This particular issue is all-slash. Avon Calling (#1) was a mix of het and slash (although more slash than het). All stories with one exception have Avon as one of the slashees (er, that's not really a word, but then the dictionary doesn't have a definition for our sort of slash, so I'm free to make up words). The zine is around 140 pages.
If nice art is important to you, then you'll really like this zine. Yes, there's lots of stuff by Lovett and Phoenix, plus an odd picture here and there, that isn't mentioned in the credits (there's an A/T by Randym, I think).
And I finally got to see the much mentioned "Sleeping Beauty", an absolutely gorgeous, nude study of Blake and Avon, with Blake sleeping with his head in Avon's lap, and Avon bending down to kiss him. It's not really erotic, but unbelievably sweet (I don't usually like sweet, but I'll make an exception here). It's more than that though. This drawing is more than what you'll usually find in zines, which is normerly portrait art. This drawing manages to convey real emotion. Also notable, there's a Blake-as-satyr drawing by Lovett, that's way cool and a must see for Blake fans. I like the cover by Phoenix quite a bit, esp. Vila.
Well, I don't really care for poetry, because half the time I don't understand it. Some people are tone-deaf, I think I'm poetry-challenged. But I think I did grasp "Felis avonis" by Jane Mailander, which does a nice comparison between Avon and felines. And there's a neat full color Lovett to go with it, esp. loved the Avon-transforming-into-panther in the upperleft, which is very sensual).
"Call of the Wild" by Jane Mailander - A/B
Avon has a really wild, erotic dream in which Blake figures significantly, only it's Blake as he would look if he were a satyr. Needless to say, that's the catalyst for the start a sexual relationship. This is a pretty humorous (as well as pretty hot) story. And the little graphics that separate the sections of the story are hilarious. Very enjoyable.
"Welcome To My Dungeon" by Caroline Dare - A/B/V
This story has almost absolutely no real plot, and I'd have to term it almost pure pornography (nothing wrong with that, per se :) If you don't mind a little bondage (there's no S&M), and you like to see Avon tied down and teased mercilessly, this story will probably really turn you on. But don't look for anything serious here.
"Retention of Title" by Gloria Lancaster - A/B
Avon's kink is that he likes to perform as a prostitute for fun. Well, guess who walks in by chance to become his paying customer? Now back on the Liberator, Blake can't get it all out of his mind. This is a darker story, one you sort of have to think through. Just my sort of A/B.
"LD-50" by E. Lapidae - A/V
Thanks to Ellie, we now know what LD-50 means :) (the story does actually explain it, but I totally spaced it on my first read through). Normerly I consider myself a realist, and I like realism over fantasy, but this story nearly exceeded my tolerance for realism (what a hypocrite I am!). If you want to know some of the gory details of the effects of radiation poisoning (which I think the author must have researched), this story will tell you. The Avon-Vila part is nice, though.
"The Romance of the Written Word" by R. Olivia Brown - A/B
Well written, but didn't buy this one for a minute. Avon a virgin? I don't think so :) I could believe this was Avon at age 20, but not at ~35 (or however old he's supposed to be in season 1 and 2).
"Companions" by Randym and Cami - A/T
Oooh, an A/T! That's still a relatively rare beast. This is actually a sequel to "Strange Interlude", by Cami, which appeared in Aquatar #2. It's sweet, without being saccharine.
"Sweet Revenge" by Lynne Franklin - A/V
A humorous story centering around "Kerr" jars ;) Very enjoyable, and some pretty hot sex.
"Just One Year of Love" by Catherine Kendall - V/T
Tarrant and Vila have sex while they're blasted, and in the process Vila is accidentally hurt (not seriously). Everyone is convinced that Tarrant raped Vila, although they both deny it (I don't really like the premise because I don't take it as a given that everyone would think this of Tarrant). Still, if you like V/T, it's not bad.
"Cytherea" by Christopher Montclair - A/B
The premise of the story sounds a little silly (Avon, unknowingly, is dosed with an aphrodisiac), but this is an intense A/B with a very hot sex scene. I'm always a sucker for stories where Avon is out of control like this. I liked it a lot (not to mention the very nice Lovett that accompanied the story).
"A Thief's Punishment" by Brendan O'Cullane - A/V
This is a well done story, but with too high of a S&M content for my personal taste. I was surprised by the ending.
"Brilliance" by Pat Terra - A/B, A/V, V/C
Actually a 5-part story, each section separately titled. Vila plays matchmaker via chemical assistance (Brilliance is a drug) with rather disasterous effects. Fits into the 2nd season continuity. Not bad.
"Afterplay" by Jane Mailander - A/V
One of the best stories in the zine. After a session of sex (off-page) to celebrate their winnings in Freedom City, Avon and Vila try to cheat each other while playing chess in bed (something that Vila is much better at, to Avon's chagrin). Very nice character study. Mailander writes very good A/V.
"Stranded" by Matilda Willard - A/B
The longest story in the zine at around 20 pages. This is one of those Back-to-nature stories, which I have mixed feelings about in general. There are some excellent ones (like Linda Knight's genzine story "A Time For Everything"), but these usually fail for me in that for anyone who's ever been camping, the reality of back-to-nature is anything other than idyllic, especially when you have to hunt your own food. This is still not a bad story, however, and A/B fans will probably enjoy it. The sex scenes manage to be fresh and different.
The rest of the zine is called "Perchance to Dream", which are three stories all centering around that stunning Blake-Avon picture by Lovett (so natually these four stories are A/B). It's separated from the rest of the zine by being bound in opposite direction (upside down?).
"Entropy" by Pat Terra - A/B
A mystical PGP story with a paganistic bent. If you like that sort of thing and upbeat endings, then this is the story for you.
"It's the Thought That Counts" by S. Lewis - A/B
Entertaining, lightweight, post-"Careless Whispers" story. A nice bit of sweetness and light before the next tale.
"The Quality of Mercy" by Matilda Willard - A/B
Probably my favorite story in the zine, and an excellent portrayal of Servalan. It's actually a very short story, so I don't really want to say more about it, other than if you don't like depressing stories, don't read it!
Call of the Wild (A/B) -- Jane Mailander
Jane's only A/B story, a gorgeously optimistic one where Avon is dreaming about B as a satyr, and this changes the course of events on *Liberator*. The humour and "sweet" tone are lovely, though it's a bit innocent for me (contains a fade-out sex scene--aaaargh. Well she puts in the dream-sequence sex scene, but as they are about to get down to it in reality she fades it out. Lovely POV, particularly A trying to deny his attraction.
No Fury (A/B) -- Jane Mailander
Excellent tragic sonnet (I *wish* this wasn't printed on the same page as the happy story--I like both, but not together), where Avon proves there is no fury like a man scorned.
Welcome to my Dungeon (A/B) -- Caroline Dare
Consensual s/m dungeon story with Blake, Avon and Vila: fits in a sequence with some earlier sex stories in Oblaque. Filed, for me, under "guilty pleasures", as I love optimistic sex stories (and generally have to write them for myself), but I know her characterisation and dialogue are off, mainly or in part because she Americanises the boys.
Retention of Title (A/B) -- Gloria Lancaster
Marvellous Oblaque-style psychological tragedy, the sort where a word in the wrong place can send a nearly-functional relational back careering down the wrong track. A brothel story, but completely original. Hot sex and incredible angst. Read.
LD50 (A/V) -- E. Lapidae
A look at A and V, lovers but dying of radiation sickness, in a moment of hopelessness before Blake gets back from Ensor with the drugs. A brave attempt to treat radiation poisoning seriously, but reads like undigested textbook in parts because of this.
The Romance of the Written Word (A/B) -- R. Olivia Brown
Weird, but good. Almost an a/u. If A had been a virgin, too shy to really get going with Anna, and Blake had slowly become close and seduced him. A rare sweet A/B. I can believe it, just, but can imagine some people couldn't. Definitely for Blake fans (who see his human side and don't just see a driven fanatic).
Felis Avonis (A/B) -- Jane Mailander
Lovely, especially with the gorgeous Suzan Lovett illo. Free-form poem, imagining Blake thinking of Avon as a cat, and how to seduce him to come to Blake's lap.
Companions (A/Ta, past A/C) -- Cami
After Cally's death, Avon and Tarrant (who have previously had A Fling, which Avon tried to con Tarrant into thinking did not happen, to Cally's intensely moral dismay) meet, and Avon says it did happen after all, at which they have Another Fling. If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you would like.
Sweet Revenge (A/V) -- Lynne Franklin
PWP. Vila discovers that old-style canning jars were called "Kerr jars", and has fun with this and Avon's name. Avon revenges himself in a way they both enjoy.
Words Not Spoken, Words Never Heard (A/B) -- Brendan O'Cullane
Poem. Bad. Jane Mailander can do a free-form poem without making me feel it's just badly-chopped prose. He can't.
Just One Year of Love (Ta/V, past V/C) -- Catherine Kendall
Vila seduces Tarrant, with a sort of wine that Tarrant doesn't realise is an aphrodisiac. They're both so randy they're clumsy, and V clonks his head on the table. The next day, everyone else thinks Ta raped V. Tarrant also thinks this, because he's forgotten. All is well in the end. Ta/V isn't one of my fave pairings, and I'm not that keen on stories that find Deep Meaningful Inspiration in Soppy Pop Lyrics, but if you are otherwise, you would like it. For romantics though, definitely.
Cytherea (A/B) -- Christopher Montclair
Aphrodisiac PWP. Could have been so much better. For several months before I got my sweaty little paws on the 'zine, heard about this story and was extreemly eager to read it (mainly because I was told it has Avon rolling on the floor howling "Fuck me, you bastard!" at Blake). Unfortunately, it dind't quite live up to expecations. The flashbacks aren't particularly well-handled, and this is one of those writers who think A fancied Anna because she had a boyish figure (see the Anna Used A Strap On section in The Slash Cliche Drinking Game. Why don't they just write him as bi, it's far less complicated?), but the main problem for me is the lack of humour and good dialogue. Somewhere in my whingeing to the Miscellaneous Caledonian about "it's a bloody ludicrous situation anyway, why does she lose so many opportunities for comedy making them both aware of that?" she told me to write my own, so this is at least partly responsible for Automatic Reactions. I find it difficult to judge it fairly, because I had the story I wanted to read in my head, and wrote it later. If your personal buttons are set towards "romantic" more than mine, you might find it the story you want. If you see what I mean.
A Thief's Punishment (A/V) -- Brendan O'Cullane
S/M PWP. Avon catches Vila theiving, and punishes him severely. They both of them enjoy it. Roleplay.
Brilliance (pairings, several) -- Pat Terra
Good sort-of-tragic aphro story explaining why Avon *really* went looking for a bolthole, and how best-of-intentions meddling can do more harm than good. Well plotted. Although it's basically sad, there are elemnets of humour: as I said above, an aphro plot is basicially ridiculous, and I find it better if the characters are aware of that. Bonus points for special original sf element: a topical (through the skin) aphrodisiac that works in this way is truly origianl, and wish I'd thought of it. (Several internal titles for parts of the story should have been in a smaller font to make this clear: they're not *really* seperate stories)
Afterplay (A/V) -- Jane Mailander
After sex, and after Gambit, Avon and Vila play chess in bed. A really good unromantic story; that is, it gives full value to a close friendship in bed and out, rather than saying they have to be in love. Excellent, even though the pairing doesn't do much for me sexually.
Stranded (A/B) -- Matilda Willard
One of those Blake-enjoys-going-Back-to-Nature stories. Blake and Avon fall in love, stranded on a wild planet, away from the pressures of Liberator. I'd have liked this better without the tragic ending, because I really enjoyed their getting close slowly (and I'd recommend, say, xBryn's Fugitives to any other rare happy-A/B fans out there), but it's a good story.
Entropy (A/B) -- Pat Terra
Good romantic PGP with mystical elements, in which Vila is dragged (terrified) onto Charon's boat and to the underworld with an Avon who has lost the will to live, before the Goddess sorts things out for them.
To Sleep, Perchance (A/B) -- Gene Delapenia
More bad poetry. Go and take a course on basic prosody. Or macrame. Please. Don't hesitate to leave.
It's the Thought That Counts (A/B) -- S. Lewis
As this is set in the Legends Universe, after the chaps have Found Each Other, the nearest thing to angst is whether Kerr will get back for Roj's birthday, but if you're in the mood for sweet, it's sweet. Aaaaah.
The Quality of Mercy (A, Se, past A/B) -- Matilda Willard
A tragedy where Avon is on a life-support machien after Blake's death at Gauda Prime. Can Servalan show him the final mercy?
Jane Mailander, "The Call of the Wild" (A/B)
Caroline Dare, "Welcome to My Dungeon" (A/B/V)
Gloria Lancaster, "Retention of Title" (A/B)
E. Lapidae, "LD50" (A/V)
R. Olivia Brown, "The Romance of the Written Word"
Randym & Cami, "Companions" (A/Ta)
Lynne Franklin, "Sweet Revenge" (A/V)
Catherine Kendall, "Just One Year of Love" (Ta/V)
Christopher Montclair, "Cytherea" (A/B)
Brendan O'Cullane, "A Thief's Punishment"
Pat Terra, "Brilliance"
Jane Mailander, "Afterplay"
Matilda Willard, "Stranded"
Avon Calling III-- non
Jane Mailander, "Kerr Avon's Top Ten Excuses for Shooting Roj Blake" (humor)
Jane Mailander, "No Fury" (A/B)
pat terra, "the observed" (A/B)
Jane Mailander, "Felis Avonis" (A/B)
Brendan O'Cullane, "Words Never Spoken, Words Never Heard" (A/B)
Phoenix cover nude A, B, and V
facing p. 31 A/V, illo for "LD50"
facing p. 108 A/B, illo for "Stranded"
Suzan Lovett facing p. 2 Blake satyr
facing p. 43 Felis Avonis (color)
facing p. 63 nude A looks at B in mirror
Randym p. 46 A/Ta
Pat Terra, "Entropy" (A/B)
S. Lewis, "It's the Thought That Counts" (A/B; Legends universe)
Matilda Willard, "The Quality of Mercy" (A/B)
Gene S. Delapenia, "To Sleep, Perchance" and "To Dream Again" (A/B)
Suzan Lovett cover A kissing B
Jane Mailander p. 14 cartoon
The zine costs $20.00 first class, $26.00 Europe, $29.00 Australia/Japan That includes postage and handling, I believe.
Denetia also writes in her last flyer that she can take English pounds cash, Thomas Cook traveller's checks, and personal checks (but be sure in include proper id on those). She said, please do the best you can on the conversion of $ --> pounds.
Review of Avon Calling 2
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Last updatde on 02nd of February 2003.