A general term for speculative fiction about the future or futuristic technology. H.G. Wells and Jules Verne were the fathers of the genre. It has come to encompass very loosely anything with aliens, time travel, fantasy, horror or according to the Sy Fy network wrestling(?)
The 58th Wildcard squadron are assigned a dangerous mission. The Chigs have established an aqueduct on Bulldog’s Belly. This aqueduct is supplying food to the sector. Only it is heavily guarded. The plan is to insert riding one-way torpedoes to the surface. Blow the aqueduct and steal some fighters to escape. Sounds easy but like most plans don’t go that easy. First, they are saddled with a silicate as a demolition expert. There are also reports that a group sent in before them deserted. Now with an untrustworthy silicate and deserters to deal with they also find out the Chigs have POWs to shield the aqueduct. The new plan is to steal some tankers to take out the prisoners.
A year after the series was canceled, they decided to release an original novelization. Now I guess this was probably commissioned earlier and they decided to just release it. Telep does a great job of giving us an exciting story. It has action and many twists and turns you don’t see coming. He also clearly understands the characters having watched the series. Now I would have liked them to release a book that gives the series closure. It did end on a cliffhanger. Still, this was a fun book to read and really has rekindled my interest in the series. I have it on DVD and probably have to give it another look.
It is 2063. The Earth is at peace and starting to colonize other planets. Only there is life out there. They attack the two colonies that Earth has set up. Now Earth faces a war with another alien civilization. The aliens called Chigs are winning. The story focuses on a group of new recruits to the United States Marine Corp Aviator Calvary. Five young men and women who for various reasons joined. They form the 58th “Wildcard” squadron and stop the alien invasion.
Back in 1995-96 Fox had a brand-new series. An innovative idea that had a futuristic war with an alien species. Told through the eyes of a Marine squadron they fought the Chigs and their Silicate allies. Silicates were robots that gained sentience and rebelled. Being the nineties and created by X-File writers it had some good old fashioned government conspiracy thrown in with the shadowy Aerotech Corporation. Telep basically adapted the pilot episode. He did a good job of it and this brings back memories of a cool show that was cancelled way before its time. The series ended on a cliffhanger which was never resolved. In spite of this I still highly recommend checking out the series.
Lizina Harith the former slave known as Coppertop has escaped. She manages to make it back to her home world where she has a fortune. She uses this fortune to mount her quest for vengeance against those that sold her into slavery. Buying her own ship and crewing it with former slaves she sets out to take out the vile captain that sold her and the men responsible for kidnapping her. Meanwhile her lover Dorjan continues his quest for her. He also rescues a beautiful feline alien that was also captured. An alien that reveals she comes from a federation of three species. A place that could offer sanctuary for the former slaves of the colony HOME.
This book was cowritten by George Proctor along with Andrew Offutt. Proctor did write two V TV series novelizations from the eighties that I love so I have some positive experience with him. I think this is the best of the series that I have read so far. Proctor is a good influence on the writing. There doesn’t seem to be the meandering that is usually found in Offutt’s writing. The story was just an interesting read from beginning to end. Lizina had some very innovative ways to carry out her revenge. All these vile and evil people got their just desserts. A side plot with Dorjan has him rescuing the feline alien and finding out about this new alien federation. Ends with a positive of Lizina and Dorjan being reunited and going off with their people to a new home world where they can live in freedom.
The freighter India Springs is under attack by pirates. Captain Jonuta a slaver decides to come to the rescue. His ship successfully takes over the pirate ship. He finds that the ship has two unique passengers. The HReenee are a feline type of alien that was recently discovered and two of them a male and female are passengers. Well naturally Jonuta takes a liking to the exotic female and gets into a sexual relationship with her. The male decides to torture the captive pirates because that is what cat people like to do. He unfortunately screws up and the pirates get free. Jounuta has to defeat them and also at the ends fights with his archrival Captain Corundum.
The entry in the series is OK. It is competently written and does keep your interest. Unfortunately, it does have some problems. First is while the plot is consistent it hangs around too long in one place. The whole book is mostly about this one location in space. The freight gets attacked. Jonuta comes to the rescue. Pirates escape. Get recaptured. Fill in stuff with Jonuta being magnanimous and giving the freighter captain the captured pirate ship. Ends with a space battle where he wins, and it is uncertain if Corundum is actually dead or alive.
Another problem is the character of Jonuta. He is a rapist and slaver. Not a really lovable character. Sure in this book he is portrayed as an honorable man. Of course, he plans to sell the captured pirate crew into slavery. Perhaps they deserve it but still a very sleazy enterprise the guy is in. Still the book doesn’t have the boring parts that characterized his first four books. Not as good as the fifth but still an improvement.
Lizina Harith though she left her old life behind when she married a rich man on the planet Franji. A recent widow she decided to go out and got herself kidnapped by slavers. She was sold to the evil Kukis and his sadistic lesbian first mate. Tortured and drugged to be docile, she is sold to Ganesh. Ganesh runs a spaceship that is a brothel and goes traveling to far-flung planets in the void. Now known as Coppertop because of her red hair, Lizina is destined to be sold a mail order bride. Only she meets a mysterious man who frees her. Dorjan is a former gladiator slave that was bioengineered with wings. Now he leads a group of former slaves and has founded a colony. Called HOME and it is inside a former mining asteroid. He has plans to turn the asteroid into a spaceship and find a suitable planet to colonize. Only Ganesh finds the colony and raids it. She kills a number of the inhabitants and takes back Lizina. She is sold to a cruel man on a small mining planet. Dorjan has to track her down and take revenge on Ganesh.
Wow this book in the series is actually really good. I guess Andrew Offutt can write if he wants too. The first four books were written at once and seems to show it. I guess when he found out the series was going to continue, he decided to actually write a good book. Sort of a reboot with new characters. What sets this apart from the last books is that there are likable characters in it. Sure, the bad guys are very bad, but I genuinely liked the main characters. Dorjan this escaped slave has a noble goal to free slaves and set up a home for them. The romance between him and Lizina is genuine. You really feel for the characters and what they go through. The way Dorjan got revenge on Ganesh was very ingenious. Lizina also manages to escape. Sets up a great way to continue the story.
The spaceship Satana was forced to crash-land on an ice world after the treacherous attack by the pirate Corundum. They are captured by the natives a furred humanoid race and taken to their underground city. They are on the world of Knor and when the sun cooled the survivors retreated to an underground city called Survival. The inhabitants drug the crew with a mind control drug and make them sex slaves. Yet the drug doesn’t work on Janja or the Jarp Cinnabar. Trafalgar also didn’t get a full dose and starts to regain control of his mind. They manage to eventually get together and stage a breakout. They make it to their ship and escape.
The fourth entry in this series is definitely a weird one. This cover is the one I most remember seeing when I was young. I wondered what this was about and now I have to wonder no more. There is a fair amount of bondage type stuff in the book. One of the characters likes to stuff his soiled underwear in women’s mouths and then tape them up. You have to wonder where someone would come up with that. Anyway, the book has moments of interest and boredom as the other books in the series. Seems like Offutt has to always pad the book and there is usually a fairly interesting beginning and ending with a dull middle. This book had some humor like the Jarp was kept because his alien language sounded like music and was used to entertain them at dinner. Of course, he was calling them all sorts of names and insulting them in his language. The crew also wanted to introduce violence to their captors which I found an interesting way of putting it. After they start introducing violence the book really picks up.
Janja is now with Hellfire and the crew of Satana. They make a trip to the mining colony of Mott-chindi or as its derisively called Macho. This is because it is a mining colony made up mostly of men. While on the surface a revolution breaks out. It kills two of the crewmembers and the other three have to fight their way through the chaos. Hellfire and her crew manage to hijack a policer cruiser and make it to the spaceport. There they hook up with a colorful rogue named Trafalgar Cuw. He is secretly an agent of the mining corporation and manages to get the ship free. Yet while they are traveling, Corundum finds them and attached a lampray mine to the ship to get back at Janja leaving him. The ship is forced to make a crash landing on an ice planet to remove the mine.
This third book in the series is probably the most tightly plotted in the series so far. It introduces some fun action right off the bat with the revolt on Macho. The first half of the book deals with them escaping. They get a roguish good-looking man in Trafalgar Cuw. He is so good he can convert the lesbians of the crew of Satana to heterosexuality. Yes, it still has its goofy sex. The second half deals with some more mundane stuff. We get a glimpse of Jonuta and his lover as they watch the newest movie from Akima Mars the sexy secret agent and her largest warheads in the galaxy. Ends with them crashing on an ice world which will be the main plot for the next book.
Janja the escaped slave has now joined up with the pirate captain Corundum. Corundum is a charming rogue but it soon becomes apparent that he is also a ruthless killer. He manages to destroy a ship of the TGO (Transgalactic Order or the The Grey Organization), a secretive police force. Corundum manages to put the blame on his enemy Captain Jonuta the slaver. Jonuta now has all his bank accounts drained and finds himself on the run. Janja decides that she grows tired of being with Corundum. So at the first chance she gets, she defects to the pirate captain Hellfire’s ship Satana. An all lesbian and one Jarp (a hermaphrodite race with both male and female organs.) Naturally she is introduced to the joys of lesbianism.
The second book in the series is an improvement over the first. It has a more tightly plotted story. It still suffers from the last in being a bit boring. There are huge parts that seem to go on with nothing happening. Janja still hasn’t got her revenge. Offutt has a way of going on about mundane things that go nowhere. Still, it is an improvement, and I will say the third book is also a bigger improvement.
Captain Jonuta is a slaver in the far future when humanity has settled the galaxy. He goes to the planet Aglaya which is a primitive world that is supposedly protected by the galactic authorities. Yet he kidnaps Janja a beautiful white-haired woman to sell into slavery. She gets sold to some sadistic sadists that follow the Marque de Sade on the planet Resh. She escapes after taking her revenge and meets up with another fellow Aglayan who helps her escape the planet. She sets out for revenge on Jonuta who killed her lifemate and sold her into slavery. At the end she hooks up with Captain Corundum who is a pirate and enemy of Jonuta.
I remember these books at the drugstore when I was a young teen. They had such colorful covers, but I wasn’t into reading that young. The series was published by Playboy press because of the adult nature of the series. I have heard this called “science fiction for adults” or “soft porn for sf fans.” I found some at a bookstore and decided to check them out.
The first ten were written by Andrew Offutt under the house name John Cleve. While Offutt had some respectable work in sword and sorcery most notably three Conan novel, his main body of work was sleazy porn books in the seventies. He wrote such gems as Bondage Babes, Fruit of the Loin, and Swallow the Leader. I guess whatever pays the bills. The idea has some promise. A pulpy sci-fi series with a bit of sex thrown in. Unfortunately, the first book was a bit boring. Not a lot happened and it just kind of meandered along. The sex was plentiful but not very erotic and quite boring. One whole chapter on describing chemicals is guaranteed to put you to sleep. Hopefully it improves.
It is 100 years after a nuclear war destroyed the United States and the Soviet Union. This left the populous nations of China and India in charge. They divided the world up. Castor is a 22-year-old worker at the Heavenly Rice Collective Farm in Biloxi Mississippi. He dreams of going into space but that is highly unlikely for an American in a country reduced to a Chinese colony. One day he finds a head of a murdered Han Chinese while working the rice field. This starts a series of events that introduce him to Manyface. A high party Chinese cadre that has implanted parts of the brains of eleven people. One of these is the mother of his divorced wife. She gets Manyface to take Castor as a houseboy and eventually he gets admitted to the university.
Then a spaceship comes with an ultimatum. They demand to speak to the President of the United States. They destroy all life on a Pacific Island to show they are serious. The problem is there hasn’t been a President or United States for over a century. Castor gets elected to the job and embarks on a journey to the alien’s home world. He finds that the Erks have joined forces with descendants of American astronauts to free America. Only problem is the Erks have a tendency to destroy all life on the worlds that they help. Now with his companions he has to prevent the Erks from helping the planet Earth out of existence.
My first Pohl book and I found it an interesting read. A very strange book. The alien Erks are actually pets from a more advanced species that genetically engineered them. So, some are smart, and others are dumb. This race which they refer to as the Living Gods destroyed themselves in a biological war. Now the Erks are obsessed with helping to liberate the oppressed of the galaxy. They treat war as a game and always get out of hand and destroy the entire planet. The astronauts’ decedents have a society they formed by harvesting all the eggs and artificially bringing them to term. They currently have a population of 8,500 with 8,450 being women.
I liked this book. It starts out a more traditional one in the first half. Then with the alien’s society it gets really weird. It has some funny moments. Like the Chinese have a remake the movie High Noon. In it the high party cadre comes to a village and confronts the anti-party elements. He forces them to self-criticize themselves before getting them sent off to a reeducation camp. An interesting book that had a unique premise. Worth your time if you want something different to read.