V SYMPHONY OF TERROR BY SOMTOW SUCHARITKUL

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tarzan

Copyright 1988.

The story picks up one year after the Alien Swordmaster. The Visitors have reoccupied the warmer parts of the Earth were the red dust is not effective. Los Angeles is in chaos following Nathan Bates assassination and the Jones family decides to head out for somewhere safer. With the help of the resistance they get a captured Visitor vehicle and uniforms to make the dangerous trek to Washington D.C. a city in the free states.

The three are chased after by Medea from Tim Sullivan’s stories. She is now a disgraced garrison commander after the failed Florida Project. She sees an opportunity to regain her position. The Jones’s safely make it to Washington but a new terror awaits them. Dingwall a Visitor undercover as a junior high music teacher has a new plan to conquer the free states. Using a new metal called Papinium they are tunneling to a new shopping center build from the metal. Thankfully the Jones’s are joined by Kenzo Sugihara the alien swordmaster in a battle to stop the invasion.

The second and final book written by Somtow and there’s a whole lot of Zen going on. It has a lot of the same elements that make his last V book such a mess. A new shield against the red dust that makes no sense whatsoever. I mean this metal apparently must magically repeal the red dust contaminated air because the tunnels and shopping mall seem to not be very airtight with open entrances to let in air. Also he seems obsessed with the Visitors and their constant need to eat people. Medea has grown fat with eating people’s hands. Children are kept to chop off arms and legs. A machine in the tunnels takes slaves that died and turns them into people mcnuggets.

Oh and my favorite is one chapter has them roasting a guy on a spit. He makes the same mistake as his buddy Tim Sullivan who he’s lifted a character from and references other elements from this books. The Visitors only eat live or freshly killed food. Mistakes like this do bug me and show that like Tim Sullivan he is not very familiar with the V series. This book had an interesting story but the gruesome eating, the way everyone seems to meekly accept their fate and the general gloomy tone make it one of my lesser favorite in the series.

So this was the last in the Pinnacle/Tor series from the ’80s. The five books released by Tor two years later apparently didn’t result in a renewed interest in the series. There were no more new books released. J. Michael Straczynski the creator of Babylon 5 did write a pilot for a revival for the series. Obviously it was never picked up but he did indicate that he would like to make in into a book. You can read the first three scenes here. Since its been twenty years I am not optimistic of this project ever happening.

My final thoughts are that the book series quality was from excellent to not very good. Still I think the majority of the books were well written. Even the bad books I have a nostalgic fondness for. I really enjoyed the concept of the V series and the books were my favorite. I would always anxiously await for the new book to come out. They explored other parts of the world that the TV series never did and I always found them enjoyable. Its brought back some fond memories rereading these books.

Well before a write the epitaph to this series there was an unexpected entry twenty years later. And no it had nothing to do with the rebooted series. Stay tuned for next weekend for my final review of the V books.

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