Tuesday, November 19, 2013
As you recall from our previous episode...
I can't use this book. It turns out that The Airlords of Han was incorporated into a 1950s reprinting of Armageddon: 2419 A.D., which I have already read.
But maybe you could read it.
The Airlords of Han, by Philip Francis Nowlan (1928)
*** I liked this story, mostly for the social commentary. Otherwise it was very run-of-the-mill Super Science Fiction.
As you recall from our previous episode, engineer Anthony Rogers, awakened from a 500-year hibernation, has become involved in a war between Americans and a mysterious race of oriental invaders called the Han. Both sides are using advanced technology to prosecute this war.
Rogers is captured by the Han, and learns much about their society. But can he escape, and use his new knowledge to win the war for humanity?
Link to another medium: If not for the Buck Rogers comic strip and movie serials, this book and its’ predecessor, Armageddon: 2419 A.D., would have disappeared without a trace.
Apocalypse by alien invasion. Although in the first book the Han are presumed to be merely Mongolian, in the sequel it is “revealed” that they are probably hybridized with an alien species.
1st person narration.
Protagonist is an engineer, and a military veteran (of WW1), married to Wilma Deering of the Wyoming gang.
Set in the United States in the 25th century. Earthbound, no space travel. Don’t you know there’s a war on?
Social SF: The Han have set themselves up as a Master Race, and sneer at mere humans. Big mistake.
• A very tribal society is described for the Han, with each person owing allegiance to some superior, whom he wishes to overthrow.
• Han women are permitted no status of their own, but must depend on “protectors”
• Besides the super-science technology (Anti-gravity, disintegrator weapons, et cetera), Nowlan also had some insights about the consequences of advanced communication technology:
The Han live in underground cities, but have communication in the form of wall-size viewing screens. Because food and other necessities and luxuries can be ordered through these screens, many Han have no need, and indeed, no desire, to interact with others in person. Sounds like the Internet, social networking, texting, etc. to me.