Sunday, August 14, 2011
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.