Alien Invasions!: The History Of Aliens In Pop Culture edited by Michael Stein (book review).

October 12, 2021 | By | Reply More

Looking at the picture on the cover of ‘Alien Invasions! : The History Of Aliens In Pop Culture’, it should quickly become apparent to you that those two humanoid aliens hiding behind the wall are going to pounce out and attack those alien emissaries on their goodwill tour coming down from their spaceship.

No? Then you’re amongst the majority of humans on this planet who think aliens are grotesque monsters, according to David J. Hogan’s foreword, and less fearful of aliens that look more like yourselves. When you consider the number of films and TV series that re-enforces this image, it’s hardly surprising that humans are so xenophobic.

This massively illustrated book, broken into 8 chapters, looks at how we perceive aliens over the centuries. Well, at least two of them. The main contributors are, apart from its editor, Michael Stein, Ron Miller, David J. Hogan, Michael Bonsted, Steven Jay Rubin, and Vincent Di Fate.

If you thought greys were a recent carnation of what we think some look like, we’re presented with a woodcut on page 16 from 1865 showing a slightly larger version of them. Even further back in 1689, Bernard de Fontenelle in his book ‘Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes’ (‘Discourses On The Purity Of Worlds’) was responsible for giving us the supposed temperaments of the various aliens in our Solar System that stayed with us. That made me think and wonder if this was our first example of thinking the Earth was in the Goldilocks region.

The amount of text is quite small compared to the number of pages devoted to photographs of posters and from films and TV shows and a few new ones to surprise those of you who collect them. This doesn’t belittle the text, which gives fairly accurate details about the films. If I have to be critical of the photos, it’s the identification of the grainy grey ones behind the chapter titles because they are mostly hidden. About the only real mistake spotted was identifying Delenn’s home planet in ‘Babylon 5’ as Mir rather than Minbari.

Working out any serious omissions required a lot more thought. You would have thought the green-dye tinted aliens from the ‘UFO’ (1971) should have been included and certainly a larger selection from ‘Doctor Who’.

Even so, this is fairly comprehensive and just the thing to check out if your neighbours are human on a cold winter night.

GF Willmetts

October 2021

(pub: Elephant Book Company/IDW Puiblishing,  2020. 176 page illustrated oblong hardback. Price: . ISBN: 978-1-68105-710-8)

check out website: www.elephantbookcompany.com


Category: Books, Movie books, Scifi

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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