by Lillian Sheperd
illustrated by Jean Sheward
cover by Jean Kluge
edited by Judith Proctor
The Machiavelli Factor is a broad sweeping novel that takes Avon and his third season crew from Terminal to another galaxy. Here, they rapidly get embroiled in local politics as numerous power groups vie for control. Avon's knowledge of Liberator technology makes him a wanted man, and some groups would rather see him dead than controlled by the others. There's Scitech who control most of the technology left behind by an alien master race known as the Builders; the Guild who control transport between stars; the Fraternity, a criminal organisation; the Indies or Independents, and the mysterious ylln.
But that isn't all. There's the wi'h, an alien race genetically engineered by the Builders. Literally incapable of fighting or disobeying an order, they are used as slaves by most human beings in the Cloud. What does such a race do to try and gain its freedom? Using Builder technology, they bring Roj Blake to the Cloud. Can Blake achieve the impossible? Can he achieve it while trying to protect Avon?
This zine is likely to appeal to two main groups of people. It has a far greater SF content than the majority of fan fiction. It makes significant use of well developed aliens and the artefacts left behind by the Builders. The second group is Avon-Blake fans. This is not a slash zine, but it does feature a strong emotional relationship between Avon and Blake. They argue most of the time, but recognise the forces that pull them together.
Cally and Vila both come out well. Cally is portrayed as a strong character who makes good use of her telepathy. Vila reveals hidden talents. The only readers who may be unsatisfied are Tarrant fans who might be unhappy with his portrayal here.
To whet your appetite:
The Machiavelli Factor was originally written in 1982. It was reprinted a few years ago in the US without the author's permission, but this edition has been produced with Lillian's agreement and the text has been revised by her. It's copied from a laser printed original, has a lovely colour cover of Blake and is probably the best looking zine I've produced yet. The first print run is glue bound with a taped spine. Later print runs may or may not have the same binding. Word count 147,500.
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Last updatde on 05th of June 2005.