TANNHAUSER OPERATION: NIGHT EAGLE BY BLAINE LEE PARDOE

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Copyright 2012.

Operation Night Eagle is the ambitious undertaking of Von Heizinger and his Obscura Corp to grab artifacts that have mystical powers and could win the war. Under cover of a massive Reich raid on the U.S. East Coast his mixed demon Shocktruppen and fifth columnists sneak into Washington D.C. The first goal is to steal from the Smithsonian the cross of Juan de San Martin. Luckily Major John McNeal and his 42nd Union marines have found out his plan after raiding his HQ in occupied France. They manage to foil his plans. So he continues to the next objective. A runestone located in Kensington, Minnesota. The runestone is supposed to contain the spirits of the Norse gods including Loki.

At this time the Matriarchy under Irina has crossed the polar icecap and landed in Northern Canada. Their objective is also to recover the Runestone. Eventually the three groups meet up in Kensington for one big battle to determine who gets the runestone.

So the second book in this series takes us to the United States and Canada. This one has plenty of action with many battles. Von Heizinger uses his occult powers to take control of people and bring down a massive snowstorm to give him cover. The Matriarchy has its Tesla made energy shields and guns. Also they use polar bears. And of course the Union has its alien tech including jet packs. We get General Patton who is still alive and Undersecretary of Defense for the Union being Patton. All for some cheezy tourist attraction in some boondock Minnesota town. Another enjoyable book in the series of Great War never ending.

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TANNHAUSER RISING SUN, FALLING SHADOWS BY ROBERT JESCHONEK

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Copyright 2012.

Union agents in Tokyo find out about a mission undertaken by the Shogunate. It is lead by the Reich’s Generalleutant Von Heizinger the leader of the Obscura Korps, the special occult unit. The Union wants to know what they are after so assign Major McNeal and his elite 42th Marines to find out. The trip leads to the Kamchatka peninsula. The Union joins forces with a renegade unit of the Matriarchy called the New Guard. The mission leads to an active volcano and a captive pagan god. The potential power unleashed could bring the Union to destruction.

So this is the first in a trilogy of books from the Tannhauser universe. Tannhauser is a French board game that takes place in an alternate reality where the Great War never ended. So in this book it is 1954 and the First World War has been going for over forty years. During this time occult forces have been discovered and weird technology. Sort of a wild idea having the Great War continue for so long. In reality I doubt such a war would since both sides would basically run out of men to fight it which is what happened in reality. If you overlook the implausible reality this can be a fun series. So basically the sides correspond to the main players of WWII.

There is the Reich which is Germany and its allies. They are basically Nazis without being Nazis. The are ruled by the lich Kaiser and have turned to the dark occult. So they have demon soldiers and magic. The central baddie is Von Heizinger who is probably over a century old and heads the Obscura Korps.

They have been fighting The Union which is the alliance of western democracies of Europe and North America. It is lead by President Thomas Edison. Now Edison died in 1931 at the age of 84. So in 1954 he would be 106. So you wonder how he stayed alive for so long. Sounds like he is president for life. The main good guy is Major John McNeal of the 42th Union Marine special forces. The Union has salvaged technology from the Roswell crash and relies on advanced gadgets and weapons.

The Matriarchy is the Russian Empire ruled by Czarina Anastasia and her husband Rasputin known as the Dark Angel. They seem to have avoided the war. They have turned to worship of the pagan Slavic gods of old and combine magic with technology developed by Nicola Tesla. They seem to still have a kind of Communist organization to their society only based on pagan church and run by holy Commissars. The main character is Irina Kravchenko who can sing mystical liturgies that instill fear in their enemies and bravery in their troops.

Finally there is the Shogunate. Japan was in a civil war during this time when the emperor tried to depose the samurai. He came out on top to some unknown science and with a powerful Shogun now rules Japan. Recently they have invaded China and allied themselves to the Reich. They also seem to dabble in the occult.

So the first book was an engaging read with interesting characters. The wilds of Kamchatka make an interesting setting. Also their is a mysterious mercenary named Wolf who is working for the pagan god. He is a constant throughout the books and works for all sides with a mysterious unknown motive. This weird world war makes for an interesting read and glad I took a chance when I found the books at Half Price.

THE ROURKE CHRONICLES 2 DEMONS AND MONSTERS BY JERRY AHERN SHARON AHERN BOB ANDERSON

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Copyright 2017.

The continuation of Paul Rubenstein’s account of his early adventures with John Rourke after the Night of the War. So Paul, John and Natalia have reunited with Natalia bringing a message for John from her uncle. Unfortunately they get sidetracked after Captain Cole wounds Natalia. They find themselves on a nuclear submarine headed to the new west coast. There they are to find six ICBMs that survived the war. Only the new west coast is swarming with a crazy religious cult. Also Cole is not on a mission from U.S. II but has his own agenda. He is a white supremacist who plans to use the missiles to destroy Chicago and thus the Soviet occupation. Luckily Rourke and friends foil this mission.

Then Rourke finds his family but has a more serious problem. The Earth is doomed with the ionization of the atmosphere. Soon it will burst into flames and end all life. But General Ismael Varakov gives Rourke a way to save his family. Colonel Rozzdestvesnskiy of the KGB is building the Womb. At the former site of Norad he plans to go into suspended animation and emerge five centuries later to rule the world. He will shoot down the Eden Project a plan by the western democracies to repopulate the Earth with select people put into suspended animation and send out on a long orbit of the solar system. Rourke, Natalia and a combined Soviet Spetsnaz unit and U.S. unit manage to destroy the Womb and Rourke and his family go into suspended animation as the Earth bursts into flames.

The second volume of the Rourke Chronicles is once again a rehash of Survivalist books this time #6-9. This time they had to include some other method of telling the story since Rubenstein wasn’t involved in #8-9. So the authors resort to mostly interviews with Rourke and some salvaged records by archeologists. Mostly notes from U.S. II, Rozdestvesnskiy’s dairy and General Valkov’s notes. Some of these were interesting but for the most part nothing really new was explored in the book. Just like the last one it was mostly a rehash of the original books and didn’t have much new. I recommend to get the original books and just forego this series.

BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY NOVELLA 1 LO, THE RINGS OF SATURN BY ANDREW E.C. GASKA

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Copyright 2016.

The Earth is slowly recovering from the nuclear holocaust in the twentieth century. Thanks in large part to the discovery of Archaea. A microorganism that is crucial to the ecosystem. It has been found on Enceladas a moon of Saturn. A Dr. Maximus a computer disk in charge of the operation has been having trouble with the shipments. He has also requested additional security forces. So the Earth Directorate sends Buck Rogers and Wilma Deering undercover to investigate. While there they find that Dr. Maximus is using the inmates from a nearby penal colony as slave labor. Now Buck finds himself among criminals he put away and has to battle the mad Dr. Maximus. Meanwhile Princess Ardala is recalled to her fathers palace along with her thirty-nine sisters. The Emperor Draco is dying and has decided to make Ardala his successor. His last wish is for Ardala to use a new weapon that will destroy the Earth and save the empire which is in danger of starving.

This was a surprise to find a new Buck Rogers book based on the TV series. Its been almost forty years and this series while fondly remembered is also somewhat obscure and forgotten. Thankfully Gaska has taken on the task of giving us some new material. Its amazing that such stuff is getting a revival after all these years. Gaska’s writing feels just like a TV episode of the series. At 125 pages it is also a short but fun read.

So this is the first of the Draconian Fire trilogy that is to bridge the gap between the first and second seasons. The second season had a drastic re-imaging with a new setting and cast. While it can be argued that the second season had better writing I still really loved the first and don’t know why they changed it to a Star Trek clone. So now we get our answers and what happened to the old cast. The second was supposed to come out this August but has still been delayed. Hopefully it will come out soon.

BUCK ROGERS #2 THAT MAN ON BETA BY ADDISON E. STEELE

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Copyright 1979.

Buck Rogers has settled in to the future but still something is missing. He wants to know if any descendants of his are still alive. Against orders he secretly goes out into Anarchia to search for any records that show any of his family survived the holocaust. He finds a lead from the leader of a group of gypsies of an old wise hermit who lives in a cave by Mount Rushmore. Trading Dr. Theopolis to the gypsy leader he finds out about a repository located in the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City. But when he arrives at the temple he is captured and taken to Beta Vilnius. For you see the gypsies and other people he got clues from were Draconian agents. Oh and they also manage to kidnap Wilma Deering so they now have Dr. Theopolis, Colonel Deering and Buck.

Kane and a professor Von Norbert want Buck because of a unique antibody that existed in twentieth century humans that no longer exists. They want Buck to impregnate thousands of women so he can pass on this unique antibody. Then the children will be growth accelerated into full grown soldiers. Thus they can have soldiers to win their war with the Gregorians whose system has a disease that is killing off their soldiers. But of course Princess Ardala want Buck all to himself. Then there is Wilma who is madly in love with him. This guy has is tough in the future. He still manages to escape, rescue his friends and defeat the evil Draconian plot.

So they decided to put out a second book based on the TV series. This one was an unused script written by Bob Shane and put out before the series hit the airwaves. Boy is it pure seventies with its CB slang talking gypsies. I suppose they decided to drop this script because of all the blatant sexual overtones in a prime time TV series of the seventies. Actually it could be too that it is bad. I mean really bad. The weird convoluted plot for Buck to be obsessed with finding his relatives. Didn’t know the Mormon church was keeping genetic records on everyone. Then of course there are the young women that the Draconians want Buck to impregnate. They are five year olds that have been accelerated to adulthood. That is just creepy.

The book was written before the series came out so it doesn’t feel like the show. He describes Dr. Huer as a bald headed man with glasses which they cast someone like that. I did find the parts happening in the post-wastelands of Anarchia interesting. That was something I found interesting in the pilot that they never bothered to explore further in the series. So from a historical standpoint it is interesting to see what kind of scripts they rejected. Otherwise not much to recommend this book.

BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY BY ADDISON E. STEELE

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Copyright 1978.

The year is 1987 and NASA launches its last deep space probe. Ranger 3 and Captain William “Buck” Rogers encounters a meteor storm and it freezes Buck in suspended animation as his ship goes into an orbit around the solar system. An orbit that will take five hundred years to return to Earth. In five hundred years he is found by the Draconians an intergalactic empire. They are on a peace mission to Earth but in reality plan to conquer the planet. Killer Kane and Princess Ardala decide to use Buck to find a way through the Earth’s defenses.

So Captain Rogers returns to Earth and finds it has been devastated in a nuclear holocaust back in the twentieth century. They think he is a spy for the space raiders and banish him along with two droids who backed him into Anarchia. The nuclear ruins of Chicago that are overrun by mutants. Luckily the Earth directorate figures out a use for him and rescues him. Thus Buck manages to infiltrate the Draconian ship and single handedly destroy their ship and expose the invasion plan.

This is the adaptation of the Buck Rogers pilot for the TV series. It was from a screenplay by Glen Larson and Leslie Stevens. Fresh off of Battlestar Galactica Larson recycled the effects and some props for this classic series. He also released the pilot as a theatrical movie to generate interest. This series has been described as a disco series in space. A bit harsh but probably accurate. It was a cheezy but fun series that was basically a James Bond in space. Buck Rogers would single handedly save the day against overwhelming odds. This with his wise cracking droid Twiky and Colonel Wilma Deering in a sexy skintight spandex uniform.

So the book is written by Richard A. Lupoff under the pen name Steele. It is a competent adaptation. Not much new. We get a little glimpse into the launch of Buck’s ship in 1987. Apparently gas was $4 a gallon so the apocalypse was not to far away. The Anarchia scene has them banishing Buck where in the movie he went out on his own initiative to find out what happened to his family. This was probably the original screenplay and you can see where some stuff that didn’t work out was dropped in the final product. An enjoyable little bit of nostalgia.

THE SURVIVALIST #35 BLOOD MOON BY JERRY AHERN SHARON AHERN BOB ANDERSON

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Copyright 2018.

Michael Rourke finally finds his father John Rourke. John has been captive with an alien race of grays that decide to release him. So now John finds out the dire situation of the world. Of the assassination of Wolfgang Mann the leader of New Germany. The alliance by a faction of the alien KI with nationalist Russians. The death of his newborn son to the alien virus. The biggest threat is the global cabal that is about to seize the world’s governments. Luckily Michael and his family have been planning ahead as he taught them. Michael already has a secret cavern in Missouri set up to operate from. So finally the whole Rourke family fake their death as the insidious global cabal seizes the US government.

There was a glitch on Amazon so I was able to be one of the lucky that ordered this book before it was supposed to be officially released. Finally John Rourke after being absent for the last two books is now part of the story. I think Sharon and Bob are finally getting comfortable with the story. It is a lot more tightly written. Their first books were a bit scattered all over the place and somewhat weird. We finally have an understanding of the enemy. Both the alien factions and the globalist cabal that is pulling the strings. I am enjoying this revived series and think that Jerry would be proud to see his creating continuing on after his death.