** COMPLETELY UNAUTHORIZED ** Kong fans will go bananas over this collection of essays on one of film's most powerful and evocative figures. Experts in the fields of race, gender, evolution, special effects, and film explore the legend of King Kong from every angle in this study of the magical and unparalleled original film. From Why has King Kong affected the American consciousness so profoundly? to What does the story say about race, gender, and sexuality? and Why have the sequels failed to re-create the original's allure?, the essayists examine all aspects of this landmark film and its impact on society, culture, and media. Insights into the new version, due out this year by acclaimed Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, are also included.
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David Brin is the author of 15 novels, including Earth, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War, and numerous short stories. He is the recipient of three Hugo awards and one Nebula award. He lives in San Diego, California.
This reader about the classic monster movie King Kong (1933) seems a bit rushed, trying to come out before Peter Jackson's new King Kong premieres in December. Five essays in it weren't ready for advance review. The 14 that were, however, range from informative to wiseass; all entertain. Bob Eggleton's "The Making of King Kong," on filmmakers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack (see also Mark Cotta Vaz's Cooper biography, Living Dangerously, 2005), and James Gunn's "King Kong and 1930s Science Fiction" both inform, pretty soberly. Adam-Troy Castro's smarty-pants "Ann, Abandoned," exploring what might have been had Fay Wray's character been left with Kong on Skull Island, has its giddy "ewww!" moments (don't miss it). Intelligent nostalgia pervades two memoirs of New York TV channel WOR's many airings of the original film, while Robert Hood's "Divided Kingdom: King Kong versus Godzilla" rewards cultural ponderers, and Adam Roberts' "Why Does My Daughter Love King Kong So Much?" gratifies armchair psychologists. If not something for everyone, darn close. Ray Olson
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