The Veldt (read by Leonard Nimoy)

The Mind Parasites (Colin Wilson)

“The Mind Parasites” came about when Wilson criticized a bloke named H P Lovecraft in one of his works. August Derleth, Lovecraft’s posthumous publisher and apologist, made a challenge to Wilson – saying, essentially “If you think Lovecraft was such a lousy writer, why don’t you do better yourself?” Wilson relished the challenge and set out to do just that. This book is the result. In fact, it can’t really be regarded as part of the Lovecraftian cycle – it takes too many liberties with the canon for that – but in its own right it’s an amazing work. We are not the top of the food chain; we have an energy predator which is feeding off of us and also restructuring the world in its image — this is the new world order. [Read more…]

The Day The Earth Caught Fire (1961 United Kingdom)

Remember when Britain produced really great motion pictures? OK, no one is that old who would visit this blog. Lucky for us there is dvd-blu ray to enjoy these hoary relics. Anyway, this was made decades before millions hated and distrusted the lame stream’s media lies that pass for “news.”  It is very rare that a film manages to capture the sweat, stress and panic of the newsroom (ho ho! – alright, I’ll reign in my cynicism for the duration of this post) where the workers gather round for quick meetings and discussions before frantically typing up a new story and making those all – important phone calls. And the decision to tell the whole story from the viewpoint of the Daily Express workers is a refreshing and exciting one. [Read more…]

Inferno (1970 United Kingdom)

This was the final story in Jon Pertwee’s debut season and, although slow, it is the best of a series that, whilst an improvement on latter period Patrick Troughton, seemed a bit stilted and somewhat stuck. Not least because after a ruling by the Time Lords, Pertwee is stuck on earth to help Unit (a hush-hush military brigade headed by the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and there is no time travel. This gave the whole 1970 season a ‘Quatermass’ vibe that is very cosy and British. The story concerns a mission at a research station to bore through the earth’s crust with a view to harnessing what lies beneath as a form of cheap energy. [Read more…]

Tau Zero (Paoul Anderson)

Author James Blish considered this book the ultimate hard science fiction novel. There is something to be said for that. Praise indeed… I have rarely read a novel with such rigorous scientific underpinnings. Anderson had a degree in physics and in other novels it is quite clear that he thought about the properties of fictional planets he created. Anderson had a degree in physics and in other novels it is quite clear that he thought about the properties of fictional planets he created. Anderson takes hard science fiction as far as it will go here.
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Dune (Frank Herbert)

In order to enjoy Dune you have to enjoy complexity. All authors create little worlds in their stories but Herbert created a world. He puts people on the planets, governments, conflicting cultures, conflicting religions & conflicting ways of life that are thought out to the Nth level above and beyond anything else I’ve ever read. You could write a sociology dissertation on the societal relations Herbert conceived for Dune. Most authors need more than one book in order to tell an epic coming-of-age story. Herbert did it in one. Part of his genius as an author was his ability to imply far more about his world than he actually showed.  [Read more…]

Star Trek (1966–1969)

The original Star Trek series was far ahead of its time: dealing with issues of race, sexuality, the real or potential abuse of power, humanity as well as tragedy and even comedy. The program was excellent for the first two seasons but was generally sub-par in the third where it released a string of atrocious episodes such as ‘Spock’s Brain’, mostly due to budget cuts. Ironically, if Season 3 had never been produced, the numerous Star Trek spinoffs which we take for granted today would likely never have appeared since there would have been only 55 Trek episodes in existence rather than the final 79 shows–too few to justify its syndication on TV and touch off Star Trek’s subsequent rebirth in fan popularity during the 1970’s. [Read more…]

Gateway (Frederik Pohl)

gatewaynovelThis first novel in the Heechee Saga won no less than 4 awards, and its easy to see why so many judges were impressed. Despite the fact that most of Freud’s methods and theories are no longer used by competent psychologists, the use of his theories in this book does not detract from its quality. Generally, it just feels quaint. Pohl’s ability to manipulate large amounts of plot arc at a surgical level is incredible and he creates vivid, realistic seeming worlds with real, living characters – none of the Isaac Asimov cardboard men here. [Read more…]

Terrore nello spazio (1965 Italy)

planet2This motion picture (known as Planet Of The Vampires to English speakers) is a talky, slow-burning science fiction entry from Italy. Although the film is pretty unremarkable, it has developed a fairly sizeable cult following down the years. This is due in no small part to the fact that the film has been heavily raided for ideas by makers of bigger, more expensive and more “mainstream” movies in the intervening decades. The likes of Alien, Event Horizon and X-Men all owe something to this atmospheric Mario Bava flick. [Read more…]

The Day Of The Triffids (John Wyndham)

john-wyndham-book-coverThis is a sober book. I can imagine a dozen or so world leaders I’d hope would read it and discuss such in tandem over tea and crumpets. Or whatever Mr Trump feels like having today. Gauging our current run of apprehensions, one would be wise to explore this gem of the dystopian curve. Day of the Triffids is a meditation. There is no epic effort to capture the tooth and claw survival of the species. What occurs is both more subtle and sinister. The world as understood is over. JW was quite keen on destroying civilization in his novels. [Read more…]

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