Base Three

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Title: Base Three
Publisher: Sue Cooper
Date(s): 1990
Medium: print
Fandom: War of the Worlds
Language: English
External Links:
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front cover
submission request printed in The Blackwood Project #4

Base Three is a 166-page gen War of the Worlds anthology by Susan Louise Cooper.

It is first-season orientated and "dedicated to keeping the Ironhorse legend alive."

From a Flyer

A story in which the aliens plan to use the forces of nature against humanity. Can Blackwood stop them before the cataclysm is unleashed? And in the process, will he destroy Ironhorse? -- A story in which the aliens have a new and powerful weapon which mankind cannot withstand. Will the team discover their plans in time, or will they too succumb? -- A story in which the aliens plan to infiltrate the team. With Ironhorse unable to protect his friends, will the insidious plot succeed? -- A special feature, "new to the world of zines -- the same type of mind-expanding puzzle. [1]


  • And the Mountains Shall Crumble by Susan Louise Cooper
  • Thy Will Be Done by Susan Louise Cooper
  • Fear No Evil by Susan Louise Cooper
  • poems by Lana Merkel
  • puzzle

Reactions and Reviews

This will be a short review of a long zine, but since all the fiction is by the same author/editor, it won't take long: Susan L. Cooper knows how to write. The first two novellas are "movie-length" stories and lean heavily on Cooper's original characters, while the third would have been a terrific episode. I think the novellas are a bit longer than they needed to be, and would have benefited from a tougher editor. There are spots where explanations drag, and places where dialogue would have been more interesting than narrative -- but editing one's own stories is about as easy as a do-it-yourself appendectomy.

The stories are solidly researched, the plots are well thought out, and Cooper's vocabulary may send a few readers to the dictionary. "And the Mountains Shall Crumble" has aliens trying to sabotage geological fault lines; "Thy Will Be Done" deals with alien mind control, past and present, in the desert Southwest. Both these novellas are genuine science fiction and have interesting twists: "Will" appears to be primarily an Ironhorse and Harrison story until Norton is suddenly called upon to improvise in a crisis. I think the scenes where Norton talks Ironhorse back from his Vietnam hallucination are the best in the story.

Both these novellas are good, and I liked them better on the second reading. But my favorite story was "Fear No Evil," a tense piece that shifts back and forth between an alien assassin stalking Norton, Suzanne, and Harrison in a "safe" house, and an alien hit squad chasing Ironhorse and Debi through what sounds like one of my favorite state parks. All are appropriately intelligent and heroic, and Debi is very well written as a smart, courageous, and terrified kid.

Lana Merkel's poems and drawings provide a good break between the densely-written fiction. Her companion pieces, a Norton portrait and the poem "Compromises" are some of her best work so far.

If you haven't read Base Three. I would suggest reading each story separately and giving it a chance to digest; the zine's only noticeable weakness is the lack of variety in style. Taken individually, each story is good; but en masse they can be overwhelming. But do read them. Besides being good WOW, you may learn something about mining engineering, or the Hohokam, or Rumanian vampire myths.[2]