Captain Future

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Captain Future
CaptainFutureWinter42.jpg

Cover to Captain Future: Man of Tomorrow
Winter 1942 Edition
Editor Mort Weisinger (1940-1941)
Oscar J. Friend (1941-1944)
Categories Pulp magazine
Frequency Quarterly
First Issue Winter 1940
Final Issue
— Date
— Number

Spring 1944
17
Company Thrilling Publications
Country USA Flag of USA.png
Language English
ISSN unknown

Captain Future was both a science fiction magazine and a fictional character. The character was the creation of science fiction writer Edmond Hamilton.

The original character was published by Ned Pines' Thrilling/Standard/Better publications company. A different Captain Future was published in Pine's Nedor Comics line.

Published stories

The stories were published in the pulp magazines from 1940 to 1951. The adventures mostly appeared in Captain Future's own magazine but later stories appeared in Startling Stories. Captain Future is Curtis Newton, a brilliant scientist and adventurer who roams the solar system solving problems, righting wrongs, and vanquishing futuristic supervillains.

The series contains a number of assumptions about the solar system which are naive by modern standards but which still seemed plausible in the time the stories were written. All of the planets of the solar system, and many of the moons and asteroids, are suitable for life, and most are already occupied by humanoid extraterrestrial races. The initial adventures take place in the planets of the solar system but later stories take the hero to other stars, other dimensions and even the distant past and future.

In the later stories Hamilton is able to inject some pathos into his characters. This may have been due to the influence of Hamilton's wife, Leigh Brackett. Brackett was also a science fiction writer, and many critics credit her with improving the quality of Hamilton's writing after their marriage.

Anime

In 1978, one year after Hamilton's death, Toei Animation of Japan produced a Captain Future (キャプテン・フューチャー Kyaputen Fyūchā) TV anime series of 53 episodes, based on 13 original Hamilton stories. Despite the strong cultural differences and the large gap between a literary work and animation, the series was close to the original in many ways, from the didactic scientific explanations to the emphasis on the usefulness of brains as opposed to brawn.

The series was translated in several languages and distributed globally. The four episodes comprising the series' second story arc were dubbed into English and released on video by ZIV International in the early 1980s as "The Adventures of Captain Future". In the late 80s, Harmony Gold USA dubbed the series' initial four-part story as an edited "TV movie" simply entitled Captain Future.

While only eight episodes in total were dubbed into English, the series met huge success particularly in France, where the title and lead character's name were changed to "Capitaine Flam" (Captain Flame), in Italy with the translated title of "Capitan Futuro", in Latin America with the title "Capitán Futuro", and in Germany, where it appeared under its original title. The success in France and Italy was especially due to anthemic theme tunes (in the dubbed language) which became popular hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s on the French and Italian charts. The Arabic language version has the title of Faris al-Fadha'a ("The Knight of Space") and it is considered one of the most popular anime series after being broadcast many times during the 1980s.

For the German version, which was cut by about a quarter of the original length, a completely new soundtrack was created by German composer Christian Bruhn. To this day, the soundtrack is considered cult and the theme song is still used as background music in many magazines and other shows. A soundtrack CD was released in 1995, and a remix called "The Final" by Phil Fuldner entered the top ten of the German and Swiss single charts in 1998. Also, the German publisher Bastei Verlag released a Captain Future comic series with original adventures.

On a more literary plane, in 1996 the Hugo award for Best Novella was given to a psychologically and socially complex pastiche of Hamilton's space opera: The Death of Captain Future by Allen Steele.

Plot synopsis

The series begins in 1990 when scientist Roger Newton, his wife Elaine, and his brilliant fellow scientist Simon Wright leave planet Earth to do research in an isolated laboratory on the moon. Simon's body is old and diseased and Roger enables him to continue doing research by transplanting his healthy brain into an artificial floating case. Working together, the two scientists manage to create an intelligent robot called Grag, and a synthetic man, or android, with shape-shifting abilities called Otho. Unfortunately, the criminal scientist Victor Kaslan arrives on the moon and murders the Newtons.

The deaths of the Newtons leave their son, Curtis, to be raised by the unlikely trio of Otho, Grag, and Simon Wright (often referred to as the Living Brain). Under their tutelage, Curtis grows up to be a brilliant scientist and as strong and fast as any champion athlete. He also grows up with a strong sense of responsibility and hopes to use his scientific skills to help people. In the first adventure, he offers his services to the President of the System. The publicity-shy Curtis suggests he work under the alias Captain Future. Simon, Otho and Grag are referred to as the Futuremen in subsequent stories.

Other recurring characters in the series are the old space marshall Ezra Gurney, the beautiful Planet Patrol agent Joan Randal (who provides a love-interest for Curtis) and James Carthew, President of the Solar System whose office is in New York City. Captain Future faces many enemies in his career but his arch-enemy is Ull Quorn, the so-called Magician of Mars. Quorn is a scientist whose abilities rival those of Captain Future. He is the only recurring villain in the series and appears in four different stories. He is part Martian but his father was the evil Victor Kaslan. A young boy called Ken Scott was exclusive to the anime.

Captain Future has been compared to the earlier pulp hero Doc Savage. Like Doc, he is described as a physical and mental marvel. Captain Future's reliance on scientific gadgets is also similar to the Doc Savage stories, as are his adventurous companions. Grag and Otho have a quarrelsome relationship similar to that of the characters Monk and Ham in the Doc Savage stories. Like their counterparts, Grag and Otho each adopt a small pet. The pets are often brought along on adventures and provide some comic relief in the stories. Grag's pet is Eek, a moon-pup which eats metallic ores. Otho's pet is Ook, a shape-shifting meteor mimic.

Grag and Otho have also been compared to C-3PO and R2-D2, the lead robots of the Star Wars series as comic-relief characters, always arguing but sticking together.

Stories

Captain Future Magazine

  1. The Space Emperor Edmond Hamilton Wntr/40 [reprinted as Captain Future and the Space Emperor]
  2. Calling Captain Future Edmond Hamilton Spng/40
  3. Captain Future's Challenge Edmond Hamilton Smmr/40
  4. The Triumph of Captain Future Edmond Hamilton Fall/40 [reprinted as Galaxy Mission]
  5. The Seven Space Stones Edmond Hamilton Wntr/41 [reprinted as Captain Future and the Seven Space Stones]
  6. Star Trail to Glory Edmond Hamilton Spng/41
  7. The Magician of Mars Edmond Hamilton Smmr/41
  8. The Lost World of Time Edmond Hamilton Fall/41
  9. Quest Beyond the Stars Edmond Hamilton Wntr/42
  10. Outlaws of the Moon Edmond Hamilton Sprn/42
  11. The Comet Kings Edmond Hamilton Smmr/42
  12. Planets in Peril Edmond Hamilton Fall/42
  13. The Face of the Deep Edmond Hamilton Wntr/43
  14. Worlds to Come Joseph Samachson Spng/43
  15. Star of Dread Edmond Hamilton Smmr/43
  16. Magic Moon Edmond Hamilton Wntr/44
  17. Days of Creation Joseph Samachson Spng/44 [reprinted as Tenth Planet]

Startling Stories

  1. Red Sun of Danger Edmond Hamilton Spng/45 [reprinted as Danger Planet]
  2. Outlaw World Edmond Hamilton Wntr/46
  3. The Solar Invasion Manly Wade Wellman Fall/46
  4. The Return of Captain Future Edmond Hamilton 01/01/50
  5. Children of the Sun Edmond Hamilton 05/01/50
  6. The Harpers of Titan Edmond Hamilton 09/01/50
  7. Pardon My Iron Nerves Edmond Hamilton 11/01/50
  8. Moon of the Unforgotten Edmond Hamilton 01/01/51
  9. Earthmen No More Edmond Hamilton 03/01/51
  10. Birthplace of Creation Edmond Hamilton 05/01/51

Notes: Numbers #14-18 were credited to house name "Brett Sterling"; Numbers 21-27 were short novels. Several issues were reprinted in paperback in the 60s, as noted above.

External links

Science fiction pulp magazines

A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine · Amazing Stories · Astounding Stories · Astonishing Stories · Captain Future · Comet · Cosmic Stories · Dynamic Science Fiction · Dynamic Science Stories · Famous Fantastic Mysteries · Fantastic Adventures · Fantastic Novels · Fantastic Story Magazine · Fantasy · Future Science Fiction · Marvel Science Stories · Miracle Science and Fantasy Stories · Out of This World Adventures · Planet Stories · Satellite Science Fiction · Science Fiction · Science Fiction Quarterly · Space Stories · Startling Stories · Stirring Science Stories · Strange Stories · Strange Tales · Super Science Fiction · Super Science Stories · Science fiction magazines · Tales of Magic and Mystery · Tales of Wonder · Ten Story Fantasy · Tops in Science Fiction · Two Complete Science-Adventure Books · Uncanny Stories · Uncanny Tales (Canadian) · Uncanny Tales (U.S.) · Unknown · Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine · Weird Tales · Wonder Stories


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