01/06/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: BearManor Media. 374 page illustrated enlarged paperback. Price: $29.95 (US) but you really have to look around for it to get a decent price. ISBN: 1-59393-083-6.
check out website: www.bearmanormedia.com
I came across 'The Bionic Book' as part of the general research I do on the Net from time to time. In case you can't figure what the subject is from the title, the sub-title is 'The Six Million Dollar Man & The Bionic Woman Reconstructed'. Cue drum roll and computer bleeps.
The fact that it's been out two years with little in the way of promotion means if you liked both 1970s shows, then unless you're connected that way, might have missed its release. I should point out that the book is unauthorised and even the photos used are classed as being in 'the spirit of publicity'. As the book had to be written shortly before both series started to be released on DVD, even if we're still waiting for Universal to complete the release, I get the occasional reminder of lack of detail with the synopsises and who the cast were actually playing.
Mind you, author Herbie Pilato is covering one hundred episodes of 'The Six Million Dollar Man' and fifty-seven episodes of 'The Bionic Woman', not to mention the three reunion films so that's still a lot of mileage to cover. What he does do admirably is getting comments from actors Lee Majors, Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson and Martin E. Brooks, amongst others including producers Kenneth Johnson and Harve Bennett.
Added to that, comments recorded by the late author Martin Caiden whose novel, 'Cyborg', was the original instigator. Combined together, it gives a remarkable image of what happened at the time even if Pilato is being diplomatic when it comes to the odd ego clashing that comes up from time to time.
Pilato also succeeds in removing some of the Universal hyperbole regarding the source of the bionic arm and legs in the pilot and opening credits of 'The Six Million Dollar Man' and that 'Jaime' wasn't a figment of Lindsay Wagner's dyslexia - interestingly, that is never mentioned.
There were a couple things I wish were there, like the credits showing the bionic schematics although he does include the actual text for same. If you know the material, there is also the absence of the code-names for Steve Austin (Sneezy) and Jaime Sommers (Dopey) considering how much other detail he gives.
Having said that, if that's the only things seriously missing, then you should have enough to contemplate on all things bionic. You can also realise from this book why the new 'Bionic Woman' series failed, more so as this book was published before it came out. Apart from connecting to the characters, both Austin and the original Sommers weren't just there for the job - I was going to say 'robots' but that didn't seem appropriate - and treated as combatants with no ethical consideration. It's because the original series had these was what made them so watchable.
If you can still locate a copy, let alone at a decent price, and interested in the subject then don't leave it too long to get it.
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