The Bridge

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You may be looking for the zine The Bridge & Warchild.

Title: The Bridge
Author(s): Cynthia Hatch
Date(s): January 1989
Length: 27,996 words
Genre: het
Fandom: Beauty and the Beast (TV)
External Links: The Bridge, Archived version

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The Bridge is a controversial Beauty and the Beast (TV) story by Cynthia Hatch. The fanwork was published in Kaleidoscope #1 in 1989 and is now available to read online on the The Classic Alliance of Beauty and the Beast archive.

It was the winner of a 1991 Beauty and the Beast Fan Quality Award.

The story presents the character of Vincent and the Tunnels Below as a hallucination that Catherine Chandler creates in order to cope with the trauma of an assault.

After hearing comments by Ron Koslow, one of the show's TPTB, the author wrote "The Bridge" as her way of dealing with "the necessity of accepting Koslow’s vision of doom."[1]

There were a lot of fan comments about "The Bridge" and many of them were quite negative. One fan was so upset about the story that she wrote (with Hatch's permission) responsefic called Once You are Real. In a 2008 Beauty and the Beast Fan Fiction & Art Retrospective, Jo Ann Baca called The Bridge "one of the most controversial stories in fandom".[2]

In a 2005 interview conducted for the convention Winterfest, the author said about her story:

I received more passionate mail about “The Bridge” than anything else I wrote; I could open two letters in a row whose readers were totally convinced I had absolutely opposite motives in writing it. One would hate it for the same reasons the other loved it. Some would read it almost exactly the way I “meant” it, and others saw things that had never entered my head. It taught me a very interesting lesson – that a story belongs as much to the reader as to the writer; what they take from it may not be what you meant to give, but it’s valid all the same. [3]

Author's Warning

From the print zine:

I am told by those who previewed this book that the second story [in the zine Kaleidoscope] requires a note of caution -- something akin to the Surgeon General's warning about possible health hazards. It may be best to think of it as a commercial break for reality -- the kind of reality that allows network executives, who worship only cold hard numbers, to hold the power of life and death over something too fragile and perfect for them to understand. If it strikes you as pure fantasy, while the other two stories seem real, that's fine. Over the past two years, we've all learned how beautifully and mysteriously the two can blend. Rest assured that, having completed the treacherous crossing of "The Bridge" in safety, you will find yourself in unknown territory, but back in the realm of B&B, as we very are close, in fact to the place from which we started. Safe journey. C.H.

Author's Comments

In a 2005 interview held as part of the Winterfest celebrations, Cynthia talks about the response to her story:

The fastest and easiest piece I ever wrote was “The Bridge.”... The psychological approach has always appealed to me, because it offers another way to view a situation, one that provides an interesting contrast to my own tendencies as a die-hard romantic. I’ve always enjoyed stories told from different characters’ viewpoints. How much of truth is factual and how much is distilled through the filter of our own experiences and beliefs – that’s fascinating to me. A perfect illustration came as a result of the story mentioned above. I received more passionate mail about “The Bridge” than anything else I wrote; I could open two letters in a row whose readers were totally convinced I had absolutely opposite motives in writing it. One would hate it for the same reasons the other loved it. Some would read it almost exactly the way I “meant” it, and others saw things that had never entered my head. It taught me a very interesting lesson – that a story belongs as much to the reader as to the writer; what they take from it may not be what you meant to give, but it’s valid all the same. Realizing that you really have no “control” over a piece of writing, once it’s left your pen, is actually liberating. It reaffirmed my desire to write for myself – and not to a market, which is a great advantage that zines have over professional publishing. You write what you want to read and if someone else enjoys it, that’s great. If someone else is troubled by it, well, that’s interesting too – at least they felt something and didn’t just doze off. [4]

The Bridge” was the one story that sort of sprang into my head fully formed; I just had to fill in the details, and it was a direct response to a statement by Ron Koslow. Up till then, I’d hoped that the creator of our story that began “once upon a time” would see that it had a “happily ever after” ending. Then Koslow announced that Vincent was more beast than human, and the romance was doomed because such a union would always be “impossible.” Still attempting to stick to the network’s parameters, I tried to salvage a “happy” ending within their rules. That was the purpose of “The Bridge,” and then I happily went back to Vincent’s world as we’d come to know and love it. No, I never guessed how controversial the story would be. As I’ve said, the response was tremendous. Many found it “disturbing,” which seemed appropriate; I was disturbed by the necessity of accepting Koslow’s vision of doom. I did feel bad about the fans who said I’d “destroyed the dream” for them. That certainly wasn’t my intention, but again the truth comes as much from the reader as the writer. The most gratifying thing was that it did seem to stir emotions and generate a dialogue about where the show would or should be headed. Perhaps because it sparked such diverse reactions, “The Bridge” remains my beloved step-child and my favorite of all the stories. [5]

Reactions and Reviews


I would like to comment on a fanzine I recently read and, hopefully, prepare those who have not encountered it yet for a singular experience. To describe my feelings will be difficult without disclosing the plot. To do so would be unforgivable, destroying the pleasure to be uncovered by the uninitiated. There are many familiar adjectives I could use in its praise—remarkable, extraordinary, unforgettable—all accurate and true, but the feelings engendered by this book cannot be easily set down in words. I don't believe there are words. The story casts a spell intense and powerful, creating an intangible aura which remains forever in the heart. Oh, yes, the name of the book—it's Kaleidoscope, by Cynthia Hatch. A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend when I mentioned that I had not read it yet She looked at me, astonished, then replied,"I envy anyone reading that book for the first time." I thought of her remark after I finished Kaleidoscope and agreed... completely. Read... savor ... and marvel. [6]


I think that most of us who have ever been into reading BATB zines have read "The Bridge".

I first read it about five years ago. I had heard others talk about it, so I was not really surprised by the ending. I knew what to expect.

I am a classic fan; but, I can handle things like that. [7]

By 'tragic', do you mean because the Vincent below doesn't actually exist (in The Bridge)? If so, I agree with you. I didn't like it for that very reason, and also because for me there is no one for Catherine but *that* Vincent, just as there is no one for Vincent but *that* Catherine. In TB, the Vincent seen is a version of the Vincent Below who can live Above, and even Below doesn't exist. That means that despite the similarities, this Vincent is *not* the one I know and love. It's all the more tragic to me because initially Catherine dreams of the tunnels and the Below Vincent, then wakes to the uptop Vincent. It's that little glimpse and then subsequent denial of the fairytale which is so disheartening to me. [8]

It is found in Cynthia Hatch's (*where* have I heard that name before?!) zine "Kaleidoscope", the first in a series of at least three. Very well written zines, BTW. The name of the story is "The Bridge."

In it, Catherine has a nervous breakdown and realizes that for the past two years, her mind has been delusional, creating Vincent and the tunnels. The entire point of the story is to explore this premise, and what would happen if Catherine truly did "Live another life, and dream another dream." Those are also the last line of the story, also.

I read it in one night, confident that she would wake up in the end, the hallucination would be over, something. It never did. I was very disturbed by the story. What made it all the worse was that C. Hatch is a very talented writer -- she made you believe in "The Bridge." Has *anyone* read and freaked out over this story like I did? When I was finished, I looked in the front of the book and found a warning about the story... she called it a "commercial break for reality." It seemed like a nightmare. [9]

Probably most of 'inside' fandom fans have read that story, Janice. C. Hatch's 'Kaleidoscope' story is one of the best known and loved in fandom. There are three zines that complete the story, but the first one was unique in that the main story (later to become the 'Kaleidoscope' story) was done in two parts, with the short story 'The Bridge' placed between them. The later two zines, 'Kaleidoscope 2 and 3' were full zines continuing on the story uninterrupted.

Anyway, regarding 'The Bridge', like 'Love Bade Me Welcome', this story elicited quite contrasting emotions in the fans. Many loved it and many felt as you did. I didn't like it for the premise - Vincent is an uptop man, physically like other men (he actually is written and drawn to portray Ron Perlman). He has the qualities (if not characteristics :) of Vincent, though.

For me the magic of the story requires those characteristics, and the dynamic tension of the worlds Above and Below in juxtaposition, as well as the one beauty/one beast eternally bonded and destined to live and love together. So for me the magic of the story was not present in 'The Bridge', though I agree with you, CH is a *wonderful* writer and really knows these characters.

She called 'The Bridge' a reality break, so I think she knew that was just an alternate universe story, a step out of time which didn't change the main themes and requirements of the fairytale. The remainder of Kaleidoscope, and the other zine that followed, 'When Angels Fall' are completely within the fairytale realm of the BATB story, with Vincent and Catherine achieving their happy life together. WAF is a SND resolution story, btw. [10]

Classic stories, including “The Bridge” ... has become a classic. A must read." [11]


I'm all but impossible to offend, fic-wise and I remember thinking Cynthia Hatch was very talented, thanks to something she'd done. I thank you very much for the recommendation. I love it when one of us gets really brave out there, and goes someplace new, or even someplace old, fearlessly. (Laughing, stuff that's not everybody's cup of tea? That's often my cup of tea.) [12]


  1. ^ from Winterfest Interview with Cynthia Hatch (2005)
  2. ^ [ Beauty and the Beast Fan Fiction & Art Retrospective], Jo Ann Baca. Published September 25, 2008 (Accessed September 27, 2020).
  3. ^ from Winterfest Interview with Cynthia Hatch
  4. ^ from Winterfest Interview with Cynthia Hatch
  5. ^ from Winterfest Interview with Cynthia Hatch
  6. ^ from a fan in Tunneltalk (June 1990)
  7. ^ comment at The Bridge,, April 12, 1997
  8. ^ comment at The Bridge,, April 12, 1997
  9. ^ comment at The Bridge,, April 12, 1997
  10. ^ comment at The Bridge,, April 12, 1997
  11. ^ from Helpers' Network Quality Fanzine Review -- 1997, Archived version
  12. ^ from a fan in 2015, from [BBTV-V&C] Digest Number 12118, quoted anonymously
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