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Emerging from a gateway in the Midwest, Ryan Cawdor senses trouble within the well-fortified ville of a local baron, whose understanding of preDark medicine may be their one chance to save a wounded Jak. But while his whitecoats can make the drugs that heal, the baron knows that real power and money is in the hardcore Deathlands jolt. And where drugs and riches go, death shadows every step, no matter which side of a firefight you stand on....
In the Deathlands, tomorrow is never just another day.
Shockwaves of atomic destruction turned 22nd-century America into a hellzone, but in the ruins the human spirit remains unconquerable. Daily survival depends on raw courage and a deadly aim, and with his warrior band Ryan Cawdor roams the forbidding new frontier known as Deathlands, determined to unlock its secrets....
Emerging from a gateway in the Midwest, Ryan senses trouble within the well-fortified ville of a local baron, whose understanding of pre-Dark medicine may be their one chance to save a wounded Jak. But while his whitecoats can make the drugs that heal, the baron knows the real power and money is in the hardcore Deathlands jolt. And where drugs and riches go, death shadows every step, no matter which side of a firefight you stand on....In the Deathlands, tomorrow is never just another day.
I almost didn't make it past the fourth page of this book. That was the point when a gratuitiously naked twelve year old girl appears, and the author takes the time to describe her breasts, before blowing her brains out a half page later. I'm just not down with the pedophilia, particularly when it serves no discernable purpose beyond shock value and titillation for the middle-school aged readers.
That aside, the story consisted of the same tired plot that every bad Deathlands book falls into. Group teleports to a new location, is taken in by the local evil baron, is forced to participate in gladiatorial games, and ultimately wipes out the baron and the town in general. Whoopee.
In all fairness, a good part of the middle section of the book was actually a fairly good read. It became a page turner for about fifty pages before falling apart again.
Aside from the pedophilia, I also had problems with the sheer stupidity of the characters. These are supposed to be battle-hardened survivors, attuned to the tiniest bit of information to keep them alive. Why would Ryan look at the acid paintball ink burning into his shoe and dismiss it as nothing important? Why would both Mildred and Doc look at an obviously drugged-up Jak and not think anything was amiss. Once Mildred was made aware of Jak's impending withdrawl, why would she not pass that information along to Ryan rather than just letting Jak be sent out on a solo guard mission knowing full well that he could go berserk at any moment? And why, why, why would Ryan and J.B. murder Doc's new girlfriend and then never bother to even mention it to him?
It was all just plain stupid. The only thing saving this book from a 1 rating from me is those fifty or so pages in the middle that actually worked. Other than that, it was just plain insipid crap.
Not bad (unlike the last bunch of books)
I found the book to be an ok read. This has been one of the first books I have read in a long time. I started from the beggining years ago searching every used book store I could find for years until I found all of the original books. After the death of the origanal (well 2nd) author the books went down hill fast. I know why alot of the new authors just don't have the facts. Gold Eagle reproduced alot of the old books but left out alot of the original chapters! Thats what these guys are reading. They are not even given the origanal copies! For instance we read here in this book "How hard it is to find ammo for Docs Lemat". Thats Crap! He lost the Lemat in a river and replaced it with a 20th century copy that shot .44 mag and I belive a 12 guage. NOT black powder and a .63 caliber scattergun. It's stuff like that, that has kept me away from DL. Anyway THIS is a better read than most of the last ones I've read. OK I've vented Gold Eagle get your S@*T together.
Black Harvest reaps little reward
by One Eye Chills
In this latest edition of Deathlands, Edo Van Belkom returns for his 2nd foray into the series.
In short, it was a little better than his first try, but Edo needs to ante up and step up to the proverbial plate - big time!
Though not as lame as Andy Boot's tales, Black Harvest actually had some good ideas, along with a well overdone formula storyline, that was at least readable enough to finish.
Essentially, this is a standard fare Deathlands of old, though a very slight trend upwards from Boot's last one, but not as good as the last issue, SHAKING EARTH.
The good points to this latest DL? They are few, unfortunately.
1: Jak gets wounded, and gets hooked on a strong drug.
2: Doc falls in love.
3: Characters are not too bastardsized.
4: The black market of DL drugs, (which hasn't ever been done to this level), made for a decent background story here.
The bad points? Wow, where to start.
1: Lame as hell muties. Edo, you really need to brush up on what constitutes a mutie here! A group of people with simple sores doth not make a mutie. Good God in heaven, that was it!?
Weak man, just bloody weak. You mean to tell me that in this day and age of so many talented writers, that this one couldn't simply come up with a colorful new mutie? Hell, even using a tried and true one that Laurence James created would've been better than this lame excuse of one!
That, in itself, could have made this story a bit better. But alas, it wasn't to be...
2: No colorful post-holocaust scene setting and/or weather patterns here?! Why has this been seemingly utterly forgotten by the new writers? Nick Polatta did a good job of at least utilizing this back in BLOODFIRE. And it set a solid good old standard much needed here.
Where's the freezing cold or the nuke-blasted heat? Or ever-changing weird weather patterns to set an interesting stage? Not once did Edo write in whether this mid-west area was either. It was simply there. DING, DING! Wake up writers! Laurence James was awesome at scene setting in this DL world. Lordy, I miss that guy. He could paint you a bleak as hell picture, actually taking the reader right there. And also paint a beautiful picture when the group ran across them.
3: Way too many 'easy ways out' here. From firefights to reloading ammo, there were way too many timing problems here that were easily taken care of. One is more than enough in any given story. But here there were too many permeating this single story.
C'mon, GE! Grow a set, and let these writers - or someone! - get somewhat back to some tried and true formulas that worked in the past, which made this series great and quite unique.
And that's letting some of the older characters to either die and/or move on. Gain some new blood, for crying out loud! Laurence kept it fresh for a while doing that.
And also gain some new weaponry! Why must they keep the same old crap? What, for continuity sake? Oh, please!! That has already gone out the window.
I truly hope that in the near future, these group of writers, (namely I'm talking to Andy Boot and Edo here!), seriously consider the bold new avenue that Mr. Alan Philipson has tried taking this series. With both SHADOW WORLD and BREAKTHROUGH, he has taken the DL to some new heights. I love this kinda new breath of fresh air adventure writing.
C'mon, don't be such fools. Take more risks. Take us readers to new heights in action/adventure reading by utilizing everything that Jack Adrian and Laurence James started, and at times, only touched upon!
Such as time trawling or chron jumping. Why not build a kick-ass story on those cool ideas? That's almost totally unused new and dark territory writers! Take it and run with it.
In short, Black Harvest is nothing really new. If you like a quick and breezy action/adventure read, I suppose it is passable. But some of the action was laughable. But it is Ok.
At least I didn't throw it in the trash or send it back to GE, like I've done in the past starting with SALVATION ROAD.
In all truth, it is really a rad-blasted shame that these two writers are taking this great series that started this sci-fi/fantasy type phenomenal universe - and are trying to turn it completely to weak, utter trash.
C'mon, you guys! You writers are geting paid here. And we hard-liners are slamming you two. Step it up a few notches, will you? I know you can...if you just try a tad bit harder.