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  Book Review


DOWSE Guide to the Movies
by Tony Lee editor of Pigasus Press

Encyclopedia Of TV Science Fiction

Roger Fulton, additional material by John Betancourt
Boxtree, 836 pages paperback 18.99
review by Steven Hampton

This is simply the most comprehensive one-volume genre guide of its type. Here you will find detail of over 350 SF/fantasy series, from small screen classics like Gerry Anderson's puppet shows, and cult favourites The Avengers, to obscure, perhaps best forgotten, trashy sci-fi such as The Fantastic Journey. The Encyclopedia Of TV Science Fiction is ten years old now, and this newly revised edition - which incorporates material from The Sci-Fi Channel Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction (Warner books, 1998) - brings together everything that even the most devoted fan could ever reasonably want to know. It won't tell you who operated the third Dalek on the left, in Colin Baker's first confrontation with the eager exterminators, but it does offer a rundown to every episode of Doctor Who.
  There are other books on the market covering at least some of the same ground as this one, but only in these exemplary pages can you expect to find Alien Nation, Blake's 7, and The Champions, along with Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Weird Science, and The X-Files. The range of TV Science Fiction is worthy of serious study in itself, and although the comments on individual episodes or one-off progrtammes, and introductory overviews to each series, make entertaining reading themselves - with occasional pithy jibes or salutory remarks - there's precious little here in the way of insight into what exactly makes a hit show. What authors Fulton and Betancourt do accomplish with unerring skill is an informative, and easily accessible trip down memory lane for the parents of Buffy and Red Dwarf fans, while giving the audiences of Farscape and Xena a book they will also be interested in.
  The eight pages of b/w photos provide an effective snapshot of both state of the art - Babylon 5, First Wave and Invasion: Earth, and those golden oldies - Fireball XL5, The Tomorrow People, and Land Of The Giants, that you're more likely to find being repeated on satellite or cable TV than any terrestrial channel. From the highest achievement the medium has produced (arguably, The Twilight Zone), to its lowest ebb (Metal Mickey gets my vote), this impressive A to Z surveys and chronicles the lot.
  I recommend this book to anyone with a television set.

Steven Hampton

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