down" by redpearl-cao dated Sept 9, 2009 here; WebCite.
  3. from Kathryn A at Katspace, posted May 27, 2003, accessed June 4, 2013
  4. Lysator, Vickie, dated September 9, 1994.