‘Avengers of the Moon’ Book Review By Ron Fortier

Avenger of the Moon Book Review By Ron Fortier

AVENGERS OF THE MOON
(A Captain Future Novel)
By Allen Steele
Tor Books – Pub 2017
300 pages

In the early part of 1939, veteran sci-fi pulp writer Edmond Hamilton met with Leo Margulies, Better Publication’s editorial director, to discuss the creation of a new title, Captain Future. The lead character of Curt Newton, a super-scientist who lives on the moon and goes by the name Captain Future. The original idea for the character may have come from Mort Weisinger. Captain Future’s companions in the series included an enormously strong robot named Grag, an android named Otho, and the brain of Simon Wright, Newton’s mentor. Joan Randall, Newton’s girlfriend, was also a regular character

Margulies announced the new magazine at the first-ever World Science Fiction Convention held in New York in July 1939. The first issue, edited by Weisinger, appeared in January of the following year. It would last for seventeen issues and is still today considered one of the finest hero pulps ever produced. Still old heroes never die and in 2017, sci-fi author Allen Steele took it up upon himself to revive the series and thus write brand new adventures of Captain Future and the Futuremen.

It appears (and we could be wrong) that he’s written four, this being the first. Of course, Steele could have merely reinvented the entire concept given us new characters, and been unimpeded by what Hamilton had done. Instead, to our delirious delight, he merely adapted the originals to work in an era compatible with our current knowledge of science and space exploration. This is a full-blown origin story built on a Hamilton tale that was only hinted at in the magazine stories. The Futuremen are all here, and Steele has given them unique personalities as are classic Captain Future villains from the pulp days.

In “Avengers of the Moon,” a young Curt Newton is after the man who murdered his parents. With the aid of the Brain, Otho, and Grag, his hunt leads him to uncover a nest of radicals plotting a revolution on Mars against the Solar Coalition. Steele’s pacing is perfect and if you love old-fashioned space operas, it is high time you met Captain Future. For the record, we found out copy in a second-hand bookstore. It’s the kind of treasure any pulp lover would love.

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