Monday, April 22, 2024

Rage on the Page in a Cage

 The barney's done and Carter Brown and Larry Kent bashed the competition, winning for Private Eyes.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Afrikorps by Bill Dolan

by Bill Dolan
1991, Harper

Set in 2175, after the greenhouse effect ravaged the Earth in 2050. Select people lived generations in biodomes across the world while the survivors outside mutate and turn to savagery. In 2150, the Earth had healed enough for the biodomes to open and tame the wilderness with high technology and solar powered tanks, through mass slaughter and forcing people into reeducation camps. Captain Abe TC Creighton is drafted for a new mission - to stop African Marauders from invading Europe.

Some decent adventure through desert terrain. A little light on action, and since the Afrikorps outnumber and outgun their adversaries, you end up rooting for the Marauder underdogs for their cunning. Dips into horror with the savagery of the Marauders, led by an eyeball eating rapist.

The pacing was a bit off. It didn't feel padded, but it took half the book to get to Africa. It felt like the set up for a multi-book epic, but then hurriedly dispatched the main villains in the last few pages. There are other installments, but it looks to be more episodic.

And then there's the horrifically racist concept. The biodome survivors aren't necessarily valorized, we get the sense that their level of control is stifling, but they're clearly meant to be the good guys. Even when TC goes full Anakin and wipes out a village of women and children, he regains control at the end.

The general premise of African savages threatening to overrun civilized Europe in order to rape their women ain't great, and while Dolan might have thought to temper it by having a South African Afrikaner lead them, the theme is still the superiority of White civilization, even when they're evil.

The book conspicuously avoids mentioning race most of the time, which is odd considering most authors of the era felt compelled to mention a characters skin tone as often as possible if they weren't White. About the only time it is mentioned is to distinguish between a good albino tribe and a tribe of evil mutants who have devolved into primates. Not particularly subtle symbolism there, but nothing spoken directly like, say, the Turner Diaries.

From Amazon

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Black Samurai by Marc Olden

Black Samurai
by Marc Olden
1974, New American Library

Robert Sand is trained as a samurai after being shot by "military racists" and later faces a Vietnam vet trying to bring My Lai to America.

I suspect I'll like further installments more - way too much origin story and seems to be more restrained than later books. This was an interesting experiment in how I process text - listening to the audiobook the action scenes felt glossed over but the rest was OK. Reading the same sections, the action was written fine but the dialogue felt juvenile.

Available from Amazon

Friday, April 19, 2024

Larry Kent 640: Naked Curse by Don Haring

Larry Kent 640
Naked Curse
by Don Haring
1966, Cleveland

Larry Kent started life as an Australian radio show I Hate Crime as a competitor to Carter Brown. Kent is hired to scare off a stalker, pay off a blackmailer, and find a missing son, only to find each client belongs to the same family.

Better than average plotting and better action scenes than most PI novels, with a decent body count. Despite the saucy covers this was less suggestive than a Carter Brown from previous decades, like it was a fade-to-black scene with a couple extra sentences removed on either side.

Available from Amazon

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Al Wheeler 5: Booty For a Babe by Carter Brown

Al Wheeler 5
Booty For a Babe
by Carter Brown
Horowitz, 1956

Al Wheeler solves a mystery at a science fiction convention at a hotel. An eccentric professor who believed aliens controlled the flow of time is killed during a panel, and Wheeler locks down the hotel, mostly so he can drink hit on dames.

Available from Amazon

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Strange Powers of the Mind by Warren Smith

Strange Powers of the Mind
by Warren Smith
1968 Ace Star

Anecdotal feel to a lot of these entries, with names changed, mostly of predictions. A few good entries.

There's the Copenhagen Hypnosis Murders, in which a man made a fellow prisoner a hypnotized slave and supposedly forced him to kill - they both ended up in jail for the murders.

There's the story of Mrs. Sarah A. Hand who believed if she removed her head, both her head and body would continue living. She attempted to decapitate herself, and failing that, laid across a railroad track. She left a note to make sure her head didn't get squished because then it wouldn't work. Her experiment was a failure.

There are several predictions - all of the clairvoyants' previous prophecies have come true, of course, so let's take a look at the future predictions. Some have no date references, so they could still be true in the future, and some are so vague ("important political figures will be replaced") I couldn't point to any and say if and when they came true.

  • LBJ fails to be re-elected (got this one right, extra points that he didn't lose the election, he didn't run)
  • President Nassar of Egypt assassinated in 1968 (1970, heart attack)
  • Russia and China fight an all out nuclear war in 1970
  • Religious war in India between Buddhists and Muslims at the end of the 20th century
  • Eclipse in July and August, 1999 (got August right), in which a masculine female becomes ruler of Russia.
  • An American will lead England by the turn of the century (Boris Johnson was 19 years too late).
  • NYC and the Eastern Seaboard will be destroyed in the 1990s.
  • Lemuria will rise in 1968.
  • The Soviet Union will lose a war against 10 million Middle Eastern Muslims (closest was Afghanistan, in Asia with about 250k fighters)
  • America wins the Vietnam War in 1967
  • Armageddon by 2024, still time for this one

From Amazon

Monday, April 8, 2024

Rage on the Page in a Cage Round Three

 Piers Anthony gets distracted by some schoolgirls in the front row and gets schoolboyed by Carter Brown, who stays in the ring for team Private Eyes.