Travis Hunter and his Freedom’s Rangers with their British allies have managed to save George Washington’s life back in 1777. Only they find that the alternate world of British North America still exists back in 2007. Whats worse is the Soviets of that time have launched an all out invasion. Hunter and his allies fight off an assault on the time facilities. Only time is running out and soon reinforcements will arrive. They research the new history and find that the Soviets must have had two teams back in 1777. The other one used modern mortars at the Battle of Saratoga to ensure a British victory. Saratoga was the first victory for the American rebellion that lead to French recognition and later direct aid. So Hunter and a mixed group of his rangers and British SAS escape back to 1777. Now they must defeat a well armed VBU presence that includes two helicopters the Soviet brought back with them.
So the authors decided to give us another story set back in 1777. Must have spent a lot of time researching the era and were really going to use it. Once again the story is fast paced and interesting. The historical setting feels very real and you learn a lot of history about the time and events that took place. Naturally they manage to defeat the Soviets and set back their own timeline. They also get a new member in Dark Walker a Sioux that can exist in the current time even though his history has been rewritten.
Travis Hunter and his Freedom’s Rangers are on a mission in 1938 to investigate possible Soviet activity. They do find the VBU agents and in a firefight their recall device is destroyed. They run across another mysterious group of British that are also time travelers from 2007. They escape through their portal and find themselves back in America. Only this America is The Dominion of North America. Seems the Soviets have successfully altered history and changed the outcome of the Revolutionary War. Back in 1777 at the Battle of Brandywine they successfully assassinate George Washington. Without his leadership the revolution collapses and Britain maintains dominance over North America. The Second World War has Hitler successfully invade Britain but the Soviets later manage to conquer Europe. Then they take on the Japanese and by 2007 most of the world is Communist.
Now the free Dominion is being pressured to surrender to the Soviets. But they also have a time travel project nicknamed The Circus located in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia. They also have plans to change history to their advantage. Hunter manages to convince them to mount an expedition back to 1777 and save Washington.
So the second book has our heroes find out the evil Soviets have once again changed history for the worst. A world without the United States. Fortunately they manage to convince their new British allies to help them even though it means wiping their reality out of existence. Once again a very well written and fast moving story. The authors did their historical research and the world of 1777 feels very real. A fun and enjoyable series.
It is 2007 and in this year the Soviets are winning. They have already conquered western Europe. A revolution in Mexico has destabilized the American government and now U.N. peacekeepers made up of Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops occupy most of the eastern United States. The western states are still part of free America and continue to resist. Lt. Travis Hunter and his ranger squad rescue a scientist and his daughter from Soviet occupied Boston and take them to a secret facility located in the Grand Teton National Park. The facility of Project Chronos or as it’s nicknamed Time Square is the last hope for America. Time travel has been perfected and with it the hope of altering history so the Soviets never become a threat.
The plan is to go back and assassinate Lenin before he is transported to Russia in 1917. The rangers carry out this task. Then the next mission is 1923 Munich. They then plan to assassinate Hitler during the Beer Hall Putsch. Thus the twin evils of Communist and Nazism will never be born. Unfortunately the Soviets have their own time travel project. The VBU the Russian acronym for Time Security Directorate has plans to shape history for Communism’s benefit. They have safely moved Lenin so he wasn’t assassinated. Now in 1923 they want Hitler’s rebellion to succeed so they can manipulate the Communists in taking over Germany. They succeed and Hunter and his rangers find themselves in an alternate 2007. One where a united Communist Germany and Russia have conquered the world. Now they must go back and stop the VBU and right history.
So this series came out in the waning days of Communism. In a way it was a holdover from the eighties and starting to show its age. Now one thing I always wondered was why the Soviets were so obsessed with changing history in this series. I mean they were already winning so why mess with things. The series was very well written. The authors had a very good grasp of history or able to fake it well enough for the casual reader who wasn’t interested in researching the facts. The time mechanics were that the change would move upstream but those sent back before the change would be unaffected. So they could go back into the future without being effected by history. One weird thing the book had was a German wondered if he killed his grandfather during their trip would he not exist. The scientist said that his grandmother would just marry someone different and he would probably have a different last name and hair or eye color. What??!! No that is not how it would work. Basic biology that the guy would just not exist. The writers must have decided on the ridiculousness of this for in the last book someone does get his grandfather killed and erases himself from history.
The series was the first for William Keith who with his brother Andrew wrote this series. Keith would go on to establish the naval action series Carrier and it’s spinoff Seal Team Seven. He also under Ian Douglas wrote about futuristic marines. Both series will someday be in this blog.
Two boy scouts Bob Tucker and Ellsworth “Brains” Baynes are going to their scout meeting. They cut through a canyon and find a time machine that was uncovered in a recent rock slide. Brains the smart one figures out how it works and the two start taking trips through time. They land in the far future of 5000 A.D. They are captured by a scouting troop. The people of the future are small, bald and toothless. To these future people the boys from 1960 look like savage cavemen. The boys make a friend in Kai a sensitive scout who is an orphan. With his help they escape and take him back to their time.
Later they pick up a young Spartan named Dion from ancient Greece. He helps train the scout troop for the annual Jamboree competition. At some time the group decides to find out who created the time machine and access the monitor that shows events anywhere in time. They find out the machine was covered up by a tribe of Indians back in pre-Columbian times. They rescue a man who is called The Widget. He used the machine from 2030. The Widget and the inventor went back to the Indian tribe to get a formula that can cure the common cold. The Widget convinces Baynes and Dion to revolt and go to the Johnstown Flood in 1889. There is a descendant of the tribe peddling the cure as a traveling salesmen. Now Tucker must somehow rescue his mutinous friends from the evil Widget as the approaching flood threatens them.
So this is another book from my childhood that I decided to seek out. This was checked out from the school library when I was in grade school. The book is a collection of serialized stories for Boy’s Life the magazine of the Boy Scouts. It appeared in the sixties and seventies and the first stories were put together in this book. Its actually a fun book to read. Naturally it has many Boy Scout themes in it. I remember the creepy future with the toothless and bald people. Finding a time machine lying around and going off exploring the past and future sounds like a real fun thing for young boys. Hell it would be fun as an adult. A fun and enjoyable read for children and adults.
Major Yoshiro Tashida and his garrison of men have been guarding the small island of Kakira for over forty years. They still think that World War II is going on with Japan fighting the allies. Occasionally a small yacht lands and the passengers are tortured and killed. So one day a typhoon brings a cruise ship to the island. Tashida thinks its an American trick and captures the boat and it’s crew and passengers. Then they proceed to torture the passengers by cutting off fingers and pulling out fingernails to get them to confess their real intentions. Oh and by the way the cruise ship was carrying a cargo of illegal AK-47s and shoulder launched surface to air missiles from China.
Into this Captain Jefferson “Oz” Davis Carson and his Night Stalkers are conducting a training mission on Guam. The report of a cruise ship being taken over and the loss of a Coast Guard ship has them go to the rescue. They get the assignment of checking this out. Finding the island has hostile Japanese they must come up with a plan to rescue the hostages and defeat these anachronistic warriors from the past.
The final book in the series is in my opinion the best in the series. Granted it is a bit goofy with having a whole garrison of Japanese from WWII still there is a historical basis in this. There were Japanese soldiers that continued on still believing that the war was going on decades later. So it has some plausible goofiness to it. I love that the Japanese are just so over the top in their evil. The guys just refuse to believe that the war is over and that these civilians are some kind of trick to get them to give up. Plus the author conveniently has them get some modern weapons to even things out.
So the series as a whole was a fun read. Each story was unique with a different setting and locations. The men of the Night Stalkers actually visited all seven continents on the planet. Some of the villains were your typical ones such as Russians, Chinese, Libyans and terrorists. They also had some more unconventional ones like an old Japanese bacteria from WWII or fanatical Japanese solders from WWII. Every story was a different unique experience and that counts for a lot with me.
The Chinese are cracking down violently on Tibetans. The new Dalai Lama is openly calling for armed revolt against Beijing. The Chinese respond by using poison gas on protesters in Lhasa. So Captain Jefferson “Oz” Davis Carson and his Night Stalkers are assigned to cross the border in Southern China and destroy the factory that manufactures the gas. They succeed but now have a bigger assignment. Major Chen has captured the Dalai Lama and holds him captive in a remote monastery. Oz and the Night Stalkers must cross the border and rescue him. They fight off Chinese jets and soldiers to team up with the local resistance to rescue him.
So the eighth book in the series has our guys in Tibet. Well this was the nineties I suppose and the recent Gulf War victory had the feeling we could do anything. Including sending troops into China so casually. Now this was just after Tiananmen Square and fiction was filled with the possibility of a Chinese Civil war. Needless to say Tibet is firmly under Chinese control and likely to remain so. Also the Dalai Lama is still a pacifist and the militant Dalai Lama was not realistic.
Otherwise the story itself was an enjoyable action read. They still have helicopters take on fighter jets with ease. Now the J-6 was an obsolete piece of junk back then but still a very formidable aircraft against helicopters. The book also has an interesting look at Tibetan culture. Did you know that they greet one another by sticking their tongues out. A black tongue signifies that a person is a murderer so you stick out your tongue to show you aren’t a murderer. Learn something new every day.
So another MSTK3K live show came into town. Naturally I went down to the Miller High Life Theater in downtown Milwaukee to watch. This one was a martial arts film from the eighties starring a young Jean Claude Van Damm. So it starts out at a karate dojo where some evil guy and his henchmen from New York have come to L.A. to take over the karate business. Why they’re doing that is unclear but it must be important.
Evil guys out to take over karate.
First off is they have to have Van Damme beat up the owner and break his leg. As an added bonus he then humiliates the young son.
Van Damme easily putting the teen in his place.
So the father packs up the family, loads the station wagon and heads to Seattle. There they settle into a home where the teen can continue to train in martial arts. He has the garage all set up with a ball hanging from the ceiling and a poster of Bruce Lee. He also makes friends with R.J. a guy who can dribble a basketball while riding a bike and break dance.
R.J. a break dancing Micheal Jackson wannabe.
But things aren’t all that perfect in the suburbs of Seattle. There is a gang of thirtysomething bullies that are always picking on R.J. Lead by a very hefty bully with a healthy appetite, they terrorize our friends and the father who now bartends.
Chunk from the Goonies all grown up.
There is some bright spots in our heroes life. A hot chick he knows has also apparently moved to Seattle. He goes to her birthday party but finds that the girl’s brother is friends with the local bullies. One of the bullies is in love with the hot chick and with the evil fat guy proceed to throw cake, punch and toss him around like a like boy. He goes running home. Now so far there is nothing but retreating and surrendering in this film. But stay with it.
Ghost of Bruce Lee and one of his goofy teaching moments.
He gets home and his father is all pissed off that he was involved in a fight. He goes nuts and throws out the karate magazines and horror of horrors tears the Bruce Lee poster. This gets the teen to run away to R.J.’s place. There he sets up a new training place. Lo and behold the ghost Bruce Lee shows up. An Asian guy that looks nothing like him gives the kid sound sage advice through beatings on the head and goofy analogies with glasses of water and soda.
Example of the intense hardcore training he undertakes.
Well what follows is endless montage of training to an eighties synth beat. Apparently this works for he later able to save his father from a gang of hooligans lead by fat bully. His father begins to understand that maybe fighting has a place after all. Well then comes the big fighting event. The evil guy comes to town with Van Damme to beat up the locals.
Van Damme intimidating the competition with his confidence.
Naturally he kicks every ones butt. He brutally beats them all and even the referee. While beating on the hot chick’s brother the girl tries to hit him with a stool.
Grabbing the hot chick’s hair.
Well this motivates our hero who jumps into the ring. He proceeds to give Van Damme a major beating that is rightfully deserved.
Hero to the rescue.
Naturally he wins and ends with the crowd lifting him up.
Wow was this a fun movie to riff on. The laughs were loud and plentiful. I don’t remember seeing this but they churned out so much crap back in the home video boom that even I couldn’t keep up with it. I loved this movie. It was quintessential eighties action movie. This one was if you took The Karate Kid and Rocky IV. Put it in a blender and dumped it over Van Damme’s head. This was also Joel Hodgson’s final live tour so they gave him a fond farewell at the end.