NOTE: Since I wrote this intro in 1999,
Neil has redrafted the opening episode of his version of the Project, so some of these points no longer apply.
So why go back to the start and re-write the Blake's
7 Sequel Project? Well, there are a number of reasons, one of which was that I had far too much spare time on my hands
(a good excuse to do anything at all, it could be argued).
Don't get me wrong, most of Neil Blissett's work
over the last 16 months has been excellent. Certainly there are nowhere near as many problems with it as there are in Afterlife
(how I cringe every time I even think about that one). However, there were one or two things about Neil's story that... well,
let's not be over-critical... let's say that there was something about it that itched a little. The ideas Neil has come up
with have been marvellous, and that's why most of them have been incorporated into my version (with, I must stress, Neil's
very kind permission). But the way he slotted some of them into the story didn't always work for me.
It all really stemmed from the first episode he
wrote: Recovery. Whenever I read that one, I have to say, I can hear the floorboards creaking. Some of the ideas
he thought up, the Liberator re-building itself, Roj Blake's son, the escape by teleport, they were fabulous as concepts,
but somehow I felt they were getting in each other's way when they were all crammed into the one episode like that.
There were also one or two ideas in there I didn't
like. Jenna Stannis being re-introduced at that point was at best ill-timed, realistically it was just a step backwards. Whether
she could have survived the Blockade Run or not is beside the point, somehow I felt the story had simply moved on from her.
A new character would surely be a better idea. And wasn't it stretching plausibility just a little that she should show up
at the exact same moment that the Liberator re-builds itself and Blake's son emerges from nowhere?
I found myself gnawing on my bottom lip quite
a lot as I considered the outcome of the shoot-out on Gauda Prime as well. Only Blake and Dayna ended up dead. How... anti-climactic.
The weapons were set for stun only? That sounded like a bit of an easy-way-out. There was also the well-recorded error of
Tarrant teleporting from the battle-scene without a bracelet. Yes, I know this sort of blooper pops up all the time, but does
that mean we should encourage it?
The more I considered it, the more I began to
believe that the first episode, and consequently all the following ones as well, would need fundamental changes. There's a
lot of talk during Recovery that I felt would have been better if it was replaced by action. The Liberator rebuilding itself
would have seemed a lot more real if we saw the event take place - not just a voice-over view of the big moment, but the real
thing. The battle to recover Orac seemed a little hurried. Nij Blake's arrival at that early stage was too big a story for
a five-minute account. There was just too much getting crunched down to fit into one episode to its detriment.
On the other hand, look what was missing too:
Nij Blake and Jenna appear to just skate over the issue of Roj Blake's death. Surely the consequences of that would be far-reaching
both for them and for Avon. At the time of writing there's been no apparent follow-up to that at all.
I e-mailed Neil with these points, and he agreed
that if he had the chance to go back, he'd redo the episode as a two-parter. I suggested I could go one better and offered
to re-write it as a three-parter. He suggested that that might be pushing things a bit for this type of story-telling, and
so, sagely considering this vital issue of avoiding needless longevity, I >ahem< went and very sensibly re-wrote it
as a four-parter.
There were a hell of a lot of changes.
In fact, the first episode is entirely set before the Episode Blake, and chronologically I don't catch up with Neil's version until the beginning of Episode 3. I re-named the story Blake's
Legacy as the title Blake's 7 now sounds anachronistic. Heartless beast that I am, I axed Jenna from the story
completely, I added Tarrant to the list of corpses, I put Soolin into traction for a few weeks, and postponed Nij Blake's
arrival for another time entirely. I told the full story of how the Liberator was salvaged and rebuilt, I introduced four
new characters for the Liberator crew, and I expanded the battle to recover Orac and the Photonic Drive to an entire Episode.
All in all maybe I got a little carried away, but the result, I would say, is slightly easier for the reader to take in. Judge
Martin Odoni, June 1999
the, in spite of all rumours to the contrary, Author
Martin Odoni was born at a very early age in Exeter
in 1975 (I'd give my exact age, but hey, it'll be wrong in a few months won't it?) and to the best of my knowledge, I haven't
died yet. In 1989 my family left Devon as a protest against the County Council's highly controversial decision to abolish
the eating of pure dung on Public Holidays (look, we were from the West Country, we didn't know any better, okay?) and moved
to Scotland where I spent my teens in Glasgow's dreary suburbs. There the natives taught me the noble art of duelling to the
death by spitting at a hundred paces, how to ingest vast quantities of high grade alcohol via my nasal passages, and very
little else. In 1996 I moved to Manchester which, because I'd spent so much time living in Glasgow's dreary suburbs, actually
seemed like quite a nice place. I now work at a sales firm as an assistant TM, and occasionally do charity work.
Blake's 7 was the first series that I
followed regularly on TV, even though I was so young I didn't understand some of it. Between the ages of 3 and 6 I only missed
one episode. The other sci-fi I like are Star Wars and Red Dwarf. My favourite non-sci-fi serials are Knightmare,
House of Cards and My Family. I also have a keen interest in documentaries that offer advice on how to clean
out raw cider build-up from human nostrils, and how best to defend oneself from a pack of enraged Glaswegians trying to remove
extraneous body parts from a person who has inadvertantly spat in their faces from a hundred yards away. Or at least I would
have if someone cared to make one.
E-mail any comments about Blake's Legacy, to