To Life Immortal

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Zine
Title: To Life Immortal
Publisher: WOWie Press
Editor(s): Nancy Klauschie
Date(s): 1989-?
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: War of the Worlds
Language: English
External Links:
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To Life Immortal is a gen War of the Worlds anthology with five issues.

It was to be rated no more than R; from the first issue: "The plan is for this to be a fanzine for any age, so no more than R-rated story content. (My seventh grade son will probably help with putting it together.)" In the same issue, the editor wrote of tentative plans for an adult issue of this zine: "If there is sufficient interest and submissions, I will consider adult material in a companion zine (To Life Immoral?) If so, try to have the characters do vertical things as well as horizontal activities. (No, I don't mean positions!)"

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Laurie MacDonald
back cover of issue #1, Laurie MacDonald
flyer printed in Alien Sushi #3

To Life Immortal 1 was published in July 1989 and is 98 pages long.

The editorial:

Hi, all you WOW fans out there! What you hold in your hands is the product of some tun month's work. When I was at ORAC in February, I got this wild idea to put together a War of the Worlds fanzine, just because so many people I knew seemed to dislike it so much. I have been surprised and delighted at the response the flyers have generated. I'm not used to getting mail from all over the country, as well as long distance phone calls from people I've never met. That, however, is something I could get used to...

This issue has adventure stories, silly stories, some thoughtful ones, and even some first-efforts by some young fans (my children, but hey I I'm the editor!)

I'd like to thank my mostly-understanding husband, Wolf, for not teasing me too hard about this project. Thanks also to Jean Graham and Pearl Stickler for advice on fanzine preparing. To Jackie Edwards, whose early support made this zine get off the ground. To Karla Von Huben for her support and epic stories. And especially to Laurie MacDonald for her wonderful artwork on such short notice.

If you are interested enough for me to put out another issue, the creative guidelines are in the back, with the ads. If you like this, or even if you don't, please drop me a line and let me know. All knowledge is useful and may improve subsequent issues.

Too Doe Nakotae!
  • Mismatched Pair by Jackie Edwards (3)
  • For The Sake Of The Planet by Karla Von Huben (Ironhorse leaves, but can he stay away?) (16)
  • Camouflage, poem by Pat Dell Ames (28)
  • Hey, Soldier by Karla Von Huben (29)
  • And Lazarus Rose by Beth Muramoto (script format, After Harrison is attacked, can the rest of the team find the answers to bring him back from near-death?) (33)
  • Worst Case Scenario by Carla Kozeluh (61)
  • It is Better to Marry Than Burn by Brandy Sanderson (humor) (62)
  • Tears and Thomas Paine by Susan M. Murrie (63)
  • My Brother’s Keeper by Karla Von Huben (Harrison, Suzanne, and Norton investigate a ship-sighting on their own. Can the cavalry arrive in time?) (67)
  • Shaman’s Prayer by Pat Ames (94)
  • art by Laurie MacDonald (front and back covers), Craig Kozeluh

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

TLI is the first WOW zine I've seen, and may be the first to be published in this fandom. It also seems to be the first zine that this editor has produced, so allowances must be made for inexperience. The fact that a zine is produced at all means the expenditure of a lot of time and effort, no small thing these days.

Physically, TLI is put together well, with sturdy plastic binding and card-stock covers. The dot-matrix is clear and photocopied well. The balance of humor to fiction is good -- the inclusion of any humor in this grim universe is always welcome. However, if this zine is any indication of the Shape of Things to Come, Ironhorse is the Illya Kuryakin of this universe and poor Suzanne is going to be the vicarious stand-in for a lot of smitten femfen.

With the exception of Beth Muramoto's script, "And Lazarus Rose," all the fiction is centered on Ironhorse. "Lazarus" explores the idea of what would happen if an alien were killed in the process of taking over a human, with Harrison Blackwood as the human in question. Aside from a quibble regarding a plot device, and overuse of a few adverbs in the stage directions, this is probably the best-balanced story in the zine in terms of giving each character equal importance.

Most of the rest of the fiction consists of Ironhorse heroics and Ironhorse/Suzanne get-togethers. While I think this is a valid speculation (and a refreshing change from the "/"get-togethers of other universes!), the theme does get a trifle repetitious....

Art: The cover art is a good line drawing, though the "cover-the-earth" fingers are starting to get tired by now (due to saturation of the logo by Paramount). The internal art looks like the work of a beginning pencil artist who hasn't had much practice with pen-and-ink. It looks very much like what I used in my first Trekzine fourteen years ago, and like many other new-artist/new-zine productions, art is probably the hardest facet of a zine to produce, and definitely the hardest to edit; I expect Laurie MacDonald will improve with practice.

Overall, To Life Immortal is a reasonably priced young zine. It does have lots of room for improvement, but that's what fandom is about. We are amateurs, learning and making it up as we go along. Ironhorse fans may grimace at inconsistencies, while Harrison fans may not like it all. A balance in issue #2 would be nice --while I'm partial to Ironhorse myself, a car doesn't run very well with only one tire inflated. I do intend to order TLI #2. [1]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

To Life Immortal 2 was published in 1990 and contains 158 pages.

  • Debi's Birthday by Susan Macdonald
  • Suffer Not the Little Children (What new plot are the aliens hatching in the Mojave Desert? And how did Victoria get to see Ironhorse with this pants off?)
  • Telling Time (Is the charming Col. Adams the same one that Ironhorse despises?)
  • Autumn Leaves (When escaped convicts enter the compound, it is up to Harrison to rescue Paul. Will his anti-gun convictions get in the way?)
  • Coming Home (After being seriously wounded in Viet Nam, young Paul Ironhorse has to go through the worst part, recovering in an American hospital.)
  • Close Encounters by Jan Lindner (At a time when Norton should be looking forward to high pay and grey flannel suits, all he wants to do is break into the teachers' files at PIT. What is that crazy stuff in Dr. Blackwood's file anyway? From the "Damage Control" Universe [2])
  • No Greater Love (What terrible secret holds the key to Harrison's aversion to guns?)
  • artwork, poetry, other unknown content

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

This issue of TLI is a little short on humor, but since the editor produced it with one broken finger tied behind her, that's understandable. The variety of subject matter and story length is very good, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the two novellas, which had all the earmarks of Mary Sues -- but weren't. (They are both Iron-horse get-em's, but he suffers so nobly....)

On that note, "Suffer Not the Little Children," by Carrie Rockenhauser, has the Colonel injured by aliens and left in the desert. His rescuer has a believable personality and character flaws that keep her out of the MS pattern, and there's enough plot to keep the rest of the team busy. And the Blackwood people are a team in this story — it features Ironhorse most prominently, but the other characters are themselves, too. The plot is not bad, but it's the people who make this work. There are a few weal points: just what Victoria Mazzei does out in the desert, day to day, is never quite explained, nor why her father moved so far away from every thing after Boston's schools proved inadequate for her disabled brother's education. The question has more to do with cabin fever than visible means of support... it's not enough to assume she's out there waiting for an alien invasion. Likewise, Harrison seems to have forgotten that Norton originally located the aliens when they 'phoned home' to Taurus. Still, if this is Carrie's first attempt at fanfic, I want to see what she writes once she hits her stride.

Susan Murrief's short story about Debi's 13th birthday has some nice character development. It's slowed in spots by stuffing too much background into a casual line (such as a mention of "Kensington, gardner/handyman of Government Property #348, AKA The Cottage,) and intrusive identifications (using "the computer programmer" and "the Cherokee warrior" instead of simply saying Norton or Ironhorse), but the character touches, like Suzanne's disappointment at the changes in her own birthday traditions, Debi's inviting Norton to celebrate with her school friends, and Ironhorse's filling the breach of fatherly duties, show us a little more of the people we saw in WOW.

Cynthia Guido's illos in these stories and "Telling Time" are a little weak as exact likenesses, but show a good touch with light and composition.

The editor's "No Greater Love," a speculation on Harrison's aversion to guns, presents an alternate universe to the novelization. The use of passive tense ("a shadowy figure was spotted" as opposed to "he saw a shadowy figure") slows things down, and I thought the dialog was a bit stiff considering the drama of the situation. The motivation for using a gun was difficult to accept when prescription painkillers would have been accessible, cleaner, and less traumatic to all concerned. But the premise certainly does make Harrison's dislike of firearms plausible.

Lynne Hall's The Awakening" is very... different, a kind of "Mummy Sue" story that features Ironhorse pursued by a considerably older woman. It's not bad, but I kept waiting for some kind of alien tie-in, and there wasn't any -- this lady was after the Colonel with perfectly understandable motives. If you're into cross-cultural, intercontinental, reincarnational shape-changer romance, look no further!

From the flyer blurb -- something about Iron-horse coming back wounded from Vietnam -- I'd expected Alice Aldridge's "Coming Home" to be another "gee-he's-cute-in-IC story. It is noj. This is a tight, gritty piece that shows either hands-on VA experience or excellent research, and neither of the women in whose POV the story is told comes anywhere near being a Mary Sue. My only quibbles are slight since CH is told mainly from these nurses* perspectives, the 'frame' story in Ironhorse's POV is almost unnecessary, the parenthetical translation of combat slang is distracting, and the medical jargon gets a bit thick in places... but it won't hurt anyone to use a dictionary and the medical 'detective story' is essential to the plot. There's also a nice 'ships in the night' side plot with a grad student named Baxter at CDC. This is a good story -- and probably quite educational for fen who aren't old enough to remember Vietnam.

Gena Fisher's "Autumn Leaves" does not hold up well in comparison to the stories on either side of it. The foilage is given more attention than the plot and the point of view leaps around with no apparent purpose, going from Blackwood to a bad guy to archaic omniscience ("Little did the doctor know that Fate itself had conspired to set these three men loose on society once again...") The basic intent seems to be to set up a situation where Harrison has to use a gun to save Ironhorse's life; good enough, but the convoluted coincidences of a security system failure plus escaped convicts plus Harrison and Ironhorse jogging in just the wrong place are simply too much to swallow in one eight-page story. There are some nice images here, but the adjectives and adverbs would have done well with more pruning.

I've read Jill Well's work in other fandoms, and was happy to see her name in the table of contents. "Telling Time" is one of her better efforts, a portrait of the sort of man who gets into the military for all the wrong reasons. In four pages, Jill hits an emotional range with the accuracy of a sharpshooter, as well as showing the Blackwood team closing ranks to protect Ironhorse. I really enjoyed this, and hope whatever she writes next is longer.

The last story, Pat Ames' "Judas Kiss," gives us an interesting look at Norton that gets him away from the keyboard and into an investigation of a cartoonist's mysterious drawing of an alien. The fact that the artist is a young, attractive woman (rather than, say, Gary Larson) makes his job very difficult.

TLI2 is a marked improvement over #1. The print is faint in places, but this issue is well worth any eyestrain. [3]

Issue 3

cover of issue #3, Cynthia Guido

To Life Immortal 3 was published in 1990 and has 113 pages.

From a 1990 submission request: "Looking for more stories and will accept second season stories as well as first season. Somebody must see possibilities in it! How about a transition story between seasons to show was happened? Is Kincaid a complex character or just another stud-muffin? Send in your ideas!"

  • Editor's Page (2)
  • Power of Love by Amy Mitchell--Harrison will not let Ironhorse get away with keeping his feelings hidden... (3)
  • Ironhorse by Lee and J.J. MacFadden (9)
  • Et Incarnatus et Homo Factus est Part One: Simple Gifts by Jeanne O'Donnell--Harrison realizes that his team is his family and that he has to take steps to protect them... (10)
  • Unfinished Story #1 (19)
  • Texture of Darkness by Beth Muramoto--When Ironhorse and McCullough are captured by aliens, what will that new drug do to them? (20)
  • Recognitin poem/art by Lana Merkel (32)
  • Secrets by Amy Mitchell (34)
  • Unfinished Story #2
  • Visitors by Lynne Hall--Someone else knows about aliens and will not stop until they get what they need... (39)
  • Unfinished Story #3
  • Free Agent by Alice Aldridge--The space warp has trapped some of our heroes on one side and the rest on this one. But there is still a good chance of rescue... (46)
  • Great-Great Grandfather by Constance Edwards (84)
  • Et Incarnatus et Homo Factus est Part Two: Harrison's Journal by Jeanne O'Donnell (75)
  • Permutations poem/art by Lana Merkel (78)
  • The Second Wave II: A Different Kind of Ending by Beth Muramoto--How the Second Wave could have been written... (80)
  • Paul Ironhorse by Constance Edwards (84)
  • I Wish I Had a Picture by Beth Muramoto (85)
  • And The Greatest of These is Love by Amy Mitchell--Ironhorse rescues an orphan and learns more than he wanted to about responsibility and love... (86)
  • Unfinished Story #4
  • Et Incarnatus et Homo Factus est Part Three: The Thirds Wave by Jeanne O'Donnell (101)
  • Norton Drake by Lee and J.J. MacFadden (108)
  • Wizard of Morthrai by Gena Fisher (109)
  • The Final Scene by Gena Fisher (113)
  • front cover by Cynthia Guido

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

I didn't feel TLI3 was quite up to the standard of #2. This is probably due to the quantity of second season material (not marked as such) coupled with several very similar Iron-horse/Suzanne stories. These begin with Amy Mitchell's "Power of Love," which has Harrison and Norton determined to get Ironhorse to tell Suzanne that he loves her. They accomplish this by bombarding him with rock 'n roll love songs. This method may have worked to dislodge Noriega from the Vatican embassy, but while the idea is too funny to be taken seriously, the story is written too seriously to be a satire.

The first segment of "Et Incarnatus et Homo Factus est" (Jeanne O'Donnell) has a similar sort of shifting mood. The first few pages, in which Ironhorse is wounded on a mission and Harrison begins to have premonitions of disaster (this is set immediately before TSI), is good « and we finally see Harrison using the Kung Fu he was studying back in Dee-pice 2. But once Ironhorse is on the road to recovery, the team holds a sing-along back at the Cottage. This worked to set the theme that the Project is "family," but having Norton lead off with "Kumbaya," -- Jamaican origins or no — immediately said "SUMMER CAMP" to me, and it conjured up the campfire sing-along in the last TREK movie. It took most of the verses of Simple Gifts (the whole song was included) to realize that the scene was supposed to be serious. And while I guess it's probable that Norton, Suzanne, or Ironhorse might play the guitar, if you take any four people at random, what are the odds that three of them will play the same musical instrument? Having all three playing fluently seemed unlikely, since the only thing we've ever seen any of them play is the stereo. The rest of the story builds its mood of impending doom very well, then falls flat with "Three months later the Cottage was destroyed. Norton and Ironhorse died...." The ending makes sense, after all the foreshadowing, but it could have been done with more subtlety, as Lana Mer-kel did in "Auguries" (Wasting Aliens). "Et" etc. continues through a moody free-verse poem ("Harrison's Journal," and concludes with a creative but extremely improbable revival story. Not that it wasn't good to see a return, but Norton was lying only a few feet from a sizeable chunk of plastic explosive — there just wouldn't have been enough of him left to repair, even allowing the premise that either he or Ironhorse would survive the heat and smoke inhalation from the burning Cottage. This story had a lot going for it — Jeanne paints Harrison's feelings very powerfully -- and the episodic arrangement was very interesting, but a "devil's advocate" edit to close the gaps in logic would have made a much stronger story.

Beth Muramoto's "Texture of Darkness" is another story with an interesting plot, some very good dialog, and a fate for Cash McCullough that probably brought a few cheers from readers, but the grammar and point-of-view needed some work and the premise of a drug that would turn humans into aliens with no psychological conditioning was pretty implausible.

Variations on a theme: Amy Mitchell has Suzanne and Ironhorse 'fessing up once again in "Secrets," this short set after Suzanne is wounded in a fight with aliens. Once again, Norton and Harrison discuss the matter and decide they approve. Lynne Hall brings in some "Visitors" from a few centuries down the road, who give the Blackwood team an edge against the aliens... although if Earth still evolved into the BLAKE'S 7 universe, the Mancuso Effect wasn't entirely neutralized. Not bad, and certainly a change of pace.

Alice Aldridge's "Free Agent" is probably the best-written story in TLI3. Unfortunately, it is not a complete story, but one episodic segment of a story that began/will begin in two issues of Alien Sushi, one due out three months after TLI3, one still unpublished (as of 12/90). I think I'm going to wait until I have all the pieces before trying to read this one. The synopsis at the story's beginning doesn't begin to prepare a reader for what's going on — especially Ironhorse's involvement with Maggie. She's a terrific character, and an entirely believable match for him — but the last time we saw her, in TLI#2, she was married to one of Ironhorse's old Army buddies. (Colonel! This is all so sudden!) If I'm reading something this interesting, I want to see the whole story, not a teaser clip. Following "Agent," Beth Muramoto rewrites the end of Second Wave by letting Ironhorse use his brain instead of his gun. It's a good idea, but the grammar and point-of-view switches sometimes make the narrative difficult to follow.

Meeting Gene Fisher at Satellite confirmed my suspicion: the woman is a loon. Her "Wizard of Morthrai" is a piece of inspired silliness. From Mana-from-heaven to The Urinal, (God of the Morthrai), it's a blatant steal from two other universes, but Gena's explanation of What Happened to the Light Bulbs makes sense, in a bizarre sort of way. Why noi Ferengi?

In addition to others' fiction, Nancy K. has salted TLB with several unfinished stories that open all kinds of possibilities to writers who have trouble getting started. It will be interesting to see what comes of them in TLI#4. [4]

Issue 4

To Life Immortal 4 contains 200 pages.

  • a story by Monica Van Ness (proposes a new alien threat -- what do the Mor-Texans want in Denver?)
  • a story by David Thomas (a straightforward adventure, can the Blackwood team beat the aliens to the storage place with alien samples in 1935?)
  • a story by Ann Johnson (an alternate universe where Ironhorse and Kincaid fight both sets of aliens, side by side with the Blackwood team)
  • a story by Gena Fisher (about a post-Obelisk depression and the cure)
  • a story Alice Aldridge (saga of friends trying to reach each other across the Morthran-made dimension gulf...)
  • a story by Tammy Croft (Christmas story about an unusual alliance with one special alien)
  • a story by Linda Watson (emotional tale of the aftermath of an alien battle)
  • a Quantum Leap crossover by Mary Raugh
  • a Quantum Leap story by Jo Seaver
  • a story by Susan Asselin (about Suzanne's discovery following an alien attack on the Cottage)
  • art, poems, filks and illos by Cynthia Guido, Susan Murrie, Wilma Doublas, Debra Hicks, Constance Edwards, and Lana Merkel

issue 5

To Life Immortal 5

References

  1. from a much, much, much longer review by Jan Lindner in The Blackwood Project #3
  2. The "Damage Control" Universe: Close Encounters in To Life Immortal #2 | Damage Control in Dee-Pice #1 | Rumors of War in Bring 'Em Back Alive #1 | Arms & The Man in Wasting Aliens | Shadow of Thy Wings in Dee-Pice #2 | War In the Gates in Bring 'Em Back Alive #2
  3. from a much, much, much longer review by Jan Lindner in The Blackwood Project #7
  4. from The Blackwood Project #10