SF TV Episode Reviews: Space: 1999, episode 3, ‘Black Sun’ (1975)

4/10 (Bad)

One might ask: how do you eviscerate a promising concept/episode?  I would answer simply, resolve it with a Cosmic Intelligence.  It’s easy!  Characters accidentally placed on the other side of the galaxy by the script, just swish them back to square one with Mr. (Mrs?) Cosmic Intelligence.

Did your characters accidentally get scripted into an uncompromising position (let’s say, heading straight for a Black (hole) Sun)?  If the answer is yes, Continue reading

Book Review: Ground Zero Man (variant title: The Peace Machine), Bob Shaw (1971)

3.5/5 (Good)

Bob Shaw’s Ground Zero Man (1971) is a well-told take on a common 50s/60s/70s sci-fi trope — the discovery of technology which could potentially end the omnipresent danger of all out nuclear war.  Although the premise is straightforward and simplistic, the main character (Lucas Hutchman) and his motivations are drawn in a convincing manner, the ending is somewhat surprising and dark, and the novel is on the whole characterized by solid Continue reading

Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. V

I promised not to buy any more books over the summer unless I ran out — alas, Memorial Day Sale at one of the best Half Price Books in the country (Austin) is a “bad” combination.  I had to reduce my gigantic pile by half before I dared approach the buy counter….

I’m proud of this haul!

1. Hawksbill Station (1968), Robert Silverberg (MY REVIEW)

I’ve wanted to procure Hawksbill Station for quite a while — the premise is fantastic, five dangerous prisoners are held at Hawksbill Station located in the Cambrian era… One bizarre use of time travel!  I hope Silverberg is at his best à la The World Inside and Downward to the Earth.

2. Master of Life and Death, Robert Continue reading

Book Review: And Chaos Died, Joanna Russ (1970)

4.5/5 (Very Good)

Nominated for the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novel

“The ground was covered with old names…” (76)

Joanna Russ, famous for her feminist sci-fi novel The Female Man (1975), weaves together a bizarre (and difficult) novel filled with strange images, peculiar characters, and a fragmented/layered/bewildering narrative structure.  And Chaos Died (1970) is a startlingly original take on the staple sci-fi Continue reading

Science Fiction Inspired Song: Van der Graaf Generator’s ‘Childlike Faith in Childhood’s End’ (1976)

Van der Graaf Generator is one of my favorite prog-rock bands active in the late 60s and 70s.  Although this isn’t one of their best songs, ‘Childlike Faith in Childhood’s End’ from the album Still Life (1976) perfectly fits the theme of this sci-fi inspired song series.  The song is directly inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s seminal novel Childhood’s End (1953) which postulates a future where aliens usher in the next stage of human Continue reading

SF TV Episode Reviews: Space: 1999, episode 2, ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ (1975)

5/10 (Average)

Continuing my nascent series of episode by episode blog posts of Space: 1999 (1975) I present Episode 2, season 1 ‘A Matter of Life and Death.’

Plot Summary (spoilers — inherent in the very nature of this sci-fi episode post series because endings are the easiest to rant about)

Moonbase Alpha, hurtling across space, comes into contact with its first potentially inhabitable Continue reading

Update: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. IV

I’ve finally acquired enough science fiction books to hold me (hopefully) over the summer YET few enough that I’ll clear out 90% of previous unread novels languishing in dark forgotten corners of my bookshelves….  A valiant statement I know.  Most likely more will arrive mysteriously in the mail — when I sleepwalk I buy books (books in the mail = evidence of sleepwalking)…

1. The Time Hoppers, Robert Silverberg (1967) (MY REVIEW)


Another overpopulation themed novel!  From the few reviews I’ve read this pales in Continue reading

Book Review: The Steel Crocodile, D. G. Compton (1970)


1971 Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel

3.75/5 (Good)

D. G. Compton’s novel The Steel Crocodile (1971) is a thoughtful yet ultimately unspectacular exploration of the intersection of religion and science.  Although the work is nowhere near the level of Compton’s masterpieces (Synthajoy, The Unsleeping Eye), it infinitely surpasses the later The Missionaries (1972) which attempted to explore similar themes.  I find his strong female characters Continue reading