Avon bared his teeth. "Once I start a game I play to win."
"Closer," Blake said consideringly. "But not the whole truth."
Avon looked away for a few seconds. When he turned back his face was flushed. "It's been a long time. At least, for those of us who couldn't bring themselves to give semi-public performances in London's shower room."
Alternate Realities by Tattoo Moon
What the hell! I'm looking at myself. How? No, I'm not. This isn't a mirror. This isn't anything familiar. I'm looking at another "me." He, whoever he is, this Blake looks like me - but he's not me. He's even got the same scarred eye I have, so he's me as I am now. He's laughing. What's funny. And he's evil. How do I know that?
Under Control by Steve Rogerson
There was dull thudding pain inside his head. It greeted his return to consciousness and made him wish for oblivion. "It must have been a good night," thought Gan, and immediately wished he hadn't as the pain sharpened. He tried to move but his body wouldn't respond. Slowly he opened his eyes.
Bodie usually had other things on his mind besides food. Really, he did. Occasionally his mind was occupied by things besides his partner, as well. But a perfect day for Bodie meant food and Doyle. Or food with Doyle, since he couldn't have food and Doyle. Not yet, anyway. But he was growing on the poor sod by leaps and bounds. He could see it clearly. Unfortunately, if he could see it, so could others.
First Kill by Irish
Ruth Pettifer hurried around the corner at the end of the street, ducked into an alleyway and promptly emptied the contents of her stomach. Christ, she'd thought the debrief would never end. Thought she'd disgrace herself all over Cowley's shoes.
I knew Jim was still angry about my withholding evidence in the case just completed. When we left the precinct Jim put an arm around my shoulders and whispered in my ear. "We'll discuss your actions during this case when we get home."
He stood on the bank of the Seine and stared at the barge, floating at anchor. So this was where the bastard lived. He was going to kill Duncan MacLeod, take his head, but first make him sorry he'd ever lived.
The huddled mass of screaming cries wavered in his vision, then he steeled himself and snapped his wrist again. The soft leather whip came down, and he watched as it landed with strict precision on the exact spot for which he'd aimed.
Alec Trevelyan had been gone for over five months and only now, seeing him again, did James Bond realize that he'd missed his friend. And looking at him, he felt a quickening of his pulse. Dressed in his favorite black, comfortable clothes that showed off his slender and graceful build he looked seductive and dangerous, but his blond hair and mischievous smile made him look like a schoolboy.
It was just another photo shoot, nothing special about it, but he felt uncomfortable anyway. There was tingling throughout his nervous system, and Michael didn't know why.
And more... including stories from Star Trek: The Original Series, Hard Boiled - the movie, and Young Guns.
186 pages, 130,000 words in 11 pt Times Roman.
Order from Jo Ann McCoy, 2580 I-25 North, Pueblo, CO 81008-9614
Susan Cutter's excellent "Firewalk" is an Oblaque-type A/B dealing with the sexual aftereffects of Blake's conditioning by the Federation, and the ingenious if somewhat unscrupulous means by which Avon copes. Definitely Stiffie material, IMO. I love the way that a happy ending (well, at least by B7 standards-- they're both alive, still on speaking terms, and indeed reasonably pleased with each other at the end) is brought about by the fact that Avon is more than a bit of a bastard-- just what Blake needs under the circumstances. The story is told from Blake's POV and is very sympathetic to him.
"Alternate Realities" by Tattoo Moon is a long and very, very strange A/B story, also from Blake's POV. Indeed, the first of its three sections is told in first person, by (our?) Blake himself-- one of two Blakes in this story. I'll call him Blake1. Some years PGP, Blake1, who is still fighting the Federation, falls very ill and in a feverish delirium meets-- himself. Another Blake, that is, from an alternate universe where both Blake and Avon are, if not exactly evil, considerably more unscrupulous than the versions of them we know. This Blake2 forces Blake1 to trade places with him. Blake1 then finds himself in a universe where his double has won the war but lost the peace. That is, he has proven to be a very inefficient, possibly corrupt President (we never hear the exact details) and is now being forced to step down in favor of the local Avon.
Avon2 sends Blake into exile on Horizon, supposedly to work as an engineer but actually to be forced into sexual slavery to a brutal fellow prisoner, Onyxx, in a prison work camp. However, after two years in the work camp-- which do wonders for Blake's physique if not for his morale-- it is revealed that the whole thing was set up by Avon, who wanted Blake trained for his own use. Poor Blake1 is distressed by the contrast between cruel Avon2 and his idealized memory of his beloved Avon1; but eventually, over the course of a highly erotic, heavy SM relationship, he does fall in love with Avon2.
Soon after Blake1 has managed to come to terms with his existence as Avon2's slave, Blake2 shows up again and once again forces a switch. Blake2, after giving himself another chance with both the Presidency and Avon by moving into Blake1's universe, has now managed to mess it all up once again, and again makes his escape at Blake1's expense. When Blake1 returns to his own universe, he inds that he is about to be executed for Blake2's crimes, and Avon1 now hates him, although he is still attracted to him sexually.
I can't describe the ending without giving too much away, but the two Blakes do meet for a third and final time, with a neatly science-fictional conclusion that I found very satisfying.
This is a fascinating if flawed story. I thought that the first section, in first person Blake POV, was extremely well-written and gripping; the other two sections, IMO, could have used a bit more editing and tightening up. There are also some small things that bothered me, such as the use of too-cute names for minor characters (e.g. guards Tartarus and Styx on spaceship Charon), and the author's editorial comments at the beginnings of the sections, pointing out things like the POV change. I'd rather find out for myself.
I'll be interested to hear what others think of this story. There is a =lot= of very graphic, very violent sex, which will not be to everyone's taste (especially since Blake is the sufferer and not Avon!). I think, though, that it's necessary in order to get a feel for Blake1's confused state of mind after all that Avon2 puts him through. And I really like the handling of the alternate universes, the personalities of the alternate Avons and Blakes, and the way they all change and learn as they interact with each other; very well and believably done, IMO.
Additional B7 content in the zine includes a gen A-V poem, appropriate to the theme of dark aspects of fannish universes because it deals with Orbit; and, in the opposite vein, two lighthearted filks on the joys of Avon-torture by Vanessa Mullen. I especially like "My Favorite Things" :).
Most of the zine is unillustrated, but there are very nice photo montage illos for "Alternative Realities" that are uncredited but were, I suspect, done by the author. I particularly like the one facing p. 66, which combines the eye of the tortured Blake from "The Way Back" with a nude male figure of appropriate build-- what Blake might look like after two years of hard labor, lying back submissively with one arm thrown over his face-- and the face of a very cold-eyed late Avon (from "Blake," when Vila asks him what happened to Tarrant and he refuses to answer). It fits the mood of the story beautifully.
Overall, recommended, especially for A/B fans (no Tarrant to speak of, and only a smidgen of Vila).
Editor: Jo Ann McCoy
Publisher: Maverick Press (Pueblo, CO)
Date: October 1999
Format: letter size,  + 186 pp. + unnumbered illo pages, lavender paper front cover with clear plastic overlay, lavender card back cover, black comb binding
Tattoo Moon, "Alternate Realities" (S5-S4; A/B)
Susan Cutter, "Firewalk" (S2; A/B)
Steve Rogerson, "Under Control" (S2, post-Pressure Point; G/Se)
Vanessa Mullen, "My Favourite Things" (f)
Garnet, "Shadows" (S4, post-Orbit; gen A-V)
Vanessa Mullen, "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" (f)
? facing pp. 26, 33, 66, 75 photo montage illos for "Alternative Realities"
Young Guns, S&H, Golden Eye, Pros, ST, Hard Boiled, Sentinel, Lost Boys, Sharpe's Rifles, HL
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