24 Frames into the Future: Scalzi on Science Fiction Films
by John Scalzi
Review by Steve Sawicki
NESFA Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781610373012
Date: 15 February 2012 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
It's not often that I review a reviewer--particularly one who works in the same form and genre as I do. On the other hand, most reviewers are just doing the standard template review--not that there is anything wrong with that. Some reviewers use the opportunity of the review to write about other things. I've done that myself with my damnaliens video reviews. Scalzi does movie reviews and he tends to use them as a platform to educate about process, the business, writing, making movies, and commentary on popularized expressions of concern; i.e. Transformers would be the end of cinema in this country.
You have to be careful when you do this kind of writing, especially if you are doing it via a vehicle which pretty much expects you to just be doing straight commentary on the subject matter. The audience tends not to like it when you stray from what they expect, and they could often care less how knowledgeable you are about how George Lucas used dog fights from 1945 to stage his TIE fighter flights. All they want to know is should they kiss three bucks goodbye (that's what I paid to see Star Wars in a first run theater at the mall.
Scalzi, before becoming a novelist, wrote movie reviews for the Fresno Bee (he was, to be more exact, the film critic there). Daniel Kimmel (go out and buy a copy of Jar Jar Binks Must Die--I'd lend you my free copy but it has not arrived yet) provides the introduction, and no better person to do so than one who has waged the same war. What follows is, literally, hundreds of reviews. All on the genre. Some are reviews of single movies while others are compilations and still others are thematic.
I certainly can't review his reviews other than to say that Scalzi has a particular voice and he uses it to his advantage. He uses his broad knowledge of minutia to alarming success as well. You'll learn many things in each review about movies--and genre movies at that. Now you need to take advantage of your knowledge and go out and get a copy. As an added bonus, this book is published by NESFA press, the genres' most fan friendly publisher. It's a win, win, win, win situation.