Copyright 1982.

It is ten years after a Soviet sneak attack has decimated the United States. The cities are destroyed, and the rest of the country is occupied by the Soviets. Yet a resistance network has slowly formed and ready to launch a general uprising. The mysterious woman only known as Juanita has become a mythical figure in the resistance. She travels around the country organizing and rooting out traitors. A former Air Force Lt. Col becomes her companion and lover as they travel organizing the big uprising code named Azriel. Finally, the big day arrives, and they attack the Soviet garrison at Valdosa, Georgia.

This book has a simple idea. The Soviets have launched a surprise attack. The attack was obviously one sided as they seem to have totally caught the country off guard. The main character is a beautiful but driven woman to drive the Soviets out. This book reads like a travelogue as Juanita and her companion travel from Florida to New Hampshire and back. Along the way we find out about her past life and why she is so cold. The story ends on a high note although a major character dies.

The post nuclear world is believable with what seems to be a Soviet state in decay. The only thing we find out about the rest of the world is at the beginning there is a brief mention of an incursion by the Soviets across the Canadian border. The Canadians apparently have the political and military clout to get the Soviet commander court martialed. There is also one sentence that mentions the border wars with China and the use of human waves. Otherwise, we are left to wonder what the state of the world is. At the end during the big uprising the American rebels reveal themselves to have jets and a B-52 to transport their provisional government representatives. I would have liked to explore this further, and it would have made for an interesting sequel. Unfortunately, this is as far as I know Allyn Thompson’s first and only novel. An enjoyable standalone novel of a Soviet invasion of America.



Copyright 1982.

It is the near future of 1983. The United States has a grain embargo on the Soviet Union for their invasion of Afghanistan and Poland. The embargo is effective as the Soviets had crop failures and have daily food riots. The US though is in a severe recession and the embargo is hard on the farmers. The President was the Vice President who was elevated to the position on the sudden death of a popular President. He faces an uphill reelection battle where he might not even get his party’s nomination.

Thus on Christmas a Soviet brigade parachutes into Alaska under the cover of a massive storm. The objective is to hold the oil pipeline hostage in exchange for the lifting of the embargo. A rogue KGB has initiated this without the knowledge of the Soviet premier. Now there is brinkmanship to see who backs down first. Into this a Lt. Colonel and a company of Alaska National Guard try to hold off the superior Soviet force.

This is an adaptation of a TV miniseries. I didn’t originally see it when it came out but caught it a few years later when it was rebroadcast. I was captivated about a series that actually dealt with a Soviet-American conflict. It had some good actors and fun action sequences. Back when it was filmed in 1981 the US was in a recession and the Soviets had recently invaded Afghanistan and the military declared martial law in Poland. There was also a grain embargo that Carter initiated for the invasion. Only it was a failure as the Soviets bought from other countries and never effected the farmers in America. The writers envisioned that the US was able to persuade other countries to join the embargo. Now looking back you can see that the whole strategy was a bit goofy. How you can invade Alaska and get what you want seems a bit unrealistic. Still it made for a fun story if you don’t think about it too much.

The novelization was written by Harold King under the pseudonym Brian Harris. It adapted the screenplay by Robert L. Joseph. The original director Boris Segal was killed in a helicopter crash early in filming and was replaced by David Greene. Segal was a Ukrainian Jew who emigrated to America. His plans were to end the series open ended to leave room for a possible future miniseries or even a TV show. Wow how cool would that have been to have a TV series about WWIII back in the eighties. Needless to say, it wasn’t a ratings hit and the new director decided to end on both countries launching a nuclear war.

The book itself is good. It manages to include stuff that the series due to budget constraints couldn’t. The battle scenes are much more epic in scope. There is actually 800 Soviets with multiple tracked vehicles. They battle ambushes by a 100-man company using their helicopters. At the end when they reach the pumping station, the American commander opens the pipeline and burns up the Soviets. This contrasts with the series small scale battle with men using pipes for cover. Also, the Soviet premier never died in a car bomb but was shown to be basically powerless as the KGB seized control of the country. There is also more characterization for the characters including the Soviet political officer being portrayed as a much bigger jerk.

The series is available on DVD and on youtube.



Copyright 1987.

It is after The Zap which is the explosion of a nuclear bomb(s)? that scrambled people’s brains. Nobody can remember their past. Some have special abilities like readers who can read the old words. Some are memors who can recall everything they heard since The Zap. Holmes Weatherby Aye Aye Aye is a reader. He knows his name because he read it off his ID. He has come to the People’s Republic of Alaska (PRAK) and gets involved with some crazy people on a dirigible called the Wonderblimp. They go around collecting nukes and giving them away. Only the catch is the code is implanted in the heart of a close family member. Anyway, the goal of these anarchists is to find a Zap bomb on Mt. Denali. Holmes has to battle through religious fanatics and the various crazy people that inhabit this post-Zap world.

I remember seeing this when it came out and thought about getting it. For some reason I decided not to. I saw it recently and decided to pick it up at Half Price. I will say that my younger teenage self knew what he was doing. This is a weird book and not in a good way. There were some stuff that had potential. Everyone is a bit crazy because their brains are scrambled. They give themselves names like Nike and John Deere because they were wearing something with the name on it.

Still, it was a confusing mess. I didn’t really understand the whole reason for the Zap. Was there a war or just some huge bomb. They talk about the government implanting codes into people’s hearts and giving them nukes. It has some stuff about radioactive cocaine and sled dogs that have a power to transport themselves through some type of dimension jump. The main character was revealed to be a scientist responsible for the Zap bomb. Also, apparently Japan manufactures all the guns. They are all made by Nissan. Mitsubishi and Suzuki. I have to say the writer of the book kept me interested enough to see how it ended. Only the ending wasn’t very satisfying. I don’t really recommend this book.



Copyright 1994.

It is the future after a nuclear war has devastated the planet. From the ruins rises a man who calls himself Tamerlane after the conqueror of old. His horde lays waste to the Eurasian continent. Now his sights are set on America. With his horde he crosses the Bering Strait and sacks New Anchorage. Other cities soon follow. Katherine Magruder is the founder of the Citadel in New Arizona. She gets correspondence from her grandson on the horde. She has a son who is a scientist at Los Alamos and combines time travel technology with Apache shamanism. He is able to bring back three people from the past. George Patton, Stonewall Jackson and Amelia Earheart. Plus, a triceratops egg that gets hatched by the pet bald eagle Betsy Ross. They manage to organize a defense against Tamerlane and his evil horde.

This was a book I just had to get when I found it back in 94′. I mean it was a post-apocalypse type book which I always love. But the whole idea of bringing back these historical figures to fight a guy who thought he was the second Tamerlane is just batshit nuts. It is indeed batshit nuts but in a good way. A very epic saga that has no grey shades in it. There is clearly a good and evil side. Tamerlane is just pure evil. He rapes and kills on a massive scale. He has The Cuddler which is his chief torturer and a sidekick Englishman named Forsythe. This combination of the three historical figures and a triceratops raised by a bald eagle sound nuts but actually works. I loved this book back then and still love it now. If you want something unique to read I would highly recommend this book.


Copyright 2008.

Liz Mendoza is an 18-year-old who accompanied her parents to an alternate that destroyed itself in a nuclear war in 1967. Her parents got a grant from UCLA to study why this war started. They live in the Westside which is its own little country. The Westside gets into a war with its neighbor the Valley over blocking the Sepulveda Pass. The Valley wins because they were able to find a working .50 cal. machine gun. Now Liz has to deal with one of the Valley soldiers who has taken an interest in her. The family has to deal with spies from the Westside government in exile and the occupation soldiers of the Westside.

The final book in the Crosstime series is my favorite. For one thing it deals with a post-nuclear apocalypse which is my favorite type of books. This one has plenty of action that the others lacked. I love that everyone still talks like hippies such as “far out” and “groovy”. The society is a realistic portrayal of a post-nuclear world. It is on a level of the medieval times with its various petty little kingdoms. Technology is lacking as everyone scrounges for leftovers in the ruins.

I enjoyed this series. It had some weird stuff like Turtledove’s thing for portraying that everyone in the future has a serious aversion to fur. Granted fur is a dead industry nowadays but I don’t think the young even today give fur any thought. Just one of the things he decided was something hip. I also wonder if it appealed to the target teen audience or just older alternate history buffs like me. The series was solid with some plausible alternate histories that were portrayed realistically. If you like Turtledove or alternate history this is a good series for you.


Copyright 2004.

Paul Gomes has graduated High School and works with this father for Crosstime Traffic. His assignment is an alternate where Germany won WWI. They eventually went on to develop the atom bomb and conquer America in 1956. Now 140 some years later they rule America and the world with an iron fist. Crosstime Traffic runs a shop called Curious Notions in San Francisco. They sell electronic record players and games. The devices are just slightly better than what is available, and they use the money to buy much needed food for the home timeline.

The Germans in this alternate have similar advanced technology but keep it from others to hold them back. The Imperial German occupation authorities start to take an interest in these more advanced items. They want to know where they come from. The father says China and randomly picks a merchant in Chinatown out as the supplier. Lucy Woo a sixteen-year-old who works at a sweatshop gets involved when her father is arrested by the Germans. She joins forces with Paul Gomes to help their fathers and also have to deal with the Tongs. The Tongs are also interested in Curious Notions and hope to get technology that can help China to a more prominent level.

The second in the Crosstime Traffic YA series gives us a look at what the world would look like if the Germans won WWI. This is a much more plausible world if the Schlieffen Plan worked as it should have. A world without Hitler but one that is still pretty grim. America a defeated nation with 12 cities destroyed by atomic bombs. It is stuck in the 1950’s economically, culturally and technologically. Turtledove does a good job of giving us a look at the world with child labor and 65-hour six-day work weeks. As with the standard format it gives us a teenage boy and girl. This time ones that have a romantic involvement. This one deals with the added tension of keeping alternate travel out of the hands of a society that is technologically advanced enough to understand and use it. I found this an interesting and tension filled book. Different from the first book but no less interesting.


Copyright 1985.

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.


Copyright 1987.

Reports are coming of strange things going on. The dead are returning, and people are committing mass suicides. There are also reports that the Russians have rebuilt themselves and are prowling around with nuclear submarines. Traveler gets a visit from an old friend that he has to go back to the pueblo. So, he burns his home and the Meat Wagon and heads to the southwest. Along the way he stops at New Washington and finds out that a fundamentalist Christian who is defense secretary wants to start a nuclear war with Russia so the rapture will occur. Traveler finds that baby Alexander who he saved in Mexico has now grown into a teen. Alexander has great wisdom and is putting people through some quantum portal to escape the coming nuclear war. Traveler isn’t interested in starting life over in an alternate dimension so opts to go back in time. He will kill President Frayling and stop the first nuclear war. Only he ends up in the Veteran’s hospital just before Christmas Eve 1989. He has to get to Washington but naturally everyone thinks he is nuts and drug and put him in a strait jacket. A psychologist finally believes him, but it is too late. WWIII starts and Traveler finds himself back at the beginning.

The final book in the series was a fairly big nothing. Not much happens. People see visions and kill themselves. A fanatic takes over the government and starts WWIV. Endless conversations on quantum physics. Must have recently read Stephen Hawkings. Traveler travels back and ends up at the place he started from in the first book. The book ends with literally the first chapter of the first book. It ends with ” Traveler had a problem with time. He would always have a problem with time”

I read a review that stated this was both a daring move and stupid at the same time. Possibly but I liked this ending. It has Traveler stuck in some never-ending time loop. Doomed to forever go through the events of the series. Somehow that appealed to me when I first read it and still does. Ed Naha wrote a very pessimistic book. I suppose for a radical leftist the eighties were a very pessimistic time.

My final thoughts on this series. I loved it. This has to be the best of the road warrior type books to come out. It was pure pulpy cheezy fun. Of the two writers I would have to say that John Shirley was the better. He wrote the first half and delivered a coherent storyline with a beginning, middle and end. Ed Naha is a good writer but uneven. He started out strong with the first book. After he took over, some were brilliant, and some weren’t. He tried new stuff which was hit or miss. Part of his problem is taking the series into something else it wasn’t meant to be. He also has a tendency to go into left wing rants. Still, I have fond memories of this series and reread it a number of times. After all these years it still remains a fun read.


Copyright 1987.

Traveler gets news that he has a brain tumor and little time to live. He gets a call from his old pal Orwell who now heads up the rebuilt CIA that he has a job for Traveler. Going to New Washington which is just outside Las Vegas, he gets recruited for a mission. Young couples are being kidnapped from an oil rig turned into a gambling casino out in the Gulf of Mexico. Going under cover with a female agent and posing as a couple they head down. They do get kidnapped, and Traveler finds himself part of some mad scientist’s experiment. He has genetically created an ultimate predator that he will take over the world with. He puts Traveler in an island wilderness to survive for 24 hours to save his wife and his life. Thus begins a deadly game of cat and mouse with a fearsome creature.

This entry in the series is somewhat of a dud. Obviously, it is an adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game which I always considered a mediocre story. This was a fairly mediocre story also. The kooky scientist is the son of the guy who developed the neurotoxin that Traveler was dosed with before the war. He finds out that he doesn’t have a brain tumor but is evolving to a higher stage of evolution.

The story is competently written and keeps your interest. What I didn’t care for was that it just gets rid of the post-nuclear world. Everything is now back to normal. This could have been a story in a Mack Bolan or Destroyer book. Set in contemporary times or any point in the past or future. The cool post-nuke world filled with roadrats and mutants is gone. When you take that away you basically take the reason for this series to exist. Which with the next book we will see brings an end to Traveler’s travels.



Copyright 1987.

The country is starting to get back on its feet. Traveler finds out that people now want nothing to do with mercenaries. After being run out of a town he decides to head over to the California coast and spend some time at the beach. In the small community of Bay City, Traveler gets involved with some teen kids that discovered the police chief is up to something. Traveler manages to infiltrate the corrupt police chief’s organization and save the mayor. Along the way he has to deal with some bratty kids, a shrew of a mother and a ruthless mercenary. He finds out that the evil President Frayling is behind the takeover of Bay City. He has gathered an army with neurotoxin and nuclear bombs to take out the fledgling new government and install himself as ruler. Thanks to the kids with Traveler, they are able to destroy his base and Traveler contemplates going after Frayling who said he was going to China.

This book was the beginning of the end for this series. Kind of like a Mad Max meets the Goonies. While technically not a bad book. It was interesting and well written, it just seemed to be losing its road warrior vibe. The country is getting back to normal. There is electricity, telephones and canned beer. Teen kids now have time to solve mysteries like the Scooby gang. There is a lot of left-wing rants about how bad America is. It was hinted that Traveler might start traveling to China. Sort of take this series to other parts of the world and explore that. I cool idea but nothing came of it.