Hell Tanner is a convicted criminal in the Nation of California in this post-apocalypse future. A former Hell’s Angel he is offered a pardon. To earn it he must agree to deliver needed plague serum to Boston the only other pocket of civilization on the continent. In a high tech armored car armed with missiles, machine guns and flame throwers with two other cars he sets out to cross the desolate wasteland. A land filled with mutant giant snakes, gila monsters, bats, tornados and radioactive storms. He runs into various survivors. Some crazy and others biker gangs. Will he make it in time to save Boston.
I was familiar with this from the movie with George Peppard and Jan-Michael Vincent. It was based on this book and I have to say that it was loosely based but surprisingly similar in tone to the movie. Most of it was a leisurely travel log of a badass armored vehicle as it cruises across the post-nuke country. The main protagonist Hell Tanner was an anti-hero in the vein of Snake Plissken. Described in the beginning as a murder and rapist. Someone who gouged the eyes out of someone just for the fun of it. Yet in the book he is clearly anti-social but demonstrates noble attributes. When he finds his brother has joined this expedition for money so he can get married, he tells him of a hidden stash of money. Then proceeds to break his ribs so he can’t go on the expedition. In fact half way through the guy who wanted to take off at the first chance he got decides to finish this trip. He actually has to fight with his partner who wants to turn around. Then he runs into the biker gangs around New York and rescues a woman who he quickly falls in love with. She dies and it was a sad little moment.
Naturally he makes it in time just as the sky turns back to normal just like in the film. Only at the end in true anti-social behavior he vandalizes the statue erected in tribute to him, steals a car and heads out into the wastelands. The movie seemed like something that just sort of ran out of money half way through. The beginning had giant scorpions, tornados and hordes of cockroaches. Then the second half devolved into endless montages of the vehicle driving and George Peppard shaving. The book actually seemed to pick up the action at the end. Still for all it’s faults I like both the film and book.
So here is the trailer for the movie.
Frank Sonderberg is a successful businessman with a growing chain of sporting goods stores. This summer he decided that for the family vacation to Las Vegas they should rent a motorhome instead of fly. Now with his wife Alicia, sixteen year old daughter Wendy and ten year old son Steven they are cruising through the Mojave. They come on a young woman hitchhiking out in the desert and stop to give her a lift. The strange woman who calls herself Mouse is a singer from another dimension. She is traveling to the Vanishing Point to sing to the cosmic spinner. She needs to sing to him otherwise the fabric of reality will descend into chaos. Soon the Sonderbergs find themselves at Hades Junction the gateway to Hell. Captured by fire-breathing cops they manage to escape with the help of a Navajo named Burnfingers Begay. They continue on and find themselves in an alien Las Vegas, a reality where everyone tells the truth and a nuked out Salt Lake City filled with mutants. Their Winnebago is now a mystical ride as they cruise down the Cosmic Road which happens to be Interstate 40. It takes them to the Vanishing Point and a final confrontation with the Anarchis. The fate of reality hangs in the balance.
I have been getting some new books lately and this was something that looked interesting. I really loved this book. It was an exciting read with an original concept. The characters all seemed to be fleshed out with their own personalities. The various realities were enjoyable with some humorous and sometimes quite disturbing. An enjoyable book that kept me interested from beginning to end. This would make a cool movie and I will have to check out more by Foster. In addition to many movie novelizations he has an extensive body of original work. I will have to check out more in the future.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Its been three years since the Soviet sneak attack has reduced America to a shattered land. They have not made much progress in occupying America thanks to the C.A.D.S. force. Yet they continue their efforts. They have decided to airdrop troops in the Midwest to start growing food for the starving masses back home. At one of these outposts in Arkansas Robin Adler the wife of C.A.D.S. leader Dean Sturgis is captured and brainwashed into loving the Soviet commander Major Denirov.
Anyway the C.A.D.S. are heading back to the secret base at White Sands, NM. They find it locked down due to mysterious microwaves that are bombarding the base. They find out it was started by arch traitor Pinky Ellis who didn’t die last book. They manages to destroy the transmitter but then Sturgis has to deal with the President’s cabinet who try to get him court martialed on some trumped up charges. Beating those he than gets his next assignment. The leaders have decided to split the C.A.D.S. up to take out these Soviet outposts in the Midwest. They also plan to get some prop planes and fly salvaged nukes and bomb the Soviet harbors on the east coast.
Sturgis thinks the plan is nuts but obeys orders. With his team he is assigned the post in Arkansas. Along the way they let their guard down and get captured by some nutjob who has control of some kids. But they manage to escape and continue on. At the outpost the Soviets have allied with a Sister Anetra and her kooky mind control cult. Sturgis gets captured while visiting her to negotiate an alliance and gets mind controlled and becomes a drone in her cult. Yet he manages to break the drugs and lead his men to destroy her. Although Anetra escapes to cause trouble in the future.
Later he gets an offer from Denirov. He is a member of a faction that wants peace. So Sturgis doesn’t destroy the fort and heads back to White Sands with the message from Danirov. Reluctantly he also leaves his wife who claims she is now in love with Danirov. Of course she’s brainwashed but we’ll see how that turns out next book.
Well this an interesting book. It has all the trademarks of a Syvertson book. A kooky cult that uses drugs to control it’s members. The very decadent Soviets. This Danirov is just a major in an isolated garrison but somehow manages to live like a king. His quarters are opulent with his own butler. He has plenty of exotic foods, Dom Perignon, and other luxuries. He also brings back Pinky Ellis who continues to cause trouble. Although Pinky is obsessed with getting back Morgana Pinter who he kept as a slave. Which is why he doesn’t tell the Soviets about White Sands.
Finally poor Sturgis loses to love of his life to the evil Soviets. Fortunately he gets plenty of sex from his girlfriends Dr. Decamp and Morgana Pinter so that helps him get over it. A very strange book. The writer gives us Martel who supposedly committed suicide in book two. This was faked for some reason never really explained. The President’s cabinet has some bug up their ass with Sturgis because I guess their assholes. Oh and the kooky plan to use prop planes to nuke the Soviets is never really told how that turned out but it is assumed it failed. Gosh I wonder why? Still another enjoyable romp in the kooky post-nuke world.