Image of Philip Francis Nowlan


Lifetime: 1888 - 1940 Passed: ≈ 84 years ago




United States

Philip Francis Nowlan

Philip Francis Nowlan, an American science fiction writer, is best known as the creator of Buck Rogers, a character who remains a prominent figure in the realm of science fiction and popular culture. Through his imaginative storytelling and groundbreaking vision, Nowlan captivated readers and set the stage for countless other works of science fiction that followed.

Early Life and Literary Pursuits

Born in Racine, Wisconsin, on November 13, 1888, Philip Francis Nowlan developed a passion for writing and storytelling from a young age. He spent his childhood immersed in the works of authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, their fantastical tales igniting his imagination and shaping his own literary aspirations.

After completing his education, Nowlan embarked on a career in journalism, working for various newspapers and magazines. His writing showcased a sharp wit and a knack for captivating narratives, qualities that would later serve him well in his science fiction endeavors.

The Birth of Buck Rogers

In 1928, Nowlan's literary career took a pivotal turn with the creation of Buck Rogers, the intrepid hero who would become his most enduring legacy. Buck Rogers, a futuristic adventurer who awakens from centuries of suspended animation to find himself in a technologically advanced world, quickly captured the imaginations of readers.

Nowlan's serialized stories, published in the pulp magazine "Amazing Stories," introduced readers to a world of interplanetary travel, advanced weaponry, and robotic companions. Buck Rogers' adventures, filled with daring exploits and clashes against formidable foes, resonated with audiences and transformed the character into a science fiction icon.

Notable Works and Literary Influences

While Buck Rogers remains his most famous creation, Nowlan penned a range of other science fiction stories, including "Armchair Men of Mars" and "The Air Lords of Han." His works explored themes of scientific progress, interplanetary exploration, and the potential impact of technology on society.

Nowlan's writing was influenced by the works of his predecessors, such as Verne and Wells, but he also brought his own unique perspective to the genre. His stories were characterized by their action-packed plots, their vivid descriptions of futuristic landscapes, and their exploration of the ethical and social implications of technological advancements.

A Legacy of Imagination and Inspiration

Philip Francis Nowlan's untimely passing in 1940 cut short a promising literary career, but his legacy lives on through his enduring creations. Buck Rogers, the character he brought to life, continues to inspire and entertain audiences worldwide, appearing in comic strips, television shows, and films.

Nowlan's works stand as a testament to the power of imagination and the enduring appeal of science fiction. His ability to blend fantastical elements with relatable human experiences has ensured that his stories remain relevant and engaging for generations of readers.

Remembering Philip Francis Nowlan

Philip Francis Nowlan's impact on science fiction is undeniable. He is remembered as a pioneer of the genre, a visionary who captured the imaginations of readers and paved the way for countless other writers to explore the realm of futuristic storytelling. His creation, Buck Rogers, remains a symbol of adventure, innovation, and the boundless possibilities of the human imagination.

Books by Philip Francis Nowlan

Armageddon- 2419 A.D. Cover image

Armageddon- 2419 A.D.

Adventure Science Fiction
Spirit Action Courage Oppression Freedom Journey Determination Hope Rebellion

In the year 2419 A.D., the world has been ravaged by centuries of war and conquest. The Mongolians, a ruthless and technologically advanced empire, have subjugated the remnants of the once-great American civilization, reducing its people to scattered...

Airlords of Han Cover image

Airlords of Han

Airlords of Han is the 2nd Buck Rogers story, the sequel to Armageddon 2419 A.D.. Anthony Rogers takes the fight to free 25th Century America to the Han overlords. From the March, 1929 issue of Amazing Stories. (Summary by Alan Winterrowd)