Creator / Edmond Hamilton
Also known as The Ol' World Wrecker, for the frequency in which planets bite the big one in his works. Edmond Hamilton is the husband and sometime co-author of Leigh Brackett
and creator, with E.E. 'Doc' Smith, of the Space Opera
. Hamilton's works overflow with mighty Star Kings, fiery princesses, heroes who are in over their heads, assorted faithful sidekicks and galaxy-destroying super weapons.
From the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s, Hamilton was a regular writer for DC Comics
, working on the Batman
, and Legion of Super-Heroes
stories. He is credited as co-creator of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, the original Kathy Kane Batwoman
, and the Batmen of All Nations.
The work of this author provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Shorr Kan. In fact he is so affable he's brought back for the sequel as an ally.
- AI Getting High: * In one of the Captain Future novels, an android drains a bottle of Gargle Blaster to no visible effect while undercover... and then asks for wine with radium chloride. This time, the radiation does get him intoxicated.
- All Planets Are Earthlike: Taken to an extreme in the Captain Future series, with Earth's moon being perhaps the only exception. All of the Solar System's planets are Earth-like, and harbor humanoid life. The planets' moons also often harbor Earth-like life – at one point, Captain Future encounters a Giant Spider on Leda, one of Jupiter's moons.
- Anti-Hero: Shorr Kan again, after his Heel–Face Turn.
- As You Know: The hero of "The Star Kings", a twentieth century man transposed into the body of a Prince of the Mid-Galactic Empire, is desperate for these but the other characters just won't oblige.
- Brain in a Jar: Simon Wright in the Captain Future series.
- Costume Porn: Averted. Hamilton's Star Kings, Princesses and heroes wear simple, comfortable jacket and trouser suits, rarely accessorized with a flowing cloak or flashy jewelry.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: See The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask below. In Hamilton's 'verse the two tend to go together.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: For some unexplained reason the ruler of the Star Kingdom of Fomalhaut uses the title 'Princess' rather than 'Queen'.
- Feudal Future: the title The Star Kings says it.
- Giant Spiders:
- Captain Future encounters some on some of the Solar System's planets.
- The Vulkars of Smashing Suns have intelligent, psychic Giant Spiders as their most loyal servants.
- Hopeless Suitor: The Empress Tharanya's chief scientist is an unusually mature example of this trope. He's clearly accepted that Tharanya will never love him and decided that her friendship will be enough. He's prepared to work with the protagonist, her successful suitor, once he's convinced that he genuinely loves her.
- Human Aliens / Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Everywhere. In Hamilton's works the entire universe seems to be filled with humans or humanlike creatures, only differing from Earth's humans in skin tone, build, and sometimes other features.
- I Am One of Those, Too: In Outlaw world, Captain Future temporarily ends up with some pirates, and pretends to be a survivor from a recently destroyed band. Then, they visit the pirates' main den, and one person states he served in that band for nine years and had never seen him. The Captain buys a reprieve by claiming he was a freshly recruited technician, and had no opportunity yet to interact with a gunner.
- Inn Between the Worlds: Featured in the short story The Inn Outside the World, which takes place in an inn where famous historical figures regulary meet.
- I Love Nuclear Power: Hamilton based at least two stories off the then-plausible idea that radiation could activate evolution. Both horribly subverted the concept of Evolutionary Levels, though in different ways—"The Man Who Evolved" proposes that evolution is cyclical, eventually returning to protoplasm, while "Devolution" says that bacteria are the highest form of life, and everything since has been a step down.
- Law of Alien Names: Hamilton kinda invented his own one - his aliens' names tend to consist of two monosyllabic parts.
- Oblivious Astronomers: Captain Future and the Space Emperor begins with a Do Not Adjust Your Set moment where a mysterious person warns of a danger; an incoming dark star that will destroy the Solar System unless all its resources are entrusted to him to avert the danger. The star is already close enough to be seen through an amateur's telescope, yet the professional astronomers have noticed nothing, so naturally, after this kind of blunder no one trusts them when they say it's merely a low-mass dust cloud. Subverted at the end; it's nothing but an enormous hologram, so naturally nothing could be detected until the projectors were turned on.
- Orwellian Retcon: In the original ending of Star Kings, the hero returned to his own time and body, and his love followed him some time later by swapping bodies with an incurably comatose girl. Once Hamilton wrote the sequel, that changed to her contacting him telepathically and saying they are working on a way to transport him into her time physically. For some reason, however, some recent printings still include the original ending.
- Pulp Magazine: Hamilton's first story appeared in a 1929 issue of Weird Tales, and he was regularly published in Amazing Stories, Astounding Stories, and other pulp magazines during the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
- Raised by Wolves: One story has a girl who was raised by sapient winds.
- Ready for Lovemaking: John Gordon finds Murn, the morganatic wife of the prince whose body he is currently occupying, in his - or rather Prince Zarth's - bed wearing nothing but a transparent negligee.
- Scenery Porn: Ditto. The silver seas and crystal cliffs of Throon are an especially plangent example.
- Self-Deprecation: The short story "Wacky World" is essentially this - Hamilton mercilessly deconstructed and parodied many tropes he had used in his SF works.
- Shining City: Every galaxy spanning empire has one or more.
- Super Hero: Captain Future is quite a textbook example, being stronger, smarter, and more agile than any other human being in existence, and being also an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who is more knowledgeable than the leading scientists in any given field. His team of sidekicks isn't far behind.
- Tomato in the Mirror: In the short story "Smashing Suns", The Hero, a publishing house salesman, has trouble believing he's actually the long-lost heir of ancient Galactic Emperors.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Lianna of Fomalhaut and the Empress Tharanya for two.