Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Today we review the book “In The Valley Of The Dying Stars”, the book “The Real Crash” and the movie “Damnation Alley”.  You might wonder why I am doing this, subjecting you to yet another “here is my opinion and we all know that opinions are like bungholes” article, but don’t take it personally.  Taking the last week off from trying to pull yet another wonderfully brilliant idea out of my ass, I need to slowly ease my way back into my usual gifted self.  I know I make it look easy after all these years, suddenly birthing yet another profound and original article day after day, but this is something you definitely don’t want to try at home.  So, to reviewing.
H. Grant Llewellyn is the author of “Valley”.  He is the one that did “As Wind In Dry Grass”, which if you’ve been paying attention you know was voted by a panel of impartial judges as being one of the top 20 best post-apocalypse novels of all time.  I didn’t even know he had a sequel ( as good as the algorithm Amazon uses to make recommendations for further reading based on past purchases is, it leaves a lot to be desired.  They failed to send me a triple extra security alert that the new book was available ) until a valiant loyal minion informed me.  So of course I wasted no time at all ordering it.  I was not disappointed ( well, okay, I was a bit peeved that the thing actually ended at a mere smidge under 400 pages.  I could have read a few more thousand ).  The writing talent and style were just as good, even if this round wasn’t exactly post-apoc so much as militia porn.  The first book was the same- just borderline post-apoc on account of the very good description of the collapse ( although the fed authorities hung in far too long.  This book is all “they can’t possibly have had that many MRE’s and 223 ammo to last these many years and these many firefights” ) but you can forgive this as the book just simply kicks ass and takes the names of oh so many other weak and pathetic authors.  I highly recommend this book, even if you can’t really call it post-apoc.  Think of it as part two of “Dry Grass” if it makes you feel better. 
“The Real Crash” by Peter D Schiff was a real disappointment.  Thank goodness it was a library book.  It isn’t that he isn’t as talented as his father ( it’s been thirty years since I read his mentor, so I’m going on memory here ).  As far as the book goes, it is good for its genre.  The problem is that we don’t live in a universe where the free market is allowed to work.  Yet the basic premise of the book is familiar.  If we would just get government out of our affairs, there would be no unemployment or recession or blah, blah.  You know, kind of like Rush and Beck preach.  But an empire doesn’t run on the free market, it runs on mercantilism.  Or worse.  We are an aging and declining empire and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change that.  If you get this book, you get an expensive dose of hopelessly naïve wishful thinking.
A very kind loyal minion sent a copy of “Damnation Alley” on DVD ( it had previously only been available on VHS and I tossed that machine years ago ) to me and I finally got around to watching it ( due to Gore Warming we’ve had clouds and rain all summer-the norm is NO clouds or rain-so I’m leery of using extra electricity ).  It wasn’t a bad movie at all.  I enjoyed watching it and even wanted more so I watched the bonus features.  Oh, it wasn’t the greatest.  I would rank it mid to last of great post-apoc movies.  It was a fun time, as long as you don’t go in expecting too much.  I mean, come on!  It had the radioactive induced giant animals in it, a clear indication of low budget camp influenced from the fifties drive in forgettable flicks.  The acting was very good.  The special effects, for the day, were pretty good.  The car was kick ass ( more on that in a sec ).  The problem was the script was the last consideration and it shows.  I don’t care how it compared to the book.  I’ve never read the novel so that isn’t a consideration.  My problem, besides the out of character cheesy ending, was simply that not much at all happened.  Nuclear war, survivors build an armored car, road trip and happy ending.  There was very little else to it.  Of course, I’m being a bit harsh.  Expecting too much.  Just keep that in mind.
The movie did have a very progressive aspect to it.  The Black guy wasn’t the first to die!!!  I think Obammy should give this film his seal of approval just for that.  But, back to the armored car.  They built a full scale, running model of the thing ( you can tell this is where most of the budget went ).  And from Day One, all survivalists fell in love with this movie on account of the car.  It has a tri-wheel type of thing going on which also act as the shock absorbers and allow it to traverse really rugged terrain.  And the middle twists, which I guess helps in that also.  What, I’m a friggin engineer now?  I watched the cars designer in the interview but I couldn’t get much out of it, being very unmechanical.  Anyway, it is a one of a kind of car.  I think this is where the bug out vehicle concept was born. God help us all.  I give this film the rating “definitely rent, but only buy if you can piss away the cash”.
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1 comment:

  1. Damnation Alley is on Youtube.


    Here's a pretty good one with Peter Graves, also on Youtube.

    Where Have All the People Gone? (1974)

    A strange series of solar flares proves fatal for inhabitants of the earth, except for the fortunate few who are somehow immune from the effects. Animals go insane and human beings turn to white powder, leaving behind only empty clothing. A handful of survivors attempt to rebuild their lives on the de-populated Earth.