DOWN TO A SUNLESS SEA BY DAVID GRAHAM

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Copyright 1981.

It is 1985 in this near future world. The US dollar has collapsed and the country has run out of oil. Martial law is in effect and everyone is trying to flee the country. Jonah Scott is a captain of a 797 for Air Britain. He is in New York on a routine flight from New York to London. The passengers include a mix of refugee children, diplomats, some scientist who are attending a conference and some SAS troops that were in the country to train the National Guard. Midway in flight the news comes that Israel has retaliated for the poisoning of the Tel Aviv water supply that killed 200,000. They have nuked the major Arab capitals. Russia and China blame the US for arming Israel and attack. Soon every country is being bombed out of existence. Now he has to find a safe place to land his airplane.

Yet there isn’t many options open. All the worlds cities have been hit. They find that the Azores was only neutron bombed and the airfield is still intact. Later a Soviet plane also arrives carrying the inhabitants of a village that managed to escape. Things are looking grim for the survivors. The radioactive fallout is coming and they won’t survive. The only safe place is Antarctica. McMurdo has plenty of supplies but will they have enough fuel to make the trip.

It is interesting how back in the eighties how writers would set the end of the world so close. He was only writing about five years in the future which means this book has a short self life before becoming dated. It does seem like the attitude at the time was a nuclear war was inevitable. And what a world he envisions. A black president negotiating with blacks about a separate homeland in an America coming apart at the seems. The Dutch are recolonizing Indonesia and using nerve gas. Cuban troops are in Socialist Ireland to liberate the north. Still I guess a lot can happen in five years. Could anyone five years ago envision how our world is now. How different will it be in five years in the future.

This book was a well done that kept the reader’s interest which is no small feat considering most of it takes place on a jetliner. Told in the first person by the captain we are drawn into this deteriorating future. From the anarchy of New York and the desperate search to find a safe place to land. An interesting fact is there were two ending for this book. The British edition has an ending where they all die at the end. The American version has a happy ending where a tilt in the Earth’s axis bring Antarctica to a more temperate climate and the hope for a new start. I don’t know why the two endings. I have the American one and it is an upbeat ending for what is a very pessimistic book. Possibly the grim ending didn’t go over very well and it was rewritten.

The author in his foreword states that he is an epitome of a rabid outspoken atheist. That his purpose was to “demonstrate that man is alone in his own personal Hell, that he would inevitably sow the seeds of his own destruction, rising and falling in a few hundred millenniums which represent the tiniest fraction of eternity. Now-damn it all-I’m not so sure.”

This story definitely set out to do this. I have never read such a total nuclear war anywhere else. Huge bombs are dropped everywhere causing massive radioactive fallout. Even the Falkland Islands are nuked. Still there were some very noble acts throughout the story. The fifty Russians who jumped out of a plane so it could rise above the fallout clouds. The people in the Falklands who left their shelter to find out if Antarctica is viable. There was hope in this pessimism and I think it shows a man who was in doubt over his beliefs. A very well done book.

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THE MASTER OF NORRIYA BY WAYLAND DREW

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Copyright 1986.

Yggdrasil is coming to the end of its planned two hundred year lifespan. Instead of just going back to the land like the founders wanted the inhabitants are taking a different approach. Abandoning the Project they opt for implementing the Transformation. So what is the Transformation? Its basically they plan to enslave the natives on the land to work to mine and produce the necessary materials to keep Yggdrasil going indefinitely. Asa who is the Master of Norriya is one of the last in power to still believe in the Project. Yet he is old and has frequent delusions of talking to his dead wife. He eventually goes to the northern island of Jotunheim where the scholars still go on looking for the solution.

It may be too late thought for implementing the Transformation. Things are falling apart real quick. Many of the inhabitants who don’t like the new order become rens and hide out in underground passages where they are hunted down by the security forces. A message comes from an unknown civilization called Juhara. They offer their help in exchange for Yggdrasil becoming part of their empire. They arrive in a huge advanced ship and the Yggdrasillians are sufficiently in awe to agree. But it is an illusion as the Juharians are themselves falling apart. They soon start an oppressive rule in enslaving the natives. When they try to exterminate the Gerumbians a tribe of mutants this opens up a serious revolt that stretches their resources. It all ends in a big nuclear explosion courtesy of the old ones.

The final book in the Erthring trilogy. So in this one anything that can go wrong does. It seems to be just one big disaster after another. The Juharians are an arrogant lot. They believe in power at any price and are so confident that they will control the entire world and start colonizing space in a few years. It is obviously the author puts two complete opposing philosophies in conflict with each other. In the end both are failures. It is sad to see the scholars who continue to go on while being ignored in their belief they are going to find this magical solution to keep humans from being self destructive. In fact the tribes outside the Erthring seem to be doing fine without their help. Teperman and his friends that started Yggdrasil in my opinion come off as the ultimate narcissists in the project they started two hundred years ago. The little games of solving riddles to open doors. The third door is opened and there is only music. What kind of asshole withholds music. Oh and the last door was never to be opened because it had raw absolute power behind it. It was put their to settle an argument Teperman had with his colleagues. Teperman believed that people could avoid the temptation of power while some of his friends didn’t. Well opening the door sets off the nuclear explosion that destroys the islands. Yep a real asshole.

The author wrote a fascinating trilogy. He made his points without being preachy and seemed to admit that the problems at the time had no easy solutions. A high school teacher he was not a very prolific writer. Besides this trilogy he wrote a handful of other non-science fiction books and did some movie adaptations of such gems as Corvette Summer, batteries not included and Dragonslayer. He died in 1998. I would have liked to have seen him try some more science fiction but I will just have to settle for this series.

THE GAIAN EXPEDIENT BY WAYLAND DREW

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Copyright 1985.

The young Asa joins the Yggdrasil project. He shows himself to be a smart man with an endless curiosity to learn. He moves up the ranks quickly as first a peregrinus those agents are responsible to monitor and control the tribes in the Erthring. He successfully manages to bring the Yuloks back to following the rules. Things though are starting to change. Yggdrasil is running toward the end of the two hundred years the founders gave the project. Supplies are dwindling. Tribes from outside the Erthring are assaulting the borders. There are those who want to abandon the project and turn to the old ways that destroyed the planet.

A riddle left by the old ones in the form of locked vaults is solved. It reveals that there is another Erthring in South America. The Erthring is called Xtaplacia. An expedition is mounded to visit. They find a gleaming city on top of a plateau. It is inhabited by people who have abandoned the project and live a life of decadence dedicated to music. Disappointed Asa returns and upon hearing of the location of his wife Persis he abandons his position and heads out to the outer wylds. He finds his wife in time before she dies and the son that he never knew he had. He is met at the end by his friend Alva who has come to inform him that he has been made the Master of Norriya head of one of the administering districts in the Erthring.

The second in the Erthring Cycle trilogy. In this one we learn more about Yggdrasil. It was founded by a rich man named Tuperman who recruited six other millionaires and formed the project. It is lavishly supplied with helicopters and submarines and a supercomputer. All to keep the local tribes down while scholars spend time to research how to make humans one with the Earth. Obviously the whole project is one big waste of time. Interesting the South American Erthring took the other extreme action and is destined to end at the same place as Yggdrasil. Tuperman seems like some crazy moonbat with delusions of grandeur. He devised these riddles that opened vault doors to parcel out information and named the place after Norse mythology. This is such an interesting well written book. You do want to find out how it ends even though you know its not going to end well.

THE MEMOIRS OF ALCHERINGIA BY WAYLAND DREW

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Copyright 1984.

Asa of the Alcheringians is a young seventeen year old on his first raid. Approved by the tribal elders and sanctioned by the gods it is a rite of passage for all young men. The raid is a success and many woman are taken including his future wife Persis. He also earns the enmity of Garm for humiliating him and leaving him bound. Life is good for Asa but things are changing. The young of the tribe are rebelling against the old ways. They want to change and stop the nomadic lifestyle. Start domesticating animals and planting crops. This is in direct violation to the Tabuly that was ordained by the gods.

The gods are actually a group of scientists and scholars on the island chain of Yggdrasil. Before the nuclear war destroyed civilization a group was formed and sheltered on these islands. There mission was to find a way for man to live in harmony with nature. So they formed the Project which keeps the tribes on the mainland a primitive society through the tribal traditions they instituted. Now to stop the Alcheringians they must consider wiping out the tribe to stabilize the Project.

The first book in The Erthring Cycle trilogy. This was by a Canadian author who is an English high school teacher. He didn’t write much and this was his only foray into science fiction. He is a very good writer. This post-apocalyptic society of some intellectuals determined to save the human race from itself is a unique idea with enjoyable characters and settings. It is a sad book as the Alcheringians are destroyed by manipulating the surrounding tribes to attack. So here we have this group that states life is precious but willing to wipe out a people to preserve their goofy project. At the end Asa is the only survivor and his wife is taken by Garm who organized the attack. He ends with Asa going to join the Yggdasilians at the end. I found it fascinating read.

PLANET OF THE APES TALES FROM THE FORBIDDEN ZONE EDITED BY RICH HANDLEY AND JIM BEARD

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Copyright 2017.

UNFIRED by Dan Abnett

A group of mutants is making a pilgrimage to the holy church in the east. They are lead by a mutant who is unfired i.e. surgically altered so he does not have his psychic power and can kill to protect the pilgrims. They deliver a recently discovered holy scripture the launch codes for the Alpha-Omega missile.

MORE THAN HUMAN, LESS THAN APE by Nancy A. Collins

A young Cornelius goes on an archaeological expedition. They are ambushed by a tribe of baboons. Cornelius befriends the leader and lives among them and learns their culture. An army of gorillas comes and massacres the tribe. Baboons are monkeys and not apes so there is no violation of the sacred scrolls.

BLOOD BROTHERS by Will Murray

From the TV series. Galen, Virdon and Burke are continuing their quest and come to the Napa valley. It is inhabited by Native Americans lead by a gorilla. The gorilla was raised by the tribe and is their chief. He is also the brother of General Urko. He defeats Urko and the fugitives continue on.

THE PACING PLACE by Bob Mayer

An alternate world in which Taylor and Nova are not captured by mutants. They found a settlement called Fort Wayne and teach the younger humans how to talk. The pacing place is the place that Taylor paced while waiting for the birth of his son. A tradition starts where all men pace when their women are giving birth. Taylor dies with a thriving human civilization started.

MURDERER’S ROW by John Jackson Miller

A TV producer for the Hexagon Broadcasting Network has a show that will make the network competitive. He will get the future apes Zira and Cornelius to do a variety show on Saturday also known as Murderer’s Row for the killer competition.

ENDANGERED SPECIES by Greg Cox

Years before the movie a young chimpanzee researcher named Janae is studying humans. She notices that they seem to suppress the ability to speak and decides to try and teach a human to speak. She is murdered by gorillas to stop this heresy.

DANGEROUS IMAGININGS by Paul Kupperberg

A brilliant chimpanzee in an alternate future where the Earth wasn’t destroyed finds the backpack of the astronauts. He uses what he finds to invent new and wondrous inventions. This causes Zaius and the science council to crack down because these inventions are inspired by human technology.

OF MONSTERS AND MEN by Kevin J. Anderson and Sam Knight

A young Zaius goes on a scientific expedition to the Forbidden Zone. It is attacked by lizard creatures and while taking shelter in an old museum learns the truth about humans.

THE UNKNOWN APE by Andrew E.C. Gaska

A story from the animated series. General Urko has taken control of the Alpha-Omega missile and plans to use it against his enemies. Then a mixed army of apes, humans and mutants are lead by the Unknown Ape. This ape is Caesar from the past. With his friends Virgil and MacDonald have traveled to the future to stop the destruction of the world. Caesar manages to destroy the missile by sacrificing his life. Peace ensues between humans, mutants and apes.

SILENCED by Jim Beard

A tale of a young woman who was Taylor’s girlfriend. She had his daughter who was a worker at Ape Management when Caesar takes over. Later a descendant is the queen of the last human city. Finally the last descendant is Nova who speaks just before she is killed.

WHO IS THIS MAN? WHAT SORT OF DEVIL IS HE? by Robert Greenberger

General Urko from the TV series is recovering from his injuries with his family. He tells them of a time year before when he killed other human astronauts that arrived.

STONE MONKEY by Greg Keys

In Asia a siamang is hunted by a gorilla warlord. The warlord wants to live forever and forces the siamang to lead him to the immortal stone monkey. Instead he lead him to a refuge for oppressed monkeys that kill him. It is revealed that the siamang is the immortal monkey from human experiments long ago.

MILO’S TALE by Ty Templeton

Milo is from an advanced chimpanzee society far to the south. He comes with an expedition to investigate the crash of an old human ship. While rebuilding it he meets Zira and Cornelius. While in the ship an army of gorillas arrives and forces them to launch. They witness the destruction of Earth.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE by Dayton Ward

Galen, Virdon and Burke from the TV series come on the ruins of an old missile silo. Inside they find a message from a group of humans located at Area 51. They invite the fugitive and they manage to flee before General Urko arrives.

THE KING IS DEAD-LONG LIVE THE KING by Rich Handley

Caesar twenty years later is ruling a prosperous settlement. He decides he wants to make peace with the mutants and sends his son. The mutant ruler Mendez comes but Caesar’s son then kills his mother while the wife of Mendez kills her husband. The mutants leave and it is revealed that a mutant with mind control staged the killing because he was opposed to the peace.

BANANA REPUBLIC by Jonathan Maberry

A temple being built on the fringes of ape civilization uncovers a secret. The New Orleans Naval Reserve armory. Inside are stacks of assault rifles and grenades. An orangutan and gorilla decide to use the weapons against the growing power of the heretical chimpanzees.

An anthology of short stories from the original Planet of the Apes universe. Not only all the movies but the TV series and Saturday morning cartoon. What a great idea. Every story was excellent and there wasn’t a dud in the whole book which is rare for a seventeen story anthology. Obviously the level of writers and their passion for the subject helped. Hopefully there will be many more of such anthologies. A true must read for any Planet of the Apes fan.

CHRISTMAS SLAUGHTER BY MARK GRANT

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Copyright 1991.

The Christmas holiday is approaching and the mutants are getting ready to celebrate. Seems they have adopted the holiday are their own and celebrate with presents and carols such as “We Wish You A Mutie Christmas.” Things are looking bad for humans. Emperor Charlemagne has a plan for the final solution. Dr. Narfod Moonguley a graduate of MIT(Mutant Institute of Technology) and Time’s Mutant of the Year is heading a diabolical plan. Forming Planned Genocide Inc. humans deemed surplus are being shipped to the P.G. Pyramid in New San Francisco. There they are ground up and the needed DNA is extracted and stored for future use.

So the human rebels hear and send their best which is Max Turkel and his companions Jack Bender and Phil Potts. They go into New San Francisco to find the local resistance The Cleavers. Named after the sixties radical Eldridge Cleaver the group has a suicidal fanaticism in fighting the mutants. Lead by Hosannah Brown the African Queen they conduct raids that slaughter mutants all over the city. Max and friends also get a new ally in SU912. SU stands for seduction unit. A terminator unit that was created to specifically assassinate Max. Unfortunately the mutants gave it too much initiative and the unit is disgusted with the mutants and goes over to the resistance. Called Sue she is a beautiful redhead who is nearly indestructible and very deadly. The rebels attack the mutants operations in a final action packed assault.

So what is more festive than a killer mutant in a Santa Claus outfit. The final book in the series came out in December and the writer decided to have it occur during Christmas. Now David Bischoff wrote the first four. This was written by a Bruce King. I admit I didn’t notice a change in the writing style. He kept up the same elements. A goofy plot, funny names and plenty of action and gratuitous sex. San Francisco in the mutant future apparently attracts the counter-culture types as it did when the world was human. There are hippy mutants. Gay mutants. Hare Krishna Mutants. Of course all are gleefully gunned down by the human rebels. They get great pleasure in shooting down mutants as they go about the holiday shopping or Christmas caroling.

One part of Charlemagne’s plan is he is disgusted by human reproduction and wants them to not enjoy it. Dr. Moonguley seems to have had some success as our heroes find out when they are captured and taken for breeding.

“I don’t collect the sperm samples, sweetie.” she said as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I just get you primed for the collector.”
The door opened then, and through it rolled another of the insectoid robotic assistants. Turkel took a dislike to it on the spot. The machine rolled silently over to him, and from the assortment of apparatus with which it was covered, something that looked like a metallic mouth glided forward unerringly and enveloped his stalwart tool.
“Excuse me, but I’m picky about where I put my prong, okay?” Max declared. “Agh!” The orifice had just clamped tightly around the poker. “Well, the appetizer was terrific, but I don’t think I’m going to enjoy the main course,” he said to the girl who still stood by the door.
“That’s a real safe bet, baby. Believe me,” she said.
Then the robot turned on the vacuum and the voltage, and Maximillian Turkel’s sexual horizons were once again expanded as he bellowed what he thought of Charlemagne.

Interesting that this book dropped the Mutants Amok. I don’t know if this was some new marketing ploy. I think the publisher knew that this series time was limited. This book is hard to find because of a small print run. I was lucky to find it going for $10. Used ones are going for $35 and new over $400. So if you find one at a garage sale or bookstore you should grab it. Might make a good profit.

Now I think the writers had fun writing this series. I know I had fun reading it. Probably the publisher came up with the idea and David Bischoff seeing how goofy it was just let himself go. A fun way to end the year. So next year I’ll be back with something more down to Earth. Until then have yourself a Mutie Christmas and Happy New Year.

MUTANTS AMOK #4 HOLOCAUST HORROR BY MARK GRANT

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Copyright 1991.

Emperor Charlemagne is up to no good. He has recruited a turncoat human Edward Wilkins. Wilkin’s grandfather was a nuclear scientist and hid some nuclear weapons at a secret location in Arizona. Now Charlemagne is close to possessing nuclear weapons which he plans to use in conquering the world. Braingeneral Hartan is appalled at the thought of nuclear weapons that could start a new arms race and mutants being mutants would most likely destroy the world. So he notifies his reluctant ally Max Turkel.

Turkel is hanging out in the deserts of Southern California with his buddies Jack Bender, Phil Potts and Jill Morningstar. The human resistance has already found out Charlemagne’s plan. Now they have to battle the Braingeneral Fixx who is in charge of security. He has a new mutant weapon the Rotants, a hybrid of humans and rats. He also has advanced cyborgs. It all ends in a spectacular nuclear exploding final.

Well this book has a lot going on. First Jack Bender loses his girlfriend Jill in a raid. He is despondent although coming to the realization that she was batshit cuckoo. Unfortunately he is such a stud he isn’t allowed to get some time of morning without some girl crawling into his bed. A girlfriend of Phil’s develops the hots for him and he wakes up and finds her in bed with him. He also sleeps in the nude and wonders if maybe he should stop doing it. He does manage to convince her to sleep with Phil so he can finally get some rest. Apparently he has been having sex almost constantly since he was fifteen and likes the time off. This guy has had a hard life.

Max finds himself a girl in Captain Marty Abrahams of the 47th Guerrilla Division of the General Resistance Movement. Here is a quote that describes her leadership style.

When she caught her men looking at her, the usual dialogue went something like this.
“Soldier, you looking at my boobs or my butt?”
“Uh…Well…”
“You wanna fuck me, mister?”
“No sir!”
“Why not?”
“I-uh-I…”
“If I catch you looking at me like that again, soldier, I want you ready to get down and dirty. But I gotta warn you, asshole. You don’t get it up, you don’t keep it up, you come too soon… or in any way, shape or form you ain’t man enough to satisfy me.. I’m gonna cut your balls, eat’em for breakfast, and do a review of the meal for Stars and Stripes!
Then she’d start unbuckling her belt and the man would invariably not only back off, but never even think of her in a lewd way again.
Which was okay with Captain Marty Abrahams.
She’d rather kill mutants than fuck any day.

Sounds like a real high maintenance girl to me. Still her and Turkel hit is off.

“Oh Jeez. Oh, you bastard.”
“MMMMMMph!” said Turkel.
“Okay, okay. Fuck me!”
“HmmmmmmmMMMMMMPH!”
“Oh..Jesus…Okay. GOD! Fuck me Turkel..Please!”
Turkel stood up and dropped his pants. Old Faithful was saluting the officer before it, eager to storm the gates. He spread her legs and she groaned with gratification as he slid his swollen self into her hot and glistening center. Soon enough Turkel didn’t care who might be watching. All he knew was that if someone was, he should charge for this incredible performance.

Well some other interesting tidbits. The renegade scientist is assigned an Igor. A mutant designed to be a lab assistant. They are called Igor because of a second brain stored in a hump on the back. Dr. Wilkin’s abuse of his Igor named Trevor results in Trevor turning on him at the end. And also forgot but last book we learn that the country they are in is called The United States of Canada. The rebels are also well equipped. They have tanks and hinted they have B-52s.

So there is one final book in the series. Appropriately enough it came out in December and was a Christmas themed book. So it is only appropriate that I will have the review on Christmas day. Its festive title and cover demand a posting on that day.