Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


THIS ISLAND EARTH. Raymond F. Jones. 1952.

This novel which became the basis of the science fiction film of the same title was expanded from a story originally published in Thrilling Wonder Stories ["The Alien Machine/1947] and its two sequels. The first half of the novel is quite similar to the film, in which a scientist, Cal Meachum, receives instructions to build an "interociter," which leads him to a secret conclave of people who seem to have some unknown mission. Although the protagonists in the book do eventually wind up on an alien planet, most of the second half of the movie is invented by the screenwriter. There's no decimated husk of a planet or mutated hulking monsters in Jones' novel. Instead Meachum learns that earthlings are simply being used to build interociters to help the aliens in a struggle against a dark intergalactic force which has now set its sights on Earth; Meachum and his lady love convince the aliens not to abandon their world as they intended to and the novel ends on a note of hope. The character of Exeter, played by Jeff Morrow in the movie, is called "Jorgasnovara" in the book.

Verdict: Frankly, the movie is a lot more fun. **1/2.

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