Home > Genre, nonfiction > Book Review: Claws and Saucers by David Ellroy Goldweber

Book Review: Claws and Saucers by David Ellroy Goldweber

Paw reaching for alien spaceship.Summary:
An alphabetical guide to scifi, horror, and fantasy movies made between 1902 and 1982.

One thing I have learned from the two movie reference guides I’ve received for review since starting this book blog is that movie reference guides are not for me.  Frankly with things like, oh, the internet, they’re just not useful the way they were back when I was in undergrad and professors wouldn’t accept IMDB as a reference in your English paper comparing books to their movie versions. But I digress.

Putting on my librarian cap then why does this reference guide get 2 and not 3 stars? (3 indicating not for me but maybe for others).  It frankly bothers me how not academic it is.  It essentially reads as a list randomly assembled by some random dude down the road, not a professor of the history of film or a film critic or anything like that really.  This would be great for a blog, but not for a serious reference book.  Additionally, maybe the print edition is better, but the ebook version is badly formatted and contains none of the pictures promised in the blurb.

The book basically then is your neighbor yammering in alphabetical order about random movies he selected from the early 1900s with all of the natural individual prejudices and caveats that go along with that.  There’s nothing academic about it, and when push comes to shove, it’s something that would be better off as a blog than a book.  I will give it this though: the title and cover are excellent.

2 out of 5 stars

Source: Netgalley

Buy It

  1. June 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Hey, thanks for the review. Of the 20-odd reviews I’ve received as of June 18, yours is the only negative one! Wow! Most reviewers praised how systematic and objective the book was. It’s actually not random – it is complete (covering every movie mentioned in previous guides or on wikipedia, with a few extras I discovered myself). Well, I can’t please everyone. I’m sure you’re right that the NetGalley e-book is hard to navigate. One reviewer asked me to send him a print version since his NetGalley e-book was so bad. All other e-book versions (Kindle, Nook, ePub) are very smooth. Thanks for mentioning the cover: Emily Cooper is a professional science illustrator, and I agree she did a wonderful job.

    • June 18, 2012 at 11:44 am

      You may think you are being tactful by couching your protest against my negative review the way you did, but you’re not. It always makes the author look bad to come onto a reviewer’s website and defend yourself against a negative review. Not. Helping. Yourself.

      If it’s true that a book is good, one negative review won’t hurt it, and buyers aren’t idiots. They can see that for themselves. Defensiveness reeks of a fear that the reviewer is right, however.

      Now, I’m going to go laugh uproariously over here that your defense against your book being not academic is that you used wikipedia. *smdh*

      • June 19, 2012 at 12:03 am

        Thanks for the comment (also thanks for posting mine). I try to respond to every review, acknowledging people’s time and attention. Some reviewers don’t give contact info, but I contact all who do. I really wanted the book to be a sort of dialogue with my readers, and my website solicits help from readers who discover films not included in the book. I think you might enjoy the book more if you dip into it now and then over the years. You might particularly enjoy some of the entries on animal-oriented movies. I’m not so much an “animal rights” guy since I used to work in a zoo, but my love for animals goes back even further than my love for sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

      • June 19, 2012 at 9:24 am

        “Blah blah blah I’m going to yak more in an attempt to get people to ignore your 2 star review and further demonstrate how bad I am at research by claiming that there’s no contact info for you so I had to leave a comment even though your email address is clearly given in the Review Policies/Contact Page.”

        It’s quite the hole you’ve dug for yourself there, lou.

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