Showing posts with label Phoenix. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Phoenix. Show all posts

Monday, December 9, 2019

Paperback Warrior Podcast - Episode 23

This episode of the Paperback Warrior Podcast celebrates the worst 20th Century novels the publishing industry had to offer. From TNT to Phoenix, we explore how bad things need to get before a reader will throw a paperback into the ocean. Don’t miss the fun as we discuss the absolute pits in vintage genre fiction. Stream below or on any podcast platform. Download directly HERE.

Listen to "Episode 23: Hall of Shame" on Spreaker.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Phoenix #02 - Ground Zero

"Ground Zero" is the second release in the 'Phoenix' line written by David Alexander and released in 1987 via Leisure. Phoenix (real name Magnus Trench) is currently an attorney, formerly a Vietnam vet and is vacationing alone in California when the US goes total nuclear devastation. He survives because he has goes into a cave to avoid the bomb, radiation and this strange Russian virus they have plagued Earth with. His wife and son are on the East coast so Phoenix is out to search for them across the American wasteland. He makes it into LA where he learns that only after three months since the nuke that the entire US military is gone. So are the cops and all semblance of law and order. Instead factions have arose and most people have dropped their first and last names and gone with cool monikers like "Uber Ballsack" or "Banana Dong". Magnus Trench becomes Phoenix. Phoenix learns there are the Contams, folks that have the Russian viral stuff. He also learns there is a New World Order called SCORF who have targeted him due to his immunity to the virus. All of the above is ultimately book one. 

Phoenix and teen prostitute September Song part ways somewhere between LA and Las Vegas, leaving Phoenix in a little town called Trinity in the opening pages. He gets into a gun fight and gets rescued by a midget named Big Wally. Adorable. Big Wally and Phoenix head into Las Vegas where the Sheik runs the show and controls everything. The author takes a lot of liberties with the character and that's a bit frustrating for the reader. Phoenix can walk into a shop and they just hand him awesome guns and loads of ammo. No one rides for free - except Magnus Trench. He gets everything for free because he survived the bomb in a cave. It turns out that it's Murder Weekend or something in Las Vegas. The Sheik has his road games where contestants battle in fast cars toting huge guns like 'Deathrace 2000'. It's only a matter of time before our boy Trench gets to meet The Sheik. 

Apparently, the Sheik needs a new contestant to represent his faction so Trench gets a sweet ride called Death Wings. After some hanky panky stuff, and there is a lot, Phoenix enters the death race thingy and of course he can outrun everyone. He mops the track up with the clowns and then notices all of these troops and planes trying to shoot him down. Phoenix is outrunning a fighter jet in a car. He ends up wrecking and falling into another cave. Here's where the author just goes bonkers with this stuff. Inside the cave is a sex cult that feel they can escape Earth during orgasm. At one point Phoenix watches the ultimate of orgies go down and, in his infinite wisdom, asks when it can be his turn. Phoenix quickly learns that he is going to have to escape the caves due to an army of attacking orcs. He chooses to resurface only to fight it out with SCORF. Phoenix, using a small arsenal meets the SCORF baddies in an abandoned town in pulp western style.

'Phoenix' in general is just simply awful. It's gun porn before pages and pages of porn. I mean every single male character is essentially running around just trying to find something to mate with. Alexander spends painful amounts of detail on guns and calibers only to completely get them wrong. I've checked his firearms and the calibers don't match. But this is trivial, yet just explains how bad this really is. If you are looking for all volumes of this series you can purchase them in digital format at Amazon. You owe it to yourself to at least pick the whole series up for a measly $10 and just poke fun at what is essentially some of the worst fiction ever created. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Phoenix #01 - Dark Messiah

David Alexander. This guy wrote one of the most over-the-top gore drenched series to grace the aisles of "Men's Action Adventure". I recently got his crowning achievement with four of the five books of 'Phoenix', a post apocalyptic series he created in the 80s. Book one is horrifically titled "Dark Messiah", released in 1987 via Leisure Books. 

The series shows us a nuked out 1989 America courtesy of those dang Soviets...again. Our post-apocalyptic hero is Magnus Trench - what a name. Trench is a Vietnam veteran who knows how to manhandle any weapons or flashlights. He now lives the life of the wealthy as a corporate white collar family man. He happens to be in San Francisco when he sees the mushroom clouds. He somehow finds shelter in a cave and survives the inferno because caves are great fallout shelters. Three days later he comes out to examine the wreckage and deems himself a new hero named Phoenix. Let's forget about his wife and kids back home because apparently this guy did.

He journeys down into San Francisco and finds that a new regime has taken over led by an insane Christian. Apparently this guy has infiltrated the US government, had the president killed and sparked the nuclear war that destroyed America. His Jesus goon cult is called SCORF and in three days time has established authority in the big cities. In just a little under a week the entire country has been nuked, then sprayed with a chemical plague that transforms the survivors into mutant monsters called Contams. Of course, in the midst of this is a street gang called the Pagans that interact with SCORF and have a mutual interest in raping and pillaging humanity. I can see the bumper sticker now - Join Us Now For Raping!

The survivors of the plague are called Immunes because the chemical plague doesn't affect them. SCORF runs a few dozen military units that holds all sorts of Contams, Immunes and survivors. These are basically just deathcamps where it's fun to push citizens into pits containing drugged out horny Contams. Alexander doesn't hold anything back and can flip an innocent onto all fours faster than a rat finding a cheeto. In it's most trashy element the Contams ravage the survivors, thrusting huge radioactive organs into their pit prey. Forget nuclear winter and sickness...the biggest threat in the post apocalypse is being sodomized by a mutant ding-dong.

In one ridiculous early scene we see Phoenix drive a jeep through the wreckage of San Fran then stop to poke around a bit. He goes into a burned out factory and sees gang members - get this - dressed in leather chaps with their penises and butts exposed. So, in just a little under a week humanity has dwindled down to a bunch of horny Rob Halfords running around with cod pieces? I wouldn't even be out of milk in less than a week but humanity is a sex ravaged wreck. The gang have a couple of survivors pinned down and as Phoenix watches they annihilate one with a flamethrower (these are just laying around). After watching the scene, Phoenix rescues a girl and finds that her name is September Song. Right. It just so happens that she is part of a huge group of survivors out of a safe house. She leads Phoenix there and he sets up a command post to make "commando" runs on SCORF bases. These are just exercises of action fiction that go absolutely nowhere.

Here's the issue with Phoenix and David Alexander. The author can't decide his hero's name so throughout the book he deems him Trench or Phoenix...whichever fits the scene. Secondly, Alexander spends entire pages describing weapons. Not just the size or sounds of the gun but down to the most agonizing detail. For example, Badass Number One may be holding a MAC11 380 SMG shooting .45 ACPs hung low on his right hip in a speed rig. In every single firefight the battle slows to a crawl so Alexander can identify every single weapon in the room and what type of holster or sling it is in or out of. He then rambles on about the velocity of the bullets before cutting to "the .45 ACP blasted through the skull creating brain salad". Really? Why did it take a half page to tell me about the pistol just so I can get to "brain salad"? 

Alexander has very little knowledge of the English language aside from guns. Instead of describing goons he simply deems them "Badass One, Two, Three, etc.". Often, our hero drives around randomly in search of something to do and more times than not there is no clear reason why he does any of these things. If Phoenix is missing his wife and family back home, and carefully considering if they are alive or dead, why does he sleep with other women in this book? Beyond that the author makes Phoenix a combination of Incredible Hulk and Rambo, often able to crush skulls simply by squeezing heads. The author spends time explaining that our hero is using punches like Drunk Monkey, Black Fist Tiger and the Scorpion Sting Backfist while somersaulting all over the place.

At least the synoposis is actually fitting:

"Phoenix was a survivor, a man who had honed his bloody skills in the stinking junbles of Vietnam, an expert with every type of weapon, a master at hand-to-hand combat. Battling nature gone insane and men driven mad by total destruction, he forged his way across what was left of the US, driven by hatred and thirsting for revenge against the Dark Messiah".

I can't imagine four more books of this non-sense but I owe it to you to at least give them a try. These aren't as horrible as 'Roadblaster' but certainly not entertaining. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. If you want a decent run at post-apocalyptic sort of fiction try Simon Clark's 'Bloodcrazy' or David Moody's 'Dog Blood' albeit both are leaning more towards horror than action.