I chose the following book, Science Fiction, because it sounded different from what I usually read. It is a retro/sci-fi style adventure, pitting humans against world conquering aliens. I came across this book at the free library at my campsite, and had the opportunity to read it over a week end. Though this makes it sound like my reading speed skills magically increased to record breaking levels, I must confess that the book is roughly sixty pages long. Despite its diminutive size, I still managed to take away something from this novella.
The No-Frills Books were a series of novellas with generic black and white covers published in 1981. There were a total of four books in the series, each meant to represent a different genre; Mystery, Romance, Western, and Science Fiction. Today I am reviewing the book called Science Fiction, which is an obvious comical look at old-school retro sci-fi, complete with outlandish plot, stilted dialog and one-dimensional characters. This book was intentionally written in an exaggerated manner and filled with throwbacks and clichés. Bottom line; it is so bad that it is good.
Back of the Book:
“Science Fiction: Complete with Everything: Aliens, Giant Ants, Space Cadets, Robots, and One Plucky Girl”
Could not find any official site for this publication, so here is a listing on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Science-Fiction-Complete-Everything-No-Frills/dp/0515062472
What I learned:
- The importance of editing: If I ever had the opportunity of publishing a novella, one of the first things I would do is make sure it was well edited. Unfortunately that is not the case with Science Fiction. In a story that is not even sixty pages long, I found several spelling mistakes.
- The importance of consistency: The style of this story was meant to have stereotypical characters and plotlines, however I found there were a few inconsistent elements throughout the book. The most obvious culprit was the lead female character, who plays the role of the strong independant woman in the first few pages, only to turn into a damsel in distress by the end of the book. Also, the goal of the main protagonist was to save his father, but what is the point if doing so means the world gets destroyed in the process?
- Retro Fiction: One thing this book got right, was embody the retro-sci fi experience. It successfully recreates the feeling of a futuristic setting as imagined in an earlier era. Just any science fiction story can include elements such as aliens and robots, but details like giant insects and bubble glass helmets is what gives this story it's retrofuturism tone.
There was no author listed on this publication, only the publisher (Jove Books) who I can only assume either wrote the book themselves, or contracted someone to do so. For those interested in learning more about Jove Books, please check out the following website:
In closing, though this book had its fair share of shortcomings, it did succeed at its goal, which was to entertain. Not to mention it did teach me a few important points as well. I would like to thank my wife Linda, my family and my friends for the tremendous amount of encouragement they keep giving me during this endeavor.
Until next time!