MARS ATTACKS WAR DOGS OF THE GOLDEN HORDE BY RAY W. MURILL

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Copyright 1996.

It is after the truce between the Martians and the nations of Earth. The threat from Earth’s nuclear submarines have forced an uneasy peace. The Martians have build the World Wall to separate their holdings from the human controlled lands. In Asia the Martians have Siberia and parts of northern China. Telian Piar a disgraced member of the Martian council comes on an interesting bit from Earth’s history. The Mongol Genghis Khan managed to conquer most of the world. He goes to the military commander Komo Dath and convinces him the Mongols could be used as pawns in their war with the humans. So they go out to capture a Mongol. This happens to be Qasar a Mongol who was banished from his tribe. Together with a companion he met named Bayar they kill a whole bunch of the Martians before being captured.

They come to an agreement with Qasar that they will help him be Khan of the Mongols. They use their technology to find the secret tomb of Genghis. With his armor and standard Qasar rides out and rallies the Mongols into a formidable horde. They go into free China and start pillaging. Soon though the Martians won’t help him in his conquest so Qasar Khan feels loss of face and turns his horde against the Martians. It ends in a fierce battle between the two where the Great Wall of China meets the Martian World Wall.

The second book that was released in the Mars Attacks series. This one was not as good. The main reason is that Qasar is a real loathsome asshat. Like Genghis he is an arrogant narcissistic psychopath who is only interesting in pillaging, raping and looting. He has delusions of being the next Genghis and conquering the world. Not sure why someone would make the central character someone who isn’t positive because it really doesn’t bring the reader to sympathize with the character or his motives. Yet it was done here and I have seen it in other books, movies etc.

There was some other oddities in this book. The way the Mongols talked seemed a bit stilted and phony. I mean “Those are good words to speak.” says Bayar. “Yes they are indeed good words.” replied Qasar. I mean I am not familiar with Mongol culture but I just can’t see them talking that way. Also his sidekick Bayar had allergies and always had a runny nose. He would sneeze and blow snot into his food and wipe his nose on his sleeve. I suppose he was the comic relief and supposed to be funny but I found just gross. Oh and at the end his concubine Morning Doe lies dying and wants to be released quickly. So Qasar cuts into her chest and pulls out her still beating heart. Wow how romantic. Yes this was a weird book.

Still is doesn’t mean it didn’t keep my interest. I just didn’t really care if the Martians or Qasar came out on top. In fact I was kind of rooting for the Martians and they some bad hombres. Qasar does survive at the end but there was no third book in the series so his story seems over. I do love the Mars Attacks idea and loved the first book and the various comic book incarnations from Topps, Image and IDW. Perhaps in the future we may get some new books in the series.

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MARS ATTACKS MARTIAN DEATHTRAP BY NATHAN ARCHER

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Copyright 1996.

The Martians have invaded and no place is safe. A group of bikers are riding down the highway when the Martian ships start strafing the highway. Bud Garcia manages to survive but his buddies Lenny, Blitz and Screwy Joe aren’t so fortunate. Needing a place to hide he comes upon the Gelman Mansion. A rich millionaire named Ebenezer Gelman build a huge place with secret passages and filled it with weird antiques and other kooky stuff. Now it is a tourist attraction. Bud finds the tourists watching the attack on TV. Meanwhile the Martians come on this place and leave a squad to check it out and see if its a threat to their invasion. Now the survivors are trapped in this crazy mansion with a Martian deathsquad. Outside are giant insects that the Martians unleashed but can’t control. Both sides are trapped and must fight each other and the insects if they are to survive.

Back in 1962 the Topps Bubblegum Company released a line of trading cards. These cards combined an H.G. Wells type invasion with the true horrors of war. They were gruesome and quickly banned to protect innocent young minds. The cards became a cult collectible. In 1995 the Topps company released these cards and a comic book series. When the Tim Burton movie came out two books were released based on the comic books. This is the first.

This was a fun book. I am a fan of the comic book series and someday I will cover it on my comic blog. It is just a pure cheezy adventure filled with Martians gunning down and torturing people including young boys. The humans come in a wide variety from the hero biker Bud to the parents who seem to not be concerned that their boys were killed by the Martians. There is a phony mobster who is really an accountant but pretends to be a wiseguy to pick up girls. His showgirl date Tiffany who goes full Rambo with a captured Martian gun and gets captured and tortured. A group of college students who were on the beach and arrive at the mansion still in their swimwear. Even the Martians are treated as individuals and get own personality quirks. Indeed they are just grunts dropped off and trying to survive themselves. Add to this the giant insects like the beetles that bit a woman in two or a giant mosquito who impales a man this is just a fun B-movie ride.

I think the Gelman Mansion is based on the House on the Rock in Spring Green Wisconsin. It is a crazy place filled with old antiques and other strange exhibits. I know when I first when there and was just expecting a house on the rock but it is so much more. I recommend visiting if your in the area.