Jeff Rovin Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships

ISBN 13: 9780816031139

Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships

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9780816031139: Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships
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Alphabetically arranged entries describe science fiction characters and creations from literature, television, film, comic books, and popular culture

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From Booklist:

If you want details of aliens or spacecrafts ranging from the popular ALF to the lesser-known Zazzala, this is the guide. Approximately 300 alphabetically arranged entries treat heroes and villains from comic books, sf magazines, TV shows, toys, radio, video games, trading cards, and films. The author, who also wrote the Encyclopedia of Superheroes and the Encyclopedia of Monsters, tried not to repeat entries from his other books and concentrated on characters that are well known. But also included are "wonderfully obscure" creations, works by unknown authors, and characters that are "fascinating."

Each entry describes the first appearance of the character or craft and its physical characteristics. For example, Battlestar Galactica traces its origin to a 1978 ABC-TV series. Usually entries are less than a page, with some especially famous stories (Superman, Gobots) running to three pages or more. An introductory guide explains media codes used in entries (e.g., Coneheads lists "TV, MP, C," meaning that it was first a TV show, then a motion picture, and then a comic book adaptation). More than 100 black-and-white drawings and photos add to the book's appeal. Five appendixes list the overflow of aliens and worlds from Star Trek, Star Wars, Outer Limits, and comic books. A bibliography is followed by an extensive index of authors, titles, actors, media, type of character (doctor, professor, princess), and subjects.

Even in such an ambitious work, it's certain that somebody's favorite alien will be left out. Where is Gamera the Invincible (outer-space turtle)? Why Ford Prefect but not Marvin the Robot from the Hitchhiker's Guide? Why list Zur (a world by Banister) but not the extraterrestrial Trisz (from another of his books)? Does the Delorean car in Back to the Future really qualify as a spaceship? Despite its inconsistencies, there's not a comparable work. It will be popular in circulating collections where Trekkies and fans of the X-Men will see how much they know about other worlds.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5 Up?In attempting to list and describe the major spacecraft, robots, planets, supercomputers, and nonhumans that have appeared in books, comics, films, as toys and on TV, Rovin has bitten off more than he can chew. The 500 or so entries are arranged in a single alphabet and written to a template: name, media list, first-appearance citation, physical description, "biography," and additional comments?generally about authors or other creators, sequels, or series runs, related articles, name changes, and the like. The writing is straight description, almost devoid of personal opinion. Small black-and-white illustrations, mostly movie stills, are thinly scattered throughout. The author writes plenty about Howard the Duck, DC Comics' "Bunny from Beyond," Mystery Science Theater 3000, and Deep Space Nine, but his coverage of Larry Niven's aliens, or Robert Heinlein's, is incomplete (no Puppet Masters!). He directs only a token nod toward Andre Norton, missing the ETs envisioned by Ursula K. Le Guin and C.J. Cherryh, as well as Blish's "Cities in Flight" completely. Some of his information is dated. Still, most of the standard writers and artists are acknowledged, while legions of little-known machines, places, and creatures are resurrected. Not comprehensive enough to join his Encyclopedia of Superheroes (1985; o.p.) and Encyclopedia of Super Villains (1987; o.p., both Facts on File) in reference collections, this title will keep casual browsers engrossed for hours with its vast array of trivia.?John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780816031078: Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships

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ISBN 10:  081603107X ISBN 13:  9780816031078
Publisher: Facts on File, 1995
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