Sunday, 17 November 2013

Reviews: Comedic Sci-fi, Haunting Children's Fantasy, Scary 60s Anthology Show.'

Off To Be The Wizard

The world is a computer simulation, we don't know why, who or how, we just know that it is and that certain people can edit it. This allows them to time travel, have super powers and set themselves up as a bunch of wizards in a past that never was. Confused? This is a novel which enjoys exploring its amazing premise and basically shows what happen when a bunch of geeks inherit the earth. Things get loopy, crazy but within a set of parameters that make sense. The characters are lighthearted and funny, and there is a knowing humour that reminds me of Pratchett. Read and enjoy. I'm glad the author didn't try to explore why the world is a computer simulation, in the end it just isn't important and I think any explanation would have been an anti-climax.



The Dark Is Rising Sequence

I read this more than twenty years ago and still catch myself re-reading it every few years. It is enthralling, and magical. The characters do come to life and the magic is bound up with the places and times of our essential Britishness. There is the alien countryside, the closed village mentality, the rugged Cornish coast, a snowed in Christmas, and a mysterious lurking evil force. 

It is a coming of age series with a difference, like Harry Potter but with more atmosphere, more history,  it hints at a secret world that exists alongside the normal everyday world. A secret world both ancient and forbidding. Read it and then read it again, enjoy. 


The Outer Limits Season One

The Outer Limits can be a very creepy show. Take The Sixth Finger or The Galaxy Being, to be watched in the dead of night, alone with the mind doing laps in imagination and fright. I love it because it's in black and white, because it's shamelessly a collection of B-Movies. I love the episode where a moonstone sacrifices its collective life to save the universe, or where a boy outsmarts an invading alien when his dad can't. I'm amazed that the Invisibles are really Heinleins Puppetmasters, or where Martin Landau is a disfigured telepathic creature from the future or a scientist married to Hotlips from Mash the movie. 

This is great stuff, pulpy but told straight. Sometimes the sets or effects are lacking, but the actors give it their all. David McCallum gets a big head as a super evolved being and in another episode, a collection of clocks  allow him to come back from the dead. Robert Culp can hear aliens because of a metal plate in his head. Communists inject themselves with a drug that allows their faces to become clay, and so impersonate the President of the United States. What more can I say? You'll love it or hate it, but you will go to the Outer Limits and maybe beyond.

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