01/11/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Curved Space: The Adventures Of Stellar Star edited by Richard Dean. Dark League Press. 265 page illustrated enlarged paperback. Price: $10.79 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-45372-532-0.
Now this book is an oddity. An approved book by Luigi Cozzi’, the original Italian creator of the 1979 film ‘Starcrash’, a film only released this year on DVD. After this book arrived, I pulled the DVD, getting the US release if you’re multi-regional, for the extras (I’ll be reviewing it once I finish watching those). Added to Cozzi’s extended intro, there is also an intro from leading lady Caroline Munro as well. Obviously, this book is aimed at the real devotees to the film which in the wake of ‘Star Wars’ when it was originally released was more satire than serious. Whether the same applies to this anthology remains to be seen.
The most obvious thing from watching the film is the realisation how much of it was a gentle wind-up, often with Stella Star involved but often on the side-lines to the action. She’s been compared to Barbarella, although she keeps her scant black bikini clothes on, but there’s a greater similarity to ‘The Perils Of Pauline’ considering the number of times she’s rescued. The real question then would lie with whether the six authors associated with this anthology get this or are they too close to the film to take advantage of this.
Reluctantly, I think the latter is true. They use a lot of the characters from ‘Starcrash’ and elevate Stella Star, her name by the way derives from coming from a binary star system, but don’t recognise this. There is a hint of satire in Thomas Berdinski’s ‘You Can’t Keep A Good Robot Down’ with Bimbonium robots but it’s used purely as a device (sic) than an all out humorous piece and then reveal the Earth to be over-run with zombies, tends to be pushing the barrel a bit looking for ideas.
Is Stella Star a character of her time or might the writers have done better had they remembered she was hardly a reformed criminal when she was originally co-opted to save the universe and didn’t exploit this more. This doesn’t mean Stella needs to be turned into an anti-heroine but it would have added so much more depth to her character than we have here.
One thing I should use as an example from this book so as not to follow the example is not to publish a book with double-line text. It tends to make the book look padded and a light-weight read because you do end up reading it far too fast from my experienced eyes. It would be better to have a smaller book than go this route.
At most, I would view this book as fan fiction playing with an existing, albeit old, concept without the development to sustain it. With little continuity between the stories, although at least they don’t contradict each other. Whether writers who know what they are really doing with storycraft do better depends whether or not they are into the subject matter. If you are going to buy this book, ensure you re-watch the film to get you into the swing of things.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA