The assassination of Fidel Castro in Cuba has not made Latin America more stable. In fact the entire region is rocked with rebellion. In Nicaragua the Sandinistas are launching a military coup to overthrow the government. The Cubans has also decided to send a message to the U.S. by seizing Guantanamo. In Texas a radical militia called the Defenders of the Texas Revolution are planning on striking out. They mount an invasion of Mexico and destroy an American auto plant that they accuse of stealing American jobs. Now the Mexican government wants revenge and plans to launch its own counter-raid to destroy a factory in the U.S.
Once again a huge cast of characters as they battle these various threats. The Green Beret team has to assassinate the Sandinista coup leader on its own because the forces that were scheduled to arrive have to be diverted to Cuba. I think a lot of planned stuff wasn’t included because of the changing nature of the world after the Soviet’s collapse. The second book was supposed to deal with a U.S./Soviet conflict over Ecuador. There was a chapter at the beginning about a Chinese massacre in Tibet that lead nowhere. In fact there was nothing about the planned Vietnamese/China war or Japanese/American clandestine efforts to overthrow the government from the last book. Nor was there anything about the Middle East and its new Iran-Iraq war. It just mainly concentrated on the three hot spots in this hemisphere. The book once again seems dated except for the U.S. army being deployed to the border to deal with the flood of refugees for Latin America.
In fact I felt the author was just writing to fulfill his obligation to deliver a second book knowing that this series was finished. The book itself is OK if not really standing out in any way. I think it was a victim to the rapidly changing circumstances of the time. The idea behind this series was intriguing just not properly executed. So from a historical perspective it is interesting to read.
It is the near future and the world is going through a series of geopolitical changes. The Soviet Union has to deal with its various separatist movements. Even with the demise of both the Warsaw Pact and NATO the Russians still have dreams of world revolution. They have several plans to expand their influence and keep their rivals off balance. China is going through serious internal unrest. American and Japanese operatives are smuggling in propaganda to further destabilize the government. The Russians also plan to start a war between Vietnam and China.
In the Middle East they maneuver to gain influence with both Iran and Iraq as the two countries start another war. They also with the help of Iraq are supporting a coup as the government goes through a power struggle after the death of the king. Cuba is actively supporting the Colombian drug cartels as a Green Beret missions finds out. The U.S. wants Castro dead to stop this support. In fact the Soviets also want him dead because his country is costing them billions and they want someone who will reform the economy. All this is told through a vast cast of characters that include a Green Beret major and his Spetsnaz counterpart. A female Air Force pilot who is taken hostage by the hostile coup in Saudi Arabia and an investigative report.
So this was a new series back in the early nineties that had a very ambitious premise. That the near future would see a series of destabilizing changes and various low level armed conflicts around the world. Unfortunately it came out in December 1991 just as the Soviet Union collapses so even as I was reading it back then it seemed dated. I think he did a good job of coming to his hypothesis for the future. Cuba would have been a serious economic drain on the Soviets if they continued on so I could see them wanting to get rid of Castro. The drug trade was a hot topic then and so was a possible civil war in China after the Tiananmen Square massacre. Also the demise of NATO after the fall of the Berlin Wall was a logical speculation.
Of course history came out very differently. So this book can be read as a window into the thinking of the time. The book itself was OK. The story did drag on some places but keeps the reader interested enough to finish the book. This was written by Kevin Randle who has his official military title used to give the series a feel of authenticity. He was an Air Force intelligence officer and before that served as a helicopter pilot in the army during Vietnam. He is a prolific writer who has written such various fiction works in action, science fiction and Vietnam war series including the excellent Vietnam Ground Zero series. His big claim to fame appears to be he is an expert on UFOs and has written many non-fiction books on the subject.
So it is the thirtieth anniversary of MST3K. How time flies. The show is still going strong and has a new cast. They also have decided to go around the country and put on live performances. I was lucky enough to see one this Friday at the Riverside in Milwaukee.
So Joel Hodgson the creator joined the new captive Jonah Ray and the two robots Crow and Tom Servo. The movie they picked is this Canadian disaster known as The Brain. A 1988 horror film that is so dumb you have to see it to believe it. So basically there is this TV show called Independent Thinking. Sort of a Scientology type show but in reality is controlled by a giant brain from space. The brain is using the show to mentally control the audience. Soon the show will go nationwide.
Evil TV show. Another Oprah atrocity.
So enter our hero the Canadian Emilio Estevez. A genius but mischievous lad who likes to play pranks. Like flushing sodium down the toilet so the school’s plumbing will explode. So naturally the principal calls the parents who have the brilliant idea of turning him over to the doctor that runs the alien show. After all anyone on TV must know what they are doing. So he gets to go there and gets strapped to the mind machine. Only he is one of the few that are immune to the aliens mental mind control. Of course the side effects are hallucinating giant tentacles trying to grab you. He manages to crash his car during one of these hallucinations.
Crashes car which explodes several times.
Also the Brain gets angry at this kid getting away and decides to eat the hot doctor chick in the show’s employ. In fact the Brain loves to eat people and grows a face with shape teeth to help accomplish this.
Yum. Hot blonde chick doctor on the menu.
Brain munches down people like pretzels.
Well a lot of stuff happens. He runs around being chased by the creepy henchman with an ax. Has his girlfriend turned by her stupidly watching the TV show. Luckily it all comes to end with our hero managing to throw sodium down the Brain’s throat and watching him explode.
I definitely recommend the live experience if you have the opportunity. I hope they have more in the future.
It is the future in this dystopian America. Vampires have been outed to the world. Now one is President of the United States. Woodrow Braslov of the Social Democrats is now President for life. The military is deployed overseas to fight endless unwinnable wars. His army of Fedvamps along with militia from Muslim enclaves enforce his rule. In truth Braslov is a former Turkish officer Altan Bin Ramseur who was turned and left to die impaled on a pike by none other than Vlad Tepes aka Dracula himself. His eventual goal is a worldwide caliphate with himself as its leader.
There is a resistance. Taggart Jones a Thompson sub-machinegun toting member gets involved with Vincent Harden. Hardan a vampire since the Revolutionary War has just become the leader of the Cousinry. An ancient order of vampires that are dedicated to living in peace with humans. The two join forces to rescue Adam the world’s first vampire from captivity. Adam holds secrets that would expose Braslov and his plans.
This is the first in a series from the estate of Jerry and Sharon Ahern. Jerry had this as an idea and hired Elmore to help write it. One of the many examples where deceased authors continue to live on with others writing their creations. I loved this book. It had a fascinating dystopian future that was believable even without vampires. I know the Twilight series probably did an incredible amount of damage to vampire stories. Thankfully this helps reverse that damage. The vampires in this world are basically invincible. They are burned by direct sunlight but not killed. They instantaneously regenerate their bodies. Bullets will be popped out and limbs or eyes grow back. There was a funny scene where Harding is driving a truck and taking hits from bullets that are going through is cheek and knocking out teeth. His thoughts are this is going to hurt a lot. The only way to kill one is fire, decapitation or starving them of blood. The Cousinry feed only on animal blood. The bad guys of course prefer human. An enjoyable new series that I look forward to for the next book.
The Reich is developing a new weapon. Reichdoktor Hoss Harbinger the number two man in the Reich has developed a new device called Enigma. Enigma harnesses the powers from hell to take control of branded soldiers and turn them into one hive mind. They also can change into monsters. This weapon has the power to turn whole nations into an unstoppable army. So the Union sends in a small commando squad lead by RAF pilot Rick Cross and Lt. Caitlin “Hoax” Lamsbury. Using a prototype jet they drop into occupied Norway. There they join forces with Major Volkov of the Matriarchy. Known as the iron major the two groups mound an assault on Aesir the massive floating platform that is a combination aircraft carrier and landing craft as it assaults the city of Aberdeen. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The finally in the Tannhauser trilogy. This one decided to not use the characters of Von Heizinger and Major McNeal. Instead we get new heroes and villains which is a nice change of pace. Hoss Harbinger is some sort of immortal demi-god that has plans to eventually take over the world and destroy it. Hoax and Volkov are characters that briefly appeared in the first two books. We get a look into Britain and some of the occupied territories. Throw in a turncoat traitor, secret agents and a mercenary squad of aviators known as the Autonomous Alliance of Aces and you have a fun and exciting story.
So the series on the whole was intriguing. Based on a board game a lot of details for this alternate reality where the Great War never ended were never fully explained. The origin of the characters could still be explored. The history on why the change in history. Why is Thomas Edison over hundred? Why have they never figured out nuclear bombs since this is 1954? Many questions to explore if they decide to write any future books. I found the trilogy at Half Price Books and somehow it just called to me to buy it. Otherwise I would have never known of its existence. It must have been fate.