Unprofessional Conduct

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Zine
Title: Unprofessional Conduct
Publisher: Gryphon Press
Editor(s):
Date(s): 1992-2003
Series?: Yes
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links: online reviews of the zine series
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Unprofessional Conduct is a slash Professionals anthology. It contains no art.

General Reactions and Reviews

These are an excellent group of anthologies that include some good stories by very accomplished authors; the early ones are particularly strong. I enjoyed some volumes more than others, of course, which is only to be expected of anthologies. [1]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1

Unprofessional Conduct 1 was published in May 1992 and contains 132 pages. The first issue sometimes appears on fan's Desert Island lists.[2]

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for Perfect Day.
See reactions and reviews for Bealach Na Ba: The Pass of the Cattle.
See reactions and reviews for August is a Wicked Month.
See reactions and reviews for Time Will Say Nothing.
See reactions and reviews for Situation Normal.
See reactions and reviews for Music in the Dark.
[zine]: CAPSULE REVIEW: Some good, well-plotted relationship stories, and a couple of "eh" items. Mostly non-explicit or too-brief sex scenes. An all "happy endings" zine with a general lack of tension/angst. The worst stories are in the second half; I strongly advise reading the stories backwards and saving the best (Sebastian) for last. Writing quality is consistently good. Overall grade: B [See this fan's comments for the individual stories on their own Fanlore pages.] [3]
[zine]: [See this fan's comments for the individual stories on their own Fanlore pages.] All in all an excellent zine, with good authors and an interesting mixture of stories. [4]
[zine]: UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT 1 was published in 1992 by Gryphon Press and is still in print. It has six stories by six authors; 137 pages and 80,342 words. The cover is the usual (for this press) plain card with a plastic overlay and the binding is staples and tape; there are no illos. Typos are minimal.

Gryphon Press's first anthology debuted with one of the outstanding short stories in the fandom; a very savvy hook!

[See this fan's comments for the individual stories on their own Fanlore pages.] A fine zine all around, with only one story that doesn't appeal to me personally. [5]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Unprofessional Conduct 2 was published in September 1993 and contains 129 pages.


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for Fairground Attractions.
[zine]: One-word review: Disappointing.

One-sentence review: A zine of mildly enjoyable stories, but with nothing *exciting*.

Caveat: This is a partial review--the first story was unpalatable to me. I tried to read it, though, honest.

Detailed, story-by-story review (more or less): ***SPOILER ALERT******

"Fairground Attractions" by Kitty Fisher. Well, I couldn't finish it because it was too much of an AU for my tastes. It's pre-CI5 (though Bodie is about to join up). But first, during a two-week holiday, he ends up at a resort town which has a fair, and there he meets a young Don DiMarco (the Martin Shaw character from "Ladder of Swords"). I managed to read enough to say it's well-written, but this is Not My Thing.

"Emergency Exit" by O Yardley. A clever, short (2 pages!) "Pros Lite" story. Not much to it, but it was okay.

"Quick on the Draw?" by HG. Another short, clever piece with a little twist. Again, enjoyable, but not exactly exciting.

"Shadow of the Past" and "Into the Light" by Barbara Thomas. A two-part h/c story which felt rather incomplete. Good writing, but it made me shrug and think, "Well, that was interesting, but what happens next?"

"Across a Crowded Room" by O Yardley. Started out strong, with an unusual level of angst for O Yardley. Doyle discovers Bodie wants him, is repulsed, and confronts him. The confrontation is satisfyingly nasty and physical, but then it quickly (way too quickly) degenerates into unbelievable Sweetness & Light. It was as if two different stories had been tacked together.

"Judas Kisses" by Pat and Ophelia Cox. Bodie and Doyle investigate a kidnapping that went wrong, and the mysterious presence of a photo of Bodie on one of the kidnappers. They're also hanging out with two gals, double-dating a lot, which leads to the inevitable foursome-in-a-bed scene, among other things. This had a lot of promise, but was needlessly cluttered by subplots, and the main plot turned out to be one of those "Criminal seeks revenge against a person by going after someone else entirely in the hope it will upset the true target" things, and it made even less sense than most such plots. Despite all this plot proliferation, there was a decided lack of tension/conflict throughout. This is a "nice" story. Too nice.

Summary: I really liked "Unprofessional Conduct 1", but this new zine didn't come anywhere near to matching it. I have a sneaking suspicion that the first story was probably the best one in the zine. Damn. All the other stories have a smooth, even tone which makes for good bedtime reading--if you're trying to fall asleep.

Suggestion: Find the nearest friendly slashfan who's willing to fork over for this zine, and then borrow it from her. [6]
Fairground Attraction by Kitty Fisher is set before events in the film Ladder of Swords where Martin Shaw plays DeMarcho, and just before Bodie joins CI5. Bodie and Gene meet in Dover where Gene is working on the fairground rides. It is lust at first sight for both of them and they start sleeping together. Lust turns to something more, and Bodie stays and helps when Gene is beaten up by a group of bikers, remaining with him for the rest of his holiday. Gene, however, is on the run, and events begin to overtake them. I found this a good read, Gene was sufficiently Doyle like to keep me interested, particularly as Kitty throws in some wonderfully sexy descriptions of both men, and the banter between them was fun. An interesting type of AU, but ultimately very sad.

Bodie and Doyle get a little over enthusiastic in a second hand shop in the fun Emergency Exit by O'Yardley.

Quick on the draw by H.G. is a delightful dialogue piece that manages to convey so much about Bodie and Doyle's relationship in just three pages.

Shadows of the Past by Barbara Thomas has Doyle trapped and badly hurt waiting for Bodie to rescue him. Trouble is they have just had a fight and Bodie, sick of Doyle's' reluctance to commitment, has walked out and left. The first story is of Doyle's thoughts and hopes for a future with Bodie and the second, Into the Light, is about Bodie slowly reading the letter Doyle has written him and then discovering that Doyle has just been found very badly injured. Both are very angsty pieces.

The Judas Kiss by Pat and Ophelia Cox is the longest story of the zine. There are three threads to the story. First, Bodie and Doyle's heightened sexual awareness of each other as they engage in some highly athletic sex with two flatmates, swopping partners, threesomes and foursomes etc. abound. The banter between Bodie and Doyle is continuous and often highly funny, and this adds to the overall feel good factor to most of this story, although I did wonder if they had time to do anything but work and have sex. Second is an investigation into a murder and foiled kidnap with an added question as to why one of the dead men had a picture of Bodie on him. Third, a desire for revenge on George Cowley by the father of Doyle's new girlfriend. All this makes for interesting reading, although I found Mrs Scott-Oppenheimer a little hard to swallow! While much of the story is light hearted, the actual resolution of the third thread is disturbing with the facial mutilation of Bodie's girlfriend appearing more than a little heavy handed, even knowing that the perpetrator was psychotic. The title refers to the third thread and gives the authors opportunity to have Doyle reflect on what he feels about being 'used' when he and Bodie have so often done the exact same thing for their job.

Overall an interesting zine, although some might find the second longest story being a Bodie and a 'Martin Shaw' other character a little frustrating. As I said, I did enjoy it because it was well written, but ultimately I want Bodie and Doyle because it is the camaraderie and chemistry between these two characters on screen that drew me into the fandom and fan fiction in the first place. [7]

Issue 3

cover issue #3

Unprofessional Conduct 3 was published in May 1994 and contains 111 pages.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for Freezing.

Felicity M Parkinson provides two short stories. The first, Triptych is succinct and clever as she paints the course of Bodie and Doyle's partnership over the years in three paragraphs. I was intrigued by the title and nodded my head sagely when I discovered exactly what it meant. Her second, Chinese Whispers, is a story of coming to terms with ageing, something Doyle does in his own inimitable manner, aided by Bodie and with Murphy as an interested witness.

Helen Raven contributes one of the longer stories of the zine, Freezing her sequel to Sebastian's Siren sequence. You don't need to have read Siren (although it is on the Circuit Archive), but it helps to put the story in context. This story exudes angst from every pore. Bodie and Doyle desperately wanting each other, yet Bodie decides to end the relationship as he sees that his love for Doyle is not reciprocated and he feels used. The story seethes with unresolved passion and longing until you want to scream at the pair of them - for god's sake just bloody listen to each other - but I have to admit the part when Doyle reveals the strength of his feelings when he gives his blessing to what he assumes is Bodie's new relationship nearly had me in tears. I have to say that I hated the constant reference to Doyle's aloofness and separateness from his colleagues with the underlying implication that they disliked him and thought Bodie was wasting his time on him. This is not the Doyle I see and love nor the dynamics that I observe in the few times we see Bodie and Doyle with their colleagues.

O'Yardley's Going to Pot is a complete change of style and pace, of teasing and counter teasing over the snooker table. Light, fluffy and fun.

Bodie's Last Stand by Jenny Parkinson is a brief snapshot of Doyle's thoughts about his lover as Bodie tenders his resignation.

Barbara Thomas' Feels So Right is strongly focused on Bodie and Doyle's strength of feeling for each other and the intensity of their relationship, particularly their sexual relationship. Her Promises to Keep ends the zine on a light note when Bodie andDoyle visit The London Dungeon at Bodie's request and to Doyle's scarcely hidden disgust. A light, bright read, although any story that starts with Bodie pouting at Doyle in an attempt to get his own way tends to have me giggling in disbelief.

Cat and Mouse by Ashela George use Kate Ross as the means of supplying Bodie's feelings and motivation after the events of Wild justice and is all the more interesting because of the different pov.

While Bodie is away, Cowley delivers an Ultimatum to Doyle that will effect Bodie and Doyle's friendship, partnership and relationship in HG's story. Bodie and Doyle finally talk through their worries and concerns and steer a course through Cowley's perceived deviousness. HG's dialogue is a particular strength of hers, and I thought the conversation with Cowley (seen from his pov) at the end priceless.

Deception by Penelope Pushing begins ten years in the future with Doyle invalided out of CI5. Bodie makes an unexpected, and initially unwelcome visit after years of distance, and despite the circumstances the pair of them begin to relax and listen to each other. The somewhat unexpected turnabout half way though caught me out, and while I thought it was clever, I wasn't entirely to sure that I could believe it.

CI5 Go Mad in Dorset by T.Hauser is Doyle's diary of a op in Dorset written entirely in the style of the Five Go Mad series.

Building on Rainbows by Kate MacLean is the longest story in the zine. It has something in common with Helen Raven's Freezing starting with Bodie and Doyle in a somewhat troubled relationship, but this time Doyle flees from it because he can't handle the intensity. Once free, Doyle initially works on ensuring that their working relationship remains constant, then finds to his horror that he now wants what he appears to have lost for ever. The rest of the story is about Doyle's fight to recover Bodie's love in the light of Bodie's apparent indifference and distrust.

This is an interesting zine, although it had too many very short stories to satisfy me. I like to get my teeth into a number of long stories with a few short one for a brief change of pace and direction. I was also conscious that most of the stories were heavily about Bodie and Doyle as lovers (or ex lovers), and I longed for one good plot driven episode type story where the relationship was integral, but not the raison d'etre for the story. [8]
UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT 3...It's the usual format - no illos, taped spine. The print is a bit larger than in UPC 1, and it has one of those clear plastic

sheets you usually see on picture covers, although this cover is just print. But it's the stories that are important, and all are decently written. This isn't really a review; can't really review a zine without giving away plot, and many of the stories here are short. So here are brief comments.

All stories are more or less in the CI5 universe; no aus, no historicals. At least one is in the first person, Alex, but there are no death stories.

Triptych, by Felicity M. Parkinson. Very short, three vingets*, all related.

Freezing, by Helen Raven. This is a sequel to Sebastian's Siren series, coming after Going for the Shore pt. 2, which was left unfinished. This story does not continue GFTS, but does assume the earlier events and emotional entanglements. Not quite Sebastian, but I found it satisfyingly complex.

Going To Pot, by O Yardley. A typical O Yardley story, with good dialogue and lust well mixed. This time the lads are playing snooker.

Bodie's Last Stand, by Jenny Parkinson. A bit of a throw-away. Very short, cheats a bit.

Feels So Right, by Barbara Thomas. Crams first meeting, first sex, first fight and first fuck into 8 pages. It's reasonably well done, but I wanted events explored in more detail. Have I seen things by Barbara Thomas elsewhere?

Cat And Mouse, by Ashlea George. A very short post-Wild Justice piece. Nice use of Kate Ross.

Ultimatum, by HG. HG on form.

Chinese Whispers, by Felicity M. Parkinson. Very short Doyle-in-a-sulk piece.

Deceptions, by Penelope Pushing. This turns on a hook that was not a very good idea in the first place. It's written well enough, but the whole idea is tricky, and cheats the reader.

CI5 Go Mad In Dorset, by T. Hauser. Very short. This purports to be Doyle's diary, and is an excuse for a lot of puns about cream teas.

Building On Rainbows, by Kate MacLean. Possibly the longest story in the zine. I've not yet read it, but it starts out well, with Bodie wondering whether Ray knows how Bodie feels. Either he's insensitive or cruel, playing with Bodie's affections. Looking further, he appears to be cruel; a Christine figures prominently.

Promises To Keep, by Barbara Thomas. B & D visit some sort of horror museum. Funny, good characterization.

Side note: the WordPerfect spell checker does not recognize 'snooker', 'Dorset', or 'fuck'. Spellcheck does not have this one (vingets), either, and I have not been able to find the dictionary since I moved. [9]


Issue 4

cover of issue #4

Unprofessional Conduct 4 was published in 1994 and 139 pages. It contains two stories.


Issue 5

cover issue #5

Unprofessional Conduct 5 was published in September 1995 and contains 138 pages.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

See reactions and reviews for Scenes from the Edge.
See reactions and reviews for The Ghost and Raymond Doyle.
[zine]:

I have enjoyed several other zines in the Unpro Conduct series, but unfortunately this isn't one of them. The stories are all competently written, but for various reasons most of them just don't work for me.

REFLECTIONS AT MIDNIGHT by Mary T. -- The lads are lying in bed. While one of them sleeps the other carries on a silent monologue reflecting on their relationship and what his lover means to him. The narrator could be either of the lads, which leaves me with a sense of incompleteness.

SCENES FROM THE EDGE by Kate MacLean -- Bodie is in love with Doyle, who doesn't want commitment and is feeling smothered. Doyle has a one-night stand but lies to Bodie about it. Bodie finds out and leaves. He begins a casual affair with another man. Doyle becomes jealous, finally realizes he loves Bodie, and is feeling how Bodie must have felt. He sees Bodie in a pub with the other man and confronts Bodie, telling him he loves him. Bodie agrees to start again.

I always enjoy Kate MacLean's stories for the gorgeous writing and her ability to make me feel the emotions of the characters. This is one of KM's usual angst-fests but is probably my least favorite because of Doyle's incredible callousness and downright nastiness to Bodie, who acts reasonably throughout and for whom I just feel sorry. The depth of Doyle's passion when he finally realizes that he's "slid right over the edge" and fallen in love is a wonder to behold. I also enjoy seeing how Bodie, justifiably apprehensive of being hurt once again, is simply unable to help himself and succumbs to Ray's onslaught. The ending, as usual for KM, comes just as things are starting to look up; I'd like to see a bit more of a payoff for having gone through all the angst.

CONSTANT COMPANION by Cherilyn -- This is a DEATH fic, though perhaps not the usual kind. (Any kind is anathema to me!) Bodie was killed in 1985. It is now 50 years later and Doyle dies. Bodie welcomes him to the afterlife, where they can be together again. For the rest of his life, except for a one-night stand Ray has been celibate!

WINDMILLS OF THE MIND by Ginny -- Doyle loves Bodie but has never told him. Bodie is injured and gets amnesia; now Doyle thinks that he must hold his tongue, as Bodie seems to be straight. He helps Bodie recover, hoping that he will remember CI5 and their past lives. Finally Doyle inadvertently blurts out his true feelings, but Bodie is offended. He doesn't want an emotional commitment to anyone. His memory returns; he realizes he loves Doyle. They confess their feelings to each other, have a long talk, and go to bed together.

I find this story rather boring. The ending scene where they talk things out just seems to go on and on and is too "girly."

OUT, DAMNED SPOT by HG -- The lads are lovers. During a lie-in Bodie playfully joins the freckles on Doyle's back with a felt-tipped pen. However, much to Bodie's chagrin it doesn't wash off easily!

I enjoy the loving and playful relationship HG portrays between the lads here as well as Bodie's appreciation of Ray's body.

THE BREAKING POINT by Liz Bradford -- Doyle appears to be inexplicably cold and indifferent when Bodie goes missing, but when his partner is rescued after being tortured Doyle becomes angry with him for his ineptitude in getting himself kidnapped. Bodie decides to help Doyle get over his anger by tying him to the bed and dominating him during sex. His plan does the trick and all is well.

This strikes me as being three separate stories thrown together to make one. First is the time Bodie is missing and Ray is cold; second is the part where Ray is angry, and he asks Bodie what could make him break; the third is the bedroom scene. I don't think the author makes an understandable connection between the three parts. I'm not sure how being subjected to some light bondage will dispel Ray's anger and tension. The fact that Bodie can engage in anything this energetic while he's in his physical condition seems unbelievable to me. Finally, I really don't see Ray so childish that he has a tantrum and takes out his anger on the crockery.

BUBBLE TROUBLE by Cherilyn -- Bodie commandeers Doyle's bath after an op; Doyle joins him. Hijinks turn to sex. They admit they love each other. Promise of things to come. All in all, this is one of the better stories in the zine.

THE GHOST AND RAYMOND DOYLE by Barbara Thomas -- This story was inspired by the film "The Ghost And Mrs. Muir." In the early 20th century Doyle, a widower with a small daughter, rents a cottage near the sea to recuperate from illness and to get away from his meddling relatives. The house is haunted by the ghost of sea captain Bodie, who has driven away all previous tenants. Bodie and Doyle soon become friends and then fall in love but know that they can never have a real relationship in this life. Bodie helps Doyle write a book about his life at sea to help with finances. Bodie is afraid that Doyle will kill himself to be with him, thereby denying himself a full life and his daughter a father, so he is able to alter Doyle's memory and make him think their time together was a dream. Doyle lives another 20 years as a lonely and celibate author, then finally dies shortly after Bodie appears to him again. Bodie greets him in the afterlife, where they can now embark on the relationship they always longed for. The best is yet to come.

I find this story incredibly sad. The lads can't have a physical relationship, though Doyle (unbelievably to me) seems content with that. In fact, this Doyle is so subdued he is almost unrecognizable. Also, Doyle's lonely 20-year separation from Bodie, which we (thankfully) don't have to read about, is such a waste. The ending is beautiful, but it doesn't make up for the rest of this depressing tale. [10]

Issue 6

cover issue #6

Unprofessional Conduct 6 was published in May 1996 and contains 131 pages. It contains one black and white drawing of Bodie by Evelyn and one of Doyle by Cleo.

  • The Feel-Good Factor by O Yardley - (1)
  • Dream Lover by Cherilyn - (14)
  • Hiding the Truth by Liz Bradford - (20)
  • Indecent Proposal by Barbara Thomas - (55)
  • Two Sets of Dreams by Ginny - (69)
  • The Fan by Dee Bow - sequel to Dream Lover by Cherilyn - (97)
  • Transients by Helen Raven - (106)


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

See reactions and reviews for Transients.

Issue 7

cover of issue #7

Unprofessional Conduct 7 was published in February 1997 and contains 141 pages.

  • Tourist Class by Felicity M. Parkinson - (An established relationship story, Bodie and Doyle go shopping in Sainsbury's and decide where to go on holiday.) (1)
  • Knife Edge by HG (Doyle gets injured in a knife fight, and Bodie comes to the hospital to take him home.) (3)
  • Pigs Might Fly by Olympian Heights - (cryptic banter) (14)
  • Better Late by Ginny - (an older Bodie and Doyle are being groomed to take Cowley's place, some h/c) (16)
  • Adult Education by O Yardley - (B and D are sent by Cowley to keep and eye on a residential course for amateur astronomers as a favour to a friend. They end up having to share a bed.) (47)
  • Pantomime by Sebastian - (It's Bodie's birthday, and he's having a fancy dress party.) (63)
  • Extreme Measures by Mo - (An unorthodox cure for D's hiccups shows B where his feeling really lie.) (71)
  • Look No Hands by Cherilyn and Liz Bradford - (A Post Close Quarters story with a kidnapping and some handcuffs.) (80)
  • Discourse for Two Voices by Barbara Thomas - (A story in two conversations.) (91)
  • Touchdown by ET - sequel to Scoring a Try by ET - (An established relationship story, Doyle feels Bodie takes too much charge in sex.) (94)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

...I was not disappointed. I admit to normally preferring single-story to anthology zines, mainly because with a long single story it gives you more meat to the story but, as usual UC7 is a mixed bag of short and long stories, with authors from the days of the Circuit interspersed with newer writers. Again, I won't go into detail about the stories but there is only one that could be said to be depressing - 'Pantomime' by Sebastian - as, at the end, I felt it had been more of a one-off encounter brought about by circumstance rather than the start of a relationship. I had two favourites: Touchdown' by ET which is the sequel to "Scoring a Try' and is of the same high quality as the original (an often rare event); and 'Adult Education* by O. Yardley. Now I must warn you about the latter - it's not one to be read in public unless you want to look a total idiot when you start rolling about the floor laughing! The scene in the bedroom dissolves into total farce and I could hardly continue reading between the hiccoughing laughter and the tears streaming down my face. If you need a tonic to cheer you up, this is the story to start with. [11]
I thought this was one of the best of the Unpro series, not least for the sheer variety it offers of mood, length, theme and approach. Yet the key to its success, for me, is that despite this variety, all these Bodies and Doyles are unmistakeably Bodie and Doyle; their attitudes, their backchat everything spelled 'the lads'. This, together with the prevailing air of optimism, made it a very satisfying read. Amongst my favourites was H.G.'s "Knife Edge". It opens with the best knife-fight (between Doyle and a young hood) I've ever read in Pros fiction. Here is the tough, street-fighting Doyle we don't often see - his timeliness too often being portrayed only in terms of being foul to Bodie - and it lent the story a harder, darker feel than H.G.'s work usually has. Paradoxically, the aching tenderness of his feelings for Bodie is even more poignant when seen against this backdrop. In an amusing twist, the strange, fever-dream atmosphere of the beginning also proves to be most appropriate. Nobody can colour a mood like Sebastian, and 'Pantomime' is all about mood; the tension vibrating from the contrast of jolly, drunken party with an unhappy Doyle trying to hide his misery made me hold my breath in apprehension. It's a charged and ominous piece with a bittersweet, questioning end; and perfectly done. I loved it O Yardley's 'Adult Education' has Bodie and Doyle investigating dirty doings on the astronomers' course at a small college. It's funny, charming, loving and beautifully controlled. Amongst other felicities, I relished the grey-haired lady who knew precisely what they were up to and didn't turn a hair. She reminded me strangely of that wonderfully earthy fairy in the same authors 'Floccihaucini.. etc" Good stuff. Cherilyn's and Liz Bradford's look No Hands' was a little gem of perfectly-judged banter turning into a believabry dramatic situation; a lovingly erotic conclusion finished the story with great neatness. And Ginny's "Better Late", set years after the tune of the episodes, had an endearing picture of Bodies slow discovery of his feelings. But the jewel of the collection, for me, was ETs Touchdown". I re-read "Scoring A Try" first and by the time I finished this sequel was bouncing up and down in my chair cheering her on. It was full of feeling and laughter and passion (my god, the passion!) and was brought to the most marvellous conclusion, so well-judged, so beautifully finished oft. Even the best story can falter a bit in the last couple of paragraphs but ET didn't put a foot wrong; the timing was sublime. ('What photos?') I should pin my colours to the mast here and say that "Scoring A Try" is a great favourite of mine; but if you loved that as I did, you'll enjoy "Touchdown" too. As you'll have noticed. I make no attempt to be objective about Unpro 7. I really enjoyed it and I hope you will, too. [12]

Issue 8

cover of issue #8

Unprofessional Conduct 8 was published in October 1997 and contains 160 pages.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

See reactions and reviews for Jungle Fever.
See reactions and reviews for Alfresco.
See reactions and reviews for Choosing.
[zine]: ...there are other good stories in this [issue]. Everyone has their own thresholds, of course, but I've never regretted purchasing the Unprofessional Conducts. And this is one of the most solid issues, in my opinion. [13]
[zine]: All the stories are enjoyable. Given some of [fan name] preferences, you'd probably not enjoy the Kate MacLean as much as the others, but...you know I just don't think you'd go wrong with this one, really. I'm thinking of reccing both "Future Imperfect" and "I Spy" in future posts. Hmm, and maybe "Mrs Doyle and the Vicar's Rabbit" (which sounds crazy but is very enjoyable. *g*) [14]

Issue 9

Unprofessional Conduct 9 was published in May 1998 and contains 196 pages.

cover of issue #9
  • Oh, Hell by Kitty Berman - (1)
  • All or Nothing by Kate MacLean - (3)
  • They Shoot Gift Horses, Don't They? by Tish - (28)
  • Brief Encounter by Cherilyn - (35)
  • Game: Set: Match by O Yardley - (37)
  • Playing to the Gallery by Hestia - (52)
  • Unseasonal Manoeuvres by Olympian Heights - (66)
  • The Eternal Circle by Ashlea George - crossover with Operation Daybreak and Jack the Ripper - (68)


Issue 10

cover of issue #10

Unprofessional Conduct 10 was published in September 1999 and contains 132 pages (81,346 words).

  • Outlook: Stormy by Barbara Thomas (1)
  • Simple Faith by O Yardley - sequel to Kind Hearts by O Yardley in Printed Circuits #1 (5)
  • Part of the Problem by Olympian Heights (41)
  • Family Problems by Jay Trent (45)
  • The Cartland Factor by The Hag ("My first zine story, very fluffy.") (61)
  • Bodie's Bear by Sheba (67)
  • The Turtles by Ginny (70)


Issue 11

Unprofessional Conduct 11 was published in 2000 and contains 119 pages (word count of 63,639).

cover of issue #11
  • Kissing Cousins by Lizzie (1)
  • Career Girl by Alice (39)
  • Love on the Run by Meridian (42)
  • Lover's Just a Five-Letter Word by The Hag ("Part of "Raymond's Joy" -- stories written at various times, in various moods, not originally planned as a sequence. Some were previously published in zines and online and have been edited for general continuity. Whole sequence published as Raymond's Joy in Never Far Apart; In the Pumpkin Interest — originally published in The Bisto Kids; Lover's Just a Five Letter Word — originally published in Unprofessional Conduct 11." See Raymond's Joy.) (64)
  • An Old Red Sock by O Yardley (72)


Issue 12

cover of issue #12

Unprofessional Conduct 12 was published in May 2003 and contains 109 pages.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 12

See reactions and reviews for Nice Boys.
[zine]: MISDIRECTION by POM. 2 pages. A mildly amusing vignette about Cowley as he works through paperwork. The interest lies in an expenses claim from Bodie and Doyle for a recent out-of-town operation. Their claims over the years have become a source of entertainment for Cowley, specifically "...seeing what plausible, or implausible, reason they had come up with this time for why they had to share an hotel room." Cowley is sure he knows the real reason, and the "misdirection" alluded to in the title operates in the matter of the reader's expectations as well as Cowley's. A nicely written shortie.

HOUSE PARTY by Harriet Allenby. 13 pages. I haven't read anything by this author before and, unfortunately, based on this introduction to her work, I won't be rushing to read anything else by her. The story is an AU in which Bodie is a butler in a lord's employ and Doyle is an artist who is a guest at the house party of the title. There's some enjoyable flirtatious innuendo between the butler and the lower-class, provocative artist. Other than those few lines, however, the story is riddled with problems.

The antagonist is a Miss Mason, another guest. I immediately assumed it would turn out to be Kathie Mason of Hunter/Hunted. Whether the character is meant to be her or not isn't clarified; her first name is never given. She could be meant to have no relationship to Kathie Mason, in which case the use of a canon surname is unfortunate. The character itself has no resonance with Kathie Mason with or without the name. Inexplicable decisions about names extend also to Bodie's employer. His lordship has no name, but has a limp, is a "canny Scot", and drinks scotch. Why he wasn't simply called Lord George or Lord Cowley--or something else, if he was meant to be someone other than Cowley--I don't understand. It's a minor point as his lordship plays a minor role, but I kept wondering if there was a reason for his name's being obscured; ultimately, it appears not.

The story's worst problem, however, is a juvenile style and characterisation. Bodie's immediate jealousy of Miss Mason causes him to behave not only unprofessionally in his capacity as butler, but immaturely. Silly and childish behaviour characterises both Bodie and Doyle throughout the story, thereby divesting them of the sense of being Bodie and Doyle, not to mention just plain adults. The story also takes a turn at the end that rendered it even less to my taste. Whether one likes the type of story it turns out to be or not, however, the plot development is telegraphed so clumsily from early on that there's no tension left when the climax is reached.

FAMILY TREE by O Yardley. 8 pages. Another Christmas story, of which O Yardley has written an abundance, though I never mind seeing another one. I always feel she communicates the sense of this season well, and that's true of this story. This one is a lightweight first-time story set at Christmas as Bodie and Doyle bond over a box of Christmas tree toys Doyle's parents had gathered during the years of their marriage. Nothing much happens, but it's a pleasant enough interlude and an enjoyable light read. An epilogue set later provides parallelism with the brief glimpse we got of Doyle's parents during their years together.

SOMETHING ELSE TO THINK ABOUT by Darby Brennan. 17 pages. This story is set immediately post-The Rack, starting with Doyle in his flat and Bodie and Cowley together in the pub. It didn't work for me on any level at all. One problem is that the narrative continually makes assertions; if the reader doesn't buy the assertion, the text is undermined, which was my response throughout. As an example of an assertion I couldn't buy (because I see no evidence for it in the episodes), Bodie reflects on how all the other agents at CI5 like him more than they do Doyle. This element is used to build up the sense of an isolated, misunderstood, unloved Doyle (there's a brief rundown of his harsh, loveless childhood that has no function in the story other than to wring sympathy for Doyle). Doyle's characterisation itself wasn't one I could buy as he giggles, blushes, and almost cries at various times.

The story is a first-time one that takes Doyle from his guilt trip over Paulie Coogan's death to everything being golden and right in the world after he and Bodie make love. The mush quotient is high.

To move to the wholly subjective, the author's style irks me in numerous ways, from the use of epithets to continual pov shifts that emphasise the continual "tell" quality of her writing. Absolutely every detail of what's happening and what it means is painstakingly and ploddingly told to the reader. I'd also like to see sentences like these:

As Ray looked up at him, Bodie read the relief and pleasure his appearance had brought to Doyle and he experienced a fleeting feeling of guilt for allowing Cowley to stop him from following Ray. (p.31)

...rewritten to eliminate the continual switching between "Ray" and "Doyle". Since she uses only the name "Bodie" for that character without hardship throughout the text, there seems no reason to use two names for Doyle continually. That's a pet peeve of mine and may not affect other readers similarly.

The story's worst fault, however, is its glacial speed. I'd like to have seen a more stringent editing pen applied to it.

INDEPENDENCE DAY by Eve Abel. 22 pages. This story provides a welcome contrast to the previous one as it bounces along at a good clip. It's set in the CI5 world and has an intriguing set-up: Bodie has been gone for five months. Doyle thinks he's in Africa and has no idea why his partner left or what's going on. Once Cowley reveals the truth, the rest of the story concerns the partners' reunion and plans for their future together as they fight obstacles in the forms of Cowley and Bodie's sister. The story has quite a few bumps along the way, but it kept my interest from start to finish.

The fast pace masks some faults, but can't cover them all. Too little information is given in places that weakens the text while, in other places, there's an over-the-top quality that makes some elements ludicrous. The sister is handled clumsily. I was disappointed that Doyle's feelings about her without ever having met her were borne out when we meet her. It would have added a layer of complexity if she had turned out to be different from the expectations he conjures out of thin air; instead, the text remained at a simplistic level. There's also a certain incident near the beginning in which I couldn't believe--until forced to--that Doyle had actually taken a comment literally. That unfortunately invested what was meant to be a heartfelt moment with unintentional humour for me.

But it's a speedy and not taxing read. Not a story that stands up to scrutiny, but pleasant enough to whip through.

OLD TIES by Barbara Thomas. 3 pages. A vignette that turns on a bit of a tease, but works because it's brief enough to carry it off and doesn't milk it excessively. Barbara Thomas controls the text well throughout. I enjoyed this one, though I can't say more without giving it away entirely.

NICE BOYS by Lizzie. 44 pages. The longest and final story in the zine is a competently written and engrossing tale. I've read a number of Lizzie's other stories and none of them have worked for me, so I didn't have high expectations. This one, however, is a different matter. I was pleased to see it eschews some of the elements that have put me off in her other stories, while her writing strengths are front and centre.

It's a rare CI5-based story from her, though as they're on holiday in the Cotswolds, there's not actually much CI5 in it. It's set a few years in the future, when Doyle is approaching forty, but it is, nevertheless, a first-time story. The entire story depends on Doyle's being really rather thick about the whole matter of what he feels for Bodie and what Bodie feels, and Bodie goes through a period of abysmal thickness himself, but that's a familiar enough pattern in slash stories and Lizzie handles it well, making the characters appealing.

Marge Harper (from Backtrack) plays a major role in a plot coincidence I was happy to accept since I was enjoying the story. The characterisation of Marge is one of the story's main strengths: it's a lovely portrait, dead on, catching not only her voice and mannerisms, but also projecting a view of a future Marge in a changed environment that I bought completely. I enjoyed every scene in which she appears. She's also a rounded character, evidencing change as the story progresses.

The story loses some impetus for me after an incident incapacitates Bodie and the pace slows. Nevertheless, it's a fun read in which the lads talk and act like themselves and there are some highly amusing incidents. An entertaining depiction of a drunken Doyle is a highlight. The author skilfully evokes a range of emotions in a way that sets this story apart from several others in the zine.

To sum up, while some of the stories might have benefited from stronger editing, Unprofessional Conduct 12 is a pretty good read other than the two I consider to be duds. It's not a zine for anyone looking for complex or challenging stories, but it provides easily digested fare that pleasantly passes a few hours.

Review written October 2003. [15]

References

  1. from This is Katya
  2. Close Quarters: Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
  3. In 1993, this review was posted to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here anonymously with permission.
  4. from Ali at The Hatstand, Archived version
  5. from Nell Howell at The Hatstand, Archived version
  6. In 1993, the following review was posted to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here anonymously with permission.
  7. from Ali at The Hatstand, Archived version
  8. from Ali at The Hatstand, Archived version
  9. In 1994, the following review was posted to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here anonymously with permission.
  10. from Metabolick at The Hatstand, Archived version
  11. from DIAL #1
  12. from DIAL #1
  13. CI5hq
  14. CI5hq
  15. from Nell Howell at The Hatstand, Archived version