Return to Book Page. Preview — Armageddon A. Buck Rogers by Philip Francis Nowlan. Here, once more, is a real scientifiction story plus. It is a story which will make the heart of many readers leap with joy. We have rarely printed a story in this magazine that for scientific interest, as well as suspense, could hold its own with this particular story. We prophesy that this story will become more valuable as the years go by.
It certainly holds a number of Here, once more, is a real scientifiction story plus. It certainly holds a number of interesting prophecies, of which no doubt, many will come true. For wealth of science, it will be hard to beat for some time to come. It is one of those rare stories that will bear reading and re-reading many times.
This story has impressed us so favorably, that we hope the author may be induced to write a sequel to it soon.
Armageddon 2419 AD
In the s, Nowlan's two novellas were combined by editor Donald A. Wollheim into one paperback novel, titled Armageddon A. Mass Market Paperback , pages. Published August 1st by Ace first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Armageddon A.
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Lists with This Book. I read this book many, many, many years ago sometime in the s. However the novella itself was written in so it's not like I was one of the first to read it or anything. That all said it's a good read. This is "basically" the proto-Buck Rogers. Buck has gone on to great fame in movies, TV and popular culture since this book Let me point out up front that it was as I said written in , it's far from politically correct.
Here the Mongolians are named but it's implied that it's a sort of "East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere" involving many countries who are the enemy. Racial attitudes are on display that are very dated. Know that going in. But what you get then is a fairly fast moving story of a "fantasy future" war. And the way things are imagined for the 25th century from the viewpoint of the s is interesting. Now that said, in a fit of nostalgia I "bought" the audio version of this from Audible. I just returned the audio version of this to Audible. The reader is so poor as to for me at least make the book "un-listen-to-able".
That is the reason for my opening "Good Grief". I can't emphasize enough how bad the narration on the audio book is Really, don't try that audio book. I'm sure the reader is giving it his shot but was it his "best" shot???? And I don't have anything against the guy For me at least. View all 3 comments. Mar 21, Dfordoom rated it liked it Shelves: He was Anthony Rogers.
The character acquired the nickname Buck when he made the transition to a comic strip in The character is recognisably the same and the tone is very similar - very breathless and pulpy - but the background is very different. In Armageddon - A. Rogers is a First World War veteran working for a company searching for radioactive gases in the late s.
He finds rather too much radioactive gas, in fact so much that it puts him into a state of suspended animation for years. When he is revived he finds the world dramatically changed, but not in the way it was changed in the movie serial. China now rules the globe.
The Chinese have destroyed their only serious remaining rival, the Soviet Union, and what was once the United States is now ruled by the Han Airlords. The powers that had dominated the world in the early 20th century had been disposed of after a series of lengthy wars. But American civilisation has not vanished entirely. Their Han masters have such advanced machinery that they no longer have any need for slaves so they no more or less ignore the very small remaining American population which lives a scattered existence.
The Americans have however been developing their own technologies. While the Han have airships powered by repeller rays and armed with disintegrator rays, the Americans have anti-gravity belts and rocket guns and advanced communications by means of the ether. The Americans have developed an odd social system, a kind of blend of rugged pioneer individualism and informal collectivism but also bearing a strong resemblance to early 20th century US urban political machines.
The leaders of the various American settlements are known as bosses and the settlements themselves are known as gangs. The Americans have long-range plans to reconquer their country. These plans are accelerated when Rogers arrives among them from the distant past. Rogers has the type of 20th century military expertise that has been lost by the 25th century. He knows how to lay down a proper artillery barrage, and this proves to be a devastating advantage. Rogers soon becomes a key figure in the American resistance.
He also acquires a wife, the brave and resourceful Wilma, who proves to be a doughty fighter as well. Armageddon - A. The ruthless violence of these wars is somewhat startling. Thee is great entertainment to be had from the intricate descriptions of such technical marvels as the disintegrator rays, the anti-gravity belts and invisible and weightless metals!
This is classic technobabble done with panache. Nowlan has a passion for lengthy and detailed info-dumps. The literary style is pulpy in the extreme but enjoyably brisk. Mar 06, Leothefox rated it it was ok. This book comes very close to being the futuristic adventure it's supposed to be, it's got a good portion of the recipe The odd thing is, much of what's missing is well represented in the Buck Rogers comic strips right from the beginning. Anthony Rogers survives World War 1 only to end up caved-in in a mine and preserved by gas for years.
We receive this information first person, but with so little emotional investment This book comes very close to being the futuristic adventure it's supposed to be, it's got a good portion of the recipe We receive this information first person, but with so little emotional investment that it might as well be an indifferent book report. The prologue front-loads the bit about the year sleep, so our narrator doesn't really bother talking about his surprise on discovering the fact. Much like in the comic, the focus is largely on depicting future inventions and weapons and yeah yeah some of these have really come to pass, so what?
The weapons get a lot of play since the besieged forest-dwelling Americans are at war with the technologically superior Hans who occupy America. This setup has dramatic potential but it doesn't work out too well since most of the conflict is suspense-less battles, many of which our hero observes from the safety of a control-panel. Hans are killed with missiles, rays, bombs, and germ warfare. Hans are even killed once they're captured, when they don't simply kill themselves. The idea of mentally superior Asian conquerors who embody evil resulted in such celebrated characters as Fu Manchu, Ming the Merciless, and Dr.
Those classic examples sold the drama and often gave their villains their own brand of honor and scruples. Nowlan's Hans lack these essential parts, and even their technology and intelligence is eventually written off. That's the funny thing here: It's somehow the story of the America people hiding in the woods for centuries and building underground factories so they can emerge and take on a foreign menace with superior technology missiles.
There's no point to it, apparently, except that Americans are supposed to be awesome and pure and the Hans suck because they're not. The fact is, the entire adventure is too easy for the plucky Anthony Rogers. It might just be the lackluster narration, but Rogers rarely seems to be in real danger and the security blanket of the forest people and his wife Wilma is away from him only once in the entire story. He never has to fight his way out of anything, never has to trust a stranger, never converts a member of the enemy camp with his charisma, never bare-knuckle boxes, never questions himself, and mostly never raises an eyebrow.
Rogers marries Wilma without having to win her or romance her, so she might as well be a non-love-interest or another dude. Needless to say, he's no Flash Gordon. I say read the comic instead. This is actually the two original novellas, Armageddon A. Turner Classic Movies started showing episodes from the "Buck Rogers" serial starring Buster Crabbe a few weeks ago and I got so enthusiastic about watching that confection that I dug out the root of the material. They don't have much to do with This is actually the two original novellas, Armageddon A. They don't have much to do with each other, but what the hey.
It was more fun than it had any right to be. Nowlan is obsessed with the sociological and technological details of this future America. He burns an entire chapter describing "Ultronic" technology and later another one on the cities and society of the Han. It should be dry and dull, but these sections are the pauses between the racing action of merciless weird-science war that borrows from the likes of "Doc" Smith. I went into it a little nervous about the "Yellow Peril" aspects of the generically and blandly Asian adversaries, the Han.
It's curious that for the serials and comics the enemies became the "super-racketeers" of Killer Kane. Were the writers squeamish, or is this indicative of the zeitgeist of the time, that the fears of Middle America moved from the unknown menace of the Far East to the homegrown menace of gangsters? Either way, the Han themselves don't make a face-to-face appearance until the Airlords material. Even then, the racist overtones seem to be an overcompensation for the reality: Even then he-slash-the-author backs away at the very end literally, the last two pages with a lame assertion that the Han are the hybridized descendents of extraterrestrials.
Its as though the author himself was sickened by the results of the characters' unrelenting hatred of their foes. In any case, the "Killer Kane" angle of the later media is both less disturbing and more interesting a foe. Apr 19, Ron rated it liked it Shelves: The original Buck Rogers tale. Holds up about as well as contemporary pulp fiction because that's what it was. The science is pretty fantastic, but it's like Star Wars or Star Trek: May 03, Charles Spencer rated it it was amazing.
It was campy, bright, full of disco-era flash, and at every opportunity it couldn't take itself seriously. It was shameless novelty and a guilty pleasure I'm not ashamed to say I honestly enjoyed. By its own merits, if only for nostalgia reasons, it's still popular even today. Yes, if it wasn't for good old Buck, we might never have had Flash Gordon Kirk and his crew Sure, science fiction itself had already been around for a long time in literature.
He'd also become the first to have serialized adventures, and the makers of the strips took great pains to research real life rocket technology to give those adventures that added gravitas. Readers were given a glimpse into a future that, at least according to what was known at the time, could very well have happened!
It might surprise you to know that the space travel aspects of Buck's best known adventures in the strips and then movies, a certain TV show, etc! The story opens with us being introduced to Anthony Rogers, a veteran of World War I, working as an investigator seeking out ususual phenomena coming from abandoned coal mines. As he checks the lower levels of one mine, he's trapped by a cave-in.
Rogers subequently falls unconscious to a freak combination of gasses, natural and radioactive, that put him in perfect suspended animation for years. When he finally wakes up, Rogers manages to get out of the mine, but has no idea how much time has passed. As he tries to find some way back to the nearest civilization, he sees a person in strange green clothes making literally impossible leaps of height and distance being chased and attacked by a gang of men. The person is brought to earth harshly, but before the gang can do anything worse, Rogers gets ahold of a strange weapon he's later informed is a disintegrator weapon and kills one of the gang; the rest are scared off.
The hero quickly realizes the person he saved is a beautiful young woman, Wilma Deering, who was on air patrol using her anti-gravity belt! As he realizes he's been gone for years, the patient and open-minded Wilma believes Rogers and enlightens him to the history that passed him by. America along with the rest of the civilized world was virtually destroyed and conquered hundreds of years ago by the superior technology of the Chinese Airlords of Han; the defeated were forced to retreat to the wild forests and mountains as the civilization they once knew was destroyed.
The Han don't see America as a real threat -- its people rebuilt their society into gangs better to call them clans as they used the country's great forests as their homes -- as they watch over the world from their floating cities in the air. The Han don't realize, however, that the Americans have been slowly, quietly rebuilding their strength and developing new technologies with the intent of starting a Second American Revolution against the Han to reclaim their freedom and everything they lost! It seems like fate that this revolution has found a hero who might have been born five centuries ahead of his time I know, the story is virtually unrecognizable from what most fans know of Buck Rogers, right?
Still, the story holds fantastic technologies like airships and powerful 'dis beams', and actually predicted a few things that are known today, like remote drones and telecommuting! The pacing of the story is brisk, yet it's packed with detail to give us the sense that we're in a very different America from the one known in the 's, and even the country we know now. There isn't too much character development outside of Anthony's gradual change from a man out of his time to revolutionary hero, and it doesn't hit any wrong notes.
I thought the love story between the hero and Wilma could have been handled better, or maybe I just wanted to see more happen between them. The action in the story is a mix between super-science zaps and zooms and in close quarters swordplay of the swashbuckling variety, and it gets surprisingly bloody. The story is inevitably politically incorrect in some ways for our day and age The unfortunate anachronisms are few and isolated, referring to the Chinese as Mongolian and things like that, but it doesn't drag down the story and its spirit.
That is just fair warning for more sensitive readers Nov 17, Timothy Boyd rated it liked it. The original Buck Rogers story. Great SiFi from the pulp era. May 15, Iluzija O. Istini rated it liked it. Ugodno me iznenadila knjiga. Nothing about the story or characters made me want to finish this.
Just not for me. This novel is, considering its age and the expression of commonly held beliefs and prejudices of that era, a pretty well-written piece fiction that is still able to provide a fair amount of excitement and entertainment. Some of it reads like a throwback to Burroughs' John Carter who goes to sleep in a cave and awakes in a new world. Nowlan, however, tries a more scientific approach, instead of shrouding the narrative in mystical crap. As far as the quality of his "science", it is probably better This novel is, considering its age and the expression of commonly held beliefs and prejudices of that era, a pretty well-written piece fiction that is still able to provide a fair amount of excitement and entertainment.
As far as the quality of his "science", it is probably better than most of the pseudo-science that was used in the comic books of the sixties and seventies and echoed contemporary understanding quite well. The protagonist is not a wide-eyed idealist or a physically or mentally superior being. He has some advantages, due to his experiences, on the other hand he has much to learn about this future society.
Even his female counterpart and wife is quite emancipated for the time this text was written. She rarely faints and is even allowed to successfully take part in combat. The story is, despite its preoccupation with war and racial conflict, surprisingly positive, especially in its future expectations of technical mastery. A much better story than the cheesy Buck Rogers serial with its comical special effects or the famous comic strip which are both based on this book. Definitely one of the best examples of pulp-fiction.
Jan 21, Jakk Makk rated it liked it Recommends it for: Edgar Rice Burroughs fans. Cave fart gas expert Buck Rogers becomes trapped in some particularly hospitable--and apparently breathable--fart gas, that leaves him in suspended animation for about years. In your face Steve Rogers! With tales this old, I listen in the way children once read Sunday funnies, hoping for the best while not expecting much. How is it a fart gas expert is so good at waging war on the Han, who have been at it for so long? You just have to let that stuff go and enjoy the author's enthusiasm.
I'm Cave fart gas expert Buck Rogers becomes trapped in some particularly hospitable--and apparently breathable--fart gas, that leaves him in suspended animation for about years. I'm jealous of living in a time when people could enjoy such things without my modern skepticism. I listened to this based on the title. No mention was made of Buck on the cover, so I had the pleasure of listening to it as a blank slate, and only realized later it was Buck Rodgers of later fame.
The front of the story is a planetary discovery piece and the latter half is triumphs over sparsely detailed enemies. I liked the premise of this, Anthony Rogers, a scientist from is investigating a radioactive gas in a mine shaft, when a cave in blocks him in and the gas somehow puts him into a sort of suspended animation, until years later when an earthquake nearby causes the blockage to fall away and the fresh air revives him.
He wanders around until he meets and saves a woman's life from people flying around and throwing bombs.
Armageddon A.D. - Wikipedia
The woman is Wilma Deering. From there he's drawn into a war against a I liked the premise of this, Anthony Rogers, a scientist from is investigating a radioactive gas in a mine shaft, when a cave in blocks him in and the gas somehow puts him into a sort of suspended animation, until years later when an earthquake nearby causes the blockage to fall away and the fresh air revives him.
Wollheim into one paperback novel, titled Armageddon A. The characters and setting eventually evolved into Buck Rogers.
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Although the US won the war, both sides were devastated by the conflict. Taking advantage of the chaos that followed, the "Russian Soviets" Soviet Union joined forces with the " Mongolians " to take over Europe. The US collapsed economically and stagnated while the "Mongolians" turned against the Russians and defeated them as part of their campaign of world conquest.
American efforts to avoid war with the "Mongolians" failed, and in AD, the latter attacked the US using fleets of airships armed with disintegrator rays. They attacked from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and down from Canada. After conquering the US and Canada, these "Airlords of Han" ruled North America as a province of the world empire, from 15 great cities they established across the continent. They ignored the Americans, who were left to fend for themselves in the forests and mountains as the "Mongolians'" advanced technology prevented the need for slave labor.
Living in cooperative gangs and hiding in the forests from the Hans, Americans secretly rebuild their civilization and develop the new technologies " inertron " and "ultron". Ultron, in turn, is an "absolutely invisible and non-reflective solid of great molecular density and moderate elasticity, which has the property of being percent conductive to those pulsations known as light, electricity and heat. The main character and the narrator in Armageddon A. He was investigating reports of unusual phenomena in abandoned coal mines near Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. On December 15, while investigating one of the lower levels of a mine, there was a cave-in.
Exposed to radioactive gas, Rogers fell into "a state of suspended animation, free from the ravages of katabolic processes, and without any apparent effect on physical or mental faculties. He awakens in and, thinking he has been asleep for just several hours, wanders for a few days in unfamiliar forests what had been Pennsylvania almost five centuries before. He finally notices a wounded boy-like-figure, clad in strange clothes and moving in giant leaps, who appears to be under attack by others.
He defends the person, killing one of the attackers and scaring off the rest. Wilma takes Rogers to her camp, where he is to meet the bosses of her gang. He is invited to either stay with their gang or leave and visit other gangs. Rogers stays with the gang for several days, learns about the community life of Americans in the 25th century, and makes friends with the people, especially with Wilma, with whom he spends a lot of time. He also experiences a Han air raid, during which he manages to destroy one of the enemy ships. Rogers and his friends hurry to the bosses to report the incident and explain the method he has used when shooting the aircraft.
They await a fight with the Hans who will likely wish to take revenge for the destruction of their airship. The bosses direct Wilma and Rogers to investigate the wreck. While there, a Han party arrives to investigate as well. The day after, Wilma and Anthony get married, and Rogers becomes a member of the gang.
The Hans respond by improving the security of their ships, forcing the Americans to develop new tactics to press their sudden advantage and identify the traitors working with the Han. Anthony develops a plan to get the records of the traitorous transaction, which are kept somewhere in the Han city of Nu-Yok. With the help of other gangs, he creates a team that will go with him. They learn that the traitors are the Sinsings, the gang located not far from Nu-Yok.
He instantly reorganizes the governing structures of the gang by creating new offices and makes plans for the battle with the Sinsings, again using the knowledge he gained in the First World War.