Armageddon 2419 A.D., first appearance of "Buck Rogers"

As a kid I loved Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. What an incredible TV series! TWIKI, Buck, Wilma, Doctor Theopolis and some incredible dance moves (that NBC appears to have taken down from YouTube) grabbed my attention and promised an amazing future for a resilient human race.

In my 20s I discovered Philip Francis Nowlan's Armageddon 2419 A.D.

First appearing in Amazing Stories, August 1928 issue, we are introduced to Anthony Rogers. Aliens have interbred with the Chinese and offered them amazing technology! Naturally, they use it to take over the world. The Han chase a proud and independent American culture into the brush and then live a life of luxury. Anthony, through a mining accident, was trapped in a state of suspended animation sometime shortly after WWI. He is awoken by shifting earth and rejoins the new American culture, bringing with experience, tactics and an outsider's point of view that help to turn the tide. Unlike the TV show the entire story takes place on Earth. No Hawk.

A second story in the series, The Airlords of Han, was published in 1929.

They are nothing like the TV series and nothing like the comics but they are authentic Buck Rogers. He even gets the girl.

Links to the free kindle editions:

Armageddon 2419 A.D.

The Airlords of Han

Notable Replies

  1. I love Armageddon 2419AD. You come in expecting pulp and ray guns and damsels in distress, and to be honest there are ray guns, but they are not just futuristic stand-ins for six shooters. This is serious work of Mil-SF that contains discussions of the relative pros and cons of line-of-sight beam weapons vs. guided rockets, or the tactics of using an anti-gravity ship's drive against itself. As for damsels in distress, it was surprising to find that in Nolan's future America men and women are women are fighters, not trophies to be won. Sadly the work exhibit large doses of racist anti-chinese sentiment, although to his merit Nolan attempted a retcon at the end of the sequel Novella that partially redeems the work.

  2. My first exposure to Buck Rogers was the Buster Crabbe serial. The baddy was Killer Kane, a gangster rather than a yellow menace.

  3. Editz says:

    Well damn, they did take down the Groove Armada spoof video after all. Guess everybody will just have to live with the funky stylings of Andromeda.

  4. Killer Kane was a heavy from the start of the Buck Rogers comic strip. That started with the world being overrun by "Mongols." Though they ended up making peace with the Mongols, a wartime sequence had the gang fighting descendants of Japanese who had migrated to a moon of Jupiter and devolved back into apes.
    (And Killer Kane's real first name was "Coe" and he had a relative named "Nova," IIRC)

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