In the afterword to Avengers of the Moon author Allen Steele writes about his discovery of Captain Future and the Futuremen in a Popular paperback reprint he found on a drugstore spinner rack at the age of 11. His introduction to the series was similar to mine, which is to say, I anxiously awaited his revival of the characters in a new adventure.
Avengers of the Moon is as much a reimagining of the cast’s origin story as it is a new adventure, with both tightly woven together into a seamless space opera. Steele’s novel is remarkably true to the series’ roots, but updates its science and technology from its 1930s era. The entire cast is present and accounted for: Curt Newton, Otho, Grag, Simon Wright, Joan Randall, Ezra Gurney, and Ul Quorn. Each remains true to their character, but updated with current social sensibilities. Even the inane infighting between Otho and Grag, along with their pets Eek and Oog are present, but Steele wisely tones it down several notches. It’s there for a moment of nostalgia, and then he thankfully moves on with the story.
For fans, I think Avengers of the Moon rates five stars. Without the history, a newcomer won’t feel the same sense of wonder as each old friend makes their entrance, and may not have the same appreciation for their characterizations. Despite handling the task very well, it does require breaking into the momentum of the story.
Now that the whole crew has been reintroduced and recast, here’s hoping the next one will rocket us into the future and never let go until its last page.