ARMAGEDDON 2419 A.D.
By Philip Francis Nowlan
Armageddon 2419 A.D. features the introduction of Anthony 'Buck' Rogers, the famous sci-fi adventure hero of early comics, radio, and tv shows. Originally published in Amazing Stories in 1928, this novella was later combined with Nowlan's sequel, The Airlords of Han, and re-published under this same title in the 1960s. In Armageddon 2419 A.D., we follow Buck Rogers and his mysterious transportation to far-future America. The land has been conquered by the evil Han Empire centuries ago, and the local Americans, scattered into competing gangs, are now starting a rebellion. Buck meets the leaders of one of the gangs and is swept up in the events.
MY first glimpse of a human being of the 25th Century was obtained through a portion of woodland where the trees were thinly scattered, with a dense forest beyond.
I had been wandering along aimlessly, and hopelessly, musing over my strange fate, when I noticed a figure that cautiously backed out of the dense growth across the glade. I was about to call out joyfully, but there was something furtive about the figure that prevented me. The boy's attention (for it seemed to be a lad of fifteen or sixteen) was centered tensely on the heavy growth of trees from which he had just emerged.
He was clad in rather tight-fitting garments entirely of green, and wore a helmet-like cap of the same color. High around his waist he wore a broad, thick belt, which bulked up in the back across the shoulders, into something of the proportions of a knapsack.
As I was taking in these details, there came a vivid flash and heavy detonation, like that of a hand grenade, not far to the left of him. He threw up an arm and staggered a bit in a queer, gliding way; then he recovered himself and slipped cautiously away from the place of the explosion, crouching slightly, and still facing the denser part of the forest. Every few steps he would raise his arm, and point into the forest with something he held in his hand. Wherever he pointed there was a terrific explosion, deeper in among the trees. It came to me then that he was shooting with some form of pistol, though there was neither flash nor detonation from the muzzle of the weapon itself.
After firing several times, he seemed to come to a sudden resolution, and turning in my general direction, leapedto my amazement sailing through the air between the sparsely scattered trees in such a jump as I had never in my life seen before. That leap must have carried him a full fifty feet, although at the height of his arc, he was not more than ten or twelve feet from the ground.
When he alighted, his foot caught in a projecting root, and he sprawled gently forward. I say "gently" for he did not crash down as I expected him to do. The only thing I could compare it with was a slow-motion cinema, although I had never seen one in which horizontal motions were registered at normal speed and only the vertical movements were slowed down.
File size (Digital) (197KB)
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