Reviews selected from TV Zone #132
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Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10)
• The Scooby Gang go to college in this Buffy box-set...
• While the original gang are back in a new Scooby Doo video
• It's all Go! with a highly-rated Thunderbirds book
• plus Diane Duane's latest immaculate Star Trek novels

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THUNDERBIRDS
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF THUNDERBIRDS Rating: 9
Carlton Books
ISBN 1 84222 092 6
Written by Chris Bentley, Out now
Find it at amazon.co.uk above
Reviewed by
Andrew Pixley
Complete ThunderbirdsFAB!

After various half-hearted professional attempts to document what many consider to be Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s finest hour, Carlton books and Anderson devotee Chris Bentley have finally managed to do justice to a classic series with a work which skilfully blends the nice pictures, hardware details and story synopses for the little kids alongside the technical background, facts’n’figures and discussion for the big kids.

The Complete Book of Thunderbirds is a beautifully designed book; crisp publicity shots and frame blow-ups are rich with that sort of colour that only the 1960s ever seemed to have. In the same manner with which he produces superbly researched items for members of Fanderson, Bentley covers the show’s development very thoroughly, from the mining disaster in October 1963 which prompted the notion of International Rescue to the lacklustre travelogue released theatrically as Thunderbird 6 in 1968.

After a superb description of the 21st Century setting, there’s a rundown of the stars of the show – that’s both the marionettes and the machines – followed by a well illustrated episode guide containing all manner of interesting little asides about production as well as transmission details and voice credits for the 32 individual episodes and two movies. Keen to do his job properly, the author then takes in the spin-off mini-album records, various novels, some of the classic comic strips and other incarnations of the show... the material on the short-lived 1974 puppet stage show being of particular interest.

It’s difficult to fault the work at all, but certainly while the author knows his Anderson facts, he’s on thin ice when commenting on other tv shows. The major drawback is the rather bizarre decree to only cover six comic Thunderbirds adventures from TV Century 21 on the grounds that being written by Alan Fennell and drawn by Frank Bellamy makes them canonical. Having just re-watching Trapped in the Sky, I am reminded that Thunderbirds is a wonderful series... and now it has a wonderful book to do it justice.

selected from TV Zone #132
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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STAR TREK
RIHANNSU BOOKS 3 and 4 Reviewed by
Megan O’Neill
Simon & Schuster Books
ISBN: 0 671 04209 2 / 0 671 04210 6
Book 3: Swordhunt
Book 4: Honor Blade

Written by Diane Duane
Out: 5 November
Find them at amazon.co.uk
Rating: 9
overall
Star Trek: SwordhuntHonour and war

Finally! Trek fans have missed Diane Duane and her immaculate conception of Romulans, whom she names Rihannsu in just one of the many authentic touches she brings to her subject. These two novels weave together the threads of her earlier My Enemy, My Ally and The Romulan Way, resulting in a seamless and elegant tapestry of true Trek. Terrific storytelling is a Duane hallmark, and the fact that the character voices often sound the same is no detraction from the story.

When we last saw Duane’s Rihannsu, they were in upheaval; the legendary military commander, Ael t’Rllaillieu, had apparently defected after discovering so foul a Rihannsu plot that the honor of the entire Empire was at stake. The power rifts in Rihannsu culture were widening, as well, deepening the divide between the powerful and the people. Now, in Swordhunt and Honor Blade, Ael has asked for asylum in the Federation, and the wheels begin to turn as the Rihannsu plot to kill her and Starfleet plots to topple the Empire – and the Klingons plot to take advantage of the political confusion. The Second Romulan War is at hand. The story lines are too interwoven to reveal more, but suffice to say I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Author Duane is a master storyteller, and this set of novels is gripping. People we know have returned: Ael’s Bloodwing crew, of course, but also Arrhae, the Starfleet ‘plant,’ and the Horta Lieutenant Naraht. Each is interesting, and each plays a vital part in Duane’s sweeping and multileveled story, but Ael is the star around which everyone else revolves. She is everything I always wanted Romulans to be: proud, intelligent, loyal, a superb tactician, and creative strategist. In fact, Duane’s Rihannsu are the Romulans from the Original Series (before TNG made them into pouty, sneering types and turned to Klingon worship). They are suitable for epic, and epic is what she gives them. This is an honorable story, well told about a people who used to be honorable – and will be again. Long live the Rihannsu – and hurry up with the next book!

selected from TV Zone #132
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction
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