FREEDOM’S RANGERS 6 SNOW KILL BY KEITH WILLIAM ANDREWS

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Copyright 1991.

Travis Hunter and his rangers are stationed at base 990. The base is located 990 A.D. in the wilds of America. The purpose is for them to not be caught in any change to history that the VBU would make. This proves to be a good idea as the Soviets have once again changed history. When they can’t contact their base in 2008 a jump to 1991 shows that America is now under the control of the Soviets. Studying a history book they find out the change occurred during the Battle of the Bulge. The German offensive was successful and they were able to get in range and use nuclear bombs to destroy London and the channel ports. The allied armies collapsed and the Soviets were able to roll over all of Europe. The Americans were later able to nuke Japan and win that war but the experience in Europe turned America to an isolationist path. The Soviets manages to take control of the world and in 1956 a brief war further reduced America to poverty. So by the 1970’s a Communist revolution occurred and the Soviets were invited in as peacekeepers.

So now Hunter and his Rangers must go to the Ardennes in December 1944. Disguised as American troops they must stop the Soviets from helping the Germans. All the while they have to survive the Malmedy Massacre and not screw up history so it comes out as it should.

The final book in the series once again has our heroes saving time from the insidious Soviets. The plan to change the outcome with altering the Battle of the Bulge is a sound one. The history is plausible and is written with much attention to historical detail. You learn a lot about the battle from this story just as you do with the other books in the series. A consistently well written and researched series. It kept the rules for time travel that was established consistent and plausible.

Now by 1991 it was obvious that the Soviets weren’t going to conquer the world. On the author’s web page it tells that the final book they wanted to write would have had them travel back to the eighties and save an unknown Soviet apparatchik named Gorbachev from assassination. Thus ensuring that America won the Cold War. That would have fit the current world reality and gave the series a sense of closure. Unfortunately the publisher pulled the plug on the series and book was never written. So we will just have to content ourselves with knowing they succeeded in changing time for the better.

FREEDOM’S RANGERS 5 SINK THE ARMADA! BY KEITH WILLIAM ANDREWS

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Copyright 1990.

Travis Hunter and his team are in 1848 Paris investigating the presence of the VBU. They find their headquarters but its a trap and they are captured. They find themselves transported to the VBU base at Guantanamo Cuba in 1588. The Soviets have a plan to destroy the English fleet and thus prevent the English from ever colonizing America. Thus there would be no United States to oppose them. Now this affects a great deal of European history so they have set up a base in 1588 so they can monitor and make changes to history to ensure Soviet world domination.

Hunter and his men manage to escape and call their base for help. They take over the Soviet base and then go out after their agents. Only the Soviets detonate a nuke at Guantanamo and destroy their captured base. Hunter and his men are picked up by a passing English privateer. They get back to England and find out the Soviets have brought back an Oscar class submarine and four Osa class patrol boats. More than enough to take out the English fleet. So they must figure out a way to destroy them or else their history is doomed.

The third book takes us very far back in history. So far that changing it could seriously effect the outcome of the Soviet Union in the twentieth century. Trying to monitor and shape history over centuries just seems crazy but the authors do portray the VBU as fanatics. Anyway they fail in this and this is the first book that didn’t have an alternate reality to explore in the future. Some interesting touches like that Guantanamo harbor was formed by their exploding a nuclear bomb back in 1588. The authors also give a very convincing portrait of the time in history so you do feel like you’re actually there. Another exciting book filled with action and historical flavor.

FREEDOM’S RANGERS 4 TREASON IN TIME BY KEITH WILLIAM ANDREWS

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Copyright 1990.

It is 2007 and just before the Battle of Denver. The battle was a disaster for Free American forces and Travis Hunter and his rangers are sent back to alter the outcome. They go back to a crucial pass to alert the garrison there but find the place deserted. The captain of the garrison Hendricks is involved in shaking down the locals for protection money. So Hunter and his men manage to delay the Soviets and alert the high command so the defeat is a resounding victory. Only Hunter and his men are killed.

So several months later Hunter and his men are still alive because the victory means they never have to go back and get killed. Also Captain Hendricks is the one who takes credit for the victory and is now a hero and assigned to Project Chronos. The Americans are going ahead with a plan to go back to 1918 Russia and help Admiral Kolchak consolidate his power over the White faction and defeat the Reds.

So they go back and manage to take over a Soviet time machine located on a train. Hendricks manages to ingratiate himself with Kolchak but this corrupt captain is out for himself. He wants to use the time machine to enrich himself and his corrupt men. A plan to assassinate a popular general of the Czech legion motivates the Czechs to fight for the Whites and defeat the Reds. Only this changes history for the worse. The Nazis are still in power with an allied Russian empire. America never enters the war and the continuing depression results in the American Nazi party taking power in the fifties. Now the whole world is fascist and Hunter and his rangers must stop the corrupt Hendricks and the Soviets to set history right.

Now this book had a new development. The Soviet VBU are more of background players and aren’t the main threat. The main one is a traitorous American who is where he is because of a more recent event that was altered by Project Chronos. This time the future is their doing and it is just as bad if not worse than what the Soviets managed to create. Another enjoyable book with plenty of accurate historical feel. We learn a lot about the Czech legion that group of Czech POWs that were recruited to fight WWI and find themselves now stuck in a hostile Russian civil war. The series maintains a consistent treatment of the rules it’s established for time travel and the outcomes seem plausible. A very well written series.

FREEDOM’S RANGERS 3 SEARCH AND DESTROY BY KEITH WILLIAM ANDREWS

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Copyright 1990.

Travis Hunter and his Freedom’s Rangers with their British allies have managed to save George Washington’s life back in 1777. Only they find that the alternate world of British North America still exists back in 2007. Whats worse is the Soviets of that time have launched an all out invasion. Hunter and his allies fight off an assault on the time facilities. Only time is running out and soon reinforcements will arrive. They research the new history and find that the Soviets must have had two teams back in 1777. The other one used modern mortars at the Battle of Saratoga to ensure a British victory. Saratoga was the first victory for the American rebellion that lead to French recognition and later direct aid. So Hunter and a mixed group of his rangers and British SAS escape back to 1777. Now they must defeat a well armed VBU presence that includes two helicopters the Soviet brought back with them.

So the authors decided to give us another story set back in 1777. Must have spent a lot of time researching the era and were really going to use it. Once again the story is fast paced and interesting. The historical setting feels very real and you learn a lot of history about the time and events that took place. Naturally they manage to defeat the Soviets and set back their own timeline. They also get a new member in Dark Walker a Sioux that can exist in the current time even though his history has been rewritten.

FREEDOM’S RANGERS 2 RAIDERS OF THE REVOLUTION BY KEITH WILLIAM ANDREWS

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Copyright 1989.

Travis Hunter and his Freedom’s Rangers are on a mission in 1938 to investigate possible Soviet activity. They do find the VBU agents and in a firefight their recall device is destroyed. They run across another mysterious group of British that are also time travelers from 2007. They escape through their portal and find themselves back in America. Only this America is The Dominion of North America. Seems the Soviets have successfully altered history and changed the outcome of the Revolutionary War. Back in 1777 at the Battle of Brandywine they successfully assassinate George Washington. Without his leadership the revolution collapses and Britain maintains dominance over North America. The Second World War has Hitler successfully invade Britain but the Soviets later manage to conquer Europe. Then they take on the Japanese and by 2007 most of the world is Communist.

Now the free Dominion is being pressured to surrender to the Soviets. But they also have a time travel project nicknamed The Circus located in the Shenandoah mountains of Virginia. They also have plans to change history to their advantage. Hunter manages to convince them to mount an expedition back to 1777 and save Washington.

So the second book has our heroes find out the evil Soviets have once again changed history for the worst. A world without the United States. Fortunately they manage to convince their new British allies to help them even though it means wiping their reality out of existence. Once again a very well written and fast moving story. The authors did their historical research and the world of 1777 feels very real. A fun and enjoyable series.

FREEDOM’S RANGERS BY KEITH WILLIAM ANDREWS

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Copyright 1989.

It is 2007 and in this year the Soviets are winning. They have already conquered western Europe. A revolution in Mexico has destabilized the American government and now U.N. peacekeepers made up of Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops occupy most of the eastern United States. The western states are still part of free America and continue to resist. Lt. Travis Hunter and his ranger squad rescue a scientist and his daughter from Soviet occupied Boston and take them to a secret facility located in the Grand Teton National Park. The facility of Project Chronos or as it’s nicknamed Time Square is the last hope for America. Time travel has been perfected and with it the hope of altering history so the Soviets never become a threat.

The plan is to go back and assassinate Lenin before he is transported to Russia in 1917. The rangers carry out this task. Then the next mission is 1923 Munich. They then plan to assassinate Hitler during the Beer Hall Putsch. Thus the twin evils of Communist and Nazism will never be born. Unfortunately the Soviets have their own time travel project. The VBU the Russian acronym for Time Security Directorate has plans to shape history for Communism’s benefit. They have safely moved Lenin so he wasn’t assassinated. Now in 1923 they want Hitler’s rebellion to succeed so they can manipulate the Communists in taking over Germany. They succeed and Hunter and his rangers find themselves in an alternate 2007. One where a united Communist Germany and Russia have conquered the world. Now they must go back and stop the VBU and right history.

So this series came out in the waning days of Communism. In a way it was a holdover from the eighties and starting to show its age. Now one thing I always wondered was why the Soviets were so obsessed with changing history in this series. I mean they were already winning so why mess with things. The series was very well written. The authors had a very good grasp of history or able to fake it well enough for the casual reader who wasn’t interested in researching the facts. The time mechanics were that the change would move upstream but those sent back before the change would be unaffected. So they could go back into the future without being effected by history. One weird thing the book had was a German wondered if he killed his grandfather during their trip would he not exist. The scientist said that his grandmother would just marry someone different and he would probably have a different last name and hair or eye color. What??!! No that is not how it would work. Basic biology that the guy would just not exist. The writers must have decided on the ridiculousness of this for in the last book someone does get his grandfather killed and erases himself from history.

The series was the first for William Keith who with his brother Andrew wrote this series. Keith would go on to establish the naval action series Carrier and it’s spinoff Seal Team Seven. He also under Ian Douglas wrote about futuristic marines. Both series will someday be in this blog.

MUTINY IN THE TIME MACHINE BY DONALD KEITH

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Copyright 1963.

Two boy scouts Bob Tucker and Ellsworth “Brains” Baynes are going to their scout meeting. They cut through a canyon and find a time machine that was uncovered in a recent rock slide. Brains the smart one figures out how it works and the two start taking trips through time. They land in the far future of 5000 A.D. They are captured by a scouting troop. The people of the future are small, bald and toothless. To these future people the boys from 1960 look like savage cavemen. The boys make a friend in Kai a sensitive scout who is an orphan. With his help they escape and take him back to their time.

Later they pick up a young Spartan named Dion from ancient Greece. He helps train the scout troop for the annual Jamboree competition. At some time the group decides to find out who created the time machine and access the monitor that shows events anywhere in time. They find out the machine was covered up by a tribe of Indians back in pre-Columbian times. They rescue a man who is called The Widget. He used the machine from 2030. The Widget and the inventor went back to the Indian tribe to get a formula that can cure the common cold. The Widget convinces Baynes and Dion to revolt and go to the Johnstown Flood in 1889. There is a descendant of the tribe peddling the cure as a traveling salesmen. Now Tucker must somehow rescue his mutinous friends from the evil Widget as the approaching flood threatens them.

So this is another book from my childhood that I decided to seek out. This was checked out from the school library when I was in grade school. The book is a collection of serialized stories for Boy’s Life the magazine of the Boy Scouts. It appeared in the sixties and seventies and the first stories were put together in this book. Its actually a fun book to read. Naturally it has many Boy Scout themes in it. I remember the creepy future with the toothless and bald people. Finding a time machine lying around and going off exploring the past and future sounds like a real fun thing for young boys. Hell it would be fun as an adult. A fun and enjoyable read for children and adults.

THE MONSTER FLY AND OTHER STORIES OF THE UNREAL BY CHARLES A. PIDDOCK

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Copyright 1974

THE MONSTER FLY

Sam and Charlie are hiding out from the police outside Yuma City. They see what looks like a plane crash and decide to get out before the police arrive. They drive to the crash site and find a giant ball that changes color. It releases white spheres from an opening. They hatch giant flies which attack them. Later the citizens of Yuma City are attacked by giant flies.

TO THE MIDDLE OF THE EARTH

Captain Leo Leopold is in a meeting with the President of the United States. Seems that Dassia is drilling to the center of the Earth to plant a bomb. They then can threaten to blow up the Earth unless their demands are met. So Leo is to drill down and leave a device that will neutralize the bomb. So he drills down and ends up in Hell with the devil waiting for him.

THE MEN FROM OUTER SPACE

Two aliens Kral and Gak land on a strange new world. They are attacked by a giant centipede. Then they are crushed by the foot of little Billy Cranshaw. The two year old makes sure no more visitors will ever come to planet Earth.

THE TIME MACHINE

Red and Billy are two bums looking for a warm place to spend the night. They come on a garage and see a guy who is building something leave. Going in they find that the thing he was working on is a time machine. They try it out and end up in 1944. The appearance of the machine causes a car to hit a ten year old. When the two go to help they find out it is Red as a child. They jump back into the machine and go back to the present. Only Red is not their. Billy goes to the police and finds out that Red dies as a child in 1944.

THE ZOO

Robert Harrison is upset at his family. They seem content with their lives. While getting drunk mechanical arms come out of the wall and restrain him. His family continue on as if nothing has happened. Later in the morning they join the neighborhood as they go out and play sports. A tram comes along with aliens to see the human exhibit. A voice warns not to feed the humans but the aliens do anyway. As his family go to get the food Robert cries.

NIGHT DRIVER

Cindy is driving home in a winter night in Kansas. A snowstorm causes her car to break down. Luckily a truck comes by and gives her a lift. The man seems friendly but mysteriously talks about saving a lot more lives. She is dropped off at an old couples home and finds out the man is a ghost. He died in a crash that killed a bus full of kids and now goes around trying to make amends.

THE SPIDER GOD

Captain Billy Joe Smith is with some South Vietnamese soldiers checking out a village. A building is still standing and they chase a VC into it. A fight ensures and Billy sees it is some temple. Filled with cages of spiders and an idol of a giant spider. Billy puts out his cigar in the eyes of the idol offending the Spider God. Years later in Denver him and his little daughter are attacked by hordes of spiders. Back in the village the idols eyes then start to glow signaling that the god has been avenged.

So this was a book that I checked out of the school library when I was in second grade. It is written for young kids and has illustrations on every other page to show what the story is trying to convey. The illustrations by Richard Maccabe are crude but effective in visualizing the story. I still vividly remember the drilling to Hell and meeting the Devil and the human zoo. The stories were quite effective on a young mind that I still remembered them after all these years and decided to search out this book. An enjoyable nostalgic trip back to my childhood.

DEATH OF THE PLANET OF THE APES BY ANDREW E.C. GASKA

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Copyright 2018.

George Taylor has just found out that he is on Earth after coming on the Statue of Liberty. His journey to the ruins of Manhattan get him separated from his mate Nova. Here he finds a futuristic city with robots run by a hybrid ape/human child. Only this is an illusion by the mutants that control the city. They believe Taylor is a servant of the apes and are determined to find out what he knows about their plans to invade. Through flashbacks we see Taylor’s life including his finding a downed UFO during the Korean war. This lead to him getting into the secret ANSA space program using salvaged alien technology. All this against a surreal alternate history where Goldwater won the presidency and Texas has seceded.

Meanwhile in Ape City the old order is falling apart. A fundamentalist orangutan has become the head of the church and allies with General Ursus in his crusade to rid Simia of it’s humans. As the army marches into the Forbidden Zone Zira and Cornelius get involved with a chimpanzee revolution and Dr. Milo as he manages to salvage the astronauts spacecraft. Mungwort the garbage ape that was exiled gets involved with hybrid human/ape mutants in the ruins of New York controlled by the giant brains called the Inheritors. All comes to the final confrontation with the mutant’s doomsday bomb god.

So this book is the untold story between the first and second movies. Here we get Taylor’s story including his past. We get what happened to Zira and Cornelius. The events that shaped the ape society. How Dr. Milo was able to get the spaceship to work. It has been a while since I read a new book that I looked so forward to reading. This book was just awesome. Gaska is a true fan of the genre. Not only are there meticulous references to the movies but also are included are the astronauts from the TV series and animated series. There is a nod to the various comic book incarnations from both the Boom series and the old Marvel black and white magazine. I even found a reference from the old Adventure series from the nineties. The book is only $6.47 for a new 400 plus page book so this is an excellent deal. If you are a fan of the apes movies than you will love this book.

WILDERNESS FRONTIER STRIKE BY DAVID THOMPSON

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Copyright 1996.

Nat King is a mountain man living in Colorado in 1840. A former accountant he left New York so he could live free. Now he lives with his Shoshone wife Winona and their son and daughter. One day a strange portal opens up and out comes a snake-man. Followed by a seven foot man in a leather vest. The man wears twin Bowie knives and has a strange gun. The snake-man runs off and he takes the unconscious stranger back to his home. The stranger is Blade the leader of The Alpha Triad. Three warriors who guard The Home hundreds of years in the future. Blade along with Hickok and Geronimo were attempting to kill Thanatos. Thanatos was a genius mutant who with his army of mutants and zombies attempted to take over the Freedom Federation. He was defeated and now Alpha Triad was caught in his time machine as he escaped into the past. His friends were deposited hundreds of miles away. Geronimo to battle his ancestor Blackfeet and Hickok stuck in old Saint Louis. Now they must somehow unite in the past and stop Thanato’s plan to turn the native tribes into zombies and conquer the country.

When the newest Endworld book came out there was stuff about Thanatos and his time machine. Sounded like a story never told but actually it was in this book. About five years after Endworld was cancelled David Robbins put the characters in his popular Wilderness series. A series about the adventures of a mountain man in the 1840’s.Written under the name Thompson I never knew this existed until recently. A bold move to include such science fiction stuff like mutants, zombies , time travel and automatic weapons in a western series. It could alienate the hard core western fans. Still it fit nicely in the story and his main characters exposure to the future element stuff was at a minimum.

I’m glad I found this book since it fills in some gaps from the last Endworld book and came in handy for the just released new book that I will do next week. It also gave me a chance to check out his western books and this is his most popular series. Now at over a hundred written I found the western elements just as entertaining as the futuristic stuff. Robbins has a great feel for this time and has done some research. I can see myself checking out more of these books in the future.