The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

That Crazy Buck Rogers Stuff

Posted on | October 8, 2015 | 17 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

So, a couple of weeks ago in the comments Goodstuff brought up the topic of Buck Rogers, and I was going to write about that last week in the book post, but I Forgot. Going to remedy that failure right here and now. The original Buck Rogers tale, Armageddon 2419 A.D. is widely available on Kindle and in dead-tree editions, usually packaged with its sequel “The Airlords of Han”. For those of you that missed out, these are the history of the Second American Revolution, in which Anthony “Buck” Rogers, veteran of the First World War, wakes from a state of suspended animation due to radioactive gases and winds up leading the scattered bands of Americans to victory against the Han invaders, who conquered America early in the 22nd century. It’s a fun little pair of stories, and only an SJW would whimper about its roots in the “yellow peril” literature that was popular in the 1920s. It was rebooted by Martin Caidin (author of Cyborg, which became The Six Million Dollar Man) in 1995 as Buck Rogers : A Life in the Future.

Perhaps more interesting are the four sequels written by various authors to an outline by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle: Mordred, by John E. Holmes, in which an aged Anthony Rogers must deal with his half-Han son, who is attempting to reverse his father’s victory; Warriors Blood, by Richard McEnroe, in which it’s revealed that the Han are actually human/alien hybrids, and Rogers himself has been mysteriously rejuvenated by alien technology…but there’s a nasty catch to it. I don’t recall reading the sequel, Warriors World, in which Rogers and the Americans must cope with an even worse threat triggered by their desperate assault on the aliens’ Lunar Base, but if it’s as good as Warrior’s Blood, then at worst, it’s decent brain candy. I haven’t found my copy of John Silbersack’s Rogers Rangers yet, but I definitely recall it being the capstone to the four books, with Rogers leading a motley crew of rebel aliens and human refugees back from a a secret base to liberate Earth from the aliens. As I said, not great books on the order of Ender’s Game or The Mote In God’s Eye, but decent brain candy, and used paperbacks can be had quite cheaply.

Also arriving in the mail this week, the David Drake tribute anthology Onward, Drake!, edited by Mark Van Name. It contains stories by Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, Gene Wolfe, Barry Malzberg, John Lambshead and others, as well as tributes from Tom Doherty, Toni Weisskopf, and S.M. Stirling; in addition, the afterwords from the authors and Drake himself are outstanding. Did I mention there’s new Hammer’s Slammers stories, one of them by Drake? Not at all sorry I splashed out and got the limited edition, not at all, but I am sure the Kindle edition reads just as well.


17 Responses to “That Crazy Buck Rogers Stuff”

  1. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    October 8th, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

    Old School Sci Fi!

  2. richard mcenroe
    October 8th, 2015 @ 11:04 pm

    Sooner or later our past catches up to all of us. *g*

  3. Southern Air Pirate
    October 8th, 2015 @ 11:19 pm

    I think that the biggest reason that most people forget about the original two Buck Rodgers novels is that the Sunday Adventure Comic took over and there wasn’t a good series like what Tarzan was. That combined with the radio serial, so it was viewed as “kids stuff” and not good sci-fi by some of the fans. I have heard folks at various stores where I am mention that Buck needs to lay in the same sort of bin as Flash, the discount/give away kiddie bins.
    As well that the author passed on before he could really get anything else published for Buck outside of the storylines in the comics. Philip Nowlan also had a few short stories set in the Buck Rodgers universe as well as others that were commissioned by the comic syndicate to sell to the sci-fi pulps. Which is why most folks get confused as to the “source” material. It isn’t like some other classic adventure novels or early sci-fi novels and series where the output was heavy and fast and became memorial if for just the sheer output. has all the novels and pulp stories that Nowlan and his co-authors wrote of Buck.

    Oh and let me ask you where you find the “Man of Bronze” , aka Doc Savage. In either adventure with sci-fi elements or sci-fi that was soft? I just recieved this for my birthday and been devouring them around school and work and family time.

  4. Good Stuff
    October 8th, 2015 @ 11:31 pm

    More Crazy Buck Rogers Stuff

    Buck Rogers faced the same problem that vexed the Professor. Except instead of Mary Ann or Ginger? it was Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) or Princess Ardala (Pamela Hensley)

  5. Wombat_socho
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

    Were those yours? Holy crap! Got any copies of those you want to autograph and flog to yours truly?

  6. Wombat_socho
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:28 pm

    Well, he may not have been a pilot, but I think we can be sure Tony “Buck” Rogers was very familiar with all three of the Holy Coordinates, and in the sequels, it’s clear that he knew both Colonel Deering and the Princess very very well, IYKWIMAITYD.

  7. Wombat_socho
    October 9th, 2015 @ 3:30 pm

    I think of Doc Savage as one of those edge cases like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and other heroic adventures that venture into lost worlds and science-fictional terrain.

  8. Southern Air Pirate
    October 9th, 2015 @ 5:56 pm

    I have been diving in to the pulps of both adventures and sci-fi for the recent months. It also helps that there are some <$5 ebooks on Amazon for this sort of interest. The reason being that I have dived in to the old school pulps is I have a strong interest in the old time radio shows. From the "Shadow" to "Dimension X" to "X minus 1" to even "Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rodgers" stuff. So I have been interested in the original short stories or novellas that were hacked up into 30 minute shows on the radio. Ran across some Doc Savage story that was probably post the 30's pulp and really enjoy the story. So my wife found that package of Doc books and got it for me to fill my shelves.

  9. Quartermaster
    October 9th, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

    We used to listen to “X-1” on AFN in Germany in the late 60s. They had a lot of the old radio shows. We lived for X-1.

    Fibber McGee and Molly were still funny.

    They used to run the old serials before movies at the Saturday Matinees as well over there.

  10. Wombat_socho
    October 9th, 2015 @ 9:48 pm

    Fibber McGee and Molly will always be funny, because everybody has one of THOSE closets.

  11. Southern Air Pirate
    October 9th, 2015 @ 10:07 pm

    Not only that but to me the idea of the “Who knows what secrets lie in the hearts of men! The SHADOW KNOWS!” is a much cooler superhero than some of the ones we have today. That is a character that should be given a TV series. Some of the other crime fighters off the radio as well from Broadway is my Beat to even Dragnet were all good.
    The westerns are good too. From the Six-Shooter with Jimmy Stewart, to team that made up Gunsmoke and the Paladin at “Have Gun Will Travel.”
    The comedy bits of Fibber, Lum and Abner, the show in a show of Jack Benny, the more sophisticated political humor of Fred Allen and his Allen’s Alley.

    I have been listening to these on long road trips and even at home while doing work in my office after all the usual radio pundits I like quit for the day. There are some more kid like when I have my kids in the car from the Green Hornet to the Lone Ranger to some lighter fare about reading the classic fairy tales as modern fair. A good one to listen to as well that is more modern in the sense that it was done recently was the CBS Radio Mystery Theater which did originals productions, classic books, and some sci-fi stuff.

    I am just 37 yrs old but I am liking the radio dramas, mysteries, comedies and westerns more than some of the stuff on TV now.

  12. Quartermaster
    October 9th, 2015 @ 10:50 pm

    “Noooooooooooooooooo! Not that closet!!!!!”

    There was more to it than that, but that scene was one of the best, and most memorable, from the old radio shows. My father used to claim my room was nearly as bad as “that closet” (A vile calumny, sez I).

    Heard the shadow a couple of times. I heard “The Fiddler” quite a bit, which was something of a “Me too” show of “The Shadow.”

  13. Quartermaster
    October 9th, 2015 @ 10:52 pm

    The old Radio shows were often written by the same people that wrote early TV. They had talent and it showed. Some of the current crop may have talent, but it’s buried under so much dreck it doesn’t show.

  14. richard mcenroe
    October 10th, 2015 @ 5:23 pm

    Only have the one set I keep for myself. They still show up on Amazon.

  15. Wombat_socho
    October 10th, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

    Indeed. Well, maybe one of these days we’ll be in the same place at the same time and I can get them signed. You also had some stories in the There Will Be War anthologies, didn’t you?

  16. richard mcenroe
    October 10th, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

    The only short I ever had published by Baen was “A Death in Realtime,” (Computer gaming geek winds up in NATO/USSR naval missile duel). Don’t remember if it was published in “Destinies” or “There Will Be War.”

    Also edited an anthology, “Proteus”, but didn’t have a story in it.

  17. Wombat_socho
    October 11th, 2015 @ 6:28 pm

    I remember that one. The protagonist had his lucky quarter on top of the console.