Monday, July 08, 2024




Lost Apollo

By Allen Steele

Amazing Selects

160 pgs


For the past few years, award winning sci-fi writer, Allen Steele, has entertained lots of us diehard space-opera fans with his new exploits of the classic pulp hero, Captain Future. His last, “The Horror at Jupiter,” seemed to be the series finale what with its resolution of the conflict between Captain Future and his archenemy, the Magician of Mars, Ul Quorn. A fitting and exciting climax indeed but one that still left us readers saddened. Obviously not for long, as this review blatantly indicates.  

According to Steele’s own introduction in this volume, the series proved to be well received. Then, when fans began writing asking for more, it wasn’t all that difficult to nudge the powers that be into green lighting a second series of which “Lost Apollo” is the first.

In this new adventure they find themselves challenged by the eerie reality of inter-dimensional travel. As the tale opens, it is a year since the last book and Curt and Joan Randall of have married and reside, along with the Futuremen, in the Captain’s hidden moon base. When an unknown spacecraft mysteriously appears in space nearing the rocky satellite, the Futuremen are called to intercept and determine its identity. What they discover is a 20th Century Apollo spacecraft manned by three astronauts. They somehow flew through a time warp as they were about to begin their final approach to the moon thus depositing them in the 23rd Century.

As if that wasn’t enough of a puzzle, i.e. finding exactly how the time-hole occurred, upon questioning the astronauts, they learn their mission is Apollo 20, whereas Curt’s research of history indicates there were only seventeen Apollo flights, with the proposed eighteenth and nineteenth having been cancelled. So where exactly did this crew come from? Answer, an alternate earth which did in fact continue the Apollo moon flights beyond seventeen. Not only do Captain Future and his allies have to send these stranded fliers back to their time period, but also their alternate earth.

In the end, Curt’s mentor, the cyborg Dr. Simon Wright, the Brain, recommends they recruit the insane genius criminal Tiko Thrinn to assist them in customizing their warp capabilities to include shifting alternate dimensions. From this point, the action begins picking up speed and never lets up. Again, Steele proves himself a master space thrills and his deft handling of Grag, Otho, the Brain is spot-on. In reading “Lost Apollo,” we could easily imagine Edward Hamilton applauding loudly. This is space opera the way it was always meant to be.

Finally, kudos to Michael Kaluta’s cover and M.D. Jackson’s wonderful interior illustrations. Consider them frosting on the cake.

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