Showing posts with label Survival 2000. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survival 2000. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Survival 2000 #03 - Frozen Fire

After the rousing success of Deathlands, publisher Gold Eagle jumped into the post-apocalyptic arena again with Survival 2000. It was a three-book series released in 1991 and penned by journeyman author Laurence James (Deathlands, Apache). The series focuses on a father and son duo, David and Lee, as they trek across the Pacific Northwest after devastating meteors destroy most of civilization. The series debut, Blood Quest, introduced the series premise and migrated the action from California to Montana. The subsequent entry, Renegade War, found the duo battling a bully and the obligatory marauders that always remain prevalent in this type of fiction. Frozen Fire is the series finale and I'm hoping Laurence James can rebound from delivering a rather flat second installment. 

By book three, I've come to realize that the series is exactly what the title entails – survival. I love that aspect of the writing style but would still love to see some villains appear to provide some more human opposition. Obviously, the first two entries had the occasional gunfight and plenty of firearm jargon, but the central concept has always been the journey. This final chapter is no different as we see Dave, Lee and Zera move further north in their chase. A few firefights are thrown in along the way but I found they were anti-climatic and forced into the narrative instead of a natural progression. Hell, a portion of this book has Dave trying to find a dentist to fix his mouth. 

Frozen Fire wasn't exactly the edge-of-your-seat action that Gold Eagle typically publishes. Once the final showdown came, roughly nine pages from the end, it was a brief struggle that led to an abrupt closure. I can't help but think of the Wasteworld series and it's watered down narrative splashed over four books – some good, some really bad. Overall, Survival 2000 was just average...nothing more, nothing less. One can certainly survive without it.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Survival 2000 #02 - Renegade War

Survival 2000 was a short-lived, three-book series of post-apocalyptic novels released by Gold Eagle in 1991. Seasoned author Laurence James wrote the series under the pseudonym James McPhee. In the book's opening installment, Blood Quest, readers learn that the Earth was nearly destroyed by asteroids in 2025. The book's protagonists, father and son team David and Lee, are pursuing family members that escaped California's demise by retreating east to Montana. The series next chapter, Renegade War, seamlessly picks up where the previous installment ended. 

In Renegade War, heroes David and Lee are chasing after a villain named Sheever and his brutish horsemen to reclaim their family. Joining the trip is David's girlfriend Zera and a doctor named Keyle. Much like the previous book, James centers most of the action on simply getting from point A to point B with a few excursions thrown in. Here we have a grizzly attack, a whorehouse shootout and...well not much else really. But, the whorehouse shootout was riveting. 

Unlike the first book, Renegade War fails to have an exciting climax and left me wondering if half of this book could have been tacked onto the third book of the series or just left out completely. It's not a great series entry and felt rather unnecessary overall. I can only hope that the series finale, Frozen Fire, can recapture what Laurence James got right with the debut.

Buy a copy of the first book HERE

Survival 2000 #01 - Blood Quest

Arriving rather late in the post-apocalyptic genre of men's action-adventure, Survival 2000 was a three-book series published by Gold Eagle (The Executioner, Track) in 1991. The house name used was James McPhee but the series was actually authored by journeyman Laurence James (Deathlands, Apache). The series debut was titled Blood Quest.

The premise is introduced by explaining to readers that Earth that has been shattered by an asteroid in the year 2050. Why isn't it called 'Survival 2050'? Civilization is left in ruins and we see the typical bandits, rovers and rogue Army sadists attempting to market their brand of Hell on Earth. These are all obligatory genre tropes of doomsday fiction. The paperback warrior is a former accountant named David Rand who is surviving by backpacking the wasteland with his sixteen year old son Lee and pit-bull Melmoth. The two have a quest that they reach David's wife and two daughters in California. It's the age-old monomyth of a heroic journey to fulfill a quest.

Like the title implies, Blood Quest is simply the trek the two take to reach California. Once there they discover that most of the state is now swimming in the Pacific. With a few clues, they find that their family may still be alive in a small town in Montana. As the two journey through a brutal nuclear winter they battle cannibals, animals and the elements. James is a rather technical author when it comes to firearms and all of these stories describe, in painful detail, every caliber bullet and make of weapon being used against assailants. By page 100 this becomes an infuriating staple of James' literary approach to the book. 

Considering this is the first entry in the book, it wasn't a huge surprise to find the action lacking the first half. James invests his time setting up the series premise and delivers a solid second-half narrative with a bit more action and a hectic, but not rushed, finale. I was enthralled enough with the quest to buy the remaining two books of the series. If you like survival, action oriented fiction, you should love Blood Quest.

Buy a copy of this book HERE