WARDAY BY WHITLEY STRIEBER AND JAMES KUNETKA

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Copyright 1984.

On October 28, 1988 a limited nuclear war took place between the US and USSR. It lasted thirty-six minutes and changed the world. Two reporters five years later decide to set out across America and write about the current state of the country. The trip takes them to a breakaway Hispanic nation of Aztlan around El Paso. A California untouched by the war and now practically an independent nation. Across a devastated Midwest subject to radioactive dust storms. It all ends at an abandoned Manhattan overrun with feral dog packs and part of the largest salvage operation in history.

This was probably the most realistic book about a nuclear war ever written. It is presented as a travelogue for a fictional event that already occurred. Supplemented with fictional interviews with government officials and common people. Fictional government reports on the war. It has a feel of authenticity. We find out that the war was started because the U.S. was deploying a missile defense system called Spiderweb. The attack took out Washington DC., San Antonio, Brooklyn and missile fields in the upper Midwest. They also detonated nuclear explosions in the upper atmosphere to send out an electro-magnetic pulse(EMP) that wipes out all electrical equipment. Six million die in the initial war and sixty million in the five years from disease and starvation. A triage system is in place that denies treatment for those that have been exposed to high levels of radiation.

The country is portrayed as fragmented with the more well off states in the south and west enacting strict immigration laws. California having the most draconian. Great Britain and Japan are the world powers and are the source of most of the aid that the country receives. The Soviet Union has completely disintegrated and most third world countries collapsed due to the chaos. The authors hinted at a sequel that would take them around the world but it was never written.

The book is obviously dated. It actually dates itself on purpose with the fictional date. Still it is a fascinating look at the world of the 1980’s. The EMP attack was a concept that I first read about in this book. Now it is quite popular in fiction and for good reason. Our society is much more vulnerable with so much now computerized. Other countries are working on this technology and a report stated that such an attack could kill ninety percent of the population.

While dated it is still a powerful story that shows the social and political outlook in the eighties.

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THE WARLORD #6 KILLER’S KEEP BY JASON FROST

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Copyright 1987

The story finds Eric Ravensmith is tracking his son when he is set upon by a savage group of men. These green men are cannibals that ambush any traveler through there lands. Eric barely escapes with his life. The green men are part of a much bigger plan.

Mt. Calm is a secret government installation designed to house the government in the aftermath of a nuclear war. Major DeGraff now rules with an iron fist. Supplies are running short and DeGraff has plans. Like modern Mongols his troops emerge and start pillaging the countryside.

Now Eric must unite the various survivors to fight this new scourge. At Coup Town the largest settlement in the new California he makes a final stand that will determine who rules the island of California.

The sixth and final book in the Warlord series. This was not written by the original author and creator but another guy named Rick Rainey. I can’t find anything about this guy but the story was interesting and he seems a competent writer. There are two things that I did not like. The first was how he handled Eric’s reunion with his son. It was very brief and had Eric deciding that his son was a different person. They just went their owns ways with no reconciliation. I wonder how Raymond Obersfeld would have handled it.

The second was that the ending seems kind of rushed. Like the writer realized he had to finish up so just wrote in a quick final battle. Yes Eric wins and it ends with him taking control of Mt. Calm and I assume that he lives happily ever after. I guess that I would like to know how the creator would have ended this series.

My final thoughts on this series. I enjoyed it. I remember spending Saturday afternoons engrossed in this strange savage world of California cut off from the rest of the world. Sure the whole chemical bubble perfectly covering California is downright absurd. It was a fasted paced story that kept me interested than and still kept my interest all these years later.

Oh and I can not give any goofy sex scenes to quote from this book. Rich Rainey had Eric too busy in this story so he didn’t have any time for sex.

I CAN FINALLY CALL MYSELF A WRITER

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I started out this year with some pretty lofty goals. I was going to be a screenwriter. I actually wrote two screenplays. I registered them with the copyright office and entered them in a number of competitions. And I didn’t win any of them. Didn’t even make the quarter finalists. Failure.

Failure isn’t new to me in writing. Ten years ago I wrote a bunch of short stories. Sent them off to a number of magazines. The only thing I collected was a whole bunch of rejection slips. So I kind of gave up on short story writing and these stories just faded into obscurity.

Well this year I read a post from L.S Engler. She was looking for stories for a new publication called World Unknown Review. I looked around and found these old stories on a disk. I figured what the hell and submitted one.

This week I received an e-mail message that my story was actually accepted. It was a bit surreal. I am so used to failure I didn’t know what to think. A story I wrote will actually be in a publication that other people will read. I will get paid for it. A whole $15. Now I ran the numbers and this is unfortunately inadequate for my current living needs. So I can not quit my day job and must continue working inside a cubicle the size and shape of a coffin.

I always thought that I couldn’t call myself a writer until I actually sold something. Well that day has finally come. It wasn’t the hundreds of thousand of dollars I wanted. Still it is a success and I’ll take any success that I can get. Who knows maybe ten years from now I can actually call myself a screenwriter.

THE WARLORD #5 TERMINAL ISLAND BY JASON FROST

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The story finds Eric and his new companion D.B. in the ruins of San Diego. Dirk Fallows is in the area and offering food and supplies for gold. Going into the old San Diego zoo looking for food, both are captured by Dr. Wendy Chen. Chen has been taking care of the surviving animals in the hope of one day releasing them to repopulate the island of California.

Eric finds Fallows and his son who has been effectively brainwashed by Fallows. Also there is a Soviet submarine that has snuck through the naval blockade of the island and set up a base in the area. Masquerading as an American sub they are setting up a nuclear missile that can be launched on the mainland. Fallows has an agreement with the sub commander to pay gold for safe passage for him and Tim under the Long Beach Halo.

Eric must act quick and kidnaps his son. Unfortunately he is too far gone and escapes back to Fallows. A final confrontation ensures were Eric finally kills Fallows but his son goes off vowing to form his own gang. Now Eric must find his son to either deprogram him or kill him.

This is another fun story in the saga. We finally get the confrontation with Fallows and it sets up the continuing story to find his son. Jason Frost is a pen name for Raymond Obstfeld. Raymond is a creative writing professor at a college in California. I found his website and he seems an interesting writer. He still writes mostly mystery and historical books. He has written some Mack Bolan and movie adaptations in the past. He wrote a screenplay for The Warlord that was seriously considered by Arnold Schwartzenegger. Sadly Arnold decided to pursue other projects and a classical cheezy movie was never made.

This is the last Warlord story written by Raymond. I don’t know the reason why but the final book was written by a Rich Rainey. I would have liked the original author to finish the saga. It would have been interesting how he would have handled the ending.

And I have to end with the goofy sex scene passage. “As she came, he felt a hum at the back of her throat travelling along her tongue and into his mouth.”

THE WARLORD #4 PRISONLAND BY JASON FROST

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Copyright 1985

The story opens with Eric Ravensmith tracking Dodd a former member of Fallow’s gang. Eric hopes to get information on the whereabouts of Fallows so he can rescue his son Tim. The trail leads to northern California around San Francisco. Fisherman’s Wharf is now an armed community run by the former inmates of San Quentin. Now its called Aesgard and run by Thor. Thor was a former mob hitman on deathrow and fan of Norse mythology. He dresses in ties and freshly ironed shirts. He also carries around a large hammer that he occasionally uses to cave in the skull of those that annoy him. This usually results in blood on his freshly ironed shirts which causes all sorts of grief to his personal launderer.

Eric catches up to Dodd in the local infirmary and while questioning him is kidnapped by some women. The woman are from a community living on Alcatraz. They used to live at Fisherman’s Wharf until Thor and his men attacked and took over. Most of the men were killed and now the survivors consist of women, children and the elderly. They thought Eric was Aesgard’s doctor which was why they took him. Now he must lead a desperate defense of the island from Thor.

The fourth book in the series is another side adventure from his quest to rescue his son. Seems like the pattern for this series is the odd books deal with Fallows and the even are adventure with other various baddies. The main development in this book is that Eric gets a new sidekick. D.B. is a seventeen year old girl that he rescues from slavery. She is a singer and wants to become a sort of bard for this post-apocalyptic California. I thought she was a great choice for his companion. She is optimistic and reminds Eric of his humanity. Another great book in the series.

Can’t end it without the goofy sex scene. “Finally rivulets of sweat rolling down his arms, chest, buttocks he entered her.”

THE WARLORD #3 BADLAND BY JASON FROST

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Eric Ravensmith and Tracy have tracked down Dirk Fallows and his gang around the ruins of Santa Barbara. The two almost don’t survive their first encounter and must retreat to recover from their wounds. While in the area the government drops leaflets warning that they are conducting tests on the Long Beach Halo. Everyone should evacuate from a fifty mile radius. Eric doesn’t believe the governments warning and knows something is up. He also knows that Fallows won’t buy the government’s story and will be right in the center of the action which is where Eric plans to be to rescue his son.

They find out that the government is sending in the space shuttle Columbia to penetrate the Halo. Lead by Paige Lyons she is there to find her father Ronald Lyons. Dr. Lyons was working on a space defense system and the government is desperate to recover his work. Eric cuts a deal that he will help them if they will take his son. Of course he has to rescue his son in a short period of time.

The search for Paige’s father lead them to his cabin which is now inhabited by children that have turned to cannibalism. It also puts them in direct confrontation with Fallows. Eric fails to rescue his son and decides to stay while his partner Tracy departs for civilization. Paige stays to continue her search for her father but will do it alone. Eric is now all alone to continue his quest to rescue his son.

The third book in the series is another solid story. Eric is now alone on his quest and we get some more insight in the history between Eric and Fallows. The most fascinating aspect of this book was Fallows brainwashing techniques he uses on Tim. It involves some heavy psychological games which I could see as being quite effective.

And of course you can’t have a Warlord story without the over the top sex scene. The goofiest passage the stood out was “He bucked up while forcing his hips downward. His penis spurted like a lawn sprinkler. They hugged each other close, claws buried in flesh, while they rode out Eric’s continued spasms.”

RIFFTRAX LIVE: ANACONDA

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Well another Rifftrax live this Thursday. This one was the movie Anaconda. If you haven’t seen the movie it is about a documentary expedition that goes down the Amazon to find a lost tribe. Along the way they get sidetracked by a Paraguayan snake trapper played by Jon Voight. Jon wants to capture a forty foot long Anaconda and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal. Of course the documentary crew is completely not up to this task and the snake starts gulping them down throughout the movie. Finally the last two survivors Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube manage to trap the snake in a smokestack of an abandoned foundry and send it to a fiery death. A very long and drawn out death.

Before the movie the crew warmed up the audience with two shorts. The first was an old short called the Halloween Party. A family has a crisis when there vicious German Shepard decides to chew up the son’s cat mask costume which was a paper bag with holes cut for the eyes and whiskers drawn on. Being without another paper bag the family is thrown into a panic but the quick thinking mom comes up with a plan. Taking a sombrero and some colorful cloth makes her son into a lady scarecrow. The young Howdy Doody looking kid wins the contest and more than likely goes on to a life of daily beatings at the hands of this fellow classmates.

The second was a preview of a National Geography special coming in December. The crew riffs on a episode of some show where an Englishman goes looking for a deadly river snake in Thailand. It looked real funny and I plan to catch it when it airs.

So this is the bonus movie this year for Rifftrax. Their kickstarter campaign raised so much money they had enough for a second movie. I contributed five dollars and it was money well spend. Anaconda was a perfect movie for riffing and I think it was a lot more funnier than the Godzilla show. I actually like this movie and saw it in theaters back in 1997. Watching it now I still like it for it’s campy charm but the riffing highlighted stuff I didn’t notice back then.

The snake was real fake. I mean really fake. Now back in 1997 I thought that it was realistic. I suppose times can change perspective on effects. I suppose Star Wars is now kind of cheezy but was really cutting edge back then. The snake when it was on fire at the end slides around on top of the water instead of going into it to put out the fire. That was one stupid fake snake.

The other was Jon Voight’s scene chewing acting throughout the movie. He was the butt of most of the funniest jokes in the movie. LLLadies and beeferoni got some the best laughs. You had to watch it to understand. I forgot how funny his take on the scarred snake poacher was. He seems to be channeling Steven Segal. He has the same pony tail and puffy face. He talks like he has a mouth full of mashed potatoes. A bold and yet incomprehensible choice to play the character.

It was definitely worth the five dollars I contributed and you can still catch an encore presentation in November 4.

Trailer for the original movie.

Also coming is another Rifftrax in December. They do Santa Claus a fifties Mexican movie that is a favorite from the Mystery Science days.