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S. Hereld Collection of Blake's 7 Fanzines and Fan Fiction

Identifier: MsC0877

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Scope and Contents

The Hereld Collection consists primarily of fanzines and examples of fan fiction by a number of authors, dealing with the British science fiction television series Blake's 7. There are also some items of fan fiction involving other genre shows, including The X-Files, Highlander: The Series, The Sentinel, and The Sandbaggers.

Most of the items are pieces of fan fiction. Fan fiction is defined as stories, novellas, novels, or poems written by fans about the characters, situations or general universe of the original work. Much of the fan fiction is of the "slash" variety. "Slash" refers to fan fiction that is sexually explicit, and same-sex in nature. In slash sex and sexuality are often the centers of the story, rather than the more conventional adventures featured in more traditional fan fiction.

In addition to the self-published fan materials, there is also a fairly long run of the more professionally produced Horizon, the official fan magazine of the Blake's 7 Apprecation Society. The collection also contains VHS videotapes, made by fans, of several fan-run (as opposed to professionally organized) conventions from 1988 through 1992 or 1993. Most of these conventions were Blake's 7-oriented. The tapes were made in order to provide a documentary record of the conventions and were available for sale to attendees or fans who could not attend.


  • Creation: 1979-2001


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Biographical Note

Sandy Hereld was a major figure in the world of genre fandom in the 1990s. She was a noted slash fan and fanfic writer, and was an especially active vidder. Among her fannish achievements were the founding of Virgule, the first Internet slash mailing list, and the hosting of a number of different fanfic sites. She also, in collaboration with several other fans, created the annual "Vid Review" panel at the annual slash convention Escapade. Hereld was a co-founder of the vidding collective Media Cannibals, which produced a number of vid tape collections and was influential in promoting vidding as a fan activity and fashioning a particular vidding aesthetic.

Beloved by many of her fellow fans for her enthusiasm, her giving nature, and her bubbly personality, Sandy Hereld passed away from cancer on July 19, 2011.

Historical Note

Blake's 7 was created by Doctor Who writer Terry Nation, and was broadcast from 1978-1981 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. The show was popular and well-received by critics and audiences alike throughout its run. The show was based around the adventures of a ragtag group of rebels that battled the tyrannical Terran Federation. For the first two seasons of the show, the group was led by revolutionary Roj Blake (played by Gareth Thomas) and operated from a derelict alien spacecraft comandeered by the rebels and renamed Liberator.

During the first two years, the show was marked by continuing conflict between Blake, an idealist fighting for freedom and justice, and the rest of his crew, a collection of outlaws and criminals. Of particular note was the ongoing duel of personalities between Blake and ruthless, cynical realist Kerr Avon (Paul Darrow). After Blake disappeared at the end of the second season, Avon replaced him as leader of the crew, revealing an ongoing internal conflict within Avon between his sense of self-preservation and a growing, Blake-inspired concern with freedom fighting. This conflict made Avon perhaps the most complex character on the show, and certainly contributed to his immense popularity among Blakes 7 fans.

Blake's 7 was a significant break from its much more optimistic fellow cult shows Star Trek and Doctor Who, as well as the more simple good-evil dualism of the Star Wars movies and of early science fiction movies and TV. The show is notable for its dark and pessimistic tone, its collection of morally ambivalent, sometimes unsympathetic characters, and for the development of long story arcs. These features came to influence much subsequent science fiction television shows, including Babylon 5, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Firefly, Farscape, Andromeda, and Lexx.

The show was also noted for its surprising willingness to kill off or otherwise remove major characters. Of the original 7 crew members introduced in the show's first season, convicted murderer Gan (David Jackson) was killed in Season 2, Blake himself and smuggler Jenna (Sally Knyvette) disappeared at the end of that season. Telepathic guerilla warrior Cally (Jan Chappell) died at the end of Season 3, along with the Liberator itself and its superintelligent computer Zen (Peter Tuddenham).

The final episode of the series, "Blake", epitomized the show's concern with the fatal costs of resistance. The episode saw the return and death of Blake himself (shot by his ertswhile comrade Avon), the destruction of the rebels' replacement ship Scorpio, and the apparent shooting deaths of 4 additional Scorpio crew members - resistance fighter Dayna (Josette Simon), mercenary Soolin (Glynis Barber), pilot and contraband runner Tarrant (Steven Pacey), and cowardly thief Vila (Michael Keating, one of the original 7) - by Federation forces. In the memorable final shot of the episode (and the show), Avon steps over Blake's body, raises his gun, and smiles at the Federation guards who have surrounded him. The screen goes black as shots ring out.

The show's complex themes of shifting loyalities, freedom for all vs. self-involvement, and the struggle of the few vs. the many have made it a definite cult hit with a dedicated fan base. Many fans are particularly taken with the character of the morally ambiguous Avon, the subject of much of the fan fiction in the collection.


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Language of Materials



A collection of fan publications, including examples of fan fiction, by various authors relating to the British science fiction television series Blake's 7. Also included are some publications for several other genre shows.

Method of Acquisition

Sandy Hereld donated these materials to Special Collections in May 2008. An additional accession of convention videotapes was received and processed in July 2011.

Related Materials

For other fannish collections, many of which contain materials relating to the same media fandoms chronicled in this collection, please consult the Fandom-Related Collections subject page.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)