- digest size
printed faux title cover
interior b/w manips by Jenny Saypaw
Cartoons by Bog
Contents/Description: Seven stories featuring Jim and Blair in adventures all over the world. Zine includes Sentinel-themed cartoons.
Waiting For Words ....1
by Cara Chapel
The Valley Of Ghosts ....29
Amusement Spark ....57
The Oktoberfest ....79
I Surrender ....93
The Last Time I Saw Sandburg ....111
Fall Toward Grace ....145
Price: Agent With Style - $25.00 (US) * $29.00 (Can/Mex) * $30.00 (overseas)
Blackfly Presses - $23.57 (US) * $34.05 (Can)
Observations of a Slash Slut:
Got a new review from Ann! Thanks so much, Ann. You're going to put me out of a job!
I got this yesterday, at work, and only had time for a quick glance. I was pretty impressed.
Then I got it home, settled in to really look and read and was just floored! Man, Blackfly Press has got it together in a MAJOR way.
Before I get to the totally awesome stories, I just have to gush some on the format! It's very cute and clever. The faux-cover, nicely protected with a plastic cover, reads like a dissertation title:
The Thin Blue Line
An Anthropological Study
of Closed Societies
within West Coast
By Blair Sandburg, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
A 'zine you'll be proud to have your mother catch you reading.
Better not leave it lying around, though, because just inside is the "good stuff"! A Bog cartoon of our two fave dudes in bed with the lower half of their bods and the bed cut out to reveal the "real" title page underneath, which is printed on paper featuring a world map theme. Totally neato idea!
Well this is sorta silly of me, but I love the paw sticker they put inside their 'zine. A seal of approval if you will. Hey, it's pretty!
I was totally blown away by the editing. They must have worked very hard and it shows. I've often commented that spelling and grammar errors don't bug me too badly, and that's true, but I do enjoy and appreciate a 'zine that's well edited!
The interior b/w photo manipulations and pics are a lot of fun. They all have something to do with the story they represent, like the picture of the "cup and ring marks" found in the story which takes place in Scotland. Some of the pictures are manips which place our guys in front of the appropriate scenery. We also get to enjoy a couple of humourous cartoons drawn by Bog.
So, wondering about the stories? If plot is what you're looking for, you aren't going to find much deep stuff here. Just some really wonderful, first-time fluff, some pretty good angst in a few places, lots of laughter, and some sweet, tender, steamy, hot love scenes. Who needs plot? I'd buy this just for the Stormy story. But let's take 'em one at a time....
I will quote the synopsis from the table of contents in the 'zine then add my own comments.
Waiting For Words
North Carolina's Outer Banks provides the setting for reconciliation and rebuilding.
Jim takes Blair off to find some private time together and try to heal some of the wounds between them. Some great writing here. I really like the way the author conveys Blair's emotional state in this story. And the first-time scene is just beautiful. I love the way Jim wets his fingers and then... sigh... well, anyway, it's a hot love scene!
The Valley Of The Ghosts
On a visit to Scotland, Jim and Blair are drawn to a circle of standing stones. The Mysterious holds answers, too.
A nice quiet walk through a bit of history as Jim and Blair do Scotland. Getting away for a much needed vacation, the guys get *really* close to some ancient Scottish history, prompting them to face some truths about themselves and their current roles in each other's life. And as an added bonus, we get the much sought after highly coveted Jim owies!
A sequel to "Paramours' Canada Blunderland" in Jim and Blair Do Canada. Disney World, ho!
The synop reads "sequel", but I don't think one would have to read "Paramours'..." in order to thoroughly enjoy this. You might miss some "inside jokes", but there's waaayy lots here to keep you entertained!
Some of the MC gang go to Disney World, where Jim and Blair continue to try and hide their relationship from their assumed clueless co-workers. Meanwhile Rafe and Megan spend the trip trying to get, ahem, hard evidence to prove the guys are doing the deed. As the story progresses so does Jim and Blair's amorous attentions toward each other as demonstrated in this line, "The saccharine-spewing couple cooed as they strolled along the waterfront of the Showplace." Hee. IMO, some of Bog's best writing to date!
Will Jim and Blair survive the party? Will their relationship?
I thought the synop made this sound as if it would be slightly angsty, but I didn't find it so at all! The guys are having a blast while I learn some interesting history about Oktoberfest. I loved the first kiss scene!
Blair wins a Caribbean cruise and persuades Jim to go with him. Set sail for romance!
Looove, exciting and neeewwww... Great first-time story with a little cruise through history while seeing our guys acknowledge their mutual attraction and slowly move together towards the ultimate, er, climax. And what a climax it is, too!
The Last Time I Saw Sandburg
Jim realizes the true motive behind Blair's leaving Cascade for Peru.
A true angst-fest as only Aly can write one! Sniff. Some wonderful Jim-introspection opens the story. Things aren't going well at the academy so Blair makes false excuses and leaves Cascade, believing he is doing the right thing for both Jim and MC. Things aren't going too well for Jim either, but when Jim learns the truth about why Blair left he determines to find him and never part. *SOB* Loved it!
Fall Toward Grace
During a September 20, 1999 chat, Danny Bilson stated: "[Jim's] mom runs a brothel in Spokane...". An unrepentantly raunchy AU.
AU, first-time, J/B, J/o B/o - both off-scene.
I just don't how to describe this one. It is incredible. I didn't know whether to think it was a humorous piece with angst tossed in or and angsty piece with humor mixed in! Just as I would be thinking of getting some serious sniffles going, the author would throw out something that had me laughing my ass off! I SO loved this story, but I think I would have *hated* it if I had decided the author was serious! I decided to accept it just as it says in the synop, "...unrepentantly raunchy...". This has to be the freshest plot I've read since, well, ever!
Jim's mom runs a brothel in Spokane. Jim, having been medically discharged from the service, pays his keep by doing odd (and I do mean odd) jobs around the, er, establishment. Jim's mother, being the sharp businesswoman that she is, sees the revenue generating potential of having a male of the species added to her stable. She sends Jim out to find a likely candidate and the rest, as they say, is history....
An absolutely awesome story. I would buy this 'zine just for this story.
Don't Take My Word For It!:
I bought a copy of "Jim and Blair Do The World" (originally from Blackfly Press, but I got mine used), and wanted to let some folks know what I thought of it. The original price is $20, and since it's digest sized, that seems like a bit more than I'd like to pay for 198 pages. But used (aka half price!), it was fine.
The theme of the zine is to write a story where Jim and Blair are not in Cascade. Some of the authors used this as a way to write a 'travelogue', with Jim and Blair occasionally featured. Those stories weren't as good to me as the ones that featured actual character interaction, actual emotions. :) Most of the fic in this zine had a first-time theme, which is fine by me.
The first story is set at a beach (North Carolina's Outer Banks), and is a good blend of atmosphere, location, and emotion. But then, I'm a sucker for Blair-angst, and this takes up after the whole TSbyBS fiasco. Quiet hurt, quiet comfort. Lovely.
There's a story set in Scotland that had a good idea behind it, but I was left wanting more -- more emotions, more... something.
The last two stories were by far the best, I thought. One was by Alyjude, so I knew it would be pretty good -- it was set (for the most part) in the Bahamas. It's a post-series story of Jim and Blair figuring out how they can each be happy. It had good angst, good scenery description, and (of course) a good ending.
The last story, a long one, was by Stormy (who I haven't heard of, or at least haven't noticed -- until now), and is set in Spokane, Washington. Spokane? Yep, and it's based on a comment Danny Bilson (Sentinel co-creator and co-producer) made at a convention (I think) about Jim's mother running a brothel in Spokane. Well.... Stormy makes this real! It's a wonderful AU, with real character emotions, but real humor as well. I'll admit I do like a 'hooker with a heart of gold' slash story, and this was a great surprise.
So, overall, I think I'd say that almost half the zine is worth re-reading (Alyjude's and Stormy's two were from page 111 to 198), while the others were less so. At $20 that seems like a less than good deal, but as a used zine, it's fine by me.
Other random notes: The layout was really interesting, with small scans of area landmarks appropriate to each story inserted alongside the text. Nicely done, even if the pix did copy pretty dark. (The zine pubber geek speaks!) Some of the stories sounded as though they had been written by non-English speakers, and so some of it could have been 'smoothed' by an editor or beta-reader, but none of it was hard to understand -- just occasionally distracting. And finally, the front cover is worthy of a double-take! It's a plain blue cover with the title, in large type: The Thin Blue Line: An Anthropological Study of closed societies within west coast police organizations, by Blair Sandburg, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. -- now that's something you can read on the bus!
All in all, I think I'll keep this one, at least for a while. The brothel story was really enjoyable, and memorable!
Why you should buy this 'zine:
Why you shouldn't buy this 'zine:
Blackfly tends to put a "read anywhere" cover on top of the more risque covers. We call them "the zines you can read at family gatherings". ~ Stormy