I used to love going to Nottingham with my Gran, cos she always used to spoil me and buy me stuff. And Nottingam was such an exiting place- it had a shop that sold books! in my town they never really had a book shop, as much like in the Pol Pot era of cambodia, being able to read marked you out as a homosexual.
so on one trip I bought three books from "The Works". I later found they were mid way through a saga of post-apocalyptic fiction with lots of swearing, violence, high adventure and a fetishising of weaponry taken to new levels.
this is the Deathlands Saga. Set 100 years after a catastrophic nuclear war. here is what Wikipedia says about it...
On the morning of January 20, 2001 the climax of the Cold War set the post-apocalyptic stage for the series. The end game began with a pre-emptive strike on Washington. Underground nuclear bombs were detonated from within the basement of the Soviet embassy, by an elite group of Spetsnaz operatives, destroying the central command structure and political system of the US. For a indefinite period of time a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union devastated both countries and subsequently the entire planet (but little details are known outside both countries). All manner of genetic contagions were released infecting the survivors of the firestorm with horrible illnesses. The remaining survivors lived harshly during a time of prolonged nuclear winter known as 'Sky Dark'. The geography, climate, and ecosystems of the world had changed dramatically. What was left of the United States came to be known as the Deathlands.
100 years later civilization begins again: brutal, short lived, morally confused and crazed from mutation. Between the many hot spots are small plague pits ruled by power hungry individuals who have no limits in order to establish their rule and expand their influence. These individuals are known as the Barons. Their rabble pits are known as Villes and Baronies. Civilization unknowingly resembles the Dark Ages. Trading resumes between the villes: Jack (a regional currency), Jolt (a hallucinogenic mixture of Mescaline and Heroin) and slaves are the primary forms of currency. Life is a strange mixture of ancient history and limited technology that is scrapped from the 20th century. Military technology is the most prized possession of all; success is often measured by the number of bullets he or she possesses. A man named Ryan Cawdor leads a group of companions across the deathlands. Ryan has extremely secret knowledge of the 20th century. The understanding of hidden underground complexes, known as redoubts, that contains Teleportation technology. He and this companions guard this knowledge with their lives. The technology is called MAT-TRANS.
Each novel usually begins with the companions arriving at a frequently unknown redoubt by MAT-TRANS. If the situation is impossible or hostile the companions can use the "last destination" feature of the transporter to return to the sending location. If the redoubt is unknown then the companions usually explore, looking for weapons and supplies which they rarely find. Sometimes they are lucky and find a working shower or stored food which they always utilize or take. The story picks up speed once the characters leave the redoubt and explore the surrounding countryside. Frequently the companions are captured or forced into a confrontation with the local barons. Each novel reveals a little of the characters' history, motivations and the regional location where they arrived.
thats pretty much the gist. Each novel the band of heroes appear in a different part of the USA, encounter a different settlement normally based on some period of Human history (one is set in new england and the people live like old whalers with stove pipe hats and 17th century clothes, another has Vikings, you get the score) and proceed to fuck things up but hopefully leave it a better place than when they arrived. but with some people dead and the status quo changed forever.
the key to these stories is the characters. the stories are fucking shit but the individuals involved are pure gold. Ryan, the one eyed leader of the group carries a space aged rifle and a stranglers rope, J.B (John Barrymore Dix, the armoury officer for the now Dead Trader, a mysterious man for whom Ryan was the right hand man/field commander for who knows more about weapons than R Lee Ermy, Doc (Dr Theophilus Tanner) who was born in the 18th century, "time-trawled" to our present then flung into the future, the process leaving him aged and senile but still somehow also vital and learned. Jak lauren, the albino knife fighter who is only 15 years old...
and so on. if you can see through the trash stories (they are aimed at truckers) these characters shine and inspire you in many ways.
I have to admit this is the first time I have talked about Deathlands, the saga. I started reading these books in about 1989. To date I have all the books published also I have read them all cept the last 3. I am working on one now. I have met a few people who have read the books although not to the extent that I have. I enjoy reading these books although sometimes the book is a little repetitious. I know there are several people who write the series and you can tell the differences in writers, which personally I like. However some are a wee bit betters than others...Did you know that "Pilgramige to Hell" was written by a different author unless it was an alias. LETS HOPE THEY KEEP WRITING THE SAGA, I keep thinking while I am reading them if this book is the last one...