From: Octopus Publishing Group
General Editor: Steven Jay Schneider
Published: 6th April 2009
Billed as ‘the perfect one-stop guide to classic low budget films, such as Flash Gordon to the slick CGI-realised world of The Matrix.’, 101SF certainly covers a lot of science fiction films.
Starting in the early 1900s all the way through to the current decade, it chronicles the highlights (and argueably the lowlights) of this movie genre.
Picking only 101 films is not an easy job. What makes a good scifi film? What makes one stand out? Well, it seems that in the case of this book, it means films which either break the mold, and advance the genre, or are intelligent films.
Each film takes four pages; the first page being the film poster, second and third being information on the film (including a quote in larger letters in the centre of the third page) and the fourth being a still from the film. There is also some fascinating facts in the ‘border’ of the text pages which relate to the film.
This book is a gem. Even though I like to think I’m into pretty heavily into scifi, there were about twenty films I’d never heard of, and about ten which I’d heard of but never bothered to watch (simply because I thought they were too old). For example, I’d heard of When Worlds Collide and Metropolis, but never thought to watch them. But after reading the write up of the films in 101SF, I will, indeed check them out.
The thirty three contributors come from far and wide, from film forum moderators to film scholars to professional writers. Each entry has their initials against it, which can be looked up at the back, to see exactly who wrote it (and pretty much how to contact them).
The only real gripe about the book is that precious spaces are filled up with Return Of The Jedi, Empire Strikes Back and Flash Gordon. Personally, Star Wars was the only film which should have been mentioned out of the series, and Flash Gordon is just crap; but, hey, that’s personal preference, and even the entries for these had interesting facts relating to the two films.
I’m going to be cheeky and list some of my favourites included in the book, and then include some of my favourites which should have been included in the book, and then list the ones I will be checking out for the first time.
Faves Of Mine Which Are Included
2001: A Space Odyssey
Time After Time
The Invisible Man (1933)
Faves Of Mine Which Should Have Been Included
Cube (not Empire Strikes Back)
The Nines (not Return Of The Jedi)
Identity (not Forbidden Planet)
The Forgotten (not Flash Gordon)
(One probably isn’t scifi, but my definition of scifi is broader than most.)
To Be Checked Out
Voyage To The Moon (1902)
Dark Star (1974)
Who Killed Jessie? (1966)
It being a pocket-sized book shouldn’t put you off, it’s crammed full of interesting facts and crisp photo stills. Recommended for either the hard-core scifi fan, or the casual reader to show what they’re missing.
Do you agree with the above lists?