Without a doubt, SCI-FI CHRONICLES has to be the cheesiest, most cliché and haphazardly ugly title for a book in quite an era. The misnomer term, “sci-fi,” sounds like some kind of excrement. The term was invented by a fan, Forry Ackerman, and to me sounds so hideous; I have been like the late Harlan Ellison in perpetually denouncing it as low-brow, childish and awkward.
What is wrong with simply calling it SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLES or SF CHRONICLES? I have always been glued to using the more proper SF, as it could be science fiction we are referring to or perhaps speculative fiction. Even better, both.
This work could have been so breathtakingly groundbreaking. I could see the author’s ambition to cover a lot of pop-culture archetypical love for the tropes of the science fiction genre. But it could have been so much more, as the decent, proper, SF Chronicles.
Sadly, it seethes with missteps and errors.
Error 1: When referring to the secret government agency in “The Six-Million-Dollar Man,” one of the book’s contributors, Steve O’Brien, noted the agency was called the OSO. Sorry, Steve, you are incorrect. I guess it was just a typo. It was the OSI: Office of Scientific Intelligence. Perhaps it was just a typo, but it still stands out.
Error 2: General Editor Guy Haley, in his account of SF author Robert Silverberg, completely overlooks Silverberg’s most popular, award-winning and enduring novel DYING INSIDE. It is equivalent to missing I, ROBOT or THE CAVES OF STEEL from the works of Isaac Asimov. There’s simply no excuse for it.
(To their credit, the writers did well with the Asimov recounting in CHRONICLES.)
But who knows how many more errors fill this ambitious book? I don’t want to know.