Written by:
Tony Attwood
First Published: 1984
Page Count: 218
Availability: Currently Unavailable

Warning: Afterlife contains spoilers for the TV series. If you haven't seen all of Blake, then do not read further.

Trivia: Split into thirteen chapters, only 209 of the pages are the novel itself. Seven are given over to a glossary extract from The Programme Guide to supplement the story details.

Although the story borrows fairly heavily from Terry Nation's episode Terminal, the copyright page cites the work as "developed from an idea by Chris Boucher in episodes 'Star One' (copyright 1979) and 'Blake' (copyright 1981).

An author's note reads: "The author would like to acknowledge Chris Boucher's work on the Blake's 7 television series and to thank him for his kind cooperation in the publication of this book."

If you've read even a fraction of this site you'll know I'm a cynical old sod who likes to affectionately deride the weaker elements of Blake, particularly the merchandise.

With this in mind, I didn't hold out much hope for a "what happened after the series ended" novel written by the compiler of the programme guide. Certainly what I didn't expect is Afterlife to have such an engaging plot, or Tony Attwood to be such a good writer.

One of the problems with reading someone else's take on characters is that you're left thinking "but they wouldn't really say that." Okay, I can't quite mentally put the word "dunce" in Avon's mouth (Chapter Four), but for the rest of the time he gets the characters spot-on. Okay, we're reading the pratt version of Vila, which is a bit of an obvious route to take, but effectively we're being shown the story through his eyes. Just what is Avon up to? How loyal is their new found ally, Korell? What and where is MIND, and is it controlling them?

Discussion of the novel's plot is inadvisable here, save spoiling it for those who haven't got to read it yet. It's continuity-based, but not anorakky, and with white holes, parallel universes and independent wine-tasting computers Attwood certainly brings something new to the mix. Taking up the story of just Avon and Vila (although there is a likeable but unnecessary cameo in chapter twelve, which seems oddly superfluous when the rest of the plot is so tight), in many ways it's like a revisionism of history, akin to Paul McCartney adjusting credits so that Lennon appears second. All the years of John being the cool one are seemingly played out here, with Attwood suggesting that Blake wasn't quite as heroic as we'd been led to believe, and absolving Avon of a lot of responsibility.

Out of print, you may be lucky enough to track down a copy of this on Ebay like I was. I had reservations about a post-Blake story (it was such a fitting end, after all) but even if you share them I feel sure you'll regard Afterlife as a more than worthwhile read.