Vila, Please!

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Zine
Title: Vila, Please!
Publisher: 4M Press
Editor(s): Marnie
Date(s): May 1989 (second printing)
Series?:
Medium: print, zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake’s 7
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
cover by Linda Evans
flyer with story summaries, click to read -- note: there is one story on the flyer that does not appear in the zine: "A Better Place to Be" by Kerri Minter. "Vila is depressed after the events on Malodaar, until a glitch in the teleport suddenly changes his perspective -- and he meets a very different Avon!"

Vila, Please! is a slash and adult het anthology. Its focus was to pair Vila, story by story, with all the other main characters. The first edition contains 106 pages, and due to a larger type-face, the second printing contains 150 pages.

Linda Evans is the front cover artist. The second edition states that Evans also did the interior art, but there isn't any. Perhaps there was in the first edition?

It has a sister zine called Avon, Anyone?. A proposed third zine in this "series" was "Gim'me Blake," but this last zine was never published.

The Editorial

Hi! Welcome to the second edition of the doorstep papers. We just reprinted "Avon, Anyone?" and we plan on "Gim'me Blake!" for next summer.

Some people have asked where 4M Press came from. When we decided to do this, there were four of us and we all used names that started with M. After that we made everyone else use a name that started with M.

We raced against a deadline this time. We had to be ready by Mediawest. We Just made it. Poor Marie — the typing pool—worked her fingers to the bone.

I hope you enjoy this.

Thanks, Mamie

Who's Who: The Authors

From the zine:

MAL O'DAR has no past, has no future, isn't.

MAREN says she's old enough to read this stuff and has been for a number of years. A thing or two of hers has been published before, under another name. She hopes you enjoy the products of her admittedly warped mind.

MADELYN DARRING is a professional exotic dancer and rock star groupie who lives in the St. Louis area with her cat Sadie and boa constrictor Squirmie (her other cat, Avon, recently disappeared). She has been a Blake's 7 fan for over three years, but does not attend too many conventions due to work committments. She is single and intends to stay that way until Mr. Dominant Male comes along.

MELODYE was born to filk. She can't listen to any song without trying to think of new words for it. In fact, she is an embarrassing companion at any concert or musical, because she never fails to sing the wrong lyrics to the songs.

MARIE PRESTIDIGATATOR was born to type, but the devil made her do it. She was born under a typing table, while her mother was typing a (straight) manuscript. The first sound she remembers is the sound of typewriters. She lives typing, she loves typing, typing is her life!...but I digress...she is a perfectly normal, slightly round the twist, run of the mill pervert who loves B7 slash. Professionals slash, S & H slash, K & S slash, slash, slash, slash, slash, slash!

PACER MC COY works as a sound engineer at radio station WDIP, St. Louis. Her favorite pasttimes are driving disc jockey's insane and writing zine stories. Her new hero is Avon (replacing Howling Mad Murdock as her favorite maniac); her goal is to get Stephen Pacey at...ahem, to an American convention.

MORGAN L. FAYE rose from the mists of obscurity in Avalon, MO. A lady of the slash, despite her half-brother's objections (he thinks she's all wet), she became a writer. She likes cuddle slash, no graphic violence, and some mental angst, and lots and lots of comfort! Please! When not arguing with her half-brother about the family business, her hobbies include building forest mazes, playing at magic, and fooling around with swords. She will never die, but fade back into the mist.

MARNIE led a very sheltered life until she read her first slash story. Then she was introduced to Blake's 7. Since then she has become obsessed with B7 slash. She will do anything to get a slash zine. Beg, borrow, steal, mug little old ladies on the street for money to buy slash zines.

Contents

  • Miranda Morgan, "Uneasy Lover" (V/oc) (Vila, pre-series, works as a prostitute.) (3)
  • Jane Carnall, "Heart's Desire" (A/V) (On shore leave, Avon and Vila both visit an establishment that promises to give them their hearts' desire.) (6)
  • Linda Evans, "Tala" (V/oc) (Vila's rescue of a Great Dane) (14)
  • Linda Evans, "When the Bough Breaks" (V/oc) (Vila's rescue of a Great Dane) (15)
  • Melodye, "Idle Thoughts" (f, Daydream Believer; A/V) (15)
  • Morgan L. Faye, "Slight Recalibration" (A/V) ("A Get Tarrant story: When Tarrant breaks Vila's pride in his safe-cracking abilities, Avon must find a way to bring back the thief's confidence in himself.") (16)
  • * Ty Downs, "Special" poem (A/V) (21)
  • Kathy K., "Slash" (filk, Puff the Magic Dragon) (21)
  • Anais, "Halcyon Interlude" (J/V) (22)
  • Anais, "Last Customer" (Ta/V) (Tarrant's held prisoner in a brothel, and Vila comes to buy him.) (25)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Spacer's Holiday" (V/oc) (29)
  • Pacer McCoy, "In It for the Fun" (V/Anna) (Vila meets with a new fence who isn't quite what she seems... ) (33)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Duck the Blows" (G/V) (Gan, right before "Pressure Point," wonders about the wisdom of staying with Blake.) (38)
  • Anais, "Carpe Dayna" (D/V) (40)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Perhaps" (?/?) (44)
  • Marnie, "A Friend in Need" (V/Doran, A/V) (vignette, no sex, "Vila is ready to leave the Liberator after Tarrant threatens him with a gun on Sardos.") (45)
  • Melodye, "Barely Man Enough" (gen, V) (47)
  • Maren, "The Amdian Adventure" (A/V) (Avon has to pretend to be Vila's servant/lover) (48)
  • Madelyn Darring, "Sisters of the Moon" (V/oc, D/oc, C/V) ("Vila, Cally, and Dayna go down to a planet ruled by women where the men are breeding stock or pets.") (65)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Last View" (?) (85)
  • Cleveland Hiatt, "Dream Destiny" (A/oc, A/V) (The crew takes shore leave on a planet run by a recreation computer that has gone wrong.) (71)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Last View" (85)
  • Mal O'Dar, "You in Forever" (?) (85)
  • Mal O'Dar, "End of Despair, Promise of Future" (?) (85)
  • Quale, Ingrid Montrose, & Julie Kramer, "Hanging by a Thread" (A/V) ("Avon has a headache and takes some "aspirin.") (86)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Ellipsis" (G/V) (90)
  • Mal O'Dar, "I Should've Known Better" (C/V) (Vila catches a very strange disease.... smut ensues.) (91)
  • Mal O'Dar, "The Power of Suggestion" (So/V) (Soolin tries to seduce Avon by means of an aphrodisiac and winds up in bed with Vila instead.) (97)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Someone to Lean On" (B-V) (102)
  • Linda Evans, "Promise Me" (V/?) (106)

Reactions and Reviews

1995

[from a fan culling her zines]:

Must-gos: Velvet and Thorns, Vila, Please, The Void Aflame Like a Bonfire. Unfortunately, only one of them is an original I can sell. The other two will make nice recycling. If only I had a fireplace. Actually...Vila, Please has one story I quite liked even though it lacks the essential ingredient (Blake) -- "In It for the Fun" by Pacer McCoy. The rest require a much greater affection for Vila than I have (I like him but that's it). The other two zines are Avon-worshiping tripe IMHO, FWIW, YMMV. [1]

1996

This is an old zine that's been out of print for a while. However, it's about to be reissued in what the editors promise will be a "new and improved" format, so once I finished the used copy I bought at Eclecticon, I thought I'd post a review.

[...]

VILA, PLEASE is an all-Vila adult B7 zine, straight and slash mixed. The original edition is 106 pages long; the flyer for the new edition claims it will be about 150 pages because they're going to a larger typeface.

Artwork: Although the title page says "Cover and Artwork by Linda Evans," I don't remember any interior art. The cover's not particularly attractive, either--I only barely recognized it as Vila.

Poetry/Filks/etc.: There are quite a few poems. I don't review zine poetry, as a general rule, despite having written some. I'm too stylistically picky to enjoy much free verse.

General Layout: The zine suffers from something common to older zines: a complete lack of white space. I don't mind fillers, and I would never insist that stories should all begin on the right-hand page, or anything like that....but I'd prefer a story to begin at the top of the page. Especially in an older zine, done on a typewriter, where the title can't even be set in a larger size type. The pages aren't cut very evenly, either, giving the zine a ragged appearance. And the typeface is small. This is *not* a pretty zine.

My one other quibble with layout/typing is that there are no scene breaks--no extra blank line, no row of asterisks, no nothing. So it can be hard to tell that the scene has changed before I'd already gotten thoroughly bewildered.

The table of contents labels stories as slash or as Avon/Vila--unlabeled stories are het. I'm doing the same.

"Uneasy Lover" (/) (Miranda Morgan): Vila, pre-series, working as a prostitute. Not an awful story. It's in first person POV, which I personally hate, and I much prefer reading stories that pair series characters. But I didn't dislike it.

"Heart's Desire" (A/V) (Jane Carnell): Jane Carnell is one of my two favorite A/V writers, and this story is why I bought the zine. On shore leave, Avon and Vila both visit an establishment that promises to give them their hearts' desire. I think we can all guess what *that* is? This story was a bit sappier than I like my B7, but I did enjoy it. There was some good dialogue, and the characterization was solid. It's not one of her better stories, but it's definitely one of the best pieces in the zine.

"Tala" and "When the Bough Breaks" (Linda Evans): Not actually smut at all. These are rather pointless pieces about Vila's rescue of a Great Dane. 'Nuff said.

"Slight Recalibration" (A/V) (Morgan L. Faye): I don't like the Tarrant characterization in this story at all, and as the idea of Tarrant-as-bully is central to the story, it didn't work for me at all. Readers who dislike Tarrant might enjoy this one more.

"Halcyon Interlude" (Anais): A Vila/Jenna PWP. I liked it; nothing overwhelmingly wonderful, but it was an entertaining little interlude. I'm not sure I can believe the ending--Jenna refuses to continue having an affair with Vila because she's afraid she'll fall in love with him....but she's sleeping with Blake, because there's no possibility she'll get too attached. (The Vilaphile in me is secretly congratulating her on her taste, however.)

"Last Customer" (/) (Anais): Tarrant's being held prisoner in a brothel, and Vila comes to buy him.... Since I'm very partial to V/T, this was one of my favorites.

"Spacer's Holiday" (Mal O'Dar): Didn't make a heck of a lot of sense. Vila runs into a girl who reminds him of Kerril. They run from some bad guys, they have sex, and I just didn't see the point of this story at all.

"In It for the Fun" (Pacer McCoy): Vila meets with a new fence who isn't quite what she seems... it's all a bit too coincidental, but I *still* liked it. Nice little twist at the end.

"Duck the Blows" (/) (Mal O'Dar): Vila/Gan, right before "Pressure Point," wondering about the wisdom of staying with Blake. I thought it was sweet, myself, despite not being much of a Gan fan.

"Carpe Dayna" (Anais): One that suffers from not having any indication of scene breaks. I'm not fond of it-was-just-a-dream endings, and I'm not 100% sure that's what this was...but I think it was. Up until that point, though, I liked it. The sex scene was quite good, so I can forgive a lot. (Did I mention that most of these stories are PWPs?)

"A Friend in Need" (/) (Marnie): Starts out Vila/Doran, ends up A/V. Doran gives me the creeps, and I want him kept the hell away from my Delta. This is a vignette--no plot, no sex. It needed one or the other to hold my interest.

"The Amdian Adventure" (A/V) (Maren): OK, I liked this one, too. It's one of the old standby "Our Heroes go to a planet with strange customs" stories--and that scenario has been done *far* better than this--but it was still quite entertaining. Avon has to pretend to be Vila's servant/lover, which is a nice twist that I rather enjoyed--usually Avon gets to be the one in charge. (There *was* a reason, too...) Some nice character bits, as well.

"Sisters of the Moon" (Madelyn Darring): Nope. Didn't make much sense, for one thing. It was another "planet with strange customs" story, but this one didn't work. There was no plot, weak characterization, and...well, I just didn't care.

"Dream Destiny" (/) (Cleveland Hyatt): This was perhaps my least favorite story in the zine. It appeared to have some decent ideas--the crew takes shore leave on a planet run by a recreation computer that has gone wrong--but the writing wasn't good, and the storyline was almost impossible for me to follow.

"Hanging by a Thread" (A/V) (Quale, Ingrid Montrose, and Julie Kramer): Cute. Plausible characterization, some good double entendre dialogue, Vila wearing one of Avon's black shirts (I'm a sucker for Vila in black, what can I say?), and good sex. This one, I'll definitely be rereading.

"I Should've Known Better" (Mal O'Dar): Vila/Cally. Vila catches a very strange disease.... smut ensues. That's about all I can say about this one.

"The Power of Suggestion" (Mal O'Dar): You know, there are not very many strikingly original ideas in this zine...I'm sure that's partly due to its age, as recent B7 smut zines have been far more...creative. But this one features Soolin trying to seduce Avon by means of an aphrodisiac and winding up in bed with Vila instead. I enjoyed it--while it was basically a PWP and a cliched one at that, the execution was well-done.

"Someone to Lean On" (/) (Mal O'Dar): It appeared to be heading toward Blake/Vila. It had a plot, and everything. But it's "to be continued" in 4M Press's Blake smut zine, which never materialized....so I guess we'll never know what happened.

It sounds like I hated this zine, and I didn't. I enjoyed it. It won't be high up in my to-be-reread pile, for sure--there are far better B7 zines out there. I don't know that I'd be as satisfied if I had bought the new edition when it came out. But for $4 out of a used zine box, it was definitely worth the money! [2]

2003

[yonmei]: It's a tradition in fandom: no one names names. You learn by getting burned. I got wary of strange zine publishers way back when (um, 1986) when I sent a story ("Heart's Desire") off to 4-M Press, who were trawling for B7 fluff. It got published in Vila Please! and I have no problems with the quality of editing it received (none, but none is better than bad). What I did have a problem with was that editor (fan name Marnie) never bothered to tell me she'd accepted my story, and never bothered to send me a tribber's copy until - since I'd heard through two people who'd bought the zine and who wrote to tell me they liked my story - I wrote to her (twice) to ask her what was happening. Then she sent me a copy from the second print run. I suspect that if I hadn't known people in US fandom who were buying the zine and who told me I had a story in it, I'd never have got that tribber's copy. Resolved never to deal with Marnie again, and never again to just assume that all fannish zine editors would deal with me honourably, regardless of distance. (Admittedly, Marnie proved an exception: I've only ever had problems with two other fans, and both times were because the fan in question was having RL problems, not because of any intentional dishonesty.) [3]

References

  1. from Rallying Call #14 (1995)
  2. comments on Virgule-L, December 5, 1996, quoted anonymously
  3. a comment at Dear Disreputable Zine Publisher, a 2003 post about Agent With Style