Bring 'Em Back Alive

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Title: Bring 'Em Back Alive
Editor(s): Cindy Rancourt & Kathy Coy
Date(s): 1990-1991
Medium: print
Genre: gen
Fandom: War of the Worlds
Language: English
External Links:
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Bring 'Em Back Alive is a gen War of the Worlds anthology.

submission request printed in The Blackwood Project #4

From the Publisher's Ads and Flyers

Are you still grieving because Paramount killed off the two most popular characters in the series? Let BeBA make it all better! We offer logical alternatives to the screen premise, using various script-breaking techniques to prove that Ironhorse and/or Norton survived the bloodbath of the Second Wave. [1]
Bring 'em back alive? Why? 'Cause we're mad as hell, that's why! Okay, so Mancuso decided both Ironhorse and Norton had to die, but that doesn't mean they have to stay dead. We're looking for stories that will believably save our boys, ressurrect them, or explain why they couldn't really be dead in the first place. Remember: logic and believability are what we're looking for here. And if, by chance, a character named Mancuso gets to suffer heavily along the way, your editors will be really pleased with you! Send all submissions to [address redacted]. And forget not thine SASES. [2]
Well, the new season of War of the Worlds is upon us - except it's not really War of Worlds, is it? And the atrocities being committed are not just the atrocities attributed to the aliens, are they? And you know what that means, don t you? Let us hit you with our proposed zine and make it all better.... Yeah, they didn't have to trash the Colonel; they didn't have to trash Norton; they didn't have to trash the whole first-season universe; and we don't have to let them got away with it! Can you plausibly bring back Lt. Colonel Ironhorse? Can you make sense of what "went on" between last season and this? Can you negotiate the plot inconsistencies and do the revamp of the show that should have been done? Can you even possibly find a way to give Norton back his place among the living? CAN YOU KEEP THE COLONEL FROM STAYING A CASUAL CASUALTY??? We're looking for plausible, good, complete stories - it's gonna take more than simple wish fulfillment to help us get through this one! Even if you have an idea but can't develop it yourself, get in touch; we'll jiggle it in front of some writers, and you'll still get credit for your idea, because you've helped the Cause! Take your pick of editors to contact, you aggrieved, grieving, talented, spunky fen... [3]

Issue 1

cover of issue #1, Connie Faddis

Bring 'Em Back Alive 1 was published in 1990 and contains 198 pages (was also sold in a reduced print version that had 111 pages). It has a color cover by Connie Faddis. Other art by Connie Faddis, Louis Hartell, TACS, Mary Gerstner, and Colleen Winters.

The zine is dedicated to plots to bring Ironhorse and/or Norton from the dead, during season two.

  • An Ounce of Prevention by Alice Aldridge (The team is experiencing nightmares of a terribly dark and dismal new universe.)
  • Ghost of a Chance by Elyse Dickenson (Ironhorse and Norton are dead, but the afterlife is not what they expected.)
  • Rumors of War by Jan Lindner (Quinn hatches a nefarious plot against the team, with Harrison as the victim of his terrible experiment.)
  • He Hath Set the World in their Heart by Sue Collins (Could the second season be a "by-product"?)
  • Never Say Gone by Barbara Maters (crossover with Max Headroom)
  • The Tenth Plague, also known as Debi Does Death by Cindy Rancourt (The clone dies, Ironhorse survives, but the price is very high.)
  • What to Do When Your Time Machine Needs a Tune Up? by Nancy Klauschie (Starts out after "Time to Reap" -- Harrison and Kincaid's trip back in time has a radical effect on their future.)
  • Resurrection II by Yvonne Brown (If you can make one clone, why not two?)
  • One Good Turn by April Giordano-Gresalfi (With apologies to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)

Reactions and Reviews:

"1st Class" probably says it all. From Faddis' cover painting to Junior being hauled off in a cart on the final page, this zine is terrific. It shows very clearly just what second season WOW could have been. My opinion isn't entirely objective; I'm very proud to have a story in BEBA, (and delighted with a contrib copy) but it was the other writers' stories I was looking forward to. I wasn't disappointed, and you won't be. either. There's everything from No Morthren Need Apply to revisionist treatment of TSI --yes, including Kincaid.

Yvonne Brown's "Resurrection II" is a trifle hard to follow in spots; it doubles back on itself without road signs and is not always clear about what is reality and what illusion — but the concept is absorbing, the good parts are very good (she manages to make Ironhorse both vulnerable and believable), and it is amazingly well done first piece of fiction. (Credit here, too, to intensive care editing. And the two pages of work notes at the end are a nice "dessert" to a heavy first course.)

Sue Collins' "He Hath Set The World In Their Heart," whose title is nearly as long as the story, does in two and a half pages what took me fifty -- different technique, but it works, and the dialogue takes a sly jab at second-season weaknesses: "Have you noticed Debi's never around until you ask, 'Where's Debi?'" I don't know if Collins' three cross-universe solutions at the end were Coming Attractions or just food for thought -- good either way, though.

I've never seen Max Headroom -- the Coke commercials turned me off — but after reading Barbara Mater's cross-universe "Never Say Gone," I may have to to borrow a videotape to put faces to the names. Despite my ignorance, I had no trouble understanding the universe -- excellent craftsmanship on the graft! "Never" suggests that an unnamed someone (Omega Squad, I'd guess) got the bodies of Ironhorse and Norton out of the Cottage before the explosion. Unlikely, but not Cottage before the explosion. Unlikely, but not impossible — the actual means by which they're resurrected is where the reader must suspend disbelief. Despite a couple of technical quibbles about brain tissue and learned vs. inherent abilities, I enjoyed this story a lot. Very unexpected change-of-pace, and the spirit wanderings of both characters, between bodies, were quite well done. I really liked Grandfather Ironhorse's reason for appearing as an eagle.

Alice Aldridge treats TSI as a literal nightmare, and applies "An Ounce of Prevention." The plot is believable, dialogue rings true, and Quinn pops up to complicate matters. Her use of the Medicine Wheel in Wyoming ties Ironhorse into the thick of things, and brings the battle to a conclusion on both physical and nonphysical fronts. I wish Aldridge had let her imagination loose and made the final battle more evocative — the list of humankind's highs and lows was almost anticlimactic -- but her concept of Ironhorse, Harrison, Norton and Suzanne as four essential pieces of Earth's strength ties in very well with the Native "Four Directions" view of creation. And the details (for example, Ironhorse weighing whether the use of benzedrine would be worth the loss of judgement) bring a solid touch of reality and make the fantastic easier to accept. My one real sticking point was that (per the editors' original suggestion) Alice named the alien mastermind Mar-Cuso. Just as his deserts were, the name made me chuckle at what should have been serious, dramatic scenes. No biggie.

When I first heard Cindy Rancourt's premise for her "The Tenth Plague," it sounded like the sort of idea people joke about at cons: beam Wesley Crusher into a bulkhead, freeze-dry the smurfs, knock off Debi.... We joke about doing horrible things to unbearably cute characters, but hardly anyone ever writes them. Cindy did. And as well-written as this story is, I cannot say I like it, even a little. My own bias against kill-em-off stories is showing here; "Plague" does have a plausible premise. Folks who watched TSI and got tired of the "Debi and Kincaid Show" may enjoy seeing her written out. This is also almost entirely a Harrison story, so those who prefer intuitive visionaries to mystic warriors will probably love it. It's also a story for those who enjoy the dark mood of TSI: even though Ironhorse survives, there's no joy in the fact. He's barely in the story at all, except as a prop for Harrison to lug around; Suzanne is emotionally crippled and seems to be knocked unconscious every few pages. This story beats the characters up as badly as "Second Wave" did. Humanity may have a better fighting chance, but I sure wouldn't want to live in this universe. No technical objections; I just don't like the dark stuff.

Now, Elyse Dickenson does leave Ironhorse and Norton dead, but "Ghost of a Chance" is such a lighthearted look at life after death that it's a positive relief. Putting this story after "Plague" was editorial genius. Elyse has dumped our fallen heroes into the afterlife of "Beetlejuice," and the picture she paints of the Colonel sentenced to Eternity as a civil servant gives real meaning to the phrase "a fate worse than death." Being the resourceful individuals they are, though, they manage to find a way around the bureaucratic hurdles, and rejoin the Blackwood Team -- at least in spirit.

Nancy Klauschie gets the "Longest Title Award" for "What Do You Do When Your Time Machine Needs A Tuneup?" but aside from the fact that she doesn't answer the question, she DIDN'T FINISH THE STORY! "Tuneup" uses the premise that Harrison and Kincaid managed to change the past on their trip back in time. It's a good idea, with lots of little supporting details as well as a few major ones (such as Mrs. Blackwood). The problem is, we've just gotten to know the alter- nate universe Norton and Suzanne — and have barely met Ironhorse --when Nancy drops "To Be Continued" at the bottom of the page. ARRRGH! Curse you. Red Baron! Ran-court, Coy, how could you let her get away with this??!

April Giordano-Gresalfi ends things on a nice Monty Python note. Remember the guy with the cart yelling "Bring Out Your Dead?" Well, Junior tries to give him Drake and Ironhorse, and you can just imagine how they feel about that.

There is some beautiful art in this zine: Faddis' illos, a pencil Harrison-and-Ironhorse (TACS) and a very nice Suzanne portrait by Mary Gerstner, as well as lighthearted drawings by Colleen Winters and Louis Hartel. Kathy Coy's photo montage, especially the one at the beginning of "Tenth Plague," work very well.

Visually and technically, BEBA blows just about everything else out of the water: this is pro-quality work. The editors have set themselves an awfully high standard for #2; they will probably meet it, but it's hard to imagine how they can possibly top it. Five stars.[4]
At the risk of being called biased, I think this is one of the best WOW zines to date. Within a week I had read the entire manuscript twice and have been telling everyone about it. The color cover, as well as much of the interior art, is deliciously done by Connie Faddis. There are illos and generic art sprinkled liberally throughout the zine.

The imagination and talent involved in this project is amazing. The assigned was to "Bring 'Em Back Alive," that is Norton and/or Ironhorse. Without giving too much away, one story has the Second Wave being a mind game by the Morthren, another has Harrison trying to clone the dead Ironhorse and Norton (Harrison and Suzanne were painted believably), and a third has the entire Second Invasion as a brainwashing scam on Harrison. Plus other devious and intricate ways. There is action, emotional wallowing, creative plot devices, humor (nasty subtitle, Cindy!) and even a hint of romance (or lust) that never panned out. **Sigh** Not to mention some wonderful writing, as encouraged (read: tortured) by the editors. Even if I didn't have a story in it, I would still praise it. (And "gooey" is just fine for the state of dead aliens, Cindy!)

Perhaps the writers and artists were helped in their resurrection writing by the fact that most of them seem to have also been in BLAKE'S 7 fandom, where everyone has their own version of what really happened at Gauda Prime.

BEBA was great fun and every WOW fan should have their own copy. [5]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Bring 'Em Back Alive 2 was published in 1991 and has 126 pages. It was the winner of a 1991 FanQ.


  1. from Datazine #61
  2. from Communications Console
  3. from a flyer in Below the Surface #4
  4. from The Blackwood Project #8
  5. from The Blackwood Project #8