The continuation of Paul Rubenstein’s account of his early adventures with John Rourke after the Night of the War. So Paul, John and Natalia have reunited with Natalia bringing a message for John from her uncle. Unfortunately they get sidetracked after Captain Cole wounds Natalia. They find themselves on a nuclear submarine headed to the new west coast. There they are to find six ICBMs that survived the war. Only the new west coast is swarming with a crazy religious cult. Also Cole is not on a mission from U.S. II but has his own agenda. He is a white supremacist who plans to use the missiles to destroy Chicago and thus the Soviet occupation. Luckily Rourke and friends foil this mission.
Then Rourke finds his family but has a more serious problem. The Earth is doomed with the ionization of the atmosphere. Soon it will burst into flames and end all life. But General Ismael Varakov gives Rourke a way to save his family. Colonel Rozzdestvesnskiy of the KGB is building the Womb. At the former site of Norad he plans to go into suspended animation and emerge five centuries later to rule the world. He will shoot down the Eden Project a plan by the western democracies to repopulate the Earth with select people put into suspended animation and send out on a long orbit of the solar system. Rourke, Natalia and a combined Soviet Spetsnaz unit and U.S. unit manage to destroy the Womb and Rourke and his family go into suspended animation as the Earth bursts into flames.
The second volume of the Rourke Chronicles is once again a rehash of Survivalist books this time #6-9. This time they had to include some other method of telling the story since Rubenstein wasn’t involved in #8-9. So the authors resort to mostly interviews with Rourke and some salvaged records by archeologists. Mostly notes from U.S. II, Rozdestvesnskiy’s dairy and General Valkov’s notes. Some of these were interesting but for the most part nothing really new was explored in the book. Just like the last one it was mostly a rehash of the original books and didn’t have much new. I recommend to get the original books and just forego this series.
The Soviets have signed a peace treaty with America and have withdrawn their troops. So the Rock team has gone on to other pursuits. Archer decided to go back to the wilderness. Recently Rockson received a fax? from him in an isolated place in Utah that he needs help. So Rockson takes an old Soviet fighter and flies out to help. The old plane crashes into a valley inhabited by giant mutant spiders. Rock manages to escape and make it to Archer’s position. He finds his old chum living in an abandoned bowling alley drinking hundred year old Blatz beer. He was attacked by a group of twenty bandits but let them get into his supply of old scotch and get drunk. Then he easily took them out when they were drunk. So he’s no longer in danger but happy his friend has come to visit.
Archer does have a visitor. Zydeco Realness is a member of the Techno-survivors. They were a mutant group of former missile technicians who live in Cavetown. Zydeco has a gift for the famous Doomsday Warrior. It is called the Dream Machine and can put people into a virtual reality simulation. Rock isn’t all that interested but to refuse the gift would diss the Techno-survivors and they might retaliate by launching a nuke on Century City. So Rock agrees to get the gift but first they must have sex with some visiting green-skinned amazons from the Barbarah tribe that stop in.
So they go to Cavetown riding mutant giant Guam rail birds. There he gets to try out the dream machine. He finds himself as Niles Rockson a rich playboy in New York who is with the lovely Kimetta. While in the machine Zhabnov the ex-Russian president of the USSA attacks Cavetown with his renegade soldiers. He takes the survivors as slaves and is elated that his sworn enemy Rockson is trapped in the machine. He forces the technicians to change the program to something unpleasant then leaves. Now Rockson finds himself in a swamp on Venus. His girlfriend Kimetta has turned him in for being a playboy which was a law just passed. It is a retroactive law so Rock is sent off to the penal colony on the asteroid Esmeralda.
So Rock is sentenced to fight the dreaded Zrano in an arena. Luckily Kimetta is also along and the daughter of the warden. She smuggles him a locket with a picture of the Zrano’s mother. This causes the beast to not attack Rock and he wins. So he claims his freedom but has to stay until the shuttle arrives. Until then he must work which Rock has no interest in. They show him all the fun jobs which he refuses. So they are going to execute him because he isn’t working. So he comes up with the one thing he can do. While on Esmeralda he has been frequenting the prostitutes and is so good they are paying him. So he convinces the warden he should make instructional videos on giving good sex so everyone will be more productive. Well along the way there is a revolution and Rock escapes the asteroid and awakens in Cavetown. Archer and Zydeco with the other Techno-survivors escaped Zhabnovtown and rescued Rock. He is in serious bad shape so Rock sends out a telepathic call to this friend Turquoise Spectrum the leader of the Glowers. They come and bring him back to their village and heal him.
Wow is this book a trainwreck. Now a trainwreck can be interesting if not always pleasant to look at. So now the Soviets are out and America is free although there are still renegade Soviet soldiers still handing about notably those who follow ex-president Zhabnov and KGB Colonel Killov. The Techno-survivors are an offshoot of the Technicians from the first book. The Barbarah’s were also in the second book but were cannibals and here they are green skinned. Archer seems to be a bit different. He uses a shotgun instead of his crossbow. He also can not speak in complete sentences and use a fax machine. He was so dense that he would have trouble figuring out a doorknob.And where the hell do you find a working fax machine in the middle of post-apocalypse Utah. I doubt you could have found one in 1990 Utah.
I wonder if Ryder was on drugs when he wrote this. It has a very surreal quality to this goofy sci-fi space opera type story. It was obvious that the series was running out of steam with this entry. He was trying something new but it is just one wacko story.
Rockson and his team arrive in California to respond to a call from a Freefighter group. The Surfcombers the most western group reports that Killov is once again causing trouble. So they arrive and have to fight off a tribe of neanderthal type mutants. The Surfcombers arrive on surfboards with flaming tridents to drive them off. This particular group are descended from the blonde stoner types that survived the war and formed their own society. One of the members tells how he traveled to the island of Rarapani. Formerly Johnson island the natives have lived in peace and isolation since the war. It was destroyed when Killov and his KGB troops invaded and took away their god Gnaa. Gnaa was a giant crystal that Killov has plans to turn into a weapon.
So with the help of the Surfcombers they mount an expedition in two boats Muscle Beach and Surf City. They encounter fierce storms and a sea of mutant seaweed that has captured hundreds of ships. Fortunately they manage to finds explosives on the old USS Nimitz and free themselves. They manage to reach Rarapani and the natives are most welcoming. The women are very friendly but unfortunately for Rock the woman he gets involved with has to remain a virgin because she serves their crystal god Gnaa. So he is the only one not getting any sex.
So the crystal was actually a secret weapon developed by the U.S. government. It would shoot a laser beam to a satellite mirror in space and be aimed at any place on the surface. Killov has taken over the island of Little Tokyo. An island that the survivors of the sinking of Japan escaped to and rebuild a smaller copy of Tokyo. Killov needs the Tokyo tower to focus his new weapon.
Anyway Rock manages to get help from his virginal girlfriend and the chief but has to force Archer to marry his big-boned daughter. Then the expedition sets out for Little Tokyo. They team up with the local resistance the Bushido. They assault the KGB held tower and destroy the crystal but this causes the volcano to erupt and sink the island. Fortunately Leilani and her people will take in the survivors. Also fortunately with the crystal destroyed Leilani is no longer obligated to be a virgin. Unfortunately Killov survives by being rescued by a mysterious group that has taken him into outer space.
Well this book was a fun goofy little ride. The gang travel to the Pacific and battle Killov in a replica of Old Tokyo. I wonder where Killov gets all these KGB troops. Even Rockson ponders that. Is there some sort of agency you can call for KGB troops in the future. A question that remains unanswered. Not a nice guy to work for. I mean he makes his men work in a hurricane on the roof and they get blown off. Somehow good benefits just don’t seem worth it.
A big development is that Killov gets a friend. Nakashima who worships death enthusiastically agrees to help Killov. So smitten with Killov he asks if Killov would kill him whenever he wanted to. This touching gesture moves Killov and they develop a real bromance. Nobody ever wanted to be killed by Killov unless getting tortured. Seems the only one who loved him was is mother before he killed her. Sadly for Nakashima his wishes aren’t fulfilled as Rockson manages to kill the guy. Rock gets arrested and send to the local mental ward where the doctors wonder if he was doing this aggression out of how sexually inadequate the tower made him. If they knew Rock its the tower that would feel sexually inadequate.
So this motley band armed with war clubs, flaming tridents and samurai swords manage to take on troops with tanks and machine guns and win. Totally believable. The ending hints that the next book will take place in space. And why not? Seems the only logical place to take this series is into outer space.
The Russians are broadcasting a message from Premier Vassily. He wants to hold a peace conference in Washington. The council of Century City debates whether to send a delegation. It narrowly is defeated but Rockson decides to check it out anyway. So with his Rock squad sets out for Washington. In Kansas they meet a small village inhabited by an Amish type people called the Clavendish. They are friendly and offer Rock and his team their hospitality and give them a feast of corn. Seems the Clavendish worship corn and have a corn god idol. They have cornbread, corn pie, corn flakes, corn sauce, corn pudding, corn juice.(Didn’t know you could make juice out of corn.) These people love their corn and also need sacrifices to their corn god. I suppose you can forgive them for not seeing right away that nothing good can come from corn worshippers since they don’t have access to horror movies. So they are drugged but luckily Archer manages to be too big for the drugs to take effect. So they escape and blow up the corn god statue.
Later in Illinois they hijack a truck that has chemical weapons signs so they have no problem making it the Washington without being stopped. There they attend the conference and find out Vassily is very serious about peace. He offers to end slavery and hold free elections. It looks as if peace may be a reality. At the ceremony on the Soviet battlecruiser/aircraft carrier Dreadnaught it is interrupted by a savage attack. Killov has recruited Arab terrorists under Dhul Quarnain to attack. With helicopters from an oil tanker they take over the powerful warship. Now with nuclear weapons Killov demands that all power is turned over to him or he’ll start launching the missiles. Rock and his Freefighters must join forces with Vassily’s elite guard to stop Killov’s mad plan to take over the world.
So in 1987 glasnost was the big rage. Apparently the authors jumped on the bandwagon to have a sort of detente with the Soviets. Indeed from this book the series has the Russians for the most part out of the picture. It would be just the evil Killov and his mad schemes or some other kooky madman. The times were a changing. So in this one the Russians and Americans join forces against some muslim terrorists that Killov is using. Some interesting facts are that the terrorists are fighting to free occupied Palestine which suggests that Israel still exists. Or someone else is occupying the land. Rahallah the African prince wears a leopard loincloth under his tuxedo because you know he’s African. Oh and the authors must have something against Kansas. At the beginning Rona one of Rock’s girlfriends is wearing a t-shirt that says “I saw Kansas and it sucks.” After the encounter with the corn worshipping Amish they comment that they are glad to be leaving Kansas. I have never been to Kansas but will say it does seem a dull place that is not high on my lists to visit.
So the format might be changing a bit but it still has the basic goofy premise. Weird communities and mutant creatures. The pill popping Killov and his mad schemes to conquer and destroy the Earth. Killov does survive and will be back.
It is New Years Eve and Ted Rockson is celebrating like everyone else in Century City. Things are looking good. The Russians are in disarray and hopes are high they will soon be driven out. His celebration is interrupted by the arrival of a man. Peth Danik was found wandering alone and about to be eaten by a snow leopard when he was saved. He tells a story of coming from a survivalist community named Eden down in Mexico. Before the war a billionaire named Renquist build it to survive the coming nuclear war. He never made it out of Austin in time but his followers survived. It is an underground enclosed ecology with its own artificial sun and salt water lake to simulate the ocean. Only problem is the place can’t grow any food and after 100 years is running out of the canned and packaged food that was stockpiled. Seems these eccentric rich guys are always building the survivalist communities with goofy people. A bit depressing for the future. Anyway Danik was from a faction that wanted to return to the surface. The other faction lead by Stafford staged a coup and took over.
Stafford is a complete nutjob. He has a paranoid fear of the surface and wants to keep the inhabitants imprisoned in Eden forever. His idea for feeding them is to reprocess the centuries worth of human excrement that has accumulated in their dumping ground. But don’t worry for he will use the flies that are scooped up with it for flavoring and nobody will know the difference from real food.
As horrible as feeding shit is to people the real danger is Stafford has a deadly biological germ called Factor Q. He plans to release it on the surface and kill all life. So Rock and his team have to make the trek down to Eden and stop him. They start out with sled dogs and fight the mutant groundhogs and acid snowstorms to a friendly Indian village in Arizona. There they trade the dog teams for Harleys and continue on with the chief.
They make it the Eden and are ambushed by the inhabitants of Death City. This is a cult from some in Eden that was formed to worship the founder Renquist. They capture Rona who they believe to be Renquist’s wife Sandra. They plan to impregnated her with Renquist’s sperm but first have to whip her ass because the chances of bearing a male child increase with pain. Fortunately Rock and company arrive to save her. They must battle the Whisperers who use mental images to drive people insane. Some old robot mines called Scabies(Special Computerized Ambulatory Bombs Intended for Enemy Systems). Finally they reach Eden and battle Stafford and his three henchmen Bros Err, Dedman and Nunchaka-man. A chase on giant mutant bats leads to the destruction of Factor Q and the saving of the human race.
Well the writers really outdid themselves with this book. It looks like they decided to cannibalize book 9. Instead of Canada it is Mexico and they start out with sleds and switch over to a different form of transportation at a friendly native village. Otherwise its the race to save the world from a madman. A madman who wants to feed people shit. I mean literally and not figuratively as most politicians do. Never really explained why this place has such a deadly biological weapon in the first place. Or for that matter why there are all these futuristic weapons like robot mines or lasers that the place has. Scheransky the Russian scientist from book 9 that was sent to help is now apparently a defector and full member of the team. The series would start to be more about these goofy quests to stop some madman like Killov or someone of equal kookiness and less about fighting the occupying Soviets.
Ted Rockson is wandering the deserts of Utah after being forced to crashland his stolen MIG from the last book. He soon gets captured by a patrol of KGB and taken to an abandoned missile silo. There the sadistic KGB Lt. Lev Strelsky is going to torture him. Rock manages to persuade him to a game of chess. If he loses then he will tell Strelsky the location of Century City. Strelsky is a chess champion and his ego agrees. Only he lose in six moves. Strelsky accuses Rock of cheating and starts to drag him behind his jeep. Just then a huge storm appears and twin tornadoes sweep up Rockson.
He lands outside of Salt Lake City in 1989 just a few days before the nuclear war of September 11, 1989. Only this Salt Lake City is different from our city. The inhabitants are all brainwashed with elevator muzik that is pumped over everywhere. The food is also drugged. Armed men called Rooks with mirror visored helmets and carrying flamethrowers and assault rifles. In this reality the Chessman has taken over the city. A Soviet chess player who was in town ten years ago and caught cheating. He and his followers then took over the city and erected a force field around it. Now he rules with an iron fist a drugged out populace.
Rockson is picked up as a homeless man and brought to the Rooks headquarters. There he is identified as Theodore Rockman C.P.A. an upstanding citizen. They give him a good old session of brainwashing with the muzik and drugged food. Next day his wife Kim comes to pick him up and take him back home. There he finds his nagging wife and two children who are never described in the entire book. He watches the popular game show Twenty Questions which involve torturing some homeless guy until he answers the question “What are you for?” with “Social order.”
After a weird evening and hot sex with Kim he is off to work in the morning at his firm. There he finds that Rona is his secretary and he is having an affair with her. Well he goes nuts at work and leaves but instead of home he goes to a seedy part of town and uses half the $8 lunch money for a dive hotel room. Then the other $4 for a roll with a prostitute. Wow what a deal. Later he goes to a bar and with drink and rock and roll music gets his memory back. He hooks up with the local resistance who are the homeless. Seems eating old food from the trash is OK since the drugs are no longer effective. Rock breaks into a gun store and modifies an Uzi with an anti-air gun for a .50 caliber Uzi and mows down hordes of Rooks and Knights on horseback.
Well with his newfound homeless friends he assaults the Chessman’s HQ and overcoming his mental powers finds out he is Strelsky who also has a counterpart in this past. Strelsky is killed and the people are freed from the muzik. Unfortunately WWIII starts and they must escape the city. Rock steals a cab and with Kim his kids and Barrelman the leader of the homeless manage to make it to the time door and escape back to 2092. First Rock goes through some new age mumbo-jumbo of seeing the universe and all his past lives. Then in the future Kim, Barrelman and the kids disappear. He finds the clothes he was wearing have also disappeared. It was all a dream. He strips some clothes from the dead KGB and heads off for Century City.
Well this has got to be the most bizarre story for even this series. In a way it’s bizarreness makes it my favorite of the series. It is the best remembered of the books and definitely held my interest. I lived in Utah and Nevada during the eighties and visited Salt Lake on numerous occasions. Had some good restaurants but never seen a force field around the city or the Chessman. The Chessman seems to run a poor excuse for an economy. Rock is a C.P.A. with a big office and a secretary but still is poor. They live in a run down apartment with tacky art and drive an old Gremlin. The authors get a chance to try for some social commentary about the homeless and the heartless materialism of society. The pursuit of inane game shows and sitcoms. It is all lost in such a goofy, weird story.
Oh and even as a C.P.A. he still gets the women. He’s married to Kim who is even a bigger annoying, nagging moonbat then the one from Rock’s time. Still the Chessman is a bit of a sexist and conditions obedience in woman. As Kim says to Rock, “Just lie back, dear. Remember what the Chessman says about sex. it’s the woman’s job. After a hard day, the best thing is a blow job.” Naturally Rock is OK with this but does later take charge to Kim’s delight. And of course he is cheating on her with Rona in this alternate timeline. Not to mention the $4 prostitute. Don’t remember $4 going so far back then. Definitely a classic.
Thanks to Rockson and his alliance with Premier Vassily Colonel Killov’s power grab has failed. Now the KGB are broken and on the run. Killov though is still up to no good. He has managed to capture five anti-matter missiles and is heading toward the Arctic Circle to be in launch range of Moscow. An anti-matter missile could destroy half of Colorado which he plans to do to demonstrate his resolve. If power isn’t surrendered to him then Moscow is next. So Vassily contacts Rockson for help in stopping him. He sends an expert named Scheransky with a big piece of equipment to track the missiles. So after taking care of a renegade KGB unit the group heads into Canada during the winter.
Canada has been largely ignored and unexplored since the war. Luckily Rock and his group find a tribe of friendly Eskimos. Rock only has to defeat their champion and they are friends for life. The chief Tinglim outfits the group with dog sleds and supplies and leads them through the territory. They have to fight packs of mutant wolfs and man eating Sasquatch before they make it to the Ice City. This city is an Eskimo city of ice that has advanced new age crystal technology. It saves Archer’s life after this skull is caved in by a Sasquatch. At the Arctic Circle the group catches Killov and disables four of the five missiles. The fifth is launched toward Century City and Rock manages to steal a jet and shoot it down before crashing into the desert. Killov makes his escape.
Killov is still at it. Now he has these powerful missiles and of course its up to Rockson to stop him. So in this book we get to see what happened to Canada. Apparently its a snowy wasteland populated by Eskimos and man-eating Sasquatch. I guess nothing has changed. So Sasquatch makes an appearance since he vanished back in the seventies. Only this Sasquatch isn’t the shy, bashful creature but something that likes to mount captive humans on a spit and barbecue them over an open fire. This book had a ton of kooky new age mumbo-jumbo. The Eskimo shaman tells of how Atlantis was destroyed and the survivors fled to the center of the Earth. When they came back they had to battle the Sasquatch. There was also a whole bunch of crystal power in this book.
Zhabanov is back to being President of the U.S.S.A. He’s had it rough what with having to flee Killov and abandon his men. The greater indignity is Premier Vassily called him a coward and made him work in clerical supervised by a blackie Rahallah. Oh the injustice but he is back and incompetently leading America.
Finally we can’t forget Rock’s love life. After the dry spell in the last book he is back to getting some. Kim and Rona have agreed to not see Rock but both secretly come to his room and promise Rock not to tell. That is promise he is more than willing to keep. This guy has it good but I suppose he deserves it. After all he risked his life to save Century City and the world from destruction by Killov. He has to fight and lead his men through a harsh Arctic wilderness with wolves and Sasquatch. I mean he only lost two or three men which you know is bound to happen. That’s why you bring a few extra along so it cushions the important characters from danger. Another fun book and kind of nice to read about Arctic weather when the temperature is in the hundreds.