Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holmes for the Holidays 2017

After an absence of a few years, "Holmes for the Holidays" is back for 2017! 

This year I'm giving away a copy of Holmes' Mordred that I liberated from languishing on the shelf of a local used book store earlier this year. A photo of this book is above.

A bit about this book. It's an authorized direct sequel to the original "Buck Rogers" novel Armageddon 2419 A.D, published by ACE in 1980. Although the publication of this was almost certainly spurred by the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century TV series that started airing in 1979, there's no relationship between the two other than the white outfit that Rogers is wearing on the cover. And due to licensing differences between the original novel and the original comic strip, Rogers is not even called "Buck" here, instead he's just "Rogers" throughout, which is short for the original "Anthony Rogers" name. Holmes talked about this once in an interview with John Martin of Erbmania:

"In writing "Mordred," Holmes told me he originally included a line in which Anthony Rogers tells someone: "You can just call me Buck." But the editors told him: "No, he CAN'T just call him Buck!" Due to various copyright considerations, the name "Buck" was not available for use by ACE Books. The company owned only the rights to the novel concept, and didn't own anything else associated with Buck Rogers properties."

I read Mordred back in 2012, and posted a short review in a comment to a post on the space 1970 blog about this book series. Here's what I thought back then:

"Holmes' story is a faithful continuation of Nowlan's Armageddon 2419 novel (a fix-up of the original two stories), which was republished by Ace in a mass market paperback in Aug 1978, possibly in advance of the TV show. While the original novel is clearly the "primary invention", in some ways I found Holmes' Rogers story (which begins 60 years later after the death of Wilma) to be more engaging (better/more dialogue and characterization), though the endless descriptions of dis ray attacks (also shared with the original) were still a bit taxing to this reader."

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For the give-away I'm using the same system as before: if you are interested, add a comment in reply to this post within the next two days. The two days are the time limit before moderation starts on posts on this blog. After two days, I'll st
op accepting entries and treat the list of comments as a table and roll randomly for the winner, using dice from a Holmes Basic set.

I'll cover postage (media mail) for any U.S. address. I can ship to other countries but I ask that you cover the difference (any amount over $4) in shipping by PayPal; so if you are overseas please only participate if you have a PayPal account and willing to chip in the extra. I'll estimate the exact shipping and refund the difference if I overcharge at all.
This is intended for folks who don't have a copy of the novel, so please don't post if you already have a copy.

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12/17 Update, including the Results:

I recruited a dice elf to make the roll for me. There were 18 entries, so we used a spread of 1-20, with a 19 or 20 being re-rolled if it came up. To generate 1-20, we used dice from a Holmes set: a white twenty-sided die (numbered 0-9) and an orange six-sided die as a "control die". If the d6 comes up 1-3, the white die is read as-is, and if the d6 comes up 4-6, 10 is added to the white die. After a few practice rolls, we made the official roll...

...which indicates that number 5 is the winner! That's Patrick Usher. Patrick, please get in touch with me at zenopusarchives at

Thanks to all who entered the contest. I hope to do a few more of these type of contests during the year next year as I have accumulated some extra stuff around here. Stay tuned, and happy holidays!


  1. This is a fascinating piece of history! I look forward to either winning or finding this gem somewhere.

  2. Sounds awesome! The only Buck Rogers I know is from the TV series so it'll be interesting to see the differences.

  3. Sweet. I've wanted to read this for a while now.

  4. I lost my copy during my last military move and have been wanting to read it again. It would also be great to pass on to my son who has the Basic bug as well.

    1. You are the winner! Please email me at zenopusarchives at

  5. Ooooo, that would immediately be my next book to read!

  6. Hunh. My post about how I'd be pleased to read this and shelve it next to Mahars of Pellucidar is now gone...?

    Sign me up.

  7. I’m in, ‘cause I imagine the Good Doctor wore the same white jumpsuit while writing it...

  8. Neat! I love that TV show back in the day.

  9. Holems could have had Rogers say "That's not what my friends call me."

  10. Sounds interesting, count me in if you don't mind.

  11. Love that you are using the Holmes Basic dice. Please include me in this as I do not have the book... interesting title!