EARTHBLOOD 3 AURORA QUEST BY JAMES AXLER

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Copyright 1994.

The survivors of the USSV Aquila continue north on their quest for the mysterious Aurora. Their General Zelig leads a government group that could rebuild the Earth after the devastation of the Earthblood blight. The various groups have their run ins with the dangers of this lawless world. They eventually link together and continue on. Only the Hunters of the Sun lead by the sadistic Margaret Trabor are still hot on their trail. She mounds an expedition after them as Zelig mounts one to intercept them. A traitor in the group exposes their location and it ends with a big battle in Oregon.

The final book in the trilogy comes to an end. After the Soviet Union collapses there was a scramble to come up with new ways the world could end. Lawrence James crafted a unique and enjoyable scenario. As I said before the books aren’t dated at all and you can still believe this world of 2040 thirty years later. It had a diverse range of characters that were believable. A great villain that gets her comeuppance at the end. Some people die and some live but it ends on a hopeful note.

EARTHBLOOD 2 DEEP TREK BY JAMES AXLER

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Copyright 1994.

Some of the surviving crew members of the USSV Aquila have made it to Calico on November 15. A Chinook helicopter arrives and tells the group they are going to go to the secret base Aurora. Before they can land though the helicopter is shot down by men with a symbol of a silver arrow through the sun. The helicopter only told them that the base was located north. Speculating the base is located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest the group splits up into three and heads off to search for it. Along the way they find out the mysterious group that shot down the helicopter are called The Hunters of the Sun. A secret cabal of powerful individuals that formed the group to take over the world. Lead by Margaret Tabor a psychopath that enjoys killing they hunt the members of the Aquila. Henderson McGill a member who found his extended family safe in Connecticut has have to fight off the various raiders. They decide to also head out to California. Soon all groups have various adventures with the various inhabitants and Hunters of the Sun.

The second book establishes what the survivors goals are in this new world. Namely their old general is in charge of a secret government project to rebuild the world. They also have the main opposition. The Hunters of the Sun lead by a completely evil villain. A woman who in collage killed some of the men who made fun of her middle name Dildow. This is what brought her to the attention of the head man. She eventually became his lover than killed him with poison to take over the organization. Some other main characters that stand out are Nanci Simms the sixty year old CIA agent that joined up with the crew. Jim Hilton the commander with his surviving twin daughter. Henderson McGill who finds his family and takes them on the journey. It has a diverse cast of characters that seem believable with their own strengths and weaknesses. Also can’t believe how this book still doesn’t feel dated after all these years. Could have been written yesterday.

EARTHBLOOD BY JAMES AXLER

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Copyright 1993.

The year is 2040 and the USSV Aquila is returning from a two year mission in deep space. The crew of twelve is in suspended animation. As they approach Earth the computer revives them. Only their is no response from the Earth. One of the crew has died in suspended animation and they wonder why mission control didn’t do anything. The Earth also has a red color to it. So they are forced to land by themselves at the base in Nevada.

The ship crashes and kills half the crew. The survivors find the base in ruins. Soon they discover that while out in space a plant cancer used as a weapon in the Middle East has devastated all plant life on Earth. Known as Earthblood it kills all plant life and turns it a reddish color. With the collapse of the food chain civilization has totally collapsed. They find a cryptic message from their commander General John Kennedy Zelig that they should rendezvous at the small California town of Calico on November 15. The crew decides to split up into groups and find out what happened to their families. So the crew have various adventures in this post-apocalyptic world. They find some of their family. Some die. The survivors gather at the town of Calico to await what happens next.

This was a trilogy by Lawrence James who wrote in many genres. He is best well known for the Deathlands series that he developed and wrote the first thirty some books. Using the same house name James Axler he crafts an enjoyable and believable new apocalyptic world. There is probably nothing more scary than starvation. He has a very scary world in this series. Also one that isn’t dated. Considering its still twenty years in the future it has no stuff that would date it as written in the nineties. Making it a story still believable and relevant after almost thirty years. The first book sets up this world and the characters are established. A good start to this trilogy.

C.A.D.S. #12 TECH ASSASSINS BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1991.

The C.A.D.S. under Colonel Dean Sturgis have successfully rescued President Williamson from The Lenin. What they didn’t know is he has already been brainwashed while a prisoner. Programmed to find the nuclear reactor at Hardbase Alpha and then wait for the miniature nuclear bomb implanted in him to go off. So Sturgis and his men must fight other guards at the base who were ordered by the President to stop them. After a whole bunch of fights that take up the first third of the book they manage to stop the President. They get the bomb taken out of him and have him deprogrammed. This incident has given the President the idea that a new Continental Congress should be convened to declare a second Declaration of Independence.

Needless to say evil Supreme Marshal Veloshnikov goes nuts over this idea. Aboard his new super sub The Leonid Breshnev he begins an all out attack on the free communities scattered across a devastated post-nuke America. Such units as Supreme Soviet Death Division, Black Raskolnikov Brigade and my favorite- Sergeivitch Ivanovsky Bolkenskvo Spetnaz Brigade for the Utter Destruction of American Freedom and National Sovereignty. Yow what a mouthful. So the C.A.D.S. have to come to the rescue. They meet the Soviets in a big endless battle that takes up the second half of the book. After endless fighting the C.A.D.S. come out victorious. At the end the congress meets and broadcasts via a giant holographic image up in the sky. Veloshnikov sits in front of the TV glowering and thinking up his next brilliant plan to destroy America.

We never do find out his brilliant plan for this was the last in the series. It’s a bit ironic that the books ends with him saying “Death to America. Long live the Soviet Union.” This book came out December of 1991 the year that the Soviet Union was officially dissolved. So that event pretty much sounded the death knell for books like this. In this case it was probably a mercy that the series was finally put out of it’s misery. Although it may have been heading there anyway. I gave up on this series with the last book. Only recently did I find this book at Half Price to complete my collection. I didn’t miss anything all those years.

This was a really bad book. I mean it is filled with a constant stream of such cringe worthy dialogue as “Attack these putrid Yankee scum suckers, brave comrades,” or “Your doltish American taunts fall on deaf ears, craven imperialist lackeys.” Now this series started out pretty good. A solid if absurd little post-nuke action adventure. Now like most of these series they tend to go off in some very weird tangents. Which it was doing under it’s original creator Ryder Syvertson. It took the replacement with David Alexander to bring the series to a whole new level of crap. Still his crappy writing was good for a few laughs. Although it was probably good that the series ended before my brain turned to complete mush from reading too much of this.

C.A.D.S. #11 DEATH ZONE ATTACK BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1991.

The C.A.D.S. under Colonel Dean Sturgis are on the offensive. They attack Fortress Kerensky which lies on the ruins of St. Louis. After defeating the invaders by creating an artificial tornado they take the fortress intact. Seems the Soviets are not doing well. So Marshal Veloshnikov the evil leader decides to hold a bogus peace conference. President Williamson goes to meet the puppet Soviet premier at Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg has been converted to the first Communist theme park called Stalinland. Sounds like something the Antifa crowd would enjoy. Anyway it turns out to be a set up. The puppet premier had a small nuclear bomb implanted in him. The President escapes but is captured and taken to the giant saucer sub Lenin. Also the Soviets launch a two prong attack from Siberia into Alaska and Mexico into the Southwest. C.A.D.S. manage to stop both. Then they go to the Lenin and rescue the President.

OK so this book was just nuts. It had the typical endless scenes of fighting with high tech helicopters, jet fighters and hovertanks with lasers and missiles against the super C.A.D.S. Also a special appearance by the Greysuits who are clearly inferior. There is very little wasted on plot and character development. The President’s capture is casually devoted one whole sentence. Don’t want to get too wordy about stuff not involving high tech fights. He does have a moment where Veloshnikov stops on an island in Nova Scotia with the President to have a talk. Its whole purpose seemed to show how truly evil Veloshnikov is. He takes the time to bash a baby seal to death with a rock. Then takes an assault rifle and slaughters all the others just for fun. Yes this guy kills baby seals for the fun of it. How evil can you get? Also the giant sub Lenin has all of a sudden lost it’s traditional sub shape and become a giant saucer. The C.A.D.S. easily manage to destroy it and free the President. Of course evil Veloshnikov escapes in his mach 20 escape craft and plots how to destroy the evil Amerikanski.

Now surprisingly the editor must have woken up for the glaring grammatical errors weren’t present in this book like the past two. In fact this had some of the most glorious passages to date. For instance the description of the deaths from the artificial tornado.

First their eyeballs squirted from the sockets of their skulls. Then their teeth flew out of their gaping mouths. Finally all the blood in their veins emptied out through their noses, eyes, dicks and assholes.

Wow what a visual. There’s more.

Clapping his hands on full servo power, Sturgis send a miniature sonic boom thundering in their direction. The supersonic clap shattered the Russians’ eardrums and made blood squeezed from their rupturing brains spurt from their nostrils with such fantastic pressure that it blew their noses clean off their faces in a shower of sticky red glop.

But wait. There’s still more.

A second supersonic clap and the eyeballs of the hapless Russians squirted from their socket, hanging uselessly down their faces on twisted white nerve threads. A third and final thunderclap from Sturgis and their hearts exploded in their chests, causing their bodies to explode.

Well nothing like being thorough. The book had writing like this throughout. It was glorious to read such incredible descriptive writing. Oh and one final little quote I enjoyed. A Greysuit has one final curse before he buys it.

The colonel muttered a Ukrainian peasants oath that damned the American to a thousand lifetimes in hell picking dirt from between the devil’s toes and sucking the eternally shitting assholes of the damned.

Now there is a curse that is creative. Go ahead and use it instead the more pedestrian “Go to Hell” or “Fuck you”.

C.A.D.S. #10 RECON BY FIRE BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1990.

Colonel Dean Sturgis after his wife was killed has been living in the desert as a hermit. One day he goes into Crasburn, Texas which on the Mexican border. Suddenly the town is attacked by the forces of New Aztlan. Sturgis comes out of his self pity and inspires the residents to fight back against the invaders. It also reawakens his patriotism so he goes back to Hardbase Alpha. Well naturally they reinstate him back in command of the C.A.D.S. unit. He also convinces the President of the new threat. So he gets to take his unit down to Guatemala and recon the situation.

First they decide to help out a patron who runs a plantation against some giant mutant preying mantis. While Sturgis and some of this men battle the creatures the patron decides to betray those left behind and capture them while they are out of their suits. Fortunately Sturgis manages to defeat the mutant mantis with atomic hand grenades. Then come back and rescue his men. They continue on to the Golden Citadel of the Great and Powerful Moctezuma.(He’s never just the plain Moctezuma.) After a big fight against his high tech hordes of Aztec warriors they manage to destroy his citadel. Only the Great and Powerful Moctezuma manages to escape in his private jet pod.

Well this was a bit different from the past books. David Alexander decided to take a break from fighting the evil Soviet invaders for the evil Aztec invaders. Those damn Aztecs. Always causing trouble with their human sacrificing and hording gold. So apparently the dictator of Guatemala decided after the war to be the reincarnation of the Great and Powerful Moctezuma. With his stockpile of gold from drug dealing he manages to acquire vast reserves of high tech weapons. His ultimate goal of course is world conquest. We get a nod to Syvertson in the obligatory scene of the C.A.D.S. letting down their guard with a supposed friend and getting captured out of their suits. Otherwise the book was just one big exercise in constant fights with high tech gadgets. We get all sorts of helicopters and missiles and rocket bullets for AK-47s. Oh and the C.A.D.S. now have nuclear hand grenades. Wow what I great idea. Wonder why nobody ever thought of that brilliant idea before. Surprisingly they manage to work well for the C.A.D.S. So once again the world is safe from the evil Aztecs although the glaring grammatical errors still continue.

C.A.D.S. #9 SUICIDE ATTACK BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1990.

After the destruction of Ft. Collins the C.A.D.S. under Colonel Dean Sturgis go on the offensive. They split into three groups to attack major Soviet bases in the west. One under Sturgis attacks Ft. Kharkov in Colorado. Another hits a base in Utah that are harvesting Americans for their organs to give to the Soviet elite. The third to hit a base in California. Only this group somehow gets lost after hijacking a Soviet APC and ends up in Salt Lake City. The city is controlled by mutant bikers and they have some important prisoners they were selling to the Soviets. It turns out the guys were from a secret U.S./CIA base called Hardbase Alpha. This base was a weapons research base in a huge cavern under the Nevada desert. So now America has a new base as HQ in their fight against the Russians.

Anyway after they destroy the bases they find out the evil plan of Supreme Marshall Veloshnikov. He plans to saturate the southwest with massive neutron bombs that will destroy the C.A.D.S. So they go their and destroy the base. Oh yeah and there was subplot where Robin, Sturgis’s wife was captured by the evil KGB major Denisov. He wires her with explosives and detonates them in front of Sturgis. He was hoping to drive Sturgis insane which he did but unfortunately it drove him so insane he defeated Denisov’s troops. Then Sturgis cuts off Denisov’s ears for a necklace. At the end Sturgis is so depressed he starts drinking. After FIVE bottles of White Lightning and still being conscious( I guess all that sex must fortify the metabolism)he has a tizzy fit when he hears his men talk about his problem. So after his drunken fit he goes out in the desert to live in a cave.

So big changes in the series. For one Ryder Syvertsen was replaced by David Alexander as the writer. Now Alexander of Phoenix fame (a book series that will definitely be covered later) makes Syvertsen look like Hemmingway. This guys is just incredibly a bad writer. Its also obvious he could care less. With all the grammatical errors at this stage neither did the editor. They must have needed a new writer for this series and Alexander could just crank one out.

He did keep the major characters but made some changes. First was he changed the color of the suits from black to silver. Now they were called Silversuits. Never mind they never had any time to upgrade their suits from the last book. Also he decided to get rid of Robin. Now that actually made sense. The character was very boring. Plus the fact that Sturgis was always banging other women made her being his one true love not very sincere. He did introduce a new female doctor for the unit. Vicky Novack was described a women with the body of a showgirl. Yet nothing ever came of a future romance.

In fact under Alexander there was no more sex for Sturgis. His writing style is one of just unending action sequences. Filled with fights against helicopters, fighters and hover tanks all armed with a variety of lasers and missiles. There are acronym filled weapons systems aplenty. All this action can’t find any room for that useless stuff like plot or character development. This is definitely where the series went downhill.

C.A.D.S. #8 CYBERTECH KILLING ZONE BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1989.

Colonel Dean Sturgis and this C.A.D.S. have made it to White Sands and find that the Soviets have dropped a biological weapon on the site. Fortunately they were able to close the doors before the germs were able to get into the base. Yet the site is now compromised so they evacuate just before the Soviets drop a nuke on the base. Their destination is the new base they discovered in the last book. Fort Collins has a wealth of tech that could be used in the fight against the invading Soviets. Meanwhile in Soviet occupied South Carolina the reverent Jerry Jeff Jeeters has been found out to be an American agent and escapes to the resistance. He tells the Revengers of the imminent attack on White Sands and they mount an expedition to warn them. Unfortunately a tad too late.

So the C.A.D.S. with the survivors of White Sands meet up with a community lead by the Saloonkeeper. The guy was part of a western being shot and looks like John Carradine. His group are also cannibals and capture the C.A.D.S. using gallons of glue they spray on them. Then they plan to use the captives as meat. Sturgis, Dixon and the kids captured are put in veal pens and force feed to fatten them up. Luckily Dixon manages to escape and finds a National Guard unit nearby led by a former NBA player. They rescue the C.A.D.S. and continue on to Fort Collins.

Before they get their they run into Chief Naktu and his Naqui Indians. They are also joined by Reverend Jeeters and the Revengers that set out to warn them. Only now the warning is Pinky Ellis the industrialist traitor now has control over Fort Collins. He has joined forces with the cultist Anetra and together they have declared themselves Emperor and Empress of America. The forces at Fort Collins capture the group. At this time Marshall Veloshnikov comes with the intention of capturing the fort. Anyway Jeeters manages to set off the self destruct and Sturgis and his men escape before the fortress explodes.

Well just when you think this series can’t get any weirder along comes this book. Where to begin. I suppose first is how easy it is always for the guys to get captured. I mean some idiot cannibals with gallons of glue manage to disable the suits. What the hell is all this glue doing on a movie set anyway? Plus it seemed like the author had a rant against the veal industry. Pinky Ellis finds someone to fall in love with the kooky Anetra and her cult. Yet at the end he kills her because she wanted to have sex while the base was about to blow up and Pinky still wanted to live. It ended ambiguously whether Pinky survived. We do know that Veloshnikov managed to escape yet missing an eye and other injuries. Also Robin who was freeze dried and though dead has her coffin blown out and found by a prospector yet she has no memory. Oh and she also was OK with Sturgis’s other girlfriend and was going to share him with her. Man this guy has it made.

This was the last book for Ryder Syvertson in the series. He definitely went out with a bang. This was one wild and crazy book.

C.A.D.S. #7 DOOM COMMANDER BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1989.

Colonel Dean Sturgis and his C.A.D.S. strike force have successfully attacked the Kremlin. The Soviet premier is dead and the Kremlin is a heap of rubble. This decapitation of Soviet leadership has triggered a civil war as various military leaders attempt to seize power for themselves. Now the survivors are heading back home in a stolen airplane. Over Oregon they get shot down and now have to make it back to White Sands. With a minimum of ammo and supplies they head out on foot. Along the way they fight various mutant creatures and religious cultists. They make a stop at Nuke Vegas which is still going even though half the city is now a huge nuke crater. Yet the city continues on with 24 hour gambling, sex and drugs. In northern Arizona they run into the Killboys lead by Macro-Kill. This huge mechanized army of crazed psychopaths have a peaceful Indian tribe of Naqui under siege. Sturgis unites with Chief Naktu to defeat them.

So this installment of C.A.D.S. has the survivors make it back to America and have to walk to their base. Short of supplies and their suits breaking down they encounter the weird and crazy inhabitants in this post-nuke west. This was mainly a travelogue as they mosey along. It has really no fighting with the Soviets in this book. Mostly we get the typical look at the kooky societies and people that now inhabit the world. Also a trademark of these type books are the wacky Native American tribes that spring up. The Naqui are a tribe that have plenty of oil and worship an oil god. They have ceremonies where they bite off the heads of rattlesnakes. They also chainsaw the legs off a buffalo while its still alive. Now I admit to ignorance of Native customs but this is just plain nuts.

Also poor Sturgis doesn’t get any sex in this book. His wife Robin who they rescued from the Kremlin dungeons is a bit traumatized by the whole affair and not up to it. His girlfriend Sheila DeCamp is up to it but Sturgis decides it isn’t right with his wife around. Sadly Sheila gets killed in this book. Robin gets bit by a rattlesnake and falls into a coma. She is left with the Naqui as Sturgis and his men continue on to their base. A strange book but still an interesting read.

C.A.D.S #6 TECH INFERNO BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1988.

Five years after the sneak attack by the Soviets and live continues on. Yet the Soviets are still out to conquer America and drop three atomic bombs on two fledgling settlements out west and the Utah Aerodrome. The government in White Sands under President Williamson wants to retaliate but the tactical situation is grim. So they come up with a bold plan to strike at the heart of the evil Soviet empire. Colonel Dean Sturgis will lead his C.A.D.S. on a strike at the leadership in Moscow. So they get on a plane and are airdropped in the Arctic. Than they walk into Siberia and steal some transport to Moscow.

So things go fairly on plan. They have to fight off a giant mutant walrus and a pack of lobster wolves that have acid come out of their fangs. They find a small village inhabited by Uzbecs who are very anti-Soviet. They help the C.A.D.S. make it to Moscow. There they find a secret passage from Lenin’s Tomb into the Kremlin and destroy it along with the Soviet premier who started the war. Oh and Sturgis manages to rescue his wife Robin who was prisoner in the dungeon.

This book was probably the high point in the series. In fact I can’t remember what the plots were to the books that came after this. As I read them I understand why. This was a fun and enjoyable story. The group gets to attack Moscow and kill off all the cowardly leaders. There was one scene that actually had some relevance in 2020. There is a toilet paper shortage in Moscow and the gang manage to trade some for bullets. This probably struck me now in 2020 more than thirty years ago since well you know what. There was also the goofy stuff that Syvertson was know for in his writing post-nuke stories. Namely the way the Soviets seemed to adopt the practices of the Romans. In this case they crucify their dissidents. Even have an official mourner who prays for ten minutes by the victims. Then there was the torturers that use some crazy Rube-Goldberg type devices. The mutant creatures and the equally over the top evil Soviets. Another enjoyable book.