This June 2005 both Fire and Ice 8 and 9 are available for buying-either through the publisher Kathleen Resch or Judith Proctor's Hermit website. I recommend them both to any A/B fan.
I'll be vague in this review. I really hate it when reviews spoil all the suspense and tell you too much about the stories. I'm going to list the stories in the order that I liked them, but that doesn't mean all that much since I liked all the stories to some degree. The zine is 197 pages long with sixteen stories, all B7 newish writers, except for Willa Shakespeare who has been writing B7 the longest. And by newish, I mean writers who have only been writing B7 for the last ten or so years. The art-both drawings and photo manips-is by Snowgrouse, Pat Fenech, Spacefall and Val Westall. Val has been doing art the longest of the four. The cover is sexy so it has to be covered if like me you are not comfortable sharing your slash interests with your family.
My favorite story is "If Only" by Charlotte Kelley, and it is 6 pages long. This a/u story is a highly dramatic story after Star One. It is sad. I frankly like Fire and Ice because it does not always guarantee happy endings. Zines that do that tend to be boring after a while. There's no suspense to reading anything. This story is unique. I first read it over three years ago in a private copy from the writer, and I immediately thought it superior.
"Leaving Room 101" by Nova is 9 pages long. I dislike the title, but I like the story. Actually I disliked the titles of all three of Nova's stories. Nova writes really good stories in general. She's dependable for quality. This is angsty. Avon has betrayed them under duress.
"Town Mouse/ Country Mouse" by Nova is a 6 page a/u story. I'm not quite sure if part of the story is missing on page 90 or not. It's a strange story about what opposites Blake and Avon are. It has a very nice ending line.
The last Nova story is "Prime Suspect," and it's a 6 page really weird PGP story. There is some nice interplay between Blake and Avon in this story. I can't remember now if they even kiss in this story. But that's okay. I don't need explicit sex or even any sex to like an A/B story.
"On a Trial Basis" by Belatrix Carter is 7 pages. It's a first time A/B, and Avon is Blake's first male lover. It's basically a PWP but still interesting.
"Not Dead Yet" by Helen Patrick is a strange PGP A/B story where the sex between the two men isn't exactly normal. But by abnormal, I mean it's because one of them is unable to function properly any more. This is not a kinky story.
"Just Another Cliché" by Zenia and Willa Shakespeare is a five page story that is like some other stories. However, after 27 years of B7 fandom, a lot of stories could have the same name. The story is decent, but the title left a lot to be desired. This is the basic story of Avon as a sex slave that Blake is trying to rescue.
"Bored to Tears" by Willa Shakespeare is a totally predictable 12 page story which is basically sex. Avon is a holographic sex slave of Blake's. However, Willa is a good writer who can make even predictable stories be interesting.
"Understood" by Hafren is a 5 page PGP where Avon is never the same after GP. It has an interesting concept, and the story is rather melancholy.
"Looking for Gold" is a 4 page Hafren PGP sex in a cave story with some slightly different details.
"Lowered Inhibitions" is a 3 page story by Snowgrouse. This is the usual wild exhibitionist sex in a bar/club that M. Fae Glasgow used to write so well. This story is tame by comparison, but still definitely high on the erotic scale. Like a few other stories in this zine and Fire and Ice 8, this story has been online for some time-almost two years. But I still think it's good to have some net stories in zines. Someday I will probably lose the url for this story (when this computer crashes), but I will still have the zine saved because I save the Fire and Ice series zines.
"Party Line" is a 15 page story by Helen Patrick and Predatrix. This is a first time story that starts with Blake and Avon overhearing Cally and Jenna talk about a sexual fantasy they have concerning Blake and Avon. It's hard to remember that both Blake and Avon are in their mid-thirties. They act far too young/immature in this story.
"Love Is a Battlefield" is a 16 page PGP story by Julia Stamford. The story is interesting with original twists and turns. But because it focuses almost totally on Avon and his mental and emotional problems, I'm not that enthralled by it. I would not label this story erotic.
"Too Many ..." by Predatrix and Julia Stamford is a 24 page story that would have been better, in my opinion, if only half as long. There are many pages concerned about food that I could have done without. It was slow going reading this. Like "Party Line," it's a first time story, and both Blake and Avon act like men in their twenties.
"Dressing Right" by Willa Shakespeare and Zenia is 9 pages and gets the subtitle of "An Alternate Universe Story" which I suppose is meant as a warning that bizarre happenings are coming. I'm not turned on by the thought of Avon dressed like a woman. This story is not my cup of tea, but it's still okay.
"Kerrano" by Willa Shakespeare is the longest story in the zine at over 50 pages. You are told right away that this is an a/u story based on Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, a story which I dearly love. However, I'm not that crazy about the B7 version of the story. This might have been much better shorter. Avon is the main character in this, and I am not an Avon fan. As for A/B, they don't even kiss until about page 48 of the story, although Avon has sex with other people during the story.
As I said before, I recommend both Fire and Ice 8 and 9. I think I liked Fire and Ice 8 slightly better than 9.
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