The Rough Guides folks have sent along an early mock up of the first chapter of The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film, and I thought I’d share a couple of pages with you. Note it’s only a (forgive the pun)rough guide of what the final layout will be, and missing some bits here in there; still, it’s cool to get an idea of what the book will look like when it gets closer to being done.
This first chapter, incidentally, tracks SF up to the advent of film, and also does a quick circle around SF lit in the 20th century. If you’re asking “Where is the film in this science fiction film book?” it starts in Chapter Two. Context is important, you know.
The Rough Guides folks sent this chapter along to allow me feedback on the design, but I imagine it’s also a reminder that I need to hurry up and finish the book (theoretically, it should have been done a couple of months ago, but — surprise! Research takes longer than you think it will sometimes, even when you’ve got the Internet). I am looking forward to finishing it, not only because I have other projects to tend to but simply because it’s always a fine feeling to be have finished — that whole “sense of accomplishment” thing. It’ll be particularly the case with this book, which is in many ways the most difficult book I’ve had to write. You’d think it’d be easy to do a book on Science Fiction flicks, but then try tracking down reliable information on the science fiction film output of Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe, and do it on a tight schedule, and suddenly taking a ball-peen hammer to your frontal lobe doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
Don’t get me wrong — this stuff is genuinely fascinating, and I love writing a book where I learn as I go along. But man. It is work. I’m looking forward to cranking out The Ghost Brigades after this book because for that book, all I have to do is make stuff up. Heaven! Until of course, I’m two-thirds into that book, wondering what the hell I’m doing, and looking forward to my next non-fiction book so I can give the so-called “creative centers” of my so-called “brain” a rest. Yeah, it’s a neverending cycle of neurosis, and I’m told that I’m relatively neurosis-free for a writer. Don’t believe it.