Mike's Bookshelf

Currently showing posts tagged Space

  • The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant by Simon Ward Book Review

    The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant by Simon Ward

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Journeying back into the bowels of space where no one can hear you scream, Simon Ward’s The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant details the development and detailed execution of Ridley Scott’s followup to his franchise rebirther Prometheus.  Welcoming readers aboard the spacecraft known as the Covenant, Ward introduces each of the film’s crew members and their personal significance throughout the narrative with enlightening commentary from costars about tackling their respective characters.  Exploring the many chambers and artistic excellence of the ship itself, Ward exposes readers to early concept renderings of the vessels nursery, hypersleep chamber, the bridge where key interactions amongst the crew occur, among many other quarters and their finished appearances in the film with noteworthy insight from the artists behind them.  Following the crew’s dangerous expedition to the dreaded Dreadnought, the vastly impressive approaches bringing the Xenomorphs to life and H.R. Giger’s continued artistic influences on Scott’s bleak sci-fi world, The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant is a near 200-glossy paged lost paradise for audiences and readers alike intrigued by the crafting of all its deep space terror.  Featuring a brief forward by its director, The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant will only enrich one’s appreciation for this mature extraterrestrial saga.

    Available now from Titan Books, The Art and Making of Alien: Covenant can be purchased via Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine retailers. 

  • Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties - The 21st Century Edition by Bill Warren Book Review

    Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties - The 21st Century Edition by Bill Warren

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Exhaustively researched, Bill Warren’s Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties - The 21st Century Edition explores the cinematic treasures and lovable duds featuring saucer men from mars, extraterrestrial invasions and terrorizing monsters from the beloved 1950s with overflow into the early 1960s.  Boasting over 200 photographs, films are alphabetically organized with their synopses, cast and crew credentials and of course, Warren’s invaluable insight.  Forwarded by Writer Howard Waldrop, this revered work is a truly out of this world resource.

    Originally released in 1982 with its second volume following in 1986, Warren’s 2009 expanded edition revisits each individual entry with revisions as well new entries also included.  As Warren jokingly admits that while new 1950s sci-fi features haven’t been made, his unbounded passion has discovered more to say about these space age favorites and readers are all the better for it.  With new information obtained through the most current interviews with many notable talents, Warren’s entries shed even more background into so many of the book’s featured productions.  Newly organized in alphabetical arrangement kicking off with a triple serving of Abbott and Costello films, Keep Watching the Skies! goes through the gamut of universally loved features like The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The War of the Worlds and their impressionable impact on the genre while, Warren’s criticisms, which may not always gel with sci-fi enthusiasts’ own opinions, of many B-grade features and other more appreciated favorites unquestionably make for deeply insightful reading.  Perhaps even more interesting than fawning over established classics of the genre, Warren’s deconstruction of what works and doesn’t in each production is never pretentious and always fascinating.  As definitive and engaging as any work of its kind, Bill Warren’s Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties - The 21st Century Edition takes readers to infinity and beyond from schlock to the A-list with a scholarly stance that never clouds Warren’s sheer enthusiasm and sense of youthful love for science fiction cinema.  

    Long available in printed form and only recently available via inexpensive digital methods, Warren’s brick-like volume may be pricey but is the investment of a lifetime.  A rewarding achievement that dedicated fans, many of whom carved a career in showbiz including, John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), Joe Dante (Innerspace) and Leonard Maltin, swear by, Bill Warren’s unforgettable exploration of 1950s sci-fi informs the reader with unparalleled information and most magically, transports likeminded fans to a time away from the cynical future of now but back to a past of promise, hope and nostalgia.  

    Available now from McFarland, Keep Watching the Skies!: American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties - The 21st Century Edition can be purchased via McFarlandPub.com, their respective order line (800-253-2187), Amazon.com and other fine retailers.