Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!
Ed Hamilton's old Captain Future stories of the 40's are Golden Age SF staples.... or pulp fiction... that many people have loved and promptly forgotten through the ages, but not completely forgotten.
In case you're wondering what the Golden Age SF is, it's the zap guns, the cyborgs, the Robbie robots, the classic rocket-ships, the dastardly villains and the exotic locations -- It's that kind of thing. :) Goofy names, heavily telegraphed plots, and especially -- the pathos!
The thing is, Allen Steele writes a real homage to Ed Hamilton's character, including better reasons, updated technology to fit today's SF standards, and even a much better character lineup. You know -- characters that avoid stupid robots, complex brains in jars rather than just crazy ones, women who aren't cardboard with boobs, and interactions across the board that doesn't just make me laugh my way through the book as if I was reading a caricature of really silly (and bad) SF.
This isn't bad. It feels like an updated boy's adventure tale with regular men with better tech doing heroic things and using silly names for somewhat silly reasons.
It's nice for what it is and what it wants to accomplish.
But do I really call it High-SF? No. I do appreciate it for being what it is. It'd be good as a YA SF. It's clear and it's direct. It's bigger than life. Better yet, it's DIFFERENT from anything else that's been written for 70 years. It's good enough to bring people back into a feel of a different time and outlook while not regressing into cultural awkwardness, to give us all that taste of an optimistic and idealistic world where good guys win and bad guys get justice, not just death.
For these reasons, I totally recommend it for anyone. :)
But if you have nagging questions like why Curt let so many people die while saving the one man he wanted to kill and how that fits into his growing moral code.... then perhaps you might want to let this slide a little. :) *ahem*
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