Book Review: Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele

Cover of the book Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele
Avengers of the Moon
by Allen Steele
Tor, 2017

This review was first published by Booklist on March 3, 2017.

In Avengers of the Moon, Steele resurrects Captain Future, a hero of classic pulp serials created by Edmond Hamilton, and retcons him for the twenty-first century. This all-new origin story introduces Captain Future and his crew to a new audience, pits him against his archnemesis, and sets up a continuing series. It’s a classic rollicking adventure story—exciting and entertaining, with enough callbacks to the original to appeal to existing fans. Steele states in his afterword that his intent is to recapture the magic of old pulp SF, but he doesn’t completely succeed. This isn’t the fault of the book—it’s well written, appropriately pulpy, and fun to read. It’s just that pulp doesn’t necessarily work with a modern audience. The pulp era grew out of a sense of wonder; audiences then possessed a wide-eyed credulity. Modern readers aren’t that credulous anymore. Without that innocence and idealism, pulp SF is an awkward fit. Still, this book is worth reading for the fun of it.

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