So while doing research on one of my Screen Rant articles, I realized I’d forgotten a lot of the movies I’d watched and reviewed for my first film book, Cyborgs, Santa Claus And Satan, on made-for-TV specfic films. So I trotted the book out and reread it. Which makes me appreciate why some actors say they can never watch themselves on film.
Okay, not that bad. And seeing as it’s 17 years old, I should be fairly critical of my past work. The biggest criticism is my sentence structure. Writing nonfiction I have an odd resistance to short sentences. In my most recent books I have that under control. Here, I didn’t. So there are lots and lots of parentheses, and lots and lots of sentences with semicolons instead of periods. Bad me!
Besides that, the writing is … variable. Some of the entries read smoothly, if not quite nicely. Others turn out to be just jumbles of names thrown at the reader to the point it must have been confusing for people who didn’t see the movie (that’s something else I’m better at now).
Writing flaws aside, I’m quite pleased with the book. It’s not complete — I later stumbled across several movies I’d missed — but overall I did a damn good job, in a field that simply wasn’t covered by anyone else (this was, of course, when the Internet was in its infancy). SF movie books tended to dismiss TV movies; actor filmographies did the same. And I think I did a good job positioning the films in both how they relate to the print SF world and the recurring tropes and shticks of specifically TV specfic:
•Robot/android goes on the run when it turns out the government wants to use him as an assassin.
•Human cop pairs with robot/android.
•Human cop pairs with a psychic.
•Endless knockoffs of The Fugitive, the 1960s series (basis for the Harrison Ford film) in which the protagonist wanders endlessly across America getting involved in people’s lives as he struggles to escape a murder charge. The Immortal, The Phoenix, the Visitor, The Incredible Hulk, Dr. Franken, the list of Fugitives is huge.
So while I wince at my stylistic weaknesses, I still feel happy I wrote the book.