Armageddon 2419 A.D.
Author: Philip Francis Nowlan
Cover Art: Ed Emsh
Originally Published: Amazing Stories 1928
Reviewed Edition: Ace 02935 (1962)
The original story of cultural icon Anthony “Buck” Rogers. The Buck Rogers of this novel is quite different from the one most people know. Buck, known throughout the book as Tony becomes trapped in a mine in 1927. He is unconscious for four-hundred years when circumstances allow for his awakening and escape. The United States he finds himself in is vastly different from the one he departed. The country has been conquered by the Han Empire and their airships. Small groups put up a resistance, but it is more of a nuisance than a rebellion.
Buck meets Wilma Deering, and joins her Wyoming Gang. As a member of her group, Buck uses his knowledge of war strategy from the past to assist his new friends. Soon the nuisance rebellion becomes a full fledged revolt. Hundreds of years of Han complacency has left them open to the rapidly organizing American gangs, unified under Buck’s leadership.
The book itself (This edition has combined the first two adventures into one book – Armageddon 2419 A.D. and The Airlords of Han) is nothing extraordinary. It is pretty much a rambling first person account of Buck Rogers’ adventures upon his awakening. The action is lackluster and the characterization is pretty non-existent. It would be a forgettable story, if not for the fame the main character would achieve in comic strip form. This is definitely a fan-only read for the history of the character…Anyone else should just move along to something else.