Copyright 1990.

It is the far future of 2064 and in this alternate timeline, the CoDominium an organization formed by the United States and Soviet Union keep the peace on the colony worlds. John Christian Falkenberg is a young captain sent with his unit of CD marines to Arrarat. The colony has trouble with the various bandit gangs. Made up of forced colonists dumped by Earth, they have taken over vast areas of the countryside and extorting the main settlement with high prices for food. His men have to clear them out while fighting the treachery of the local administration. Told mostly through the eyes of a young lieutenant.

Years later Falkenberg is dismissed from service due to budget cuts. Along with his 42nd CD regiment they form a mercenary group called Falkenberg’s Mercenary Legion. Yet he secretly works for Admiral Lermontov of the fleet to help bring stability to the colonies as the nations of Earth gear toward all-out war. First his Legion goes to Hadley a colony world about to gain independence. The world is flooded with forced colonists from Earth who are about to take over. They would basically ruin the economy and the society would descend into barbarism. Falkenberg manages to successfully establish a government that is stable at the expenses of killing many of the opposition.

Then it is off to New Washington, a colony of dissidents from a colony of dissidents. The parent colony of Franklin has hired mercenaries to suppress the local revolt. Falkenberg’s Legion hires on to the rebel government. Along the way, Falkenberg finds true love and successfully maneuvers himself as the sole army on the colony.

This book is actually two books combined from the seventies. West of Honor and The Mercenary. Obviously, there is some stuff that is dated. A Soviet Union surviving into the 21st century didn’t come close to happening. Also discovering interstellar travel in 2010 and colonizing worlds by 2020 seems centuries away as of 2022. What still is timeless is the two things that Pournelle was a genius at, the politics and war. The politics are very believable and nowadays seem uncomfortable closes to reality. The US is governed by the Unity party which is the Democrats and Republicans joining forces to solidify their hold. A corrupt system propped up by a combination of welfare, repression, ballot box stuffing and dumping troublemakers off world. All against a growing rise of nationalism that threatens all out nuclear war. Anyone these days can see that the wheels of the current world order are coming off. We just don’t have any colonies on other planets to dump malcontents. So, if we blow ourselves up, that’s it for the human race.

The other parts I love are his battle scenes. They have a fast-paced realism to them. He has a knack for this, and one scene is credited as based on a real-life battle of Lt. Zeneke Asfaw, Ethiopian Imperial Guard during the Korean War. The Falkenberg novels are my favorite of his works and I highly recommend them.


Copyright 1979.

The Road runs through time from the far past to the unimaginable future. The Dragons of Bel’kwinith built this road for their own unfathomable reasons. People throughout time have managed to find this road and travel it. Red Dorakeen travels it in an old beat-up Dodge pickup. Started traveling as an old man and now much younger continues. He has a computer book named Flowers as his only companion.

Now an old friend has decided to put a contract out on Red. The Black Decade is a rule of the Road that you can have ten attempts to kill someone. Now he has to fight off a variety of assassins including a warrior monk, a cybernetically enhanced veteran of WWIII, an abandoned alien robot and the Marquis De Sade riding a cybernetic T-Rex. All comes to a conclusion at the last exit to Babylon.

This is the second Zelazny book I read and enjoyed it as much as the first. I loved the idea of this road that goes throughout time and has these various eclectic individuals that populate it. The book is organized by chapters all labeled one and two. One being the viewpoint of Red and Two the viewpoint of the various supporting characters. A fun read but it did seem like something that could be an ongoing series. The book never explained why Red is aging backwards. Plus exploring the mysterious dragons is something that has possibilities. Nor did we look into the mysterious people that seem to control the Road. He never did anything with this. Still the ending was satisfying and made for a fun read.


Copyright 1995.

Buck Rogers is an accomplished pilot. In 1996 at the Oshkosh airshow, he is in an old WWI Fokker battling a Spad. There is an accident and Rogers deliberately crashes his plane to avoid crashing into the crowd. He is seriously injured so the government decides to test a new procedure. Rogers is frozen in time until some future era can save him. This future is 2429. He wakes in the Niagara orgzone which is the old Niagara area in New York. He finds out that there was a nuclear war that destroyed the world. The Mongols managed to take over the Chinese and eventually most of the world. America is not known as Amerigo and consists of North and South America. Except Chile which is a world power. An uneasy truce exists with the Mongols and Chileans.

First Buck has to defeat a faction gang called the Half Breeds by using old WWII fighters. He defeats the leader in a Messerschmidt and unites the various gangs in Amerigo. Then it’s off in a submarine to find the lost city of Atlantis. After a battle with Chilean and Mongol forces they find an alien city in time for the aliens to die. Then a big promotion to Brigadier General and it’s off to Mars to battle the Mongols and their Martian Tiger Men allies. Finally, they defeat the Mongols who were trying to terraform Venus and he exposes a traitor.

TSR decided to give us one last Buck Rogers book. It was a complete reboot of the universe and I assumed was a proposal for a new game. Martin Caidin who is probably most famous for the novel that the series The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman were based on. An accomplished aviator who has flown many different WWII and modern airplanes. I suppose the weird fighter fight between a Messerschmidt, and Mustang had a lot to do with his expertise. This was a fairly weird book. Starts off with the odd WWII fighter scene. Then we get a submarine adventure before going into space. The book reads a lot like a travelogue. A leisurely description of Roger’s travels in this new world. The book includes an insert from 1933 by Phil Nowlan and Dick Calkins. It was a children’s book from the time and gives us an overview of Buck Roger’s world. This helps to show where Caidin got his idea for this book. Many of the things and people were the basis for this book.

Some other strange stuff is that familiar characters like Killer Kane and Ardala are good guys and not the baddies like they usually are in other versions. The book on the whole was an interesting read. As one review I read states it was both interesting and boring. This is fairly true. It had some enjoyable parts, but some stuff was weighted down with too much technical detail. As far as I know TSR never did anything with this Buck Roger’s version, and I believe abandoned it. Soon after the company had financial troubles and was sold.


Copyright 1993.

Vince Pirelli and Jovanna Trask have arrived at the colony of Amalthea, one of the moons of Jupiter to search for the scientist that found the alien artifact. This takes them to the Stormriders, a race of genetically winged humans that live in the atmosphere of Jupiter. Soon the aliens from Charon arrive. They are a nanotech entity that starts to take over Amalthea. Soon it becomes apparent that all human life is in danger. NEO, RAM and all the other human worlds join forces to fight this threat. It all ends with a big final battle at Charon the moon of Pluto.

The final book in the Invaders of Charon trilogy. We get introduced to a strange race of winged creatures that can live in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter. We also get to find out what the actual invaders of Charon are. They are descended from a twenty-first century nanotech probe that crashed on Charon. This entity just kept reproducing itself and now has moved into human settled space. Keith manages to give us a fascinating story about these strange invaders.

So, this is the final book in the TSR series based on their role-playing game. This trilogy like the last never has Buck Rogers appear. I liked this strange universe and the books they created to supplement their games had a fairly consistent level of quality.


Copyright 1992.

Vince Pirelli is leading a group of NEO cadets on a training mission in the asteroid belt. They get ambushed by RAM and Pirelli’s fighter is damaged. He gets rescued by nomads a group of people that ride a giant asteroid around with a huge tree growing on it. He has been taken to add some new blood to the group. After defeating someone in combat he becomes a citizen of the group. Jovanna Trask meanwhile is part of a raid on the RAM base on Phobos to steal some advanced Krait fighters. They find out that the nomads have an alien artifact and RAM is sending a fleet to retrieve it. NEO joins forces with Black Barney to stop them. While this happens, Pirelli manages to gain control of the nomads to fight off the impending RAM attack.

The second in the Invaders of Charon trilogy. We finally find out why this trilogy is named. The artifact reveals that there is an alien civilization on Charon the moon of Pluto. The trilogy will now be finished up by William Keith. An accomplished writer even this early. He is known for military and science fiction military. Notably for the futuristic Marine books written under as Ian Douglas. He also created the Carrier and spinoff series Seal Team Seven. Not to mention my favorite the Freedom’s Rangers series with his brother. He does an excellent job of telling an exciting story filled with action and strange races.


Copyright 1992.

Twenty-one years before Buck Rogers is found, NEO is still waging their fight for independence. Agent Vince Pirelli manages to break out a woman imprisoned by RAM. Unfortunately, she is seriously wounded before reaching the safety of the Wydlin Corporation asteroid. The CEO of Wydlin had his sister freed so his father Remus would rejoin the corporation and revive the Barney Project. This project is creating gennies or genetically created humans as a form of advanced soldier. The daughter Rachel doesn’t survive but is downloaded as a digital personality. The woman who does this is Jovanna a college friend. This starts her involvement as an agent of NEO. We get to see the development of Black Barney and the other Barneys as they revolt. Twenty-one years later Vince and Jovanna are reunited to form a group to track down an alien artifact found in the outer planets.

The first in the Invaders of Charon trilogy. The last trilogy of the TSR series. This one gives us the story of how Black Barney the space pirate was created. How he and his fellow Barneys revolted. It also introduces the main characters of this trilogy in Vince Pirelli the NEO officer and Jovanna Trask the Martian that joins NEO. An interesting story and I especially enjoyed seeing the origin of Black Barney. The book is in some ways two books. The first two thirds are the origin story of the Barneys. The final sets up what will eventually be the story of the Invaders of Charon. This is the first novel of Brennan. She wrote an interesting fast paced novel that sets up the characters in the trilogy. Not sure if she wrote anything else but would check it out based on this entry.