DESPERADO by Leigh Arnold

(genzine) Review by Judith Proctor

The copy I have been reading is a reprints and the print quality isn't everything that it could be. However, the cover is a very nice colour drawing by Kathy Hanson of Avon and a dog. If you like dogs and horses, then you're going to be on the way to liking this zine, as dogs in particular feature fairly heavily. The zine is a novel in sections - I imagine they might have been printed separately at some time, as there are a fair number of reminders of earlier sections in case anyone has forgotten. It's a PGP in which Vila is just in time to prevent Avon shooting Blake. Events thereafter are a number of slightly contrived plots whose main aim is to allow Blake and Avon to fall in and out of frinedship with each other as often as possible. Although it's well written (and the writing style gets better as the zine progresses), I did find myself wondering if Avon ever would make his mind up for more than ten pages at a time.

If you want to analyse the zine in terms of cultures etc., then you can have American Indian, and elements of the romantic frontier. One of the sub-plots has Avon enslaved by a group of 'Indians' who need him to help repopulate their tribe as all the men are sterile due to a Federation virus. Although it sounds incredibly corny, this is actually one of the better handled sub-plots and works a lot better than you might expect. The bits involving Servalan are clumsier - she seems to be captured/escape whenever it is necessary for Blake and Avon to shift their relationship again and if the plot is looked at closely around these points there are some rather large loopholes.

There's a really neat original plot twist involving Orac (which I won't reveal). I loved it, and then got irritated because the writer hadn't followed it through properly.

Still, overall, I found the zine an enjoyable read. If you like the 'Avon loves Blake but is unable to admit it to himself' school of zine writing, then you'll probably like this. We're talking platonic love, not sexual - this is definitely a genzine.

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