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“Armageddon 2419 AD” – Philip Francis Nowlan.

April 22, 2017 book review, sci-fi
Pulpy sci-fi story introducing the iconic character 'Buck Rogers'.

"Armageddon 2419 AD" - Philip Francis Nowlan.

I have loved sci-fi for as long as I can remember.

I don’t know what it is that attracts me so … The Adventure, the Unknown, the technology, the promise that things will get better …

But sadly, contemporary books and movies just don’t do it for me. I don’t feel for the characters, and I’m not drawn in by the story. ‘Things’ just seem to ‘flash’ from here to there and there’s lots of sex and violence … And I just don’t get it.

Must be old age.

A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly had the urge to watch ‘Buck Rogers (in the 25th Century)’ again. This was my absolute favorite tv-series as a kid.
According to Wikipedia, it has been 35 years since the last episode aired in Belgium.
Wow. That long ?! I wonder how the stories and filming will hold up after all that time …

While I was looking for a place to buy the dvds, I found a link to Project Gutenberg , and a story called ‘ Armaggedon‘ by Philip Francis Nowlan. He wrote it in the 1920’s.
According to the info, these were actually the very early beginnings of what would later become the iconic character ‘Buck Rogers’.

The story is actually quite short and … pulpy, and not very much like the tv series.
Anthony Rogers, a WW.I veteran, is sent to investigate an anomaly in an old mine. There’s a cave-in, and Buck (I mean ‘Anthony’) gets trapped. A ‘radioactive’ gas (the science is -really- off) starts to fill the space and Anthony falls into a coma, to wake up some 500 years into the future’.
When Anthony stumbles out of the cave he immediately has to rescue a very young … Wilma Deering. A couple of pages later, Anthony and Wilma are married.
Wilma belongs to one of several clans of Americans that are trying to survive in the wilderness while their world is terrorized by the Han Airlords (cruel invaders with a hint of alien DNA).
The rest of the story is basically about the Americans defeating the Han, thanks to the military leadership of Buck. Damn. Anthony.

Not a ‘classic’, but entertaining if you are partial to airships, disrupter beams, and bad science.

The second part of the story is called ‘The Airlords of Han‘ (also available for free at Project Gutenberg). I’ve just started reading it, but I think it’s not going to be as entertaining as the first one.


Anyway. My dvds arrived last weekend, and even though I haven’t found the time yet to watch them, I have been humming the theme song all week.

Maybe tomorrow.

Oh, I almost forgot : I bought an import version of the two seasons, with English subtitles from Bol.com for only about 15 Euros each. The dvds with Dutch subtitles were more than 30 Euros each … :-(