East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Back to the (Captain) Future

Captain Future was a pulp series of science fiction novels that started in 1940, mostly written by Edmond Hamilton. The stories, featuring Curtis Newton, aka Captain Future, aka The Wizard of Science were classic space opera with a pulp hero twist – Captain Future was sort of Doc Savage in space, complete with a team of quirky helpers and all that.

Now, for us here in Italy, and for my generation, Captain Future is a special thing, not much because of the novels – only a few were translated, and quickly disappeared – bu t because in the early ’80s the Toei Animation series was distributed in my country, a part of the “Japanese anime invasion”. To me it was a special treat, because I knew Hamilton, having read a few of his novels, and I had often heard mentioned the character but never been able to track down the books. Back then I was in my early teens and I loved Golden Age authors like Hamilton and Williamson, and so I really enjoyed the series (and to this day, I still like the jazz-based original soundtrack by Yuji Ohno, the same guy that did the Lupin III soundtrack).

It was therefore with a lot of expectations that I (finally) got myself a copy of Allen Steele’s 2017 novel Avengers of the Moon, that is presented as the first volume in an authorized reboot of the old Hamilton novels, written by noted hard SF author Allen Steele.
Expectations, I had, and also a few doubts – why reboot the old stories?

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One day inside a book?

I was looking for a good idea for a post, today after lunch, and then my friend Claire came to the rescue.

“Imagine you can spend a day inside a book,” was the prompt – one of those things going around on Facebook, you know, that a friend passed on to me. “What would you choose?”

Now that looks like the sort of easy thing that could land me a post in ten minutes!


But then I started thinking – if not along the same lines tha Claire follows in her own post, along pretty similar tracks.
One day inside a book? Continue reading

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A gathering of giants

I found this image yesterday (on the PulpFest website) and it felt strange to find so many of my teenage heroes gathered in a single place.


Otto Binder, Manly Wade Wellman, Julius Schwartz,(front row, crouching).
Jack Williamson, L. Sprague de Camp, Dr. John Clark, Frank Belknap Long, Mort Weisinger, Edmond Hamilton, and Otis Adelbert Kline (back row, standing).

Because there was a time when giants walked this land.


The Queen of Space Opera

Leigh_Brackett_1941The Queen of Space Opera was born 100 years ago, on December the 7th 1915, in Los Angeles, California.
Her name was Leigh Brackett.

When I started reading science fiction, back in 1976, I started with lots of Golden Age of Science Fiction space opera – Jack Williamson, Edmond Hamilton, and Hamilton’s wife, Leigh Brackett.
My schoolmates were reading Isaac Asimov, and yes, I read his books too – as I read all the SF I could lay my hands on.
But those earlier books, often fix-ups or expansions of stories and novellas originally published in pulp magazines, remained with me for a long time.
I read her books in Italian, and later got me copies of the originals, and re-read them in English. Continue reading