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The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies 1 (Rough Guide Reference) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Rough Guide Reference
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides; First Edition edition (October 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843535203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843535201
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Scalzi is a science fiction novelist and non-fiction writer as well as the author of The Rough Guide to the Universe.

More About the Author

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller "Redshirts," which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rodney Meek VINE VOICE on July 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting guide to...well, sci-fi movies. (It also features a minor digression at the end that covers well-known SF TV shows and other resources.) Chapters deal with the author's personal choices for the 50 classic SF movies, the 50 iconic robots/ships/villains/actors, SF films from countries outside the U.S., and so forth.

Entries are, for the most part, short and to the point, only growing somewhat longer when it is necessary to upbraid George Lucas for his myriad sins, and rightly so. The author is also not afraid to proffer his opinion on which movies have withstood the test of time and which now seem tragically dated or flat-out embarrassing.

On the downside, I found the numerous typos (particularly in people's names) and layout errors to be extremely annoying. For instance, in the entry for the recent "28 Days Later", the actress Naomie Harris (currently appearing in the latest "Pirates Of The Caribbean" movie) ends up being credited as one of the composers, just because the typesetter lazily goofed up and pushed her name out of place. Yes, it's a "rough" guide, but I didn't expect it to be quite THAT rough.

I'd give this an extra half-star if it were possible, but since it isn't, I'll have to round down on this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on September 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
To someone unfamiliar with the genre, science fiction movies can appear to be a collection of awful movies that rely on little more than cheesy special effects. To some extent, it's true: to paraphrase Sturgeon's Law (he was a sci-fi writer), 90% of science fiction is garbage, but 90% of everything is garbage. There are plenty of lousy science fiction movies out there, but there are also some real gems.

The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies is a decent, though not perfect, reference book about these movies. It starts with a brief history of science fiction literature and then gives a history of sci-fi at the cinema, from the early silent days through the serials of the 1930s to the "golden age" of the 1950s to the darker works of the 1970s to the special effects driven movies of modern times. Essentially, however, the history of sci-fi films can be divided into two periods: Before Star Wars and After Star Wars.

The Guide also provides what the author, John Scalzi considers to be the key 50 movies. As he admits up front, you may disagree with his choices as I certainly did, but many of his choices are solid ones: choices such as Blade Runner, Star Wars, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey have to rate on the list of anyone familiar with the genre.

There are also sections on the faces of science fiction, the locations of science fiction and science fiction movies produced around the world, as well as a couple other sections. While not comprehensive, the book doesn't really neglect anything truly significant either. For a reference book, however, we do get a lot of opinion, and for a book that seems to be well put together, there are lots of typographical errors. This is not a great book, but it is good enough (maybe a low four stars) and for an introduction to these movies, it is more than adequate.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon V. on January 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got the chance to look at this book extensively at my local barnes and noble. It does a very well written summary of most of the luminaries of the Sci-Fi genre. There are alot of funny inside jokes that only fans of these films will get. But, it also introduces Sci-Fi to those who aren't familiar with it.

Need a book to explain your obsession with Sci-Fi to your significant other? Heres the book. Complete with funny notes and misc. bits and pieces that will help them catch up to the culture. Who knows? After reading it they might know more than you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dwayne A. Day on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a generally fun book. It is not designed to be read cover to cover, but picked at. It's lighthearted and I think it is pretty fair to the movies it covers. It also notes which movies (like Blade Runner) were very influential on those that followed. If you're a big science fiction fan, you probably won't learn too much that's new, but you'll learn some, and you'll have fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on September 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is not a bad little tome.

Scalzi takes a pretty even-handed look at the movies, giving a literature background to start with, an introduction to films, and then listing his 50 important selections.

He also takes a look at tv, music, and important figures or characters from the various productions. He even mentions novelisations which he thinks are good (ET, and Buckaroo Banzai) and the Abyss, which I don't remember reading if I did, but I agree with the first two, and am still looking for a copy of Buckaroo.

Also a section on non-English films.

If you are quite familiar with all this already, you don't need this book, as you will have seen all of them and know most of it, barring the odd Mexican wrestler movie perhaps. Even so, it would be a useful reference, and certainly excellent as an introduction to those that are new.

It is also an annoying odd square shape to some degree.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Victor R. Casados on June 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like John Scalzi's work.

If you haven't read Old Man's War, you are missing a treat.

This is not a bad guide, and Mr. Scalzi's humor and wit come shining through. The edition I recieved is full of typos that seem pretty glaring, and I found them extremely distracting.

I enjoyed this book very much overall, but don't make this your frist Scalzi purchase. Get Old Man's War first!
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