Showing posts with label Out of the Ashes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Out of the Ashes. Show all posts

Monday, June 28, 2021

Paperback Warrior Podcast - Episode 91

Episode 91 is a special Father's Day episode! Eric and his father, Chris discuss the life and literary works of William W. Johnstone. We delve deep into Johnstone's prolific career, determine the identity of J.A. Johnstone and examine the publishing mysteries surrounding the Johnstone name after his death. The two discuss The Last Mountain Man, Rig Warrior, Out of the Ashes, Matt Jensen, The Eagles and so much more. Tom calls in with commentary on Johnstone's contemporary thrillers like Stand Your Ground and Black Friday. Listen on any podcast app, or download directly HERE 

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Listen to "Episode 91 Draft" on Spreaker.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Out of the Ashes #02 - Fire in the Ashes

Beginning in 1983, prolific author William W. Johnstone created the first of 35 installments in his Out of the Ashes series of post-apocalyptic men's action-adventure novels. The eponymous debut introduced hero Ben Raines and his resistance to a socialist regime in the wake of a devastating nuclear war. One year after the debut, Zebra published the subsequent entry titled Fire in the Ashes. 

After Ben's downfall at the end of the series debut, the country has become an enslaved population under an ultra left-winged police state. Two mercenaries, Cody and Lowry, are sodomizing, gang raping and torturing any resistance. The author spends a great deal of time describing graphic, grotesque torture sequences involving Ben's girlfriend, a reporter and her young daughter. In fact, nearly the first 350-pages of the novel is Ben roaming the countryside while sex torture permeates the nation. Weird.

Without ruining the story, the government's military eventually starts backing Ben and the resistance which leads to the inevitable nomination of Ben Raines as the new President. Once a plague reduces the nation's population, the dead corpses attract armies of rats. There's also gigantic mutant the mutated six-year old that Ben is forced to fight in the book's disappointing finale.

Look, the post-apocalypse fiction of the 80s and 90s comes in all shapes and sizes. There's something for everyone. Out of the Ashes, based on my two experiences, isn't anything remotely interesting or engaging for readers to explore. If you like the political intrigue and pawn maneuvering that doomsday provokes, then by all means this book, and series, might excite you. I've never had any desire to pursue any other books in the series.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Out of the Ashes #01 - Out of the Ashes

William W. Johnstone was a prolific author that wrote across multiple genres in the 80s and 90s. While known mostly for westerns in his Last Mountain Man series, and it's many offshoots, the author created a long line of post-apocalyptic books called Out of the Ashes. The series ran 35 books and was spun-off into one additional series called The Last Rebel that managed one book release before Johnstone's passing. The thriving Johnstone estate, which continues to release monthly titles through a revolving door of authors, chose not to pursue any further entries in the series.

The first book of the series, aptly titled Out of the Ashes, was released in 1983 by Zebra. The series had a tremendous following and surely this debut entry was a runaway hit for Zebra considering series longevity. In it, the end of the world begins with a treacherous double-cross within the Washington D.C. brass. The political upheaval eventually turns to force and nuclear bombs begin falling like rain. Most of the US's most populated cities are decimated. However, 5,000 militia were privy to intelligence and prepared for the inevitable bombing. After the dust settles, they emerge from hiding and become a force known as The Rebels. In an effort to become a right-winged government superpower, they learn that the default new president, Logan, declares that the “new” America adopt military socialism. The Rebels then become true Rebels by fighting back against President Logan's new regime and his ruthless aggression. 

The series protagonist is Ben Raines, a Vietnam War veteran who later went on to be a mercenary in Africa and did a lot of wetwork. Afterwards, he retired to Louisiana where he slouched on Scotch and wrote a bunch of pulp fiction. Ironically, on the day the bombs fell, Raines ends up getting stung by yellow jackets and falls down with an allergic reaction. This saves him somehow from the nuclear attack. When he wakes up several days later he realizes the apocalypse occurred. The author then spends pages and pages on Raines traveling the country writing notes about doomsday while getting laid a lot. Eventually, Ben becomes involved with the Rebels and decides to lead the forces against President Logan. 

Unlike Johnstone's western series', Out of the Ashes is incredibly graphic. There's an abundance of torture, rape and sadistic villains threatening to sodomize any resistance. The over-the-top sex reminded me of David Alexander's Phoenix series. I think it was just there for shock value and didn't necessarily expand the story or develop characters. Needless to say, I'm not a fan of this book. About halfway through the novel I pondered what made this series sell and how it could have possibly attracted so many consumers. The political maneuvering and counter intelligence devoured most of the book's narrative. In terms of action, only the last 15-pages were worthy. 

The end result – Out of the Ashes was simply out of ideas. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE