As published in Armageddon 2419 A.D. (Heathen Edition):

Like most kids of the 80s, my introduction to Buck Rogers was network reruns of the short-lived television show. But it was too late: I had been introduced to Star Wars, so all other sci-fi of the time simply paled in comparison. Buck Rogers was not Luke Skywalker, Twiki no Threepio, so I wasn’t interested. Honestly, the goofiness of the show kept me from these original stories for a long time. Surely, the source material had to be just as cheesy as, if not more than, the show, I imagined.

Boy, was I wrong.

Very wrong.

These stories are vicious. Surprisingly so. Both in Nowlan’s direct and detailed descriptions of what is essentially guerrilla warfare and his, at times, very un-pc way of describing the Hans. The latter of which was even edited and toned down in versions republished during the second half of the 20th century.

Here, we’ve opted for Nowlan’s original unedited text as it was first published in Amazing Stories 93 years ago. Some may find its language jarring. For me, it acts as a barometer, illustrating just how far we’ve come as a society—and, when viewed through the lens of current events, a stark reminder of how far we’ve yet to go.

As for the text itself, our only edits consist of ironing out various spelling inconsistencies of Nowlan’s invented technologies between the two stories and his sometimes odd and inconsistent use of italics.

Additionally, we’ve added footnotes for insta-reference, and Afterwords to offer better context of the impact these stories had in their infancy by two individuals who experienced it firsthand: Cele Goldsmith, editor of Amazing Stories from 1959 to 1965, provides the Afterword for Armageddon 2419 A.D., and sci-fi author and Amazing Stories contributor Sam Moskowitz provides the Afterword for The Airlords of Han.

Finally, let’s talk about the cover art by Tithi Luadthong. I love it. If you’re not familiar with his work, look him up, support him, buy his endlessly inventive stuff. It’s fantastic. All of it.


Sheridan Cleland
January 2021


Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan (Heathen Edition)