Saturday, 20 December 2014


Another book in the FAQ series addresses one of our favourite subjects, science fiction movies. Considering we call ourselves the Sci Fi Freak Site, that shouldn't come as any great surprise to anyone.

Also not coming as a surprise to anyone will be the reservations we have over the title and subtitle. There are still no frequently asked questions in this book and we still don't know what they mean by 'all that's left to know about...', in this case time travel, alien, robot and out-of-this-world movies since 1970.

With this book, though, we also have larger reservations about the content than the previous entries we've tried (Doctor Who and Stephen King Films). It's not that it's hard to read; the writer's style is clean and easy to read and doesn't distract from the content at all. It's the construction that we don't understand.

Each film starts with a synopsis and then has some afterwords, analysis, box office and anecdotes. Nothing wrong with that, but it's the amount of room devoted to each that confuses. Take the entry for INCEPTION for example - the plot synopsis runs to seven pages whilst the rest runs to two. That seems to us to be entirely the wrong way around. Admittedly, INCEPTION is a film with a dense and twisting plot, but does anyone really need every twist and turn to be laid out for them? And that's the problem. If you've seen (and loved in most cases) the films then you'll know them well enough to not need to read a detailed synopsis of what happens. If you're going to see the film then you're not going to want to know all the twists and plot spoilers that are included. We found ourselves skipping the synopses altogether and reading only the 'afterwords'. Since these are the smaller sections and seemingly obsessed with box office receipts and not a lot else, the 380 page count gets a lot, lot less.

More interesting are the opening section on the literary roots of the genre (i.e. some important sci fi writers whose work has been recently adapted), science fiction movie spaceships and notable sci fi movie personages. Since these are not simply regurgitating plots, they have more interest.

It's hard to know who this book can be aimed that who won't be disappointed by it, and that's a big problem.

Sunday, 7 December 2014


BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is one of the most lauded television shows of recent years. Notice that we left out the qualifier 'science fiction' in that? That's because the redefined version of a camp 70's STAR WARS wannabe was a genuine phenomenon that crossed the critical divide from genre into the mainstream. That might not be such a big thing nowadays with the success of the likes of GAME OF THRONES and other HBO shows, but it was big at the time.

So, if you were one of the people who loved the show (and if not, why not?) then you could do a lot worse than getting your hands on this lavishly illustrated book that starts with that camp 70's wannabe and goes right through to the doomed spin-off CAPRICA and the tv movies that tried to extend the magic.

There's only a couple of hours' reading time here and the devoted fan won't learn a lot that they didn't already know, but the words aren't what books like this are all about. The production art and set designs are crammed onto every page and there's more than enough to satisfy even the most hardened Galactica buff. And just in case you weren't convinced that this is all about the images, there are a couple of envelopes inside the front and back cover stuffed with pull out images like Ralph McQuarrie's poster, comparisons of ships of the fleet and the development of the cylon warrior.

The design of the book and the gatefold cover make the £20 cover price seem like a bargain. It's coming up to Christmas, so if you have a frakkin' Galactica fan in your life your present problems could just have been solved.