17th Oct2014

‘Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy’s Greatest Science Fiction’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Guy Haley | Published by Aurum Press Ltd | Format: Hardback, 576pp


Science Fiction has a huge history and is very diverse.  From Frankenstein to the Xenomorph, Body Snatchers to the Sand Worms of Dune the only thing that restricts it is imagination.  With a history so packed with sub genres, characters and worlds how can we keep up with all the information they provide? Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy’s Greatest Science Fiction a new book that works as an encyclopaedic guide to science fiction we may just be able to get our heads around it all.

Providing not only a history of science fiction but also timelines, images and connections Sci-Fi Chronicles tries to cover as much of the subject as it can.  I was interested to see if they missed anything out, and where I was impressed they included Sapphire & Steel, they could have been a little more expansive on the Doctor Who side.  Saying that, the section on the Time Lord is fairly big, so the smaller details they left out may have been down to having to keep it down to the smallest size possible.  It is interesting though to see just how long Doctor Who has been around, even when off television the stories still continued.

Other sections that have sizable portions of the book are obviously Star Wars and Star Trek, this should come as no surprise to any fan of science fiction as they are huge franchises with not only television shows and movies, but also fiction, computer games and other media.  It’s interesting to see it all brought together with timelines to show when important events occurred in the ‘universe’ of your favourite shows, and with Sci-Fi Chronicles being so easy to dip into there is a lot to learn.

One subject which was missing and I do believe it should have been in is Twin Peaks.  The idea of the Black Lodge is arguably another dimension, which is science fiction…why was this not included? I guess all subjects can’t always make the cut.  Even if I did find one of the few missing items I believe should be there, you are sure to find science fiction that you didn’t know existed, or may have known but don’t know much about.  I found that just flicking through the pages of Sci-Fi Chronicles was fun in itself, the book is full of nostalgia and information that provides plenty of background to fill your head with, sci-fi trivia is always fun.

Although Guy Haley brings everything together as the general editor and there is a good forward from Stephen Baxter, it is important to note that there are many contributors to Sci-Fi Chronicles and they are all listed in the back of the book with authors, journalists and experts in the field all providing input into the book.  As a group collaboration this feels like a piece of work by people who truly love science fiction and know what they are talking about, and that of course is important in an encyclopaedia on the subject.

Although Twin Peaks is missing, and I can understand why it is debatable if it should be included I still found Sci-Fi Chronicles to be a very fun read, especially as a science fiction fan.  You’ll find things you forgot about and things you never knew about, but most of all the book never gets boring and is full of images from all ou favourite movies and shows , and that makes it a winner with me.

***** 5/5

Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy’s Greatest Science Fiction is available now from Aurum Press Ltd.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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