Monday, December 01, 2014

Ask JKM a Question: Science Fiction Films of the 1980s?


A reader named Craig writes:

“I am an art history teacher at a public boarding school for the arts in Minnesota.  I loved your book on Science Fiction films of the 1970s! 

Could you recommend a book on the same topic for the 80s and 90s?  Thanks for considering my question…”

Craig: thank you for the question, and for the kind words about Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s. That’s a book I absolutely loved writing.  

I am working on a follow-up volume currently, to feature the films of the 1980s. The subject is so huge, however, that I may have to split the book in two (one for Sci-Fi, one for fantasy).

Unfortunately, I could find no books devoted exclusively to science fiction films of the 1980s, or the 1990s, on Amazon, when I did a recent search.


However, there is a reference resource that I absolutely love and appreciate, and would highly recommend: Phil Hardy’s The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction. The book covers the decades from the 1910s to the 1990s (1995, I believe, is the cut-off date of the last edition). The chapter on 1980s is called Science Fiction Triumphant. The reviews are capsules, but brilliantly-written, informative capsules.

I am also a long-time fan of Douglas Melville’s Futurevisions: The New Golden Age of the Science Fiction Film. The book only goes through 1985, but does a fantastic job of covering the first half of the decade, as well as the latter-half of the 1970s.  This book is one of my prized possessions, and I often go back to read it just for enjoyment. It’s very well-written.


Similarly, SF-2: A Pictorial History of Science Fiction Films from Rollerball to Return of the Jedi by film scholar Richard Meyers is another valuable genre reference text that holds an honored place on my book shelf, and has been there for over two-decades.


I’m certain I’m forgetting some important title, and I don’t mean to leave any book out.  But these books will get you started on the 1980s cinema, and I hope you’ll look for my follow-up to Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s in the next twelve months…

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