Pony Soldiers

I am kind of relieved to see some errors cropping into the Deathlands series. It’s not that they’re great literature; they are little more than fun sci-fi romps that would make a great 80s TV show[1], but in a way, that’s kind of my point. They have no business being as forward thinking and well-constructed as they are, considering their genre and their publication era alike. So it’s nice to see Pony Soldiers come along and suddenly provide a recurring villain as well as letting the characters act uncharacteristically foolish toward him now that he’s finally on the scene. Of course, then I think, no wait, they don’t know here in book five that the series is going to get into triple digits and still have new books coming out even as I castigate them for that lack of foresight, and most of those same 80s TV shows waited less than a year between recurring villains, which is about the length of time between the first and fifth books being published, so really this probably isn’t an error after all. Dammit. Fine, but I’m holding on to the part about them acting foolishly around him, instead of him just being so clever as to avoid his fate. At least it’s something?

In addition to all that, the story delves a little bit more into the concept of time travel that has been looming over everyone’s heads, by virtue of apparently dropping General Custer in the middle of a pitched war with the post-nuke Apache somewhere in the mostly radiation-free Southwestern deserts. Between that little mystery, viewpoints from a few more characters than we’ve had before, and ever-greyer moral quandaries, the series is definitely getting more interesting the further along it goes. And that’s not just my relief over the misstep talking.

[1]  Think A-Team, except with more continuity than they ever could have dreamed of in those days. And more female characters outside refrigerators than they ever could have dreamed of, for that matter.

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