SCI-FI: DAYS OF FEAR AND WONDER

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

BOOK REVIEW: SCI-FI: DAYS OF FEAR AND WONDER / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: BFI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

When the BFI release a book, it’s safe to say that it’s usually an impressive-looking specimen regardless of whether the content is up to much or not. Luckily for long-time sci-fi fans, this latest offering is brimmed full of substance as well as style.

Put together by James Bell, Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder chronicles sci-fi since its earliest days on both the small and big screens. With the likes of Kim Newman, Stephen Baxter, Jonathan Rigby and Laura Adams, plus many, many others, all contributing to the book, there are many angles explored within the 160 pages that are bound together in this glossy, easy-reading treat. There’s input from film critics, science professors, science-fiction authors, BFI-types and more, giving a wide scope on a genre that appeals to so many.

Broken up into fluid segments that are just as easy to get engulfed in as they are to merely dip in and out of, the book covers a whole host of sci-fi elements. There’s looks at the original breakthrough features of the then-new genre, there’s the movies that were part of the summer blockbuster revolution of the 1970s, there’s the much-loved space opera features that are so beautifully exemplified by the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek, there’s the whole angle of aliens and monsters, there’s the concept of androids and robots seen in the likes of Blade Runner and Westworld, there’s the special effects extravaganzas like Tron and Terminator 2, there’s the artificial intelligence ideal, and in amongst the rest there’s even some time and mention for a certain Doctor. So yeah, safe to say that there’s a remarkable amount of the genre covered in a book that could easily have been overlong, convoluted and a tough task to read if it was too reliant on a heavy tone and elongated terms.

Days of Fear and Wonder is a fine read for anybody with even the slightest of interest in the genre of science fiction in which so many of us find solace. Breezy, informative and sleekly collated, this truly is a book that has something for everyone. It’s also a testament to James Bell at how well the book flows between its vast and varying subject matters, always feeling cohesive and organic as the pages are turned. Whether you’re a fan of iconic characters like Flash Gordon, Ellen Ripley and Barbarella, somebody entertained by the history of this often-compelling and dream-catching genre, one interested in the science behind science fiction, or merely a casual fan of the likes of E.T., Back to the Future and Avatar, you won’t be disappointed if Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder ends up adorning your coffee table.
 

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