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What I like about Mark Ellis and Outlanders
Last Post 4/3/2009 10:01 AM by Daniel. 4 Replies.
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3/28/2009 9:52 PM
    In the vein of Alan Philipson's comment on positive posting in the Deathlands Forum, I have decided to comment about my favorite author Mark Ellis and the Outlanders series he created.

    The story of Outlanders has been a great telling of a world which hopefully we will never have to experience in our lifetime.  OL, to me, has taught a lot of lessons about what happens when humanity lays down itself to harsh and unreasonable rule in the name of convenience.  There are a lot of comparisons with Marks version of fictional future history and what is happening in todays society. 

    One could say that in the early editions of Outlanders, the god/king system of baronial rule in some ways echoes todays version of socialism behind the mask of a technologically superior government that we have today. 

    In Socialism, as I have come to understand, lies several of the major tenants of the early version (pre Anunnaki ) baronial rule. Free thinking is frowned upon in certain areas. (think political correctness and it's impact on how we interact as a society)  Greed is frowned upon and monetary  gain  is unattainable except by those who make the rules and enforce them. (think of the difference of huge multinational multibillion dollar corporations paying minumum wage in the US or less in 3rd world countries)  Health systems are being socialized. (Think the Canadian health system)  There is definite crevasse between the have's and have not's even in todays world and this has a basic similartiy to the world described in Outlanders.  (Think the Enclave society and the Tartarus pits)

    There is a lesson in Outlanders that to me says this: If we allow the socialistic type of equality that is being sought by a lot of today's population, then we lay our freedom and our necks on the chopping block of those who would take freedom away from us. 

    The whole storyline of Outlanders is a lesson on how to fight this sort of gradual subversion of freedom by Socialism and other worse forms of government

    Granted there are a lot of other HUGE differences in the world of Outlanders and our real world today.  But to compare the similarities of this future fiction to the path that humanity is taking today, it is entirely possible that a lot of the Baronial rule type of authority could come into place because we lay our rights down in the name of apathy and conveneince. 

    I don't know if this what was Mark had any intention of portraying in his writings but it is a possible reality. It is because of this underlevel type of comparison that I do enjoy Mark Ellis' Outlanders.

    Take this posting as w you will, Either its the insane ramblings of a 4th grade educated truck driver or It's from someone who actually Get's It.
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    3/29/2009 10:58 AM
    I started reading Gold Eagle series back when I was junior high school in the 80s so I'm familar with the most of the stuff they put out. I was a DL fan too--started reading it with the first one back in 1986.

    The first book I read of Mark's was Stoneface which is the first post-LJ Deathlands novel and I loved it--I hadnt read a DL in a over a year and I thought it was a great--didn't know it wasn't by LJ until a couple of years later but I saw the differences.

    I didn't start reading Outlanders until the 5th book Parallax Red--(wow that was 11 years ago!)I was hooked! It had some touches of DL but had exploded off in new directions, mainly with the sci-fi elements.

    But it was the characters who grabbed me--Kane, Grant, Brigid the whole Cerberus crew--Mark superficially suggested the DL cast but they were completely different...I loved the senses of humor and the intelligence.

    Fortunately between my local K-Mart and Waldens' I was able to go back and buy the previous four books and I was blown away by what Mark had accomplished in the series, so completely different from any GE series published up to that time--continuing sub-plots, characters who developed and grew, book-to-book continuity,

    What was great with the OL series after Parallax Red was how it just keep growing, building on itself, introducing new concepts and characters--at the same time the DL books had small, almost inconsequential plots, Outlanders adventures were epic in scope, with all these great plots, mythology, mystery about the origins of humanity, history, conspiracy theories and lets not forget the Babes!

    There is NO writer I have ever come across who can write strong sexy women, femme fatales, like Mark! From Beth-Li up to and including Erica van Sloan. And of course Brigid Baptiste was a complete departure from the usual GE heroine--I'm of the opinion without Brigid there wouldn't have been an Anna Creed for Rogue Angel.

    But the great thing about Marks' OL series was how he just didn't let it become stuck in a formula and get static--he kept expanding on it, giving the reader new experiences, with adventures on and UNDER the moon, Mars and even in an alternate future or an alternate past.

    You never knew what was going to happen--you couldn't glance at the back cover blurb of a book and say "How many times have I read that story"

    You didn't know who was going to live or die in a book, or what great revealation would be made.

    I happen to think Omega Path is the most clever time-travel paradox stories I've ever read.

    Things happened in the OL series, almost never did the books end where they started and the characters seemed to suffer amnesia with the next book. Kane or Grant would get hurt in one book and two books later, they were still recovering from the injury.

    There were always great villains too like Sindri, Zakat, Colonel Thrush--and when the Annuaki Royal Family were revived, I thought 'Holy S**T!" These are some major enemies!

    Action was always great, dialog was great, you loved the main characters, how quirky they could be and how they evolved and grew over the years. None of them are the same now as they were when they were first introduced.

    GE of course is never going to give Mark the credit he deserves for what he did with OL--they didn't promote it and it has lasted all these years---think about all those series GE launched in the late 80s and early 90s and how they all tanked inside of a year.

    They make a big deal about Rogue Angel being such a hit--wonder how many millions of bucks they spent promoting it just to turn it into their usual bland series produced by the usual revolving door system of writers.

    Now of course GE wants readers to buy into the BS that OL is as interchangeable as their all their other assembly line series and that it doesn't matter who created it and really doesn't matter who writes it--but it definately does matter.

    I'm one of the former OL fans who has stopped buying it so that probaby makes me a Mark fan first--but I can't see how you can be an OL fan and not a Mark fan. Its his series, it has his individual trademarks all over it.

    Personally, I've been part of all the different JA.coms going back probably 10 years. Mark would hang out on them too and interact with the fans when none of the other GE writers would bother.

    There was some nastiness sometimes and I am ashamed to admit that I was responsible for some of it--but for the most it was fun, we had a good group of people and would have fun and educational discussions--and a lot of that was due to Mark being involved.

    I miss that and I miss buying Outlanders.
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    3/30/2009 11:12 AM
    What I like about Outlanders and Mark Ellis was posted on earlier versions of these forums and can be found in the review section, too.

    In a nutshell, OL is exciting, colorful, action-packed, epic with a vivd group of characters.

    Mark made the main cast uber-heroic, larger-than-life, then he would show them as ordinary people with ordinary concerns. They were anything but the cliche' ridden kind of "heroes" in most of post-apocalyptic fiction.

    Although there could be individual books that were very grim indeed, what I appreciated the most about the Cerberus crew was how they genuinely enjoyed being with one another and going out on their adventures.

    They could bitch, they could disagree with one another, even get in fights (one of my favorite scenes in all the books is the fist-fight between the "aged" versions of Kane and Grant in Talon and Fang), but the sense of friendship and camaradrie always came through.

    I loved the high-stakes books Mark wrote, I loved the great villains and I loved the "Babes of the Book", like Catamount, Shizuka and Erica.

    I also appreciated the feeling of big events unfolding over the course of a decade, that mysteries and wonder always awaited Kane, Brigid, Grant, Lakesh, Domi and the other Cerberus crew.

    I also appreciate the little things--like the "one percent salute", the fact that Grant's nose had been broken so many times he could eat dinner with a dead skunk on the table, that semi-literate Domi was so much smarter so often than the scientists from the Moonbase.

    I liked the secondary characters too, like DeFore, Philboyd and Mr. Bry.

    I LOVED Thunder Isle, with all the prehistoric creatures running wild, I loved New Edo with the Tigers of Heaven, I loved Fand, the Priory of Awen and all the Celtic mythology.

    I also appreciate the more recent developments, like the resurrection of the Annunaki Overlords, the giant starship Tiamat, the Cerberus Away Teams.

    Outlanders as created and written by Mark was an incredibly rich and textured series with very diverse storylines. If Gold Eagle/Harlequin thinks that we won't know the difference when it's tossed into the multiple writer pool, then they really need to update and educate themselves about what's going on with readers of series.

    Outlanders lasted all of these years because of Mark's talent and ideas--Gold Eagle/Harlequin didn't spend any resources on promoting it as far as I ever saw.

    I for one am so disgusted that they allowed this to happen to such a popular writer and series I have no interest in buying anything they might publish in the future.

    They should be ashamed.

    Cerberus Man
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    4/2/2009 12:17 PM
    I wasn't going to post on this thread since the review section and posts that go back years explain why I am such a fan of Outlanders and Mark Ellis.

    But last night I watched the UFO Hunters show on Discovery Channel and they were talking about the Anunnaki and the week before, they had done a segment on the Archuleta Mesa.

    It reminded me again of why and how I was so intrigued when I read the first OL novel, Exile to Hell.

    It's amazing that Mark brought these fringe subjects into OL well over a decade ago, years before most people had ever heard of them and it shows his depth of research and his great imagination.

    He created a whole world, spun off somewhat from the DL setting, but in OL, that world finally made sense.

    Obviously Gold Eagle will never give him the credit he deserves for his unique accomplishments and vision with the OL series, but we fans can do so.

    From what I've seen over the years, dozens of writers come and go on the different series put out by Gold Eagle and the editorial attitude is they're all the same. There is no such thing as a good DL book or a bad DL book or a bad Bolan book or a good Bolan book.

    Since all the writers turn out books that have the same level of quality, no writer deserves a fan-following or better compensation or even respect. That seems to be the GE attitude.

    But Mark created the OL series and he maintained it for many years... the creator's touch is always going to have a special magic that a contract writer's won't have.

    "It's better to have a blaster and not need it than to need it and--" "Oh, spare me," Brigid said irritably. (Kane and Brigid Baptiste from Armageddon Axis)
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    4/3/2009 10:01 AM
    I saw those episodes of UFO Hunters too...the one about the Archuleta Mesa was very interesting...Mark presented the place dead-on on all those years ago in Exile to Hell. Very cool!
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