DOOMSDAY WARRIOR #9: America’s Zero Hour (by Ryder Stacy)

By Scott Reder


As you probably remember, the dastardly Soviet Union launched a nuclear first strike against America in 1989 and left part of the country a wasteland. And in what was left of the USA, they invaded and set up a puppet government. Fortunately for the Russians’ plans, the deadliness of radioactive fallout seems to have been vastly overestimated, because they were safely able to invade Denver right after nuking Colorado Springs and other parts of the state.

The initial blasts left survivors trapped in the highway tunnels of the Rocky Mountains, and those brave Americans dug like gophers to reach mine shafts and build an underground complex they named Century City.

One might assume that a living space created underground after a nuclear war would be grim and desolate, but Century City seems more utopia than post-apocalyptic hellhole. The spacious cafeterias are stocked up with rabbit stew. Scientific research continues and has progressed to a point where amputated arms and legs can be replaced by servo mechanical limbs. There are even ‘street performers’ who do magic, which proves that even a nuclear holocaust can’t stop the likes of David Blaine. Women still wear halter tops and miniskirts, so American civilization continues to function at a high level.

In the fight against the Soviet invaders, one extraordinary American emerges as the key figure in the resistance: Ted Rockson, also known as the Doomsday Warrior.

Rockson’s arch-enemy is Killov, the head of the KGB. He has led an attempted coup against the Soviet military forces, which forces Rockson into a temporary alliance with the Soviet premier. Killov’s forces are defeated, but he escapes with five powerful antimatter warheads. Rockson has to track and disarm these warheads. This means leading a handpicked group of Freefighters north through the frozen Canadian wastelands in pursuit of Killov.

During their trek, two Freefighters are captured by a tribe of Sasquatch. These have not only become plentiful but gained rudimentary intelligence, and they use simple tools like stone axes and clubs. Unfortunately, they’re also hungry for human flesh and promptly barbecue one of the captives like a slab of Kansas City ribs. Rockson’s rescue team shoots a few of the Sasquatch but end up mostly fighting them hand to hand and with throwing stars. Even better, one has a special explosive throwing star that is used to blow the head completely off a Bigfoot.

That epic battle of Man vs. Sasquatch is not without humor:

The Sasquatch was left clutching air. And he got even madder when Rockson delivered a kick to his knee—or what he hoped was its knee. It howled “Frekkkkk!” Rock thought it might mean “Now I kill you and eat you, but first I pluck your arms and legs.”

Rockson and his men also fight wolves, endure the freezing cold, cross dangerous thin ice, and deal with Eskimo tribes that have incredibly advanced technology. Finally, they battle a small army of Killov’s KBG thugs to try and stop the missiles.

This series by Ryder Stacy (a pseudonym shared by Jan Stacy and Ryder Syvertsen) seems to carry over from one book to the next, and this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. There are also some scenes here with the puppet Soviet president of the US, returning from Russia, that have nothing to do with the plot. So presumably it pays off in a later book. Presumably.

The original covers of the series are also a joy to behold, with a defiant hand thrust into the air clutching a variety of weapons or American symbols with a mushroom cloud in the background. Although holding a knife as depicted on this cover would seem like a good way to lose some fingers.

As an echo from the Cold War 1980s, when nuclear war seemed almost a certainty, this is a goofy little time capsule of post-apocalyptic sci-fi action. You have to admire a book that features macho guys using throwing stars to fight a tribe of hungry Sasquatch. There’s just not enough fiction incorporating scenes of explosive throwing stars being used to decapitate mythical animals. And that’s a damn shame.

Scott Reder is an amateur book reviewer who plans to start an underground fight club for Sasquatch.

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