Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Armageddon 2419 A.D., by Philip Francis Nowlan – reviewed

Who’d have thought that Wilma Deering predated Buck Rogers, but here she is, as frosty as she ever was in the TV series and palling around with Buck’s prototype, Anthony Rogers. It’s like finding out that Watson had adventures with Sheriff Holmes before teaming up with Sherlock!

Readers may also be surprised by other differences from the Gil Gerard-powered thrill-machine they know and love. Principally, this Rogers is fighting the Chinese, who live in floating cities above the US, leaving the Americans to scoot around in the forests below like overgrown Ewoks.

One thing that baffles is why, if the Chinese live on synthesised food and never set food on the ground, they would choose to park their floating cities over America rather than some nice part of China. Maybe it’s the sunsets! Or maybe they’re mining some natural resource not mentioned in the book. Or maybe the book does explain this point, and I missed it through reading late at night.

Modern readers may be rather shocked by one of the great victories of the Rogers-led resistance: they bring down a passenger liner and massacre everyone on board. Yay for the resistance…

This is a fast-paced, exciting, action-packed book. It stopped a little too early in the campaign for my liking (and in fact casually mentions how the campaign will conclude about half-way through, presumably to stop readers getting too anxious) but there is at least one sequel so I look forward to finding out what’s next for Rogers and his merry band of murderous terrorists. Free to read on Feedbooks.

Armageddon 2419 A.D., by Philip Francis Nowlan, Feedbooks, ebook, c.195pp (1928).

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