Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pulp Perfection

A.E. Van Vogt's Empire of the Atom, first published in 1946, received a release through NEL (New English Library) in 1975. This is the cover of the first edition. Unfortunately, frequent international re-location has damaged it somewhat.

The stunning artwork is by Bruce Pennington, a NEL regular, and, even today, it evokes for me the sense of "otherness" I loved about science fiction in 1975.

The cover price was an unbelievable $1.25.

The book once got me a minor beating from my dad because I showed the cover to my sister and said, "This bloke just saw you naked and this was his reaction."

I read Robert Black's excellent and improved novelization long before I saw Freddie Francis's film. Unfortunately, the film is let down by half-baked special effects and standard plotting. Now, if adequately budgeted and re-written in step with Black's improvements , it would make an excellent werewolf entry.

The interesting story involves a boy raised by wolves who joins a traveling carnival. As I love carnival settings (the sleazier the better!), freaks, midgets, sideshow intrigue, and circus folk being flogged, this little baby was so far up my alley it hurt.

In '76, the book sold in Australia for a paltry $1.95. 

This great Doctor Who episode was set on Pluto (!) and featured one of the greatest villains (pictured) ever. This weird little bloke (played with exceptional authority by Henry Woolf) was a fanatical tax collector whose penny-pinching ways had decimated the workers on the barren planet, a world warmed by artificial suns with an exhausted population dedicated to mining.

The novelization by Terrance Dicks was published in 1982.

It has just been released on DVD.

In 2006, the arrogant fuckers at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) re-defined what a planet is and downgraded poor old Pluto to a "dwarf planet" called 134340. I say "Fuck those fucking cunts!" because I love Pluto and always have. When I was ten, it was the planet I enjoyed reading about and imagining most. The thrust of my imagining was going there in a flying cardboard box and deliberately crashing there with some books, a gun, and two sisters.  The sisters lived down the road from me. Although I hadn't consulted them on the proposed Pluto mission, we'd enjoyed some amorous times in the grass by the motorbike tracks and frequently partook in private pool parties. Our activities were nothing hardcore by today's measuring stick, but they wouldn't get Catholic church approval, either.

As mentioned on Wikipedia, some scientists are equally pissed off that Pluto has had its status shafted. For heaven's sake, Pluto has four moons and is made of rock and ice, you stinkin' egg heads. That's a planet in my book. Get with the program and restore Pluto to its former glory. And if I hear any of you calling it 134340, I'll give you 134340 kicks in the gulliver, you droogie nerds.  


  1. jervaise brooke hamsterAugust 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    So was your sister incredibly gorgeous or incredibly ugly ?, i couldn`t work out which it was.

  2. hamster -- I did not get along with my sister growing up, so you answer that one. I thought I did.

  3. Fuck those pedantic shitheels! If Pluto's not a planet then the sanctity of every truth in the universe is in question!

  4. D -- 21 words that can only shatter doubters with their brutal truth.

  5. jervaise brooke hamsterAugust 15, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Its totally unacceptable and quite outrageous that the British made pile of unwatchable celluloid dog-shit "Attack The Block" was given a cinema release in North America, when you think of all the infinitely superior American made low budget science fiction films that are denied that privilege and have to make do with going straight to DVD, its quite absurd, something has got to be done to stop any more British made dog-shit from polluting American cinema's once and for all.

  6. hamster -- this is the last of your anti-this and anti-that stuff I'm sending through. Generalizations about anything make uninteresting reading and contribute nothing to debate. If you hate British culture as much as you say you do, please be much more specific. As for America's cinemas being polluted by British product, they're already polluted by films such as TRANSFORMERS 3, BAD TEACHER, and HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. No country has the exclusive license to make shit or gold.

  7. I have read a lot of, and love the alien pulp fiction. Empire Of The Atom (hence the big head) giggle, looks good I'll have to check it out. Your dad did what??! Lmao! Good to be back Phantom But Dr. Who? OMG HE IS AWESOME and so are Time Lords! What would we do without them? Tee hee! Really tho the old Dr. Who was pure genious with the budget they had to make it and considering the equipment. It still plays today beside the slick new Dr. Who. I think that show had a shaky start, but they pretty much nailed it now. Yeah I was busy but it's good to visit again. Got to come back and catch up! ♥

  8. jervaise brooke hamsterAugust 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Phantom, the British film industry DOES have a world exclusive licence to make unwatchable shit, believe me. If you insist on being in denial about the fact that the British film industry is a laughable, pathetic, abomination, thats your business. By the way, i want to bugger Bekkie.

  9. jervaise brooke hamsterAugust 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Phantom, just with regards to TRANSFORMERS 3, BAD TEACHER, and HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. you know every second of film has 24 frames in it, well if you were to take any one frame at random from any of those 3 American made films (just 1/24th of a second remember), that one "still" (as it were) would still be 1000 times better by itself than everything that the British film industry has ever produced put together since the invention of the cinematograph circa 1889 ! ! !.

  10. jervaise brooke hamsterAugust 21, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Phantom, i hate Australian culture almost as much as i hate and despise everything British, there is something so inherently crappy and dog-shitty about Australian's and their lager-lout- hell-on-earth that they`ve unfortunately created for themselves over the last 150 years, at least you had the good sense to change your nationality to that of the greatest country in the world, AMERICA, well done geezer.

  11. Bekkie -- the cover of 'Empire' is not to be taken too literally, but you'll definitely find some goodness in the book.

    I've been a Dr. Who fan since about 1969, so my devotion to the concept is strong. I agree with your take on the new Dr. Who. A little shaky initially, but very much its own beast now. I do prefer the longer stories of the old, though. The modern series often feels like an extended trailer to me.

    Please drop in regularly. Great to have you about, Bekk.