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.
The Road runs through time from the far past to the unimaginable future. The Dragons of Bel’kwinith built this road for their own unfathomable reasons. People throughout time have managed to find this road and travel it. Red Dorakeen travels it in an old beat-up Dodge pickup. Started traveling as an old man and now much younger continues. He has a computer book named Flowers as his only companion.
Now an old friend has decided to put a contract out on Red. The Black Decade is a rule of the Road that you can have ten attempts to kill someone. Now he has to fight off a variety of assassins including a warrior monk, a cybernetically enhanced veteran of WWIII, an abandoned alien robot and the Marquis De Sade riding a cybernetic T-Rex. All comes to a conclusion at the last exit to Babylon.
This is the second Zelazny book I read and enjoyed it as much as the first. I loved the idea of this road that goes throughout time and has these various eclectic individuals that populate it. The book is organized by chapters all labeled one and two. One being the viewpoint of Red and Two the viewpoint of the various supporting characters. A fun read but it did seem like something that could be an ongoing series. The book never explained why Red is aging backwards. Plus exploring the mysterious dragons is something that has possibilities. Nor did we look into the mysterious people that seem to control the Road. He never did anything with this. Still the ending was satisfying and made for a fun read.
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.
Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are trapped in Earth’s past. Fortunately for them an anomaly in time/space opens a portal to the twentieth century. Only it is just three days before the Vogon constructor fleet blows up the planet. They find themselves at a cricket game in England just as a spaceship lands and takes the trophy. The two run into Slartibartfast that guy who loves designing fjords and did Norway for Earth. He takes the two off the Earth in time. Slartibartfash is on a mission. He tells how long ago a planet called Krikket was enshrouded in a dust cloud and never saw the rest of the universe. One day a spaceship crashed and this alerted the Krikketers that there must be something out there. When they build their own ship and saw the universe they decided it had to go. So they started a genocidal war against the universe. When they were defeated their planet was put in a stasis bubble where once the universe ended they would find themselves alone. Only a rogue ship of their killer robots managed to survive and are gathering the key components to release Krikket. Now the gang has to save the universe.
The final book in the trilogy that later became five books. (We’ll get to those later.) This was another wacky and funny story that was a real treat to read. There are just fun stuff like the party that goes on forever and raids a whole planet to get drinks and snacks. Or the being that is out to get Arthur Dent because Dent has killed his many reincarnations such as a fly or raw oyster. Then there is the omnipotent being who’s life goal is to insult everybody who ever lived alphabetically. A fun book that ending a trilogy at the time on a high note.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.