Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pop Culture: Sci Fi TV – From the Twilight Zone to Deep Space Nine

(James Van Hise, Harper Non-Fiction, 1995)
Nothing special here – in fact, this by now long out-of-date paperback isn’t really worth the paper it is printed on. Indeed, one can only mourn for the trees that were wasted on this sycophantic time-waster. Van Hise's tastes run pretty mainstream, and seem to lack any appreciation of kitch or good bad taste, ala UFO. His "authoritative, magnificently opinionated guide to the first fabulous fifty years" is pretty thin reading, made quicker by the fact that my copy of the book was misbound and lacks pages 55 through 86 (but comes with two sets of pages 167 through 198). In truth, I doubt the missing pages would have improved the publication any. His style is painlessly poppy and reads easily, but most of the book consists of synopsises of his favorite episodes, the little criticism lacking depth or insight. But what makes this book trash is the last chapter, a paean to Deep Space Nine written before the program had even been aired. Okay, maybe Deep Space Nine did become the most interesting of all the Star Trek series – up until its extremely rushed and dissatisfying final episode – but to praise it before it has been on the air reeks of ass kissing or advertising residuals and casts a suspicious light to the whole book. Reference material this book will never be, but as paper to get the barbeque going it functions fine. If you see for sale at your local thriftstore, leave it there.

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