The year is 1987 and NASA launches its last deep space probe. Ranger 3 and Captain William “Buck” Rogers encounters a meteor storm and it freezes Buck in suspended animation as his ship goes into an orbit around the solar system. An orbit that will take five hundred years to return to Earth. In five hundred years he is found by the Draconians an intergalactic empire. They are on a peace mission to Earth but in reality plan to conquer the planet. Killer Kane and Princess Ardala decide to use Buck to find a way through the Earth’s defenses.
So Captain Rogers returns to Earth and finds it has been devastated in a nuclear holocaust back in the twentieth century. They think he is a spy for the space raiders and banish him along with two droids who backed him into Anarchia. The nuclear ruins of Chicago that are overrun by mutants. Luckily the Earth directorate figures out a use for him and rescues him. Thus Buck manages to infiltrate the Draconian ship and single handedly destroy their ship and expose the invasion plan.
This is the adaptation of the Buck Rogers pilot for the TV series. It was from a screenplay by Glen Larson and Leslie Stevens. Fresh off of Battlestar Galactica Larson recycled the effects and some props for this classic series. He also released the pilot as a theatrical movie to generate interest. This series has been described as a disco series in space. A bit harsh but probably accurate. It was a cheezy but fun series that was basically a James Bond in space. Buck Rogers would single handedly save the day against overwhelming odds. This with his wise cracking droid Twiky and Colonel Wilma Deering in a sexy skintight spandex uniform.
So the book is written by Richard A. Lupoff under the pen name Steele. It is a competent adaptation. Not much new. We get a little glimpse into the launch of Buck’s ship in 1987. Apparently gas was $4 a gallon so the apocalypse was not to far away. The Anarchia scene has them banishing Buck where in the movie he went out on his own initiative to find out what happened to his family. This was probably the original screenplay and you can see where some stuff that didn’t work out was dropped in the final product. An enjoyable little bit of nostalgia.