A Plain Man's Guide to Alien Invasions

Review by CB

Edited by Adrian Morgan. Published by Chicago area Liberation. 1989
Card Cover Staple bound 190 pages

I'm impressed by American staplers; this is a big zine to be staple bound and at seven years of age my copy is only just coming apart. It has the usual mixture of stories, poetry, drawings (the only really noteworthy one is of Tarrant on page 17 ) and cartoons, with a few shorts.

Overall this zine is a little disappointing in its scope. The longest story "Inside a Broken Dream" by Sharon Ann Murphy and Virginia E. Milewski starts off promisingly but then seems to lose its way. It's a post GP story in which Avon, Vila, Dayna, Tarrant and Soolin all survive, and it involves a Servalan clone. Themes include Avon's relationship with Vila, with women, and with revolution. The opening sequences are well-observed and believable, but the middle section lacks conviction and it is also repetitive. The ending is inconclusive, I think deliberately so, but it's a bit unsatisfying in a ninety-page story. The hemes suggest that it might have worked better as an adult zine story; in parts, especially where Avon and Vila are concerned, it seemed to be teetering on the brink.

The story I liked best was also the shortest. "Vila's Inner Fear" by Curt Phipps is a chilling account of Vila's imprisonment after his post GP trial. It makes brilliant use of repetition and is genuinely macabre. Another good story is "Second Nature", by Ms. Murphy again. This is set in the early days and explores the possible connections between Vila's propensity for thieving and his heavy drinking, and the developing understanding between him and Avon. Malfunction!" by Janet Wells is another story which features Vila's drinking, but this one is more light-hearted.

"Misguided Honor", also by Ms. Murphy and Ms. Milewski, has Tarrant and Vila as male prostitutes though this is implied rather than shown ( there is no overt adult material) and getting mixed up in the GP underground. It read as if it were a sequel, but there's no preamble in the zine stating that this is so. "Ambush" by Jeanne DeVore centres on an injured Tarrant and the woman he meets. The personal stuff is okay, if a little predictable, but it's a pity the story had to start off with the premise that you can't call the Liberator for help if you're running very fast, an unconvincing variation on broken braceletitis.


The first story in this zine has definite adult content, even though it's not explicit. PGP, both Tarrant and Vila wind up in a (heterosexual) brothel on GP, servicing dirty old ladies. With some unexpected help, they make their escape.

It's a good zine for Tarrant stories: there's also a nice tragic romance for him in "Ambush." He pairs off with Dayna, and Avon and Vila both find (female) partners, in "Inside a Broken Dream," a long (94 pp.) PGP.

Editor: Adrian Morgan
Publisher: Liberation (fan club; Chicago, IL) Date: 1989

Sharon Ann Murphy and Virginia E. Milewski, "Misguided Honor" (S5; Ta-V, V-hc)
Janet Wells, "Malfunction!" (S1; A)
Mysti Frank, "Analgesia" (S1?; A-V)
Sharon Ann Murphy, "Second Nature" (S1; V)
Jeanne DeVore, "Ambush" (S4; Ta-hc; uc Ta/ocf)
Sharon Ann Murphy and Virginia E. Milewski, "Inside a Broken Dream" (S5; D/Ta, A/ocf, V/ocf)
Curt Phipps, "Flake's 11" (script; humor)
Bud Hanzel, "Jail-Break" (S5; B-clone, ocs)
Curt Phipps, "Vila's Inner Fear" (S5; V)

Anonymous, "When Fans Have Pets" (humor)

Mysti Frank, "Vila Restal"
Sharon Ann Murphy, "Image"
Tammy Verbande, "Little Fuzzy Blake" (parody; humor)
Mary Pat Cheney, "A Plea to Avon"
Mary Pat Cheney, "Your Eyes (Vila to Avon)"
Mary Pat Cheney, "Vila"

Judi Boguslawski & cover V & various aliens
Adrian Morgan p. 102 illo for "Inside"
p. 133 A; illo for "Inside"
p. 167 A-V; illo for "Inside"
Judi Boguslawski p. 80a A-V; illo for "Inside"
p. 132a A-ocf; illo for "Inside"
Adrian Morgan p. 16a Ta
p. 40a A
p. 44a V
p. 72 Scorpio
p. 72a cartoons
p. 184a A
Tanje p. 4 B
p. 22b A-B
p. 30a A
p. 36a A-V
p. 186a V
Kate Knepper p. 4a A-B PGP cartoon
p. 8a Ta
p. 40b A-Piri cartoon
p. 72b "Sand" cartoon
p. 168b B
p. 172a A-B GP cartoon
p. 172b C
p. 188a "Horizon" cartoon
Kate Knepper &
Adrian Morgan p. 38b A
"Tynus" (Clyde Jones) p. 4b grasshopper-monster
Tamara Verbande p. 21 Ta
p. 22a V
p. 168a C
p. 184b B
Peter Heimsoth p. 38a Elvis Avon Presley
Jay Harber p. 184b 3rd season crew
Bart Quick p. 188 cartoon

Last updated on 07th of January 1998

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