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A brilliant interloper bids for control of twenty-third-century America
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Cryogenically preserved before the nukes obliterated their own way of life, an elite team of battle-hardened American fighting men has now been reactivated. Their first mission in a tortured new world: move in and secure Cerberus Redoubt and the mat-trans network at any cost. In a world where trust is hard won and harder kept, Kane and his fellow exiles must convince Team Phoenix that they are on the same side -- for humanity, and against the hybrids and their willing human allies.
In the Outlands, the shocking truth is humanity's last hope.
More than two hundred years after Skydark, the hybrid barons cling tenuously to their waning influence, losers in an internecine war to control nuke-shattered America. A new thread has emerged, one whose intimate knowledge of preDark technology fuels a grim new bid for power. To begin, he must penetrate the central nerve node of a small and dedicated band ow warriors fighting to free Earth's survivors of long-ago devastation from slavery and misery....
Crygenically preserved before the nukes obliterated their own way of life, an elite team of battle-hardened American fighting men have now been reactivated for duty, commanded by this supreme manipulator. Their first mission in a tortured new world: move in and secure Cerberus Redoubt and the mat-trans network at any cost. In a world where trust is hard-won and harder kept, Kane and his fellow exiles must convince Team Phoenix that they are on the same side -- for humanity, and against the hybrids and their willing human allies.
The good, the bad and the annoying
Awakenings, the first OL novel by Victor Milan was a mixture of good and bad. A lot of books are like this (even a few OL-sorry!) but in this case I think the bad outweighed the good.
The main bad thing about it was that Awakening was not an OL novel but one of Victor Milan's Guardians post-nuke novels. Sixteen of them were published between 1985 and 1991. Why he thinks the Outlanders series, which is only marginally a post-nuke series is a good place to relaunch a dead series is a mystery.
Awakening features the EXACT same stereotypical characters with the names changed and same adolescent fixation on guns and macho posturing instead of plot. And speaking of plot, this one was nothing but the premise of the old Morrow Project role playing game.
I got the impression that the writer, Victor Milan was trying to "show up" the OL characters by reintroducing his Guardians characters who are really not much more than mercenaries who work for an industrialist named Gilgamesh Bates.
The writer skews the situations blatantly to make it seem like Kane and Grant are amateurs who should've been able to overthrow the barons in two years...but he conveniently makes no mention of the fact that the Cerberus warriors have faced down the likes of the Tushe Gun, Sindri, Zakat, Sam, Thrush, Maccan and several other major non-baronial enemies during that time.
These are enemies who would so out-class the Guardians--I mean Team Phoenix--they'd have no idea what do. The major battle they have in the book is with Sky Dog’s band of Indian warriors. It’s not exactly an even match, armored ATV and rocket launchers against bare-chested guys on horses with bows and arrows.
And just as conveniently the writer doesn't mention how Kane and Grant have saved the world like five times as opposed to the ZERO times of the Guardians--I mean, Team Phoenix. As far as I'm concerned that’s a cheap tactic and an insult not only to the long-time fans of the series but to the creator, Mark Ellis.
As far as Team Phoenix are concerned I thought the Guardians characters were one-dimensional macho cliches when I first read them 12 years ago. That's why I was a never a fan of the series. I think I must have picked up the last book in the series anyway and tried to read a couple of earlier ones.
They still are stereotypes today, even with new names. They also come off as kind of dumb, letting themselves be ordered around by the hologram of Gilgamesh Bates who they think died 200 years ago.
Also it takes them nearly to the end of the book before they finally realize that the instructions they're receiving aren't from a dead guy at all. Even Domi would have figured that out long before they did. That was a very juvenile element to the story. I’m pretty sure Kane and Grant wouldn’t agree to take orders from a hologram no matter how much they were paid.
And speaking of Domi Victor Milan characterizes her as the same way Mel Odom did--a psychopathic slut. Brigid and the other female characters are given short shrift, but he constantly compares Domi to a stripper and gives her more pages than any of the other OL characters except for Kane and Grant.
I won't say this book was a complete loss because it had some sections in it I actually liked. But if I wanted to read a Guardians novel I'd make a visit to a used bookstore.
I enjoyed some of the interaction between Kane, Grant and Sky Dog, but the author stays away from the more complex relationships among the characters.
I can only hope if Victor Milan writes more OL novels he'll get into the groove and realize OL isn't part of that hacked out post-nuke men's adventure junk of the kind he used to write with the Guardians. There were a number of continuity errors in it that distracted me, too.
The good stuff is that Victor Milan is a good writer and he gets most of the main characters right though I think he really dropped ball with Lakesh and Domi. The dialogue is pretty sharp and his descriptions of battle scenes are strong but I found the whole thing with Team Phoenix slaughtering most of Sky Dog's band repulsive and even cowardly.
Those aren't my kind of heroes. Not to mention they handed Cerberus a huge diplomatic problem which they then just drive away from.
My opinion is that if Victor Milan thinks his Guardians characters are so much better than the OL characters (I assume he was paid to write an OL novel not a Guardians revival), he should try to interest another publisher in reviving them, not force-feed them to fans of OL or use OL as a way to relaunch the series.
They come off to me as stereotypes, a conceited bunch of macho-man gun worshipping cliches. There's nothing new about them, they could be any character from any of the jizillion post-nuke series that were published in the 80s. I think the writer really misunderstood the audience of OL.
Overall, I'll give Awakening a borderline 7 stars. I would have given it a full 8 but for the fact the OL characters who I buy the series to read about were reduced to being guest stars in their own series.
I really DON'T want to see Team Phoenix reappear. I had enough of them when they were called the Guardians.
If nothing else Awakening has made me really look forward to the return of the REAL Outlanders characters in Mad God's Wrath.
I'm being generous!
I won't say Awakening was a complete loss but since it wasn't an Outlanders adventure it comes close. I don't know what this book is supposed to be.
I never read Guardians and if this book is an example I don't want to. It had a lot of action but it wasn't about about anything. Team Phoenix who cut a deal before the nukecaust with some rich guy named Gilgemesh Bates are resurrected.
They're briefed about the conditions of the world by his hologram and they believe it was recorded long before he died but how he knows all the secrets about the barons and program of unification isn't explained. They buy into it without questioning it too closely.
Their mission is to take over the Cerberus redoubt for reasons that aren't really clear. Most of the book is about how they travel around in their APC blowing the s**t out everything and everybody and talking tough and acting macho and playing with their guns.
That's the whole plot. It has every cliche that OL has avoided over the years and it seems written for 12 year olds. As characters Team Phoenix come off as a bunch of schoolyard sadistic bullies. I really didn't like them, they're not heros, they're mercenaries. They might have fit better in DL, but in OL they're really are fish out of water.
There were some parts of the book I liked but there weren't many. There were a whole lot of errors in it too where the writer got details wrong. Aren't the editors PAID to catch these mistakes?!?
What I really disliked the most even HATED was the way the writer tried to rig things up to make it seem like Kane and Grant and everybody in Cerberus were clueless and only the macho-guys from Team Phoenix knew how to fight a war. This was SO fake and bogus!!!
Where were these bad-asses when the DEVIL platform was about to send a wave of anti-entropy through the solor system?!? They couldn't get all their heavy weapons and APC down in the catacombs on the Moon!!!
Where were they when Lord Strongbow's Singularity nearly triggered a spatial discontinuity?!?
Where were they when all sorts of s**t was going down in the books over the last seven years? They were fast asleep like a bunch of drunk rednecks in trailer!!! Who the hell are they to lecture anybody at Cerberus?!?
I got the feeling that if they met up with Ocajinik or even Colonel Thrush they would have run away as fast as they could leaving a trail of Hershey squirts!!!
I was offended the most by Domi turning on Sky Dog's band...these are men who risked their lives to rescue her and Kane from Area 51 and she joins in with Team Phoenix in shooting them down!!! That's not the Domi who has been in the series since day one.
I don't want to see Team Phoenix show back up unless it's for Sky Dog's people to put them on trial for murder. I almost hated these characters and I almost hated this book except for a couple of scenes between Kane and Grant.
That's the only reason I'm giving it 3 stars out of 10 and I'm being generous.
Please Read Some Outlanders Novels, Mr. Milan
Outlanders is a truly awesome saga, epic in scope, but this is not the book to start with if you have never tried this series before. It is one of only a few Outlanders novels not written by series creator Mark Ellis, a phenomenally-gifted writer/visionary who is an almost impossible act to follow.
Awakening is written by Victor Milan. This book marks Mr. Milan's first foray into the Outlanders universe and it ain't a pretty thing to behold for long-time Outlanders freaks such as myself. This book reads much more like an installment of Deathlands, a series I don't care for very much.
Now, Awakening isn't all bad, I'll grant you. Victor Milan is obviously a talented writer and if Awakening wasn't an Outlanders novel, I would have given it more than one star. It was an average read in many respects....
But since it IS an Outlanders novel, I think I'm being charitable giving this steaming turd a whole star as it is a complete betrayal of much of what Mark Ellis has spent several years building with this series.
My main complaint is characterization. Or, perhaps I should say, character assasination. Every single Outlanders character is portrayed in inexcusably terrible fashion in this novel---I would laugh my big fat butt off if it didn't make me so frigging sad. My God, have you ever even read an Outlanders novel, Mr Milan?
Team Phoenix are decent enough characters of the stereotypically macho and somewhat brain-dead variety and if this was a Team Phoenix novel, it would likely be a solid enough effort. However, it almost seemed as if Victor Milan was purposely sabotaging all of the series' regular characters---in effect, flipping off series creator Mark Ellis.
I'm sure Mr. Milan is capable of better than this. I certainly hope so, since he's contracted to write more Outlanders novels. I also hope this circumstance doesn't degenerate into a "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!!! My characters are better than yours!!!!" situation on Mr. Milan's part. Because, quite simply, they are not.
Kane and Grant could eat Team Phoenix's souls....
That is, if Team Phoenix had any souls.
by One Eye Chills
Victor Milan joins the Mark Ellis and Mel Odom ranks here, taking the Outlanders mythos to new heights.
OUTLANDERS:AWAKENING could have been Milan's personal own stand-alone novel. But lucky for us readers, he decides to give us a sneek peek at what he can do with this marvelous saga.
What he does is write a bones-to-blood, bare knuckles savage saga of a futuristic setting, and throw in a group of today's soldiers into the mix.
What is left, is an exciting romp through the Outlanders universe, with no prisoners being taken! And best of all - NO FILLERS!
Milan's style of a group of hard-bitten soldiers fighting all the way to Cerberus takes only a short while for this reader to adjust to, leaving me reading a superb action-filled novel that for once, I didn't mind Kane and Grant taking a backseat in the story.
I grew to really like Team Phoenix, with their quips between themselves from nowadays films and directors. I loved that! Being a huge film buff, I laughed and melded with this team, not wanting them to leave this series.
The ideas this writer took in portraying Domi was, to me, a fantastic idea! I loved it. It fit totally with her.
I really wanted Team Phoenix and the Cerberus exiles to get along, but what Milan does is keep up the tension, making it hard for this reader to put the book down. This was definately a man's book.
From great mentions of Tarantino to John Woo, to fantastic battles with Sky Dog's warriors, to tension-filled alliances made and perhaps broken, from a surprising ending leaving you breathless and wanting more - AWAKENING is a thrill ride read for action/adventure lovers the world round!
Hollywood, open your eyes! Awakening alone would be an awesome sci-fi action flick.
I am now a new Victor Milan fan, and I will most definately be looking forward to his comeback.
TEAM PHOENIX deserves their own series.
Thanks Gold Eagle for ending this year with a bang, with both Outlanders and Deathlands back up where they belong in the annals of classic sci-fi/action/adventure.
great new characters
this was one of my favorite books in this series. it introduces some great new characters and has a lot of different action. it also offers a new plot offshoot at the end that i'd like to see as a topic in upcoming issues of outlanders.