Fire and Ice 8

The Blake/Avon Fanzine

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Review by Joyce Bowen (April 5, 2005)

Fire and Ice 8 is a 2005 A/B zine published by Kathleen Resch. It is available from both Resch and Judith Proctor's Hermit website. Resch keeps almost all her zines, including Blake's 7 zines, in continuous reprint so it should be available for buying no matter how much later you read this review.

There is art in this by both Val Westall and Snowgrouse. I personally don't care for Avon who is Westall's favorite, so the two pieces of art that I like in the zine are the front cover by Westall, a colored pencil gen Blake and Avon, and an interior B & W photo manipulation by Snowgrouse, a romantic embrace between Blake and Avon. Overall, there is nudity in the art but nothing full frontal. The slashiness in some pieces is subtle and nothing sexually explicit.

This zine is 164 pages long and mainly has stories by established people who have been in the fandom for some time now. I believe Snowgrouse is the newest writer. There are nine different writers involved with this production even though there are ten pen names.

This review for the most part follows the order in which I read the stories, not their order in the zine.

Fire and Ice 8 contains my last published story, "Rings" by Jade Day. It is a little over eight pages long. I wrote it about seven years ago so it only contains mild BDSM-not the wild stuff of some of my later stories under various names. My story is basically a first or second season "shore leave" story, spiced up with some pain and piercing but nothing extreme.

My favorite story of the entire zine is one of the three shortest stories in the zine-being about two pages long. I just love "Falling" by Jenner. I really can't describe the story without giving away the plot but it concerns a first time encounter and its aftermath. The story is very original and poignant. It has great impact which doesn't seem to lessen on rereading the story.

I might as well mention the other two page stories now. One is "Incandescent" by Snowgrouse. It is from Avon's point of view and uses second person. I really don't care for second person as a rule. It's a PWP which is highly emotional and poetical. Snowgrouse's photomanipulation goes with his story and fits perfectly.

The other short story is "Forgiveness" by Helen Patrick which is a post PGP story where Avon has terminal cancer. Since my husband currently is waging a horrific battle with cancer and his mother has lived on morphine for months now as she is very slowly dying from cancer, I found this story extremely hard to read. But that is NOT the fault of the story which is well written.

"Silver Tongued Orator" by Julia Stamford and Predatrix is an eight page story which starts the zine out. It's an over the top humorous piece. I am ambivalent about it. Predatrix is known for her wild humor so anyone familiar with her work will not be surprised. And I believe Stamford has also written humorous pieces before as well, but I can't currently think of the titles of any of them now. Blake is under the influence of a drug which loosens his tongue, and he embarrasses Avon.

"Nowt as Queer" is ten pages by Julia Stamford. This story didn't work for me, and I can't really explain why. The story starts off with Blake berating Avon for having sex with Vila because Blake believes Avon is taking advantage of him. There is a lot of talk about how Avon is really straight despite his sexual activities which is something that does happen. Straight men can willingly engage in and enjoy male sodomy and still be straight, so I did not have trouble with that concept in the story.

"Goes Without Saying" by Predatrix is thirty-seven pages long and the longest story in the zine. This uses the basic plot of Blake being a virgin and Avon having to instruct him about sex. It's hard to believe any mature man would be as stupid as Blake is made out to be sexually since Blake is not a moron in other areas. The story meanders on, Avon leaves the ship, and they end up sending each other emails for part of the story. It's all rather strange.

"Family Men" by Belatrix Carter is a nineteen page story. It's an a/u set long after Gauda Prime and loosely based on the movie Family Man. I've not seen the movie so I can say definitely you can follow the story without having seen the movie. It's a very domestic story involving two young children-Blake's two young children. I'm not much for these type of stories but once in a while they are nice-just for variety.

"The Political Education of Kerr Avon" by Nova is a twelve page story. There is a lot of conversation about serious matters for people who dislike PWP type stories. The story covers several years and past Gauda Prime. I found one part disturbingly shocking, but I won't spoil the plot. Nova has the ability to make things seem very real. I enjoyed the story although it was slow going reading it in places.

Willa Shakespeare's "Nothing I'd rather Do" is a twenty-eight page rendering of Shakepeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing. I have no clue if it makes more sense if you are familiar with the play or not, but I am guessing that it does. I've forgotten the play since it's been decades since I read it. This story ends the zine. So I guess Resch wanted to start the zine off with wild humor, "Silver Tongued Orator," and end with something mimicking an old English classic, thus bookending the zine with stories which are not the usual type of B/A story. If nothing else, it is an interesting exercise which has been rarely done in print zines-mixing Shakespeare with B7. One story which also does this which I dearly love is a gen story by Margaret Scroggs in Horizon 17 called "Duel or the Folly of Madness."

The final three stories I read are written by Willa Shakespeare and Zenia-or vice versa. "Counterfeit Lives" is eight pages long. This PGP story has the clone as a sex slave for Avon. I really liked the story, but I must admit to being a sucker for Blake as sex slave stories.

"Winning Hand" is twelve pages long and is an a/u story before the episode "The Way Back." Here Blake is a pretend sex slave for Avon and there is some BDSM, so, of course, I liked this story as well.

"Tanked" is an a/u PGP story which I assume is labeled a/u because the Avon in the story is so out of character from what we see in the series. Although to be truthful, in a PGP an author or authors really aren't limited that much by what we see in the series. Interestingly enough, here is another story in the zine where Blake is the father to two children. But that isn't really the point of the story, the way it was in "Family Men." This is an extremely original story, and it certainly kept me entertained.

Taking my story "Rings" out of the running, today here is how I would rank the remaining twelve stories from being my favorite to my least favorite. In time my rankings might change. Some stories will probably wear better than others.

  1. Falling
  2. Tanked
  3. Counterfeit Lives
  4. Winning Hand
  5. The Political Education of Kerr Avon
  6. Incandescent
  7. Forgiveness
  8. Family Men
  9. Nothing I'd Rather Do
  10. Goes Without Saying
  11. Silver Tongued Orator
  12. Nowt as Queer
On a final note, I read Fire and Ice 8 cover to cover the day it arrived, staying up until 1 AM, something that is rare for me to do these days-find a zine that is so truly engrossing that it makes me want to read it all in one day. I think this is a great zine for someone who likes A/B or B/A-whichever way you "spell" it.

Except for two stories in Fire and Ice 7, I have read every Fire and Ice cover to cover and enjoyed them greatly. I still have them all saved and reread them from time to time. And considering the hundreds of B7 zines I have resold, given away, or gutted, that is a great compliment. All eight are available from Resch or Proctor. And Fire and Ice 9 is soon to come in 2005. Yah! I'm looking forward to that one a lot. Also from Resch or Proctor there is the general B7 slash zine No Holds Barred 26 which I highly recommend for those people who like pairings other than A/B. There is a nice amount of Blake in that zine so I enjoy that one almost as much as I like Fire and Ice in general.

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