The cover of Gambit 14 is by Lucia Cassarella Moore. A colour portrait of Blake, Avon and Tarrant. Tarrant and Avon come out particularly well and Blake isn't bad.
As Jean says in the editorial, this is the final issue of Gambit, and it's a zine that will be much missed. It's gone out in style though - I think this is definately the best of the recent issues.
Layout is double column with a font size that is readable, but doesn't waste any space. Good clear print, and top of page headers make it easy to find the story you want.
Liberator Training Systems plc - Chris Blenkarn
A spoof of all those flash company training courses and their glossy brochures. I found this very amusing, especially the comments by people who had attended the courses.
The Art of War - Patti McClellan
Cally teches the crew unarmed combat.
A Coin For Charon's Hand - Jean Graham
Cally and Avon are captured. A Federation Major injects Avon with a particularly nasty drug. When he's at death's door, he starts hallucinating.
A Suitable Punishment - Susan Barrett (now Susan Riaz)
Alternative universe story in which Vila is captured after 'Pressure Point' and sentenced to a prison planet where the prisoners are used as slave labour in swamps. The rest of the crew have to rescue him.
Winning Real Wars - Judith Seaman
A bleak story that looks realistically at the consequences of rebellion and what may follow afterwards. I tend to dislike the way Judith depicts Blake - I credit him with more intelligence than she does, but I can't deny the quality of her writing, nor her willingness to allow Avon to make tough decisions.
Snowblind - Alice Aldridge
This one I really enjoyed. It's an encounter between Blake and Travis when they are trapped beneath an avalanche. Through their hate, they come to a degree of mutual respect.
An Instrument of the Service - Susan Barrett
A look at Travis' trial that parallels it with Nazi war crimes tribunals. This is surprisingly effective.
Harvest of Sopron - Sondra Sweigman
The theme of this story is the things that people see when they look at Sopron. Cally saw her parents; Orac saw a powerful computer; etc. What did Avon see? If you know Sondra as well as I do, then the answer is obvious, but I won't spoil it for everyone else.
The Price of a Friend - Vicki Childs
This story was the great surprise of the zine for me. It focuses on Dayna and it uses a plot that is as hackneyed as the hills - Avon is captured as a sex slave by a matriarchial society. Both of these are things that normally put me off a story. In this case, they worked! I got drawn into a story that developed Dayna as a character, drew on her hunting and fighting skills, gave her new friends, allowed her to act intelligently and made her really interesting. I enjoyed it a lot - a good thing as it's one of the longest stories in the zine.
Degrees of Gratitude - Jean Hubb
Jean has written a number of stores in which various members of the Liberator crew encounter Blake during the third season. I've liked all of them, and this one is no exception. This time it is Avon who meets Blake. Blake is working as an explosives expert under a false name. This story has a gentle feel, although it is hard to explain what I mean by that when buildings are getting blown up and so forth. If you like Avon and Blake, then you'll like this story.
To See or Not to See - Mark W. Johnson
A story about the crew consulting an oracle. Readable, but nothing special.
Yawn of the Gods - Lorna Breshears
A complete send up of the series' least popular episode. I knew I was going to like this one as soon as Vila said, "It was Bayban the Butcher in the Library with the curling iron." Read it and laugh.
Virtual Reality - Helen Parkinson
Servalan has found a method of feeling Avon's emotions. However, this is a Helen Parkinson story and that means that you can never predict what is going to happen. Helen is one of the few writers who manages to frequently surprise me with a good twist in a story. I enjoyed this one.
Deceptions - Mary and Paul Ragis
This is primarily about Avon rescuing Vila from a fairly nasty fate. Nothing special.
The Dream - Paul Ragis
Tarrant dreams of a woman he loves and finally realises who it is.
Denouement - C.S. Kinsey
Gauda Prime through Servalan's eyes.
Time For a Change - Marian Mendez
Avon dies at Gauda Prime and then regenerates into the spitting image of Roger Delgardo! If you want to know how much he and Romana irritate each other, you'll have to read the story...
A Favourite Jewel - Marla F. Fair
PGP Avon is on a transport for a prison planet. He escapes in a life capsule which crashes in the grounds of an abbey where he is befriended by a young girl. However, nothing is quite what it seems in this story...
Heart of Darkness - Marla F. Fair
Sort of a sequel to the above. Distinctly weird. I'm not quite sure what's happening, but it's interesting. Make of that what you will.
Abreaction Commenced - Irene Stubbs
This was the only story in the zine that I didn't read right through. It failed to hold my interest, and I've no idea what the title refers to.
Whose Justice - Judith Proctor
A sequel to Justice and The Price of Justice in the two previous issues. PGP - Avon believed Blake dead, but found he had killed clone. Blake exeucted Avon for murder of clone but realised too late that Avon did it though a misunderstanding. I wasn't originally intending to write another part as I figured there wasn't anything nastier I could do to Blake than have him kill Avon. Then I realised that things *could* get worse, so I wrote another chapter <evil grin>. I can't really review my own story, so I'll quote what a friend wrote to me yesterday! "You bugger! I've just read 'Whose Justice!' You sod! Poor old Blake." Honest, that's what she did say! Charming friends I have...
Alone But Not Silent - Nicolene van den Berg
Nicolene is another writer whose work I'm beginning to look out for. This is a quiet story in which Avon and Vila have to face up to death.
Comeuppance - CarolMel Ambassador
I don't usually like CarolMel's stories. If you happen to like her work, then doubtless you'll like this more than I did.
Four in Hand - Sheila Paulson
Soolin is programmed by Servalan to try and kill Avon. Avon, Vila, Tarrant and Blake join forces after Gauda Prime and rapidly become a friendly compact group with bags of mutual trust etc. In other words, pretty typical Sheila Paulson fare. I don't think this is one of her best though - or maybe it's simply that I've seen her do so much similar stuff before.
Epilogue - C.S. Kinsey
Avon comes out of a coma after GP. Tarrant is there to share his first reactions.
Blake Casualty and the Sweet Honesty Kid - Diane L. Holland
I didn't think I was going to like this one at first, crossovers are rarely my forte, but it got zanier and zanier and by the time Orac had been reconfigured into a industrial dishwashing machine and Blake removed some of the plates without consulting Avon, and... well, Butch Cassidy was never as funny as this!
Two Plays by Euripedes: Avonestes and Iphijennia at Cygnus - Diane L. Holland
Another one I thought I wasn't going to like. Blake's 7 as Greek tragedy? I was wrong. Everyone is related to everyone else; there is a Chorus as all Greek tragedies should have; the dialogue is wonderful and I loved it. I remember more of my classical studies than I thought and had several good giggles.
B7 Paper Dolls - Sabrina Stone
Paper dolls of Avon and Blake with a large selection of outfits for both. I looked at these, saw how much of the zine they took up and thought 'What a waste'. Several hours later, I was still happily looking at the outfits, mentally trying them on and admiring the work that must have been done to get them so accurate. If anyone wants to call around one evening with a set of scissors and crayons, I'm game to do some cutting and colouring (of photocopies of course).
Poetry - mostly ranges from poor to mediocre, although there was one by Susan Bennett that I rather liked.
Art - likewise. I don't buy Gambit for the art - apart from the cover. There was a very nice Avon on page 323 though. Val Westall's ink work photocopies a lot better than her pencil. The pencil work is usually 3 generations down and looks awful.
Overall rating. Highly recommended, especially if you live in the UK as the dollar has fallen sharply of recent. For over 300 pages of a full size zine, this is very good value indeed.
Chris Blenkarn, "Liberator Training Systems plc" (S1; humor)
Patti E. McClellan, "The Art of War" (S1; A)
Jean Graham, "A Coin for Charon's Hand" (S1; A-hc)
Susan Barrett, "A Suitable Punishment" (alt-S2; post-Pressure Point; V)
Judith Seaman, "Winning Real Wars" (S2; A)
Alice Aldridge, "Snowblind" (S2; B-Tr)
Susan Barrett, "An Instrument of the Service" (S2; Tr)
Sondra Sweigman, "Harvest of Sopron" (S3; post-Harvest; A)
Vicki Childs, "The Price of a Friend" (S3; A-hc)
Jean B. Hubb, "Degrees of Gratitude" (S3; B, A)
Mark W. Johnson, "To See, or Not to See" (S3; A)
Lorna Breshears, "Yawn of the Gods" (S3; parody of Dawn of the Gods; humor)
Helen Parkinson, "Virtual Reality" (S4; Blake; A-Se)
Mary & Paul Ragis, "Deceptions" (S4)
Paul Ragis, "The Dream" (S4; uc D/Ta)
C. S. Kinsey, "Denouement" (S4-5; Se-B)
Marian Mendez, "Time for a Change" (S5; DW crossover)
Marla F. Fair, "A Favorite Jewel" (S5; A/ocf)
Marla F. Fair, "Heart of Darkness" (S5; "an excerpt from the sequel to 'A Favorite Jewel'")
Irene Stubbs, "Abreaction Commenced" (S5)
Judith Proctor, "Whose Justice?" (S5; sequel to "Justice" in #12 and "The Price of Justice" in #13)
Nicolene van den Berg, "Alone, But Not Silent" (S5; A-V)
CarolMel Ambassador, "Comeuppance" (Trophy series; S5; Se-Deva)
Sheila Paulson, "Four in Hand" (S5; So)
C. S. Kinsey, "Epilogue" (S5; A-Ta)
Diana Lynn Holland, "Blake Casualty and the Sweet Honesty Kid" (surreal AU)
Diana Lynn Holland, "Two Plays by Euripedes: Avonestes & Iphijennia at Cygnus" (parodies)
Jean Graham, "Editor's Page"
Teri Sarick, "Top Ten Reasons Why Avon Couldn't Have Killed Blake" (humor)
ORmAC, Mark III, "Every Little Bit Counts" (puzzle)
Teri Sarick, "Avon's Top Ten Excuses for Shooting Blake" (humor)
ORmAC, Mark III, "It's Only Logical" (puzzle)
Nancy Dziergowski, "You Know You've Watched To Many B7 Episodes When:" (humor)
ORmAC, Mark III, "Just Following Orders" (puzzle)
Teri Sarick, "B7 Slogans" (humor)
Nancy Dziergowski, "The Cattle Call (recasting movies with the B7 characters)"
Letters of Comment
Gail Gawlik, "Song of Hanna"
CarolMel Ambassador, "He Seems Sincere" (J-B)
Melissa Mastoris, "Freedom" (A-B)
Sue Ann Sarick, "Jenna"
Sue Ann Sarick, "The End" (A-B)
Sue Ann Sarick, "Cally"
Mark Johnson, "Au Revoir, Gambit" (f, Suicide Is
Painless, from MASH)
CarolMel Ambassador, "Queen of Darkness" (Se/?)
CarolMel Ambassador, "Non-Exempt" (A-V)
Sue Ann Sarick, "Blake"
Melissa Mastoris, "Siren Song" (A-V)
Melissa Mastoris, "The Fireside Wait" (B)
Melissa Mastoris, "A Daughter's Duty" (D)
Melissa Mastoris, "Mind Touch" (C-Sarcophagus alien)
Melissa Mastoris, "Little Thief" (V)
Nancy Dziergowski, "Epitaph on Malodaar" (alt-Orbit)
Teri Sarick, "Basic Black" (A)
Nancy Dziergowski, "Vila's Faith"
Melissa Mastoris, "Masquerade"
Gail Gawlick, "Time to Leave (by Avon)"
Gail Gawlick, "My Kingdom (by Ro, High Ruler of Horizon)"
Gail Gawlick, "Rule of Life (by Rashel)"
Gail Gawlick, "Moon Disks (by Cally)"
Sue Ann Sarick, "Avon"
Teri Sarick, "Without Feeling" (A)
Melissa Mastoris, "Loyal Federation Officer" (Tr)
Teri Sarick, "Shaolin & Rebel" (A-Kwai Chang Caine)
Susan Bennett, "Vila's Lament"
Lucia Casarella Moore front c. "One for All, All for One" (A, Ta, B; color)
Val Westall p. 13 A
p. 18 A
p. 21 A
p. 23 A
p. 35 A-B
p. 54 A
p. 61 A
p. 73 A
p. 80 A-B
p. 96 nude A
p. 101 Ta
p. 106 nude A
p. 148 A
p. 163 A
p. 175 A
p. 199 A
p. 218 B-A
p. 221 B carrying A
p. 250 A
p. 271 A
p. 323 A
Cynthia Brink p. 25 V
p. 32 Se
p. 65 B
p. 125 C
p. 127 D-Ta
p. 142 V
p. 325 A
K. A. Marshall p. 28 A-B
p. 48 J
p. 69 Tr2
p. 87 C
p. 92 D
p. 115 D
p. 137 A-V
p. 159 So
p. 208 D
p. 326 A
Mary O'Connor p. 33 B
p. 42 A-B
p. 167 Ta-V
p. 181 A-O
p. 186 So, D
p. 224 A
p. 235 Se-So; illo for "Four"
p. 244 A
p. 256 A
p. 274 A-Ta-V
Jean B. Hubb p. 132 illo for "Degrees"
Sabrina Stone pp. 276-322 Blake's 7 Paper Dolls (B, A)
Last updated on 20th of January 2002
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