Tom Billings is the best friend of Bowen Tyler. When he gets his message from the last book he mounts a rescue expedition. They find Caspak and Tom flies over the cliffs in a seaplane that he brought along. It is immediately attacked by a pterodactyl and he crash lands.
He rescues a beautiful woman named Ajor from a band of ape men. The two set out to return her to her people the Galus(rope men) farther up the river. They pass through the Bo-lu(club men),Sto-lu(hatchet men),Band-lu(spear men), and the Kro-lu(bow men). Each represent a more advanced human in the scale of evolution.
It is later discovered that life in Caspak goes through stages of metamorphosis after a period of time. Tom and Ajor eventually reach the fully human land of the Galus. There he meets his friend Bowen and the crew from his rescue expedition who scaled the cliffs.
The second in the trilogy is another excellent book. We get to find out the secret of the evolutionary phenomenon of Caspak. There is still one more book to tie up loose ends which will be discussed later.
The third Burroughs movie made in the seventies combined elements from the second and third book. It starred Patrick Wayne, John Wayne’s son and saw the return of Doug McClure. I think this is the best of the three movies.
A man vacationing in Greenland comes across a bottle floating in the ocean. He retrieves it and finds a message with an incredible story.
Bowen Tyler Jr. has volunteered for the British ambulance service in 1915. While traveling across the Atlantic his ship is hit and sunk by a torpedo from a German U-boat. Bowen and his Airedale Nobs survive and are later picked up by a British tugboat along with another survivor, a beautiful woman. The tugboat is attacked later by the same U-boat and the crew manages the take the U-boat with the loss of the tugboat.
Now the crew is trapped on the U-boat. With no radio they can’t signal and are attacked by any British warship. After harrowing adventures were the German crew retakes and loses the boat, it drifts into the south Atlantic. Low on supplies the ship comes upon a mysterious island near the Antarctic. The island is surrounded by steep cliffs but an underwater passage is navigable by the sub.
Beyond the cliffs is a prehistoric land with savage dinosaurs and even more savage men. As they progress upstream the animal and plant life seem to advance on the evolutionary scale. The German and British crew form a truce and build a fort. Finding crude oil they hope to refine to escape Caspak as the savage inhabitants call this land.
Bowen is leading a party of men in exploration when they are attacked by the prehistoric inhabitants. He is separated from the others and writes the account. He climbs to the cliff top and hurls it into the ocean hoping someone will find it and rescue him.
Well if you haven’t guessed this book is the inspiration for my blog title. The first in the Caspak trilogy is an exciting adventure filled with dinosaurs and cavemen. I am a sucker for anything with dinosaurs in it. The one thing that mars this book is the portrayal of the Germans. This was just after America entered the war and the Germans are portrayed as cruel, stupid and bloodthirsty. Von Schoenvorts the captain is a stereotypical Prussian. He exists to cruise around and sink any ship neutral or allied just for the hell of it. This makes no sense but does illustrated the mentality of America during the early years of the war.
There was a movie with Doug McClure made in the seventies. It is cheezy but fun to watch and very faithful to the original book.
Thirty years later the Asylum made a movie that is no less cheezier and a much looser adaptation of the book. For an Asylum film it is pretty good.
This book is two stories on the continuing reincarnations of Julian from the Moon Maid.
The Moon Men
Several years after Julian makes it back to Earth his arch nemesis Orthis arrives with an invasion fleet of Kalkars from the Moon. Julian takes the small defense fleet that Earth has into battle. It is destroyed but not before killing Orthis. The Kalkars are able to conquer Earth with no opposition and implement their form of Socialist government.
Several generations later Julian is reincarnated in Chicago. This future is a very grim place. The Kalkars ineptitude and ignorance have reduced society to a medieval level. Americans are little more than serfs under the Kalkars. Julian 9th lives with his parents and toils for the brutal overlords. One day he rescues a young woman from vicious hellhounds. What follows is the typical Burroughs love story and a failed uprising against the Kalkars.
The Red Hawk
Several generations later and Julian is reincarnated as Red Hawk. Red Hawk has become chief after his fathers death. The tribe lives as the old American Indians of old in the deserts of Arizona. The Kalkars have been driven to their last stronghold in the ruins of Los Angeles.
Red Hawk decides to lead his people once and for all to drive the Kalkars into the sea. Taking the whole tribe they go to California. There he is captured by the Kalkars but escapes. His adventures united him with a woman that is the descendant of Orthis. They encounter strange peoples and eventually drive the Kalkars into the sea. Red Hawk marries the descendant of Orthis ending the centuries feud.
The next two stories in the Moon series really takes it in a completely different direction. The story was originally envisioned as a Soviet takeover and titled Under the Red Flag.He was apparently several decades ahead of his time. He changed it to communist like Kalkars from the Moon. This is a different story that tackles themes as communism, pacifism, patriotism. The themes are still relevant today. Plus it is also a very good story with plenty of adventure and romance.
The third battle of Frankfurt is underway. A column of Soviet tanks and APC’s have broken through the lines and in five hours will be in Frankfurt. While not enough to take the city politically it would be a disaster for NATO and a potential expansion of the Zone. Major Revell and his joint NATO strike force are tasked with delaying the column until a force can be assembled.
Revell decides he doesn’t want to delay the force but destroy it. At a small abandoned village he is joined by an eager young lieutenant who has scraped together rear echelon personnel. They set an ambush for a final showdown that will determine the fate of the battle.
The second book in the Zone series is another exciting book. This one had a lot more action than the first. Andrea is showing herself to be a real bloodthirsty wacko. She attached herself to Clarence to absorb his skills in sniping. Then like a parasite she will start to absorb the other teams specialties in her quest for revenge against the Russians. We lose some characters and gains others.
Kurt- the Grepo gets a piece of flying metal through his chest.
Cohen- blown up by a tank shell at the end. Dooley is upset because he took all his money with him.
Lt. Hogg- an American engineering officer who is desperate to see action. Always has a dumb smile on his face.
Ripper- a hillbilly straight out of Deliverance.There for comic relief.
York- the new naïve recruit.
It is the second year of the war since the Warsaw Pact invaded. Now a strip of land extends through central Europe known as the Zone. Here the land is contaminated by chemical and nuclear weapons. NATO and the Soviets have come to an agreement to limit the fighting so it hasn’t extended to the rest of the world.
NATO expects a serious offensive by the 2nd Guards army. The key to the success of the offensive is the 97th Soviet Technical Support battalion. This unit is equipped to refit and repair damaged tanks and APCs. It has been located next to a refugee camp so it can’t be bombed. American Colonel Lee ‘Foul Mouth’ Lippencott organizes a joint operation of British and Americans to go behind the lines and destroy the 97th.
American Major Revell and British Sergeant Hyde take their misfits deep behind enemy lines. After an ambush destroys two thirds of the squad the rest take refuge in the refugee camp. There they join forces with a group of deserters from the East German border guards lead by the vicious Kurt and a mysterious beauty named Andrea. Together they assault the base in a final climactic confrontation.
This is one of those trashy adventure series that I loved as a kid. Now it would be very impractical for such a war to drag on in the real world. Of course as a thirteen year old that never even occurred to me. I was captivated by the colorful characters and over the top violence. The Soviets were just pure baddies with a take no prisoners attitude. I still enjoyed reading it after all these years. You just have to have a heavy suspension of disbelief.
The following is a list of the cast of characters in the joint strike force.
Major Revell- the American leader. He is a handsome maverick that plays by his own rules to get the job done by any means necessary.
Sgt. Hyde- British veteran. His face was horribly scarred and feels that the Zone is the only place he fits in.
Dooley- a loud obnoxious American but good with a bayonet.
Burke- an expert driver but one of the laziest people alive.
Clarence- the sniper. Cold and calculation. Lost his family to a Soviet bomber and now has put a price of one hundred commies for each member as payback. He is two thirds of the way to his goal.
Libby- gunner and in the Zone to search for his German fiancee Helga.
Collins- the new recruit. He was the bud of all jokes and dies in the assault.
Reinhart- the token black man. Takes a bullet between the eyes at the end.
Cohen- a hustler from Chicago. Scams anyone out of money in cards or other schemes. Carries all his wealth in a flak jacket.
Kurt- the leader of the Grepos. Stands for Grenze Polizei or border police. The guys who shot people trying to cross the border. A very untrustworthy and unsavory individual.
Andrea- an East German woman who is very beautiful. She has a deep hatred of communists and Russians in particular. Major Revell is obsessed with her.
So last night I went to Rifftrax Live showing of the beloved 1998 Godzilla with Matthew Broderick. As you can imaging this movie was just ripe with riffing potential. For those who don’t know this was an American big budget adaptation of the beloved Japanese monster. Unfortunately Roland Emmerich did everything wrong. Godzilla looks like a weird hybrid between the alien from Alien and Jay Leno. As the guys point out in the movie every girl acts like Matthew Broderick is Channing Tatum. WTF is up with this. This is Ferris Bueller.
They had a group of French Secret Service agents which are the heroes in the movie. They are there because Godzilla was created by French nuclear tests in Polynesian. Like the French would give a shit. Your in bad trouble if you have to rely on the French. They seem to spend most of the movie whining about how bad American coffee is.
Another thing I forgot is the obvious lampooning of Siskel and Ebert. The mayor Ebert who looks exactly like Roger Ebert and his aide Gene who looks exactly like Gene Siskel. I guess Roland had one too many bad reviews from these guys and felt the need to poke fun at them. I’m guessing that the two gave this movie a thumbs down.
Well most of the movie is in the rain and has a very nimble and agile Godzilla dodging the fire from tanks, helicopter and submarines. In fact all the military accomplishes is destroying buildings including the Chrysler Building and sinking their own submarine. Our hero Matthew and his French buddies along with his ditzy blonde girlfriend and Hank Azaria find Godzilla’s nest in Madison Square Garden. They manage to alert the world to the threat of hundreds of hatched little Godzillas and escape before an airstrike obliterates the arena. Godzilla is really pissed and gives chase as they try to escape in a taxi. They manage to lure Godzilla on the Brooklyn Bridge where he gets entangled and the military can finally hit him.
This is the first time I have seen this movie since it came out in 1998. It does hold some sad memories for me. I saw it at a budget theater and the next day I learned my dad had a stroke. He later died. So it was good to see this movie in a theater again and have some good laughs. So you can still catch the encore presentation this Tuesday for anyone in North America.
There is also a planned showing just before Halloween for the Anaconda.
It is the far future of 1967 and a great war is finally over. A man on an airship gets into a conversation with his fellow passenger. This passenger is aware of past and future reincarnations of himself. He tells the story of his future incarnation Julian the fifth.
The year is 2024 and Earth has launched a ship to reach Mars. Unfortunately the inventory of the ship Orthis is upset that he is not in command. While drunk he damages the ship and it is forced to land on the Moon. It descends through a crater and into an inhabited world inside the Moon.
Julian and Orthis are captured by the Vargas, a centaur race of people. While captive Julian is introduced to another captive Nah-ee-lah. She is a princess in the last free city in the Moon. They escape to her city and defeat an attempted coup against her father. Just at the moment of victory the city is attacked by the Kalkars. Orthis has armed the Kalkars with modern cannons and they destroy the city. Julian and Nah-ee-lah find the ship repaired and escape to Earth.
This is the first of three stories about the moon men. Its another fascinating world that Burroughs are created. It is the next two stories that get really interesting.