austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Long before this time what was there?

Buck Rogers Chapter 8, ``Revolt of the Zuggs'', opens with the discovery that Rogers is not dead.

But that exhausts the good news since Laska and Kane's men and the rebel Zuggs still have Rogers, Deering, and the Saturnian High Council under their goofy-looking handheld guns. So Rogers heroically runs away, out the side door, and I bet you he'd use the air ducts if he could find them. Indeed, he hides from the guards by jumping into the alcove where a vase is kept because in this genre you can make yourself invisible just by standing near an object and thinking you're hiding. As the Zuggs gather sticks Rogers --- and this is so far the most unbelievable moment --- grabs some kind of brass ring from the side of the alcove and lightly tosses it the roughly forty feet or so to pull the handle that starts a subway car, distracting the guards so he can run off.

Deering and Prince Tallen are stuffed in a jail cell, but Rogers punches out their guard, opens the jail cell, and then goes in and tells them to close the jail door (!) so they ... I guess so they can sneak out of the jail cell, which fortunately didn't lock behind them. Secret passages etc etc and Rogers drops in on the occupied High Council Room, using a ray gun to order Laska to order the robot slave to order the Zuggs to lay down their arms and obey Tallen. It turns out the robot slave was a captured Hidden City guy who needs a lot of exposition convenient for people who missed the last couple installments and the opening crawl. With the hypnotic-ray filament removed Rogers uses the guy in the hat to order the Zuggs to go back into being happy slaves since, hey, clearly this slavery thing is a winning proposition, right?

Rogers, Deering, and Tallen plan return towards Earth, which marks the first time this serial that Rogers has been able to take off in a ship he's landed. With a quick call to the Hidden City and Scientist-General Huer to reestablish that they'll need the ``dissolvo ray'' to become invisible long enough to run Kane's blockade, we find out that the Hidden City moved the dissolvo ray away and has to put it back and you just know that's bad because once you have the demo working you don't touch anything until you're finished for crying out loud. Well, they were new to technology back then.

Still, the dissolvo ray blows out a vacuum tube early on, leaving Rogers's ship visible in the midst of the blockade and spoiling Rogers's chance to actually go someplace and return in the same un-crashed spaceship, and with the collisions I guess (they weren't very precise in controlling models back then) of something in the sky that's our cliffhanger.

Trivia: Over the course of 1901 and 1902, the Wright Brothers tested the lift and drag coefficients of 43 types of wings at 14 different angles, assembling a total of 1,178 coefficients to be determined and plotted on 91 curves, computed through the work of Oliver Chanute. The results, correcting long-standing errors in the calculation of drag, went unpublished until 1953, as part of the posthumous publication of the Wright Brothers' papers and correspondence. Source: First Flight: The Wright Brothers And The Invention Of The Airplane, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station And Its Tunnels, Jill Jonnes.


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