Southern Comfort 7.5 Ashton Press 1993 273 pp Paper cover, spiral bound Available from Linda Knights.
This is a substantial zine - God bless the typists - with lots of illustrations of varying quality. The stories are by Riley Cannon, Willa Shakespeare, Jacklin Scott, Daley Kelly, Kay, Shoshanna, Randym, Estelle Daniels, R L Parker, C A McCoy, Sonia, Nicely Nicely, Cassandra, and Mistral. Poems by Robin Hood.
This is a satisfying zine for Avon/Vila fans as it contains eight Avon/Vila stories of varying lengths ranging from the sentimental to the bleak in tone. My favourites were "Birthday Story" and "Reliquary" by Daley Kelly, both very well written and with believable characterisation closer to the series' originals in spirit than many writers achieve. I also liked R.L.Parkers two short stories and the longer "Opposites", set in prison before the London, all hurt/comfort scenarios. Of the remaining A-Vs, "Never Love a Stranger" needs a considerable suspension of disbelief.
For Cally/Vila fans there is "A Credit for your Thoughts", which I thought rather overdid Vila's timidity but was otherwise a warm, gentle tale and has the bonus of a lovely drawing of Vila by Adrian Morgan; there's another on page 183. Other stories include a Travis/Avon, two Jenna/Avon, and a long one "Paths of Destiny" about Tarrant and Vila's life on a prison mining colony, which is a continuation of a story in Southern Comfort 5.5. I always find it difficult to imagine Tarrant and Vila having any sort of loving relationship but this is a very well-plotted and convincing attempt, and it is unusually well-paced.
Blake features very little in this zine, though his clone puts in an appearance with Avon in "Compromising Positions", which also deals with Vila's earlier life. Of the remaining crew, Gan does not feature at all, and Dayna and Soolin only in passing. There's not much of Cally or Jenna either.
The longest story in the zine "Mice and Men" features Avon and Tarrant, plus Blake latterly. It carries a warning that it contains explicit sex and violence and is not for the squeamish. I am very squeamish but I read the first few pages in the spirit of investigation, then picked out one or two later pages at random. It certainly is brutal, and from the bits I read, highly repetitious. I don't much relish stories which linger over pain and portray sex as a form of combat, so I heeded the editor's advice and skipped the rest. If anyone has read it and disagrees (tempting to say disagrees violently) please say so. At around nearly 80 pages it was rather a lot of zine to skip, but if you buy zines second-hand without having seen a flyer it's a risk you have to accept.
Riley Cannon, "Stand-in" (A/V)
Willa Shakespeare, "Opposites" (A/V)
Jacklin Scott, "A Credit for Your Thoughts" (C/V)
Daley Kelly, "Reliquary" (A/V)
Willa Shakespeare, "The Last Seska" (Luxia/V, L/Ta, L/A)
-Kay-, "Before the Madness Claimed Them" (A/Tr)
Shoshanna, "In the Company of Strangers" (A/J)
Madelyn Darring & Coral Court, "What I Did for Love" (A/V)
Randym, "Misericorde" (Ta/V)
Willa Shakespeare, "Never Love a Stranger" (A/V)
Estelle Daniels, "War of Escalation" (A/J)
R. L. Parker, "An Innocent Man" (A/V)
R. L. Parker, "Innocence and Wrath" (Ta/V, A/V)
C. A. McCoy, "Paths of Destiny" (Ta/V; sequel to "Colliding Destinies" in SC 5.5)
Daley Kelly, "Birthday Story" (A/V)
Sonia, "Compromising Positions" (A/B clone, V/oc)
Nicely Nicely, "Time Off and Good Behavior" (A/V)
?, "Family Traditions" (V/oc; alternate Last Stand universe)
Cassandra, "Celebrating Life" (A/Ta/V)
Daley Kelly, "No Respite" (A/V)
Mistral, "Mice and Men" (A/Ta etc.)
Letters of Comment
"Pushin' the First Amendment #1" (humor)
Robin Hood, "Sword of Heaven" (A/?)
Robin Hood, "Twin Thieves" (A/B)
Robin Hood, "The Taste of Dust" (A/B)
Robin Hood, "To Care for You" (A/B)
Riley Cannon, "Brothers in Arms" (A/B)
Leah Rosenthal front cover A/Ta/V
back cover spiral binding cartoon
p. 61 Liberator, Scorpio
p. 66 V/long-haired A
pp. 174-175 Last Stand cartoon
ORmaC p. 12 illo for "Oposites"
p. 42 illo for "Last Seska"
p. 48 illo for "Last Seska"
p. 79 illo for "Never Love..."
p. 84 illo for "Never Love..."
p. 88 illo for "Never Love..."
p. 91 J
p. 101 V
p. 132 A
p. 140 A, V
p. 165 A, B
Adrian Morgan p. 34 V
p. 183 V
IBACH p. 39 A/V cartoon
p. 75 V
p. 103 A-V cartoon
p. 109 A/B cartoon
p. 270 A/V cartoon
Randym p. 51 Avon-in-coma cartoon
p. 73 Ta
p. 120 Ta/V
p. 190 D/Ta
p. 191 So/Ta
p. 192 Se/Ta
p. 265 A/Ta
p. 269 A/Ta
M. Rondeau p. 147 A-V undies cartoon
Linden Boats p. 150 A/B
Sarah p. 158 nude V
Howarth p. 172 Last Stand cartoon
Flatbush Bates p. 188 A/V cartoon
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