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10th July 2014
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My Science Fiction Life

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HartnellLives writes about The Tripods

John Christopher


TV: The Tripods.
Creator: John Christopher

Encapsulated. Would you recommend this? why?

It was the most lavish Sci-Fi production on British TV at the time. Enthralling special effects in the second series, where the viewer is taken inside the City of the Tripods. Like McGoohan's Prisoner, it is another marvellous allegory for a seemingly contented society being controlled and manipulated by forces which are far from benign.

Time and Space: When and where I first encountered it

I found this one all by myself, watching it from the beginning on Saturday teatimes - as by my early 30s I was thoroughly immersed in the wonders of Science Fiction.

Recollection and revelations

I spotted it first on a Beeb trailer and was immediately drawn. To this day any well written Sci-Fi draws my attention, as it has little to compete with in a world smothered by (un)reality TV. What would any intelligent individual rather watch: the boundaries of science and humanity being stretched and postulated upon by a clever writer...or a pan of turnips on the boil, bobbing about on Big Brother?

Before this...

A for Andromeda, Supercar, Fireball XL5, Space Patrol, Doctor Who, Counterpoint, Adam Adamant Lives, Star Trek,The Prisoner, The Invaders, Blakes 7, UFO, Timeslip, Space 1999, Tomorrow People,The Hitchhiker's Guide etc.

Living in Britain in the 60s and 70s, was probably the best time and place to be around as a youngster, discovering the incredible worlds of possibility in Science Fiction for the first time. It wasn't just the SFX - as they were rather basic at the time - but the concepts that were being presented to minds which had been craving for something different since the austere 1950s. It was like being let out of a mental straight jacket.

After This

Doctor Who, Babylon 5 and Star Trek NG

It was noticeable how little there was to grab the imagination after BBC Supremos Michael Grade and Jonathan Powell decided SF was silly, pointless and far too expensive for sensible people in sensible shoes.

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Highly recommended

We asked some of our top contributors to suggest their favourite tales on the site. Here's a few of the ones they picked:

paulvonscott likes this memory of Day of the Triffids
"It's great to be a thicky!"

Lostinthought recommends this writer on Ringworld
"Excellent piece on the book and author."

Eloise_R likes a contribution about The Chrysalids
"Couldn't have said it better myself, and didn't!"

Paulg1974 likes this wry take on Crime Traveller
"Things like this can only be made due to the unique way the BBC is funded..."

darrenhf liked this personal account of Red Dwarf
"Red Dwarf is part of a marriage now."

Sourdust appreciated an analysis of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
"Exposes the shallowness of the lazy critical orthodoxy."

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