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The Book of Monsters

By David J Howe

Book review by Paul Scoones

Unlike the 1992 Virgin book with the similar title, this is a wholly factual reference work, focusing on the creation and design of the monsters. Split into the usual three decade eras, each chapter concentrates on a few noteworthy monsters in detail - such as the Mechanoids, Yeti, Krotons, Autons, Silurians, Marshmen, Sil and the Kandy Man, whilst the most notable examples - Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and even the Haemovores - each get a chapter to themselves.

Some of the material originally appeared in The Frame, particularly the Kandy Man and Haemovore sections, and this is a great opportunity for readers who never got David Howe's co-edited fanzine to catch up on what they missed. But even those with a complete collection of The Frame will find much that is new and interesting here.

The writing is very fact-intensive, loaded with script extracts and recollections from production personnel but although David Howe's desire to load as much information as possible into his allotted word count is commendable, the resulting style is unfortunately a little dull, making reading the book very hard going indeed. [3/5]

This item appeared in TSV 52 (November 1997).