BookHound
Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

STARWOLF 1: THE WEAPON FROM BEYOND by Edmond Hamilton

Edmond Hamilton Starwolf 1

Edmond Hamilton was a pulp writer from the 1930s. He wrote most of the Captain Future pulps and earned the sobriquet, World Wrecker, because of the planet destroying plots he embraced.

In later years, he moved into comic books and wrote several of the early issues of Superman and Batman, as well as helping give the world the Legion of Superheroes, which has long been a fan favorite.

I picked up one of his Starwolf novels back when I was a kid. I think I read it, but I couldn’t really remember it. The name of the main character, Morgan Chane, stuck in my head for at least forty years.

Still, occasionally at Half Price Books and other places, I run across some old paperbacks I haven’t read. My original is probably packed away in a storage shed I’ve had for years.

After reading through the first Starwolf book, The Weapon from Beyond, I totally understand why I can’t remember reading it – if I indeed did. The plot has a great hook at the start, and I do remember that, but the rest of it goes downhill pretty fast.

Morgan Chane escapes from a blood vendetta put on him by the rest of the Starwolves over killing a friend of his. This fellow Starwolf was one of Chane’s best friends, so that’s a story I really wish we’d gotten here. We don’t, but I have hope that the next two books will pick up that plot thread, especially since the last book in the trilogy is called World of the Starwolves.

In this volume, Chane gets rescued by an Earth mercenary leader named Dilullo and brought into the mercenary band, though we don’t really see why Dilullo would do that. A father/son relationship almost forms in this first book, so I’m hoping that comes to the forefront during the next two.

For most of the book I was swept away in the old pulp feel of the adventure. Hamilton does a great job of bringing that starfaring kind of adventure to life, dropping in new worlds and new aliens at a rapid clip. I liked Chane’s adventures on the other worlds, and it took me back to those days of discovering the early science fiction novels I found in the public library and on the creaky shelves and in musty boxes of the swap shops of my childhood. This is the kind of stuff Andre Norton and Robert A. Heinlein did so well back when I was a kid.

Sometimes it’s good to be a kid again.

I didn’t expect a lot out of the book, just some good memories and a little fun, and that’s what I got. Science fiction has grown up a lot since these books came out, and I miss the whiz-bang wonder of those old days.

The book is a classic science fiction tale, short and to the point, and doesn’t delve too deeply into science. The characters are thin and just fleshed out enough to keep the story entertaining. The only quibble I really have is the ending. For whatever reason, Hamilton doesn’t deliver an earth-shattering ending in this one.

I’ll wait a little while on the second one, but I will get to all three this summer. I’m looking forward to them.

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