Scifi books reviews

Ravenheart Review and Opinion

2018/06/09

Ravenheart
David Gemmell
Corgi paperback £6.99

review by Duncan Hunter

This is the third book in the now famous fantasy series which tracks the bloody but heroic history of the Rigante, a highland clan struggling against tyranny for its survival and honour. Ravenheart is set in a time when the clan has become little more than a subject people

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Ravenous Review and Opinion

2018/06/08

Ravenous (1998)
Director: Antonia Bird

review by Tony Lee

This curious vampire and cannibalism drama has an offbeat historical setting, in 1847 during the Mexican US war. It flirts with the Canadian Indian myth of the wendigo, a remnant of Algonquin folklore concerning an animal spirit that feeds upon human flesh, but doesn't exactly leap into bed with

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Re-animator Review and Opinion

2018/06/07

Re-Animator (1985)
Director: Stuart Gordon

review by Jeff Young

"You once did me a favour by letting me into your medical school... Welcome back to life!" This is classic low-budget comedy horror with tongue-in-cheek perversity and one of the great splatter finales, based on stories by H.P. Lovecraft.
   Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs, lately a malicious

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Red dwarf Review and Opinion

2018/06/06

Red Dwarf (1988-99)
Created by Grant Naylor

review by Mike McCarty and Mark McLaughlin

For those of you who haven't seen Red Dwarf, this sci-fi comedy concerns the adventures of Lister, the last Earthman alive, and his pals - the hologram Rimmer, a humanoid feline simply called Cat, and Lister's ex-girlfriend Kochanski. Their home is the space

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Red planet Review and Opinion

2018/06/04

Red Planet (2000)
Director: Antony Hoffman

review by Tony Lee

Val Kilmer and Carrie-Anne Moss are the human stars of this moderately successful, if fairly predictable science fiction drama, set fifty years from now. They're part of an international team on a mission to land the first people on Mars. Their team includes Tom Sizemore and veteran Terence

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Red dragon Review and Opinion

2018/06/03

Red Dragon (2002)
Director: Brett Ratner

review by Tony Lee

Best viewed as a prequel to Silence Of The Lambs (1991), rather than an unnecessary remake of Manhunter (1986), this new adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon lacks the cool style of Michael Mann's earlier version, opting for a less techno-fetishistic appeal and

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Reflections of evil Review and Opinion

2018/06/02

Reflections Of Evil (2002)
Writer and director: Damon Packard

review by Richard Bowden

Financed by a private trust fund, lasting well over two hours, written, directed, starring, and largely distributed by Damon Packard, Reflections Of Evil is one of the more interesting independent feature to emerge from America in the last few years. An unrelenting

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Reign of fire Review and Opinion

2018/06/01

Reign Of Fire (2002)
Director: Rob Bowman

review by Michael Lohr

In present-day London, 12-year-old Quinn Abercromby watches as his mother - a construction engineer, inadvertently wakes an enormous fire-breathing beast from its millennia-long slumber. Twenty years later, much of the world is in ruins, scorched by the beast and its scaly offspring. As

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Relic hunter Review and Opinion

2018/05/31

Relic Hunter (1999)

review by Michael Lohr

Relic Hunter is now going into its third season of production. It is an entertaining show that will no doubt see quick syndication on the Sci-Fi channel, once its ceases regular production. Tia Carrere and cast do an excellent job in a genre that is unfortunately used to poor acting quality. The show's special

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Remnant population by elizabeth moon Review and Opinion

2018/05/30

Remnant Population
Elizabeth Moon
Orbit paperback £6.99

review by Duncan Hunter

Elizabeth Moon's Remnant Population recounts an apparently familiar SF tale from an unusual angle. An unscrupulous corporation orders the abandonment of an unprofitable colony on a far-flung planet. One stubborn colonist, however, manages to hide and avoids the enforced

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Renderosity, digital art Review and Opinion

2018/05/29

Digital Art For The 21st Century: Renderosity
John Grant and Audre Vysniauskas
A.A.P.P.L. artbook £19.95

review by Steven Hampton

A laudable introduction to the world of computer-generated art, this large softcover is a superbly effective showcase for the portfolios of 21 digital artists, both newcomers and established professionals but all members

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Repo man Review and Opinion

2018/05/28

Repo Man (1984)
Director: Alex Cox

review by Tony Lee

"But I showed them. I had a lobotomy in the end." - a choice line from one of my favourite low-budget movies. Repo Man stars Emilio Estevez as white suburban punk, Otto, and Harry Dean Stanton as his mentor Bud, in the seedy, sometimes dangerous American underworld of car repossession

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Requiem Review and Opinion

2018/05/27

Requiem (2003)
Director: Mitchell Morgan and Jon Kirby

review by Paul Higson

Your reviewer is put in a slightly awkward but moreover than that bemusing situation with this film, for never have I praised a film so highly yet ultimately had it fail me to the point of my hating it. The technical proficiency of all concerned in Requiem plays a major

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Resident evil Review and Opinion

2018/05/26

Resident Evil (2002)
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

review by Steven Hampton

A movie derived from a game - whether computer, console or arcade - is rarely a major commercial hit, and never a meaningful artistic success. This failing on both cinematic and financial levels (unless made on a low-budget) is largely due to the nature of these films' content

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Returner Review and Opinion

2018/05/25

Returner (2002)
Director: Takashi Yamazaki

review by Amy Harlib

A new Japanese science fiction action film with limited distribution (it's in Japanese and Mandarin with English subtitles) though heavily derivative of Hollywood genre pictures, still deserves to be seen and enjoyed by aficionados. Director Takashi Yamazaki's second feature (after the similarly

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Richard III Review and Opinion

2018/05/22

Richard III (1996)
Director: Richard Loncraine

review by Tony Lee

An affected but wholly successful revision of Shakespeare's play, this tale of royal intrigue and one man's lust for the power of the British throne (filmed 40 years earlier by Laurence Olivier) is updated from 15th century costume drama to 1930s' political thriller. Ian McKellen (who

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Riding the rock Review and Opinion

2018/05/21

Riding The Rock
Stephen Baxter
PS Publishing paperback £8 / $14

review by Duncan Lawie

Riding The Rock is a new novella set in Baxter's long running Xeelee sequence with an introduction, by Gregory Benford, which is a classic example of the foreword that should be read afterwards.

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Ring trilogy Review and Opinion

2018/05/20

Ring (1999)
Director: Hideo Nakata

review by Steven Hampton

An astonishingly creepy Japanese mystery horror movie, Ring (aka: Ringu), has been favourably compared to independent American hit, The Blair Witch Project yet, in all honesty, this association is wholly unfair because the quietly enigmatic Ring is far superior to that scandalously

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The ring Review and Opinion

2018/05/19

The Ring (2003)
Director: Gore Verbinski

review by Steven Hampton

Ehren Kruger's screenplay for this American remake of Japan's cult Ringu, returns to the source material of Kôji Suzuki's novel, but relocates the action to Seattle. Gore Verbinski, maker of

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Riverworld Review and Opinion

2018/05/17

Riverworld (2002)
Producers: Janine Dickins, Mary Kahn

review by Michael Lohr

The Sci-Fi Channel has set about the task of adapting Philip José Farmer's Hugo Award winning novel, To Your Scattered Bodies Go into movie format and possibly a television series. A daunting task indeed, but after watching the two-hour movie, it is a challenge that

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Robot stories Review and Opinion

2018/05/14

Robot Stories (2004)
Writer and director: Greg Pak

review by Amy Harlib

Robot Stories represents that rarity - an independent, low budget SF film that thoroughly entertains and stimulates contemplation of themes related to its tag line: 'Science fiction from the heart'. Korean-American director/scripter Greg Pak, hitherto known for his award-winning

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Rollerball Review and Opinion

2018/05/11

Rollerball (2001)
Director: John McTiernan

review by Stuart J. Law

We first meet Jonathan Cross (Chris Klein) as he races downhill, luge-style, on an elongated skateboard-thing. It's quite exciting, ducking under trucks, scraping round corners. The cops chase him down. Cross runs into (literally) old friend Marcus Ridley (LL Cool J), who saves his butt

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Roma eterna Review and Opinion

2018/05/10

Roma Eterna
Robert Silverberg
Gollancz paperback £6.99

review by Duncan Lawie

Robert Silverberg has been writing stories within the alternate history of 'Roma Eterna' since the late 1980s. This book is a collection of these short stories. It is not a fix-up novel in the classic sense, as the works show no sign of having been retouched to fit together

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S1mone Review and Opinion

2018/05/09

S1mØne (2002)
Director: Andrew Niccol

review by Rob Marshall

When Eddie Murphy co-starred with Robert De Niro in Showtime, everyone was asking 'can De Niro do comedy?' On the evidence of this tragic farce (but with a happy ending), Al Pacino - the only comparable

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Sacrifice Review and Opinion

2018/05/08

The Sacrifice (1986)
Writer and director: Andrei Tarkovsky

review by Peter Schilling

The Sacrifice (aka: Offret) is an SF/fantasy by the Russian director of Solaris (recently remade by Hollywood) and Stalker (1979). Made in 1986, it was to be Tarkovsky's last film (he died of a

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Saragossa manuscript Review and Opinion

2018/05/07

The Saragossa Manuscript (1965)
Director: Wojciech J. Has

review by Gary Couzens

In war-torn Saragossa, two soldiers find a manuscript, which tells of the adventures of Alphonse Van Worden (Zbigniew Cybulski) as he crosses Spain on his way to Madrid, in the late 18th century. On the way, the people he meets tell him stories, and sometimes the characters

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Saturn by ben bova Review and Opinion

2018/05/06

Saturn
Ben Bova
NEL paperback £7.99

review by Duncan Lawie

Saturn continues Ben Bova's 'grand tour of the Solar system' but this episode is rather a letdown. The story begins as a crew is assembled for the longest journey yet to be undertaken by mankind, a mission to Saturn, and 10,000 people join Goddard - a good old fashioned centrifugally

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Saucer by stephen coonts Review and Opinion

2018/05/05

Saucer
Stephen Coonts
St Martin's paperback $7.99

review by Michael Lohr

Let me just start this review by saying that Saucer is not a Jake Grafton novel. Standing along with the likes of Clive Cussler, Dale Brown and Michael Crichton, Stephen Coonts is one of the best adventure/thriller writers out there today. Saucer is a deviation from

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A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick Review and Opinion

2018/05/04

A Scanner Darkly
Philip K. Dick
Millennium paperback £6.99

review by Mike Philbin

A Scanner Darkly is one of Philip K. Dick's later novels and as such it hit me right between the eyes like a punch from a featherweight, it didn't knock me unconscious but my eyes started to water and my legs turned to jelly. I nearly puked at one point as the

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Schild's ladder by greg egan Review and Opinion

2018/05/02

Schild's Ladder
Greg Egan
Gollancz paperback £6.99

review by Debbie Moon

In the far future, mankind has conquered death, can flit between flesh and incorporeal existence, and manipulates the universe to suit his needs. But some things remain elusive - like physical proof of the major theories of the universe, the Sarumpaet Rules. Scientist Cass travels

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Series 7 the contenders Review and Opinion

2018/04/30

Series 7: The Contenders (2000)
Director: Daniel Minahan

review by Ellen Cheshire

The Running Man meets Survivor in Minahan's hip take on the current phenomenon of reality television programmes - Series 7: The Contenders.
   'The Contenders', thankfully a fictional reality game show, is now in series seven. At the beginning of

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Serpent's shadow Review and Opinion

2018/04/29

The Serpent's Shadow
Mercedes Lackey
DAW paperback USA $6.95 / UK £6.99

review by Amy Harlib

The prolific and popular American fantasy writer, Mercedes Lackey, in a recent, widely available offering, presents another novel length re-telling of a familiar fairy tale (in the manner of The Firebird, The Black Swan and The Fire Rose

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Session 9 Review and Opinion

2018/04/28

Session 9 (2001)
Director: Brad Anderson

review by Richard BowdenSpoiler alert!After writing, editing, and directing the more romantically-based projects of Happy Accidents (2000) and Next Stop Wonderland (1998), Brad Anderson turned to horror to make this, his next and just as effective

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Seven Review and Opinion

2018/04/27

Seven (1997)
Director: David Fincher

review by Peter Schilling

Simply the ultimate serial killer drama, David Fincher's Seven (or 'Se7en' as the publicity wags have it), stars Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, as now-traditional mismatched homicide detectives on the trail of a disturbingly cruel murderer (an outstanding portrayal by Kevin Spacey)

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Science fiction: the best of 2001 Review and Opinion

2018/04/26

Science Fiction: The Best Of 2001
edited by Robert Silverberg and Karen Haber
iBooks paperback £5.99 / $7.99

review by Steven Hampton

As the editors of this anthology openly admit in their introduction, a prestigious annual collection of short stories already exists in the form of Gardner Dozois' excellent series of books, published in the UK by Robinson

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Sf uk Review and Opinion

2018/04/24

SF:UK: How British Science Fiction Changed The World
Daniel O'Brien
Reynolds & Hearn paperback £12.95

review by Steven Hampton

This illustrated genre survey, published as a companion book to Channel Four's TV documentary series of the same title, is engaging and thought-provoking. Yet, although the author seems to have a good idea what constitutes

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Shallow hal Review and Opinion

2018/04/23

Shallow Hal (2001)
Directors: Bobby and Peter Farrelly

review by Mike Philbin

The Farrelly brothers almost certainly have a sense of humour - but it is sometimes difficult to decide whether to laugh or cry, be happy or get angry at their movies. In Shallow Hal, their latest video release, a very shallow guy called Hal (played by Jack Black) falls

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Shaun of the dead Review and Opinion

2018/04/21

Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Director: Edgar Wright

review by Tony Lee

Sitting quietly in his local pub, Shaun (Simon Pegg) is told by his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) that she's dumping him, partly because his fat friend Ed (Nick Frost) is always hanging around to spoil their supposed 'dates'. Shaun and Ed don't take this news very well, and their commiserative

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Shocking cinema Review and Opinion

2018/04/20

Necronomicon presents:
Shocking Cinema Of The Seventies
edited by Xavier Mendik
Noir hardcover £18.99

review by Steven Hampton

This is the first book in a proposed series tackling specific decades at the movies, launched here with the 1970s - mischievously dubbed "the decade that humanity forgot" in the publicity notice. An introduction by director

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Sia, the myth of the python Review and Opinion

2018/04/19

Sia, The Myth Of The Python (2001)
Writer and director: Dani Kouyate

review by Amy Harlib

A highlight of 2001's New York African Diaspora Film Festival was the latest production scripted and helmed by Burkina Faso's Dani Kouyate whose masterful Keita! Voice Of The Griot (1994) established his skill at bringing West African history, culture and

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Signs Review and Opinion

2018/04/18

Signs (2002)
Writer and director: M. Night Shyamalan

review by Michael Lohr

If you are going to this movie to see another mindless alien invasion flick with silly jokes and lots of needless explosions then stay home! In Signs M. Night Shyamalan follows up his previous genre-bending modern classics The Sixth Sense and

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All my sins remembered Review and Opinion

2018/04/15

All My Sins Remembered
Joe Haldeman
Gollancz paperback £9.99

review by Debbie Moon

Young, idealistic Otto McGavin, a devout Buddhist, signs up to work for the interstellar Confederacion because he believes in its mission to protect the rights of humans and non-humans all across the galaxy. There's just one problem. The diplomacy training he thinks

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Skinner Review and Opinion

2018/04/14

The Skinner
Neal Asher
Pan Macmillan paperback £6.99

review by Duncan Lawie

In The Skinner Neal Asher returns to the Polity, which was the setting for Gridlinked. It is a future he has been exploring for several years, and the time Asher has spent thinking about this universe really

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Skreemer Review and Opinion

2018/04/13

Skreemer
Peter Milligan, Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon
Titan paperback £14.99

review by Patrick Hudson

Skreemer is the story of the fight to retain dignity and compassion in a grim near-future world struggling to rebuild after being decimated by plague. Brutal gangs control the supply of life-saving serums and three kids from the wrong side of

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Sky is not the limit Review and Opinion

2018/04/12

The Sky Is Not The Limit: Adventures Of An Urban Astrophysicist
Neil de Grasse Tyson
Prometheus paperback $18

review by Amy Harlib

The youngest ever Director of the famous Hayden Planetarium in New York City, astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson (b. 1958), author of numerous academic papers and several books in his field for intelligent laypersons,

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Sleepwalker Review and Opinion

2018/04/11

Sleepwalker (1984)
Director: Saxon Logan

review by Paul Higson

Lost films benefit from a mystique and, even upon rediscovery, continue on the bonus system by having then the history and the curious route to its rescue. A poor film becomes a little more than a poor film as a discussion piece, a moderately entertaining movie becomes a worthwhile recovery

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