Forbidden Star 3
Edited by Judith Proctor
Published January 2001
At 128 pages with very little wasted space, there's likely to be something in this zine for every slash/adult reader, whether you're into light and fluffy (for example, Helen Patrick's hilarious 'One Year Warranty', which considers the lifespan of the wardrobe room's offerings) or like me dark and plotty.
I've highlighted five of my personal favourites below, but there's a lot more to enjoy.
'Polyiterophilia' (Julia Stamford) explores the darker side of Avon's nature. Some readers might disagree with the central premise of the story that Avon gets his kicks from anonymous sex but the author explores the consequences of the idea, and in particular, its effect on the relationship between Blake and Avon, with considerable sensitivity. And, well, let's just say that this is one of the stories I had to read twice when I was proofing the zine for Judith [grin].
In 'A Matter of Trust', Morrigan takes a completely different approach to an essentially similar premise. Avon is on trial for murdering the son of a High Councillor on a non-Federated planet after a sexual encounter that went wrong; Blake is trying to conduct negotiations with the government. Again, the complexities of the relationship between the two men are central to the story, and I particularly loved Morrigan's subtle and believable Blake characterisation.
Penny Dreadful continues her series of Travis moments unpacked in 'Uniform', which takes Thania's point of view just before the episode 'Trial'. More subtle characterisation, coupled with an insider's view into the machinations of the Federation military justice system.
Readers of Freedom City, at least, will be in no doubt as to this reviewer's admiration for Nova's B/A writing. In my opinion, 'Fire and Rain' is her best yet. Inventive, visually stunning, poignant and with the bonus of a great Avalon cameo, my only complaint was that 21 pages weren't nearly enough! Best of all for me was the way that Nova firmly anchored the piece in the response of two rank-and-file Federation troopers to a love story with all the trappings of fairytale.
And then there's 'The Seven Deadly Virtuals', another contribution from Penny Dreadful. Penny posted a draft of the story for the Labor Day theme on Freedom City; I solicited it for ttba and considered assassination of a certain UK zine editor when I found out that I'd been pipped to the post. (Cordial relations were later restored when Penny sent me a story that I liked just as much!) This must count as one of the most original B7 stories ever: funny, quirky and unforgettable.
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