If You Like The Terminator… by Scott Von Doviak (book review).

‘If You Like The Terminator…’ is part of a series of books that primarily points out material you might like if you like the key product. Do you need a clue as to which 1984 film that is? This is the only one hooking into our genre in the series so far. In some respects, that could be seen as boring subject choice does also point out all the likely influences that went through director Jim Cameron’s head up to that time. I do think it a bit weird and a little unnecessary to point out material post-Terminator in relation to this, simply because it couldn’t have been an influence on the film, unless you had a time machine and was seeking this out as well as rescuing Sarah Connor. However, it’s also supposed to be a whistle-stop tour beyond influences and a look at material that shows some similarity which would appeal to you. Sorta like certain shopping websites that think because you bought one item want other items to collect your set simply because other things were on other people’s shopping lists. Mind you, mine also shows things from my own shopping list, but that’s a different story.

This whistle-stop tour does have a bit more depth and when it comes to the two hundred movies and TV series on the cover, it tells you enough about them for you to make a judgement call as to whether you want to see if you can locate them on DVD if you haven’t seen them. I did spot-check some of the more obscure films and found that they were on DVD. Therefore, you are told about robot films, post-apocalypse and time travel films, although no motor-bike movies. You’re also given insight into many Schwarzenegger and Cameron films as if you haven’t followed their careers.

Occasionally, it was a bit disconcerting that writer Scott Von Doviak referred to the actor rather than the part describing the events in some films. Granted with the likes of George Pal’s ‘The Time Machine’, Rod Taylor’s part didn’t actually have a name but he was always referred to as the time traveller when referenced elsewhere.

Things I learnt. The 1978 film ‘The Driver’ was a big influence on Cameron’s car chase in ‘The Terminator’. The 5th of November is the time travel date was also used in ‘Time After Time’ in 1983 and again in 1985 with ‘Back To The Future’.

Von Doviak points out that there have been a lot of theories to the Terminator time-line on the Net although must have missed my theory that it was Skynet manipulating events to ensure its own survival.

His look at blatant rip-offs includes one called ‘The Terminators’ who plot resembles ‘Blade Runner’, which oddly is the subject of his next chapter and yet he doesn’t make the connection considering he does with other films. That’s only a minor quibble because on the whole, he’s kept a decent level of accuracy and looking at his bibliography, gone to great lengths to check details.

Although I suspect that the real SF experts won’t need this book, I did find a lot of info or connections that I didn’t. ‘Terminator’ fans born after 1984 and want to see how far their taste extends will find this book an asset and I doubt if more films added to the franchise won’t mean an immediate update neither.

GF Willmetts

(pub: Limelight Editions/Hal Leonard. 212 page illustrated indexed small enlarged paperback. Price: £12.50 (UK), $14.99 (US). ISBN: 978-0-87910-397-2)
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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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