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Current Poll

Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

Avalon - (Project Avalon)
Avalon - (Project Avalon)
18% [17 Votes]

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5% [5 Votes]

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Hal Mellanby - (Aftermath)
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5% [5 Votes]

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Deva - (Blake)
9% [9 Votes]

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Started: 09 July 2016

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A Terrible Secret by Anniew

A TERRIBLE SECRET

by
Anniew


I have a guilty secret. One so shaming that I'm glad of a pseudonym to hide behind as I admit it.

My secret is that I love Avon a Terrible Aspect.

I love it despite what my reason tells me about it. I know it's not particularly well written, that it plays fast and loose with scientific facts and that it significantly diverges from canon. I have no idea what the title means or why, even in the hellish world the novel depicts, any mother would name her child Desolation. So why the love?

I was a great fan of Blakes 7 when it first appeared on my 14-inch television. Despite the silly sets, costumes and sentient fleas, it was full of wit and imagination, and so adult in the ideas it explored. Major crush on Avon, of course. Blown away by the last episode (as were most of the characters), yet left unsatisfied by it. There was so much the series hadn't explored. We actually knew very little about the Seven (Five? Sometimes only Three) despite sharing their weekly fight for survival for four years. Just tantalising hints. I wanted to know more of their stories. Then there were all those unexplained plot points in that last episode. Why was Avon suddenly equipped with a gun nearly as big as himself? How did Blake expect to escape Federation detection when he hadn't bothered to change his name? Had any of them survived? There was a bigger question, too. How could I live with the knowledge that this mismatched group had lost; that they had been beaten by the characters who, I had learned alongside my heroes, deserved a painful death and which I tuned in hopefully each week to see them receiving?

I tried a sequel by Tony Atwood, bought a couple of annuals, but they did not even begin to answer my questions. In fact, they made me wonder if the BBC who sanctioned them had ever watched its own creation. Eventually, I decided that for the sake of my sanity, I had to leave the series behind.

In fact, I put Blakes 7 behind me so completely that it became like a childhood memory of something I had outgrown. I was vaguely aware in the following years that that there were radio dramas and a novel that revisited the series, but I ignored them, convinced that going back to it would disappoint - perhaps even reveal it as something which I now could only despise.

Then by chance, I caught a Paul Darrow interview on YouTube. It was funny, entertaining, likeable and it reminded me of of all the things I'd enjoyed about the show. On a whim, I tracked down a copy of his novel and read it in a night: a rollicking yarn, that was fast paced and didn't take itself too seriously. Implausibility piled onto implausibility as I read, but that was ok. I'd already accepted when I watched the series that webs and mine fields could somehow be anchored in space and tiny lettuce men can play football with their creator's head, so it wasn't a stretch to swallow the Clouds of Magellan. I envied Rowena her one-nighter with Rogue (the sexy devil) winced at his death and relished the idea of a planet where the very rich would send their dead to be stored.

While I couldn't really imagine Blake, Vila or even Jenna growing up on the Earth described, it was the sort of place where Servalan and Travis 2 would have felt right at home. As would Vargas, Colonel Quute, Dorian, Bayban, Egrorian - any of the grotesques that the crew had had to deal with on their travels. Even the fact that I struggled to place Blake there didn't trouble me. I Claudius doesn't depict the world of the ordinary citizen or take us into the schools of philosophy and science that flourished alongside the mad orgies and assassinations of the Roman palace. Blake just wasn't a part of the power-mad hierarchy, I reasoned, and had started his revolution in the slums which the novel doesn't show us.  

Maybe the young Kerr Avon who leapt from the pages wasn't the young Kerr Avon who I met and loved on the London, but it wasn't such a stretch to imagine the battered, barmy, veteran of Season Four, striding about in studs and leather, dodging the assassin's knife and killing his Uncle in hand to hand combat. This was a back history for a character I loved, which while I didn't completely buy it, didn't make me throw the book at a wall (which I had done with Afterlife). And more than that, it turned me back into a fan.

I've read many criticisms of this novel, but I love it because reading it forced me to think about the adventures I wanted for my Magnificent Seven. I love it because it led me to seek out and read the stories that others had created for them. I love it because it was written without any pretensions to be great literature, but with such obvious enjoyment, that it gave me the confidence to say what the hell and have a go at answering for myself those nagging questions about why, and who, and what happened next.

Yep, you heard me right. I love Avon a Terrible Aspect.  And I am no longer ashamed to admit it!

***

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