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The Sci-Fi Channel Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction
Roger Fulton and John Gregory Betancourt
Warner Aspect Books, 736 pages

The Sci-Fi Channel Encyclopedia of TV Science Fiction
Roger Fulton
Roger Fulton is deputy editor of England's TVTimes, which he says is as good an excuse to watch TV as any. He lives with his family in Hertfordshire and in his spare time runs half marathons and other races.

ISFDB Bibliography: Roger Fulton

John Gregory Betancourt
John Gregory Betancourt was born in Missouri in 1963. He sold his first short story professionally at 16 ("Vernon's Dragon," in 100 Great Fantasy Short-Short Stories, edited by Isaac Asimov et al.) and his first novel at 19 (The Blind Archer, published by Avon Books). In college he became an assistant editor for Amazing Stories magazine, then co-editor and publisher of a revival of Weird Tales. He also worked on a freelance basis for such publishers as Avon Books, Signet Books (now part of Penguin USA), Tor Books, Bluejay Books and Berkley Books. His novels include Johnny Zed, Rememory, and Rogue Pirate. along with his wife Kim he runs his own small publishing company, Wildside Press.

John Betancourt Website
ISFDB Bibliography: John Gregory Betancourt
Wildside: A Science Fiction Resource

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

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As a long time fan of television SF, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book, though when it finally arrived, it was somewhat different than I had envisioned. I had not realized just how many SF series had graced the screen throughout the years.

My first thought as I skimmed through it was that of amazement. It seemed as if the authors had thought of everything. Here was an alphabetical listing of virtually every television series in the last fifty years that even remotely resembled SF. In fact, the name of the book is highly misleading, since many of the shows listed were clearly not SF at all. What they should have titled the book was The Encyclopedia of Television Speculative Fiction, so it would include fantasy and horror as well. Among the listed were such TV classics as The Munsters, Bewitched, The Addams Family and Batman. The book even admitted that The Avengers never claimed to be SF, but the authors felt that it was fanciful enough to make the grade. I happen to agree with them.

The articles are fairly complete and include a description of the series, the main cast, the creator, the director, the producer, how many episodes were aired, and the dates through which it ran. In addition, quite a number of articles list all of the episode names and many of the most popular (and some more obscure) even include a guide, featuring a blurb about each individual episode! This includes Star Trek (in all of its incarnations), The X-Files, Dr. Who, Babylon Five and many, many more.

There were a number of series I had once loved that I'd almost forgotten. The Champions comes to mind. It's the story of three Americans (two men and a woman). Their plane crashes in the mountains of Tibet. There they were found and healed by a group of monks who taught them psychic skills. Upon their return to the States, they became agents of the U.S. government, using their "superhuman" powers to handle the most difficult assignments. I also stumbled across such classics as Land of the Giants, The Invaders, Red Dwarf and the much older Tom Corbin Space Cadet. In fact, there were a number of series listed from before my time. I enjoyed reading about those as well.

The only show that I found missing (and it took me a lot of thinking to find one) was Amazing Stories. I thought this was odd since so many other "anthology" series were represented in great detail, including The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and The Outer Limits.

The book also includes a number of children's titles that clearly fall under the heading SF, but that I would have forgotten to list. The marionette series Thunderbirds and Fireball XL-5 are both listed as well.

I manage to locate all of my favorites including The Prisoner, Wild Wild West (which had many fantasy elements throughout), Time Tunnel and even Quark, a mostly forgotten SF spoof series with Richard Benjamin, that I used to love.

Rounding out the book, is a section of twenty black and white photos featuring some of the most popular series including Lost in Space, The Thunderbirds, Land of the Giants, The Prisoner and Quartermass to name but a few.

The Encyclopedia of Television SF is not only a valuable reference tool, but a book of nostalgia. I'm sure that as I continue to go through it, I'll remember more and more SF from my childhood and I'll come to have a deeper understanding of the programs that made me the SF fan I am today.

Copyright © 1998 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz reads and writes fantasy and SF. His work has been published in a number of online 'zines and he is the editor of the Dragonclaw Showcase. His short story anthology A Creative Edge: Tales of Speculation is due out from Domhan books in 1999.


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