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

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

It has a sister zine called Avon, Anyone?.

Contents

Fiction:

  • Miranda Morgan, "Uneasy Lover" (V/oc) (Vila, pre-series, works as a prostitute.)
  • 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.)
  • Linda Evans, "Tala" (V/oc) (Vila's rescue of a Great Dane)
  • Linda Evans, "When the Bough Breaks" (V/oc) (Vila's rescue of a Great Dane)
  • Morgan L. Faye, "Slight Recalibration" (A/V)
  • Anais, "Halcyon Interlude" (J/V)
flyer with story summaries, click to read
  • Anais, "Last Customer" (Ta/V) (Tarrant's held prisoner in a brothel, and Vila comes to buy him.)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Spacer's Holiday" (V/oc)
  • Pacer McCoy, "In It for the Fun" (V/Anna) (Vila meets with a new fence who isn't quite what she seems... )
  • Mal O'Dar, "Duck the Blows" (G/V) (Gan, right before "Pressure Point," wonders about the wisdom of staying with Blake.)
  • Anais, "Carpe Dayna" (D/V)
  • Marnie, "A Friend in Need" (V/Doran, A/V) (vignette, no sex)
  • Maren, "The Amdian Adventure" (A/V) (Avon has to pretend to be Vila's servant/lover)
  • Madelyn Darring, "Sisters of the Moon" (V/oc, D/oc, C/V)
  • 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.)
  • Quale, Ingrid Montrose, & Julie Kramer, "Hanging by a Thread" (A/V)
  • Mal O'Dar, "I Should've Known Better" (C/V) (Vila catches a very strange disease.... smut ensues.)
  • 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.)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Someone to Lean On" (B-V)

Poetry:

  • Melodye, "Idle Thoughts" (f, Daydream Believer; A/V)
  • Ty Downs, "Special" (A/V)
  • Kathy K., "Slash" (filk, Puff the Magic Dragon)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Perhaps" (?/?)
  • Melodye, "Barely Man Enough" (gen, V)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Last View" (?)
  • Mal O'Dar, "You in Forever" (?)
  • Mal O'Dar, "End of Despair, Promise of Future" (?)
  • Mal O'Dar, "Ellipsis" (G/V)
  • Linda Evans, "Promise Me" (V/?)

Art:

  • Linda Evans (front cover)

Reactions and Reviews

[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.) [1]

[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. [2]

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! [3]

References

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