Saturday, January 23, 2016

Retro Reviews: The Weapon From Beyond by Edmond Hamilton

The Weapon From Beyond
Series:  Starwolf 1
Author:  Edmond Hamilton
Original Publisher and Date: Ace Books, 1967
Still in Print:  No
Formats and Length:  Mass Market Paperback, 158 pages
Availability: Yes - Used

Brief History

Edmond Hamilton (Oct. 21, 1904- Feb. 1, 1977) was born Youngstown, Ohio. He graduated from high school and started at Westminster College at the age of 14. By the age of 17 he left college without a degree. Hamilton's first published story was a short story entitled "The Monster God of Mamurth," in the August 1926 issue of Weird Tales. Some of his most popular Science Fiction series are: Captain Future, Interstellar Patrol, The Star Kings, and Starwolf. From 1946-1966 he wrote for DC Comics, spending most of his time writing stories for Superman, Batman and the Legion of Super-Heroes. He was a well-known science fiction author and comic book writer.


The stars whispered: Die, Starwolf! Die!

Morgan Chane was an Earthman by parentage, but he had been born on the pirate-world Varna, whose heavy gravity had developed strength and incredibly quick reflexes in him. When he was old enough, he joined the raider-ships that looted the starworlds, and fought side by side with the dreaded Starwolves of Varna.

But then there was a fight among them. Chane killed their leader, and the other Starwolves turned on him. He barely got away alive---wounded near death, his Starwolf pursuers following him across the galaxy.

And there was nowhere he could seek refuge, for no world lift a hand to save one of the hated Starwolves.

Brannigan's Review

I found this excellently pulpy science fiction tale at my local bookstore. The cover grabbed my attention immediately, along with the back cover copy giving me a nice slap across my face. I couldn't pass it up, and after reading it, I'm glad it didn't.

Edmond Hamilton was a prolific writer in his time and I can understand why. He knows how to set up an intriguing story with some fun characters. I was hooked right away in its glorious retro future. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the fact it was written before computers were commonplace, making his inventive technology highly entertaining.

The length of the story doesn't leave a lot of time for character development, but Hamilton really knows how to cut out the fat and give you what you need to enjoy the story while still allowing his characters to develop. Morgan Chane, the protagonist, starts off as a space viking turning on his own to be left adrift only to find a new place with a group of mercenaries. He starts off aloof and by the end finds a new identity. The leader of the mercenary group, John Dilullo, also develops as a support character.

Much like the character development, Hamilton doesn't waste time in world building. He introduces three major planets with their own unique life forms as well as a brief history on how humans became space-faring people. He doesn't go into as much detail as I prefer, but I think that was common for books from this time period.

The Weapon From Beyond is an adventure-driven space opera with the perfect amount of pulp. I would definitely buy more books by Edmond Hamilton in the future. There is minor violence and language. I would recommend it to teens and adults. I'd recommend you borrow this book from a friend or the library, and don't be surprised if you spend time hunting for more.

My Favorite Line

“If you stopped to think too much, you could die before you made up your mind.” page 36


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