V BY A.C. CRISPIN

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tarzan

Copyright 1983.

It starts out as a typical day on planet Earth. Suddenly from out of nowhere fifty giant saucers five miles long position themselves over fifty major cities around the globe. Is this an alien invasion? Soon after contact is made and the aliens are discovered to be human like in every way except a strange resonance in their voice. The Visitors as are they later come to be called have come in peace. They need chemicals that our planet can provide to save their civilization. In exchange they promise to share their knowledge to help Earth with its own problems.

Soon the Visitors start to insinuate themselves in human society. People become complacent to their presence although some have their suspicions. Scientists are mysteriously disappearing. Soon a conspiracy of scientist is revealed targeting the Visitors. Suspicion against scientists rises and repressive measures are enacted by overeager governments around the world.

Mike Donovan a cameraman and reporter sneaks aboard the Los Angeles mothership. He finds out the truth that the Visitors are actually reptilian in disguise and their sinister objective to steal all the Earth’s water. They also have plans for turning humans into food.

Before he can expose them the Visitors make their move. They have been converting government officials and effectively take over society and declare martial law. Overnight all the countries of Earth are under the control of the Visitors. The story follows a group of ordinary citizens as they form a resistance to the alien invaders.

This is an adaptation of the mini-series V and its sequel V:The Final Battle. I don’t usually get adaptations of shows that were broadcast preferring original stories. But I wanted to have a complete collection of the series. I am glad I got it because this was a fun read. Crispin did an excellent job of adapting the story. The second mini-series did not come out yet when she was writing this and used the original script. It was interesting to see the changes that were made. Some scenes were awkward and you can see why they were rewritten. Others were probably changed due to budget restraints or timing.

I actually reread this on a flight back from Los Angeles were I spent my vacation. I recognize some of the places in Griffith park that they used. I also toured Warner Studios and was in the studio that the TV show used. They have plaques that list were all the TV shows and Movies that the studio used. An interesting trivia note is that the The Bang Theory now uses the studio.

A final note is that Ann Crispin died about a year ago. When I read it her work on the V series came to mind. She would co-write two more books and all three are some of the best in the series. She wrote many other books including some notable Star Trek novels. I hope to someday read more of this talented authors work.

Here is the scene where Donovan finds out the true nature of the Visitors. It freaked me out when I first saw it all those years ago.

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A GIRL THE END OF THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING BY DAVID ROBBINS

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tarzan

Copyright 2012.

Courtney Hewitt is your typical sixteen year old girl living in the Twin Cities. She had a typical family and friends and was pretty much bored with school. Then one day an incident in the Middle East started a war with every country on Earth. Soon there are chemical, nuclear and biological missiles being launched all over the place. The Twin Cities are soon hit with an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out all the power. If the collapse of all services and total anarchy isn’t bad enough, missiles land and release mysterious green clouds. These clouds turn anyone exposed into flesh eating zombies. Now Courtney, her boyfriend, her best friend and her alcoholic father must survive hordes of zombies and various other lowlife scum. Their only hope is a radio message that told of a survivalist compound located in the north of Minnesota.

Well two new books written in the 21st century in a row. Kinda fun reading something new. So Robbins has started a new series that is a prequel to the Endworld series. It has a lot of zombies which I guess reflects how popular zombies are nowadays. I found it an interesting book that delves further into the beginnings of the Endworld universe. I sort of wonder if Courtney is going to be revealed as being the ancestor of Blade. So I guess I will have to wait for the second book A Girl, A Dog and Zombies on the Munch the second book that is planned for this new series.

ENDWORLD DARK DAYS BY DAVID ROBBINS

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tarzan

Copyright 2012.

A small girl comes up to the Home. She claims to have lost her parents. Naturally the Family takes in the young orphaned girl. This girl is not really a girl but a shapeshifting Gualaon. This shapeshifter is an assassin come to infiltrate and destroy the Home. Now this creature is loose among the Family on a killing spree. Blade and the warriors must hunt down an enemy that can be one of their most trusted friends or family member.

Bonus short story “Boys Night Out”. Gabe, Ringo and Cochise the twelve year old sons of Blade, Hickok and Geronimo sneak out at night to hunt down a zombie. The young boys get more than they bargained for when they stumble on a horde of the undead.

The first new story in 21 years sets a whole new tone for the series. It takes place at the walled compound so there is no run to some far away place. Dark Days is indeed an appropriate title. Many characters including four warriors and the leader Plato are killed off. California and the Civilized Zone have been conquered by the Lords of Kismet. And there are hordes of zombies roaming the countryside. I don’t remember any zombies from the old series. I guess the author has been watching The Walking Dead.

So I thought that Robbins did an excellent job of reviving the series into the 21st century. The characters were still familiar. The Gualaon are a formidable enemy. Shapeshifters that predate humans and are possibly alien in origin. The Lords of Kismet also predate humans and they will be the main focus in the next book titled The Lords of Kismet. An interview that Robbins did hinted there will be more of the shapeshifters , a time machine and other strange stuff in this book. It does end with Blade vowing to form a strike force and take the fight to the Lords of Kismet even if he has to go to Asia. I am looking forward to the next book.

The short story was a fun little story. The sons are just like their fathers and I can already see future stories with the next generation of warriors.

So the series has probably had one of the most diverse villains that have ever existed in a series. Blade and the warriors have fought: Soviet Russians, mad scientists, evil dictators, giant ants, giant spiders, giant crabs, mutant flocks of seagulls, rabid dog packs, killer androids, crazy giant computers, evil Chicago technocrats, humanists, white supremacists, cowboys, Indians, assassin guilds, Mexican bandits, Canadian pirates, bat-men, bear-men, spider-men, lizard-men, cat-men, snake-men, the Mafia, naked cultists, voodoo cultists, street gangs, biker gangs, drug gangs, transvestites, alien shapeshifters, Spartans, zombies, cannibals, giant snakes, giant alligators, gill-men, vampires, multinational corporations, and every imaginable low life scum and mutant.

So this series took a long time to read through. What’s next? Well there is a prequel series that Robbins started which I will review tomorrow. Then I will start on something completely different.

ENDWORLD #27: CHICAGO RUN BY DAVID ROBBINS

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tarzan
Copyright 1991.

Yama the warrior has deserted the Home. Way back in the New York Run Yama fell in love with a Technic soldier named Alicia. She sacrificed her life to save Yama and died betraying her people to save the Home. Her death has been a constant source of grief to him and finally he snaps. He takes off to Chicago to wage a one man war against the Technics to avenge her death.

When he infiltrates the city he finds out that there is a successful insurgency being waged against the Technics. So successful the Prime director of the Technics has come up with a final solution to the problem. He plans to fake a phony plague that attacks men from 18-40. When they go in for an inoculation that will instead kill them. He plans to kill off a million adult males which would put an end to any insurrection. Yama joins up with the resistance and comes up with a daring plan to decapitate the leadership in one daring attack. Blade and the Alpha triad meanwhile must follow on foot since the SEAL is in for repairs and fight various raiders and cannibal gangs along the way.

It was August 1991 when this book came out. The Soviet Union was months away from oblivion. A new era was approaching and this saw the end of the popular post-apocalypse series from the ’80s. Some ended with a story that brought closure to the series. Others just abruptly ended. This was the fate of the Endworld/Blade series. So the last book ended with the defeat of a major enemy. The Technics were overthrown and the city of New Chicago was a democracy about to enter the Freedom Federation. Then no further books came out.

I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I was graduation college and moving into an adult life so there was little time for books. Well since I have rediscovered reading these books I also found out that the author three years ago has revived the series. So the adventures of Blade, Hickok, Yama and the other warriors are still not over. So join me next weekend for brand new adventures of Endworld.

A TRIBUTE TO RODDY PIPER

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Rowdy Roddy Piper has tragically passed away at the young age of 61. While not a Shakespearean actor or anyone that would win an Oscar I always enjoyed his movies. Back in the ’80s and ’90s when I prowled the video stores on the lookout for something to rent his name would always indicate what I love, cheezy action and plenty of it. So here are some of my favorite movies he did. Rest in peace and God bless.

Immortal Combat

Back in Action

Jungleground

Tough and Deadly

Hell Comes to Frogtown

And of course his best film the classic They Live

ENDWORLD #26: MADMAN RUN BY DAVID ROBBINS

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tarzan

Copyright 1991.

The story takes us back in time to when Blade, Hickok and Geronimo were just teenagers. A young 16 year old Blade and his friends are off on a little adventure. The journals of their founder Kurt Carpenter mention that a recluse millionaire build a castle fifteen miles from the Home. The young boys are on an adventure to explore and find out if the castle still exists.

They do indeed find that the castle is still standing and inhabited. Angus Morlock is the descendent of the millionaire Morey Morlock. He lives with his son a big dumb simpleton named Elphinstone and his wife/daughter Endora.(The Morlocks have a family history of incest that dates back centuries.)They also have to deal with the servants of Morlock called serfs, descendants of survivors enslaved and now are little more than congenital idiots. They also have to deal with Grell a mutant bear that was raised from a cub by the Morlocks. Now the young boys get their baptism of fire as warriors.

This was a change of pace in giving us a story from Blades youth. I suppose that during this time it was in vogue to go back to when characters were young. Muppet babies and Scooby-Doo kids come to mind. Indeed this story is sort of a Scooby-Doo after the apocalypse. You have a spooky old castle with all sorts of traps and secret passages. A ten foot mutant monster with red eyes. And of course the creepy inhabitants lead by an inbred madman.

I thought that it did a good job of capturing Blade and friends as teenagers. We see then as young boys and see how this shapes them to be the warriors that they turned out to be. A nice change of pace from the runs around the country. So we getting to the end of the series. I will be on vacation starting next weekend but will be back with the final two books of this series.

BLADE #13: VENGEANCE STRIKE BY DAVID ROBBINS

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tarzan

Copyright 1991.

The Lords of Kismet are out to get revenge on Blade and the Freedom Force. After their failure with the Pipeline Strike they sent their most diabolical assassins. Ancient shapeshifters called the Gualaon that are nearly indestructible and can change into anyone or thing in minutes. They also have a craving for human flesh.

Blade returns with Grizzly from their adventures in the last book. He knows that he must somehow get rid of General Gallagher but with Havoc and Athena dead his proof against him is gone. Blade settles in to integrate Grizzly and Havoc’s replacement his younger brother Sgt. Stephen Havoc. Soon after the Force has a run in with a small young girl that can scale electrified fences and mysterious threatening messages written in human blood posted on the side of their barracks. The weirdness comes to a head when Blade is attacked in his office by Jaguarundi. Jaguarundi is immediately placed under arrest which further lowers the moral of the Force.

Into this Gallagher arranges a training exercise for the Force in a remote valley. A demoralized Force soon finds out that it is a trap. Gallagher has been replaced by a Gualaon and Sgt Havoc is also a shapeshifter. Now the Force is in a fight for their lives where an enemy can easily be a trusted comrade.

So General Gallagher has been replaced by a shapeshifter. This does explain why he became a total dickweed. Originally he seemed to be an honorably man if not a firm supporter of the Force. So this is the final book in the Blade series. I did ask the author on his facebook page if he was also going to revive his series with a Blade #14. His cryptic reply was that things have changed drastically for the Federation and the Freedom Force. It will be made clear in the next Endworld. So I am anxiously waiting for the release of this new book.

My final thoughts on this series is I really liked it. Obviously it was created to milk the success of the Endworld series. It was an entertaining series and in some ways I liked it even better than Endworld. It got Blade out of the walled Home and into the real world where he interacted with people not of the family. It introduced others from the various factions of the Federation. It also kept up Robbin’s talent for introduction wacky villains and strange locations. So while the Blade series is done I suspect that the characters established will make appearances in future Endworld books. Definitely not the end.