The Airlords of Han

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Nowlan, Philip Francis. "The Airlords of Han." Amazing (March 1929) 1106-36. Sequel to PNF's "Armageddon — 2419 A.D.," Amazing (August 1928): 422-49. The two stories are combined and revised in Armageddon 2419 A.D., 1962, and re-revised in 1978. For some of the complex bibliographic issues, see Alan Kalish et al., "'For Our Balls Were Sheathed in Inertron': Textual Variations in 'The Seminal Buck Rogers Story,'" Extrapolation 29.4 (Winter 1988): 303-18.

"The Seminal Buck Rogers Story" helped introduce to a wider US public a good deal of nifty S.F. paraphernalia of violence, including two items of importance: see the chapters on "The Mysterious 'Air Balls'" (1929: ch. XII, 1962: ch. XIV, 1978: ch. XIII) and "The Destruction of Lo-Tan," the enemy capital, by atomic bombs (1929: ch. XIV, 1962: ch. XVI, 1978: ch. XV). PFN may have been somewhat late in the fictional use of atomic warfare: see J. H. Sedberry's Under the Flag of the Cross (1908; Franklin, War Stars 41, 85) and A. Graham's The Collapse of Homo Sapiens. As the title to the article by Kalish et al. hints, these two stories are rife with either unconscious humor or double-meaning lines relating war and sex (from a male point of view).

Note: As Kalish et al. demonstrate, the revised versions remove the "Yellow Peril" language of the original but are still racist (sexism in the revised stories is more complex).

For atomic warfare, note also H. G. Wells's The World Set Free, 1913: probably the first use of the phrase and concept, "atomic bomb," and Harold Nicolson's Public Faces, 1932.

RDE, initial compiler, 10/11/01; slightly augmented 21Dec20