austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Far beyond my time

``Tragedy on Saturn'' picks up with Buck Rogers, Buddy, and Wilma Deering (spoiler!) escaping certain death by the narrowest of margins.

They parachute down to the surface of Saturn, which looks like the same rocky expanse as where Rogers's zeppelin crashed. They're soon captured by Saturnian security forces and brought to the high council there, but that's all right because they're seeking help from the high muckety-mucks there.

You see, and this was revealed in the first installment, while Rogers and Buddy were unconscious, the nations of Earth failed to stop the menace of racketeers and now nearly all of Earth, save for the Hidden City, has been conquered by the super-racketeer ``Killer'' Kane, played by Anthony Warde so as to look like the flustered mâitre d' with Asta shoved into his arms in every Thin Man movie. Kane, who prefers to be known as the Leader (surely the smallest of totalitarianism's many sins has to be its inability to think of a title more poetic for its leader than ``Leader''), sent a squadron to Saturn to kill Rogers, or at least keep him from allying with the Saturnians, or better ally with Saturn directly.

Saturn's high council seems willing to hear them out, but is wary of supporting revolutionaries, which when pressed by the subtle technique of asking ``are you revolutionaries?'' Rogers admits the Hidden City is. The Leader's men argue Earth is prosperous, happy, and stable, and only a few criminal elements are still resisting Kane's benevolent leadership. Rogers refutes this argument by grabbing a gun and holding it on the high council until he can make his escape and steal Kane's envoys' spaceship. At this point I seem to be the only one suspecting Rogers is actually working for the bad guys.

Anyway, Rogers, Buddy, and Deering escape the attacking Saturnian/Leaderian forces, making me wonder if they didn't forget the cliffhanger somehow. They're making the final approach to the Hidden City, but with no radio contact (the radio was blown up to prevent the Leader's men from remote-controlling Rogers's stolen ship) the Hidden City folks open the gates to their hidden landing pad, in order to crush the obvious infiltrating enemy after they've had time to transmit the location of the Hidden City back to base. I think the Hidden City folks really don't understand secrecy, or friend-or-foe identification techniques. The rock gates swing shut, crushing Rogers's spacecraft.

Trivia: On 15 May 1928 Calvin Coolidge signed the Lower Mississippi Flood Control Act, appropriating $325 million for flood prevention plans. Source: The Culture of Calamity: Disaster and the Making of Modern America, Kevin Rozario.

Currently Reading: Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl.

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