THE BASEMENT BOOK SHELF: “SF: The Japanese Science Fiction Film Encyclopedia” by J.L. Carrozza

At the time of this writing we are a month into 2021. There has already been two books published on the subject of giant monsters and science fiction; the first of which I reviewed in my last BASEMENT BOOK SHELF entry. For this entry, I am reviewing “SF: The Japanese Science Fiction Film Encyclopedia” by J.L. Carrozza. This book was released on January 19 and it is an absolute pleasure of a read.

Informed by its disaster-prone history, Japan’s science fiction cinema is distinctive. SF covers a wide variety of these films across six decades; from the aftermath of Hiroshima to the COVID-19 pandemic. Included are monster classics like GODZILLA, MOTHRA and GAMERA, apocalyptic epics like SUBMERSION OF JAPAN and VIRUS and offbeat works like THE FACE OF ANOTHER and TETSUO: THE IRON MAN.

This book features eye-opening analyses of dozens of Japanese sci-fi films along with insightful capsule reviews for many more. SF will appeal to casual fans looking to learn more and obsessed initiates alike. This book also contains informative articles by Carrozza and others including Patrick Galvan, Kevin Derendorf and John LeMay. Read insider information on the filmmakers who brought the films to life. Find out about amazing luminaries of the genre such as lshiro Honda, Eiji Tsuburaya, Kobo Abe, Sakyo Komatsu, Kinji Fukasaku, Hideaki Anno and many others. Discover the artisan techniques of the old school Japanese film industry. Learn about everything from home video releases to English dubbing to the genre’s influence on other East Asian countries. “SF: The Japanese Science Fiction Film Encyclopedia” promises to enlighten you on an underappreciated genre from a culture that has tasted the apocalypse and lived to tell about it.

Though an encyclopedia, this book is not alphabetical. It it broken up by era. Each era then features the movies of that time, listed in order of their release. This is a nice touch as this is a book you would like to read from cover to cover, perhaps then using it as an actual encyclopedia later. The first entry is the original GODZILLA (1954) and it covers everything up till 2019’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL.

Many entries include in-depth plot summary of the film itself, including cast and crew, release dates, and alternate titles. The information with each entry is very thorough and in addition to the various releases, background information is also given. It is obvious that a lot of research went into each entry and this may be the best book ever released of its type.

This book is huge, clocking in at 463 pages. There are no images within this book but despite its size, it is an easy and very quick read. The writing style is easy to get up into and that is something you want in a book. If you like these kind of films, then this book should be in your library.

If you’d like to order this book, just click on the image above. Don’t forget to read the other blogs in my BASEMENT BOOK SHELF series.

~David Albaugh

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