❉ Stand by for critical analysis! A superb unauthorised and unofficial collection of essays studying the worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.
We Are Cult contributor Fred McNamara’s second book, Anderson’s Supersonic Centuries: The Retrofuture Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (Telos Publishing) is an essay collection which celebrates and examines the television and film works of producers Gerry and Sylvia Anderson.
Armed with the marvellously vibrant cover courtesy of Martin Baines and a splendid foreword from UFO’s Ayshea Brough, the book’s coverage stretches from the early days of Supermarionation to the live action works of the 1970s, Gerry’s ‘solo’ career following his and Sylvia’s separation, right up to recent works inspired by the Andersons’ worlds. Throughout just over 40 chapters spread across five distinct sections, Anderson’s Supersonic Centuries casts Gerry and Sylvia’s work in a forthright, intelligent, and passionate style of analysis. Around 60 years’ worth of television and film productions are subjected to in-depth critical explorations here.
The series and films with the most significant coverage in the book include Four Feather Falls (1960), Supercar (1961), Fireball XL5 (1962), Stingray (1964), Thunderbirds (1965), Thunderbirds Are Go (1966), Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967), Thunderbird 6 (1968), Joe 90 (1968), The Secret Service (1969), Doppelganger (1969), UFO (1970), The Investigator (1973), Space: 1999 (1975), Terrahawks (1983), New Captain Scarlet (2005), Thunderbirds Are Go (2015), Firestorm (2018) Thunderbirds: The Anniversary Episodes (2016) and Nebula-75 (2020).
The topics range from why the techno-disaster world of Thunderbirds is hugely at odds with its otherwise positive morals, how UFO’s balance of sci-fi action and human drama gives it such a powerful identity, Stingray’s portrayal of an underwater Cold War, how Terrahawks evolved its approach to comedy across its tenure, how a Zero-X television series may have come to life and much more. The book also includes a countdown of Thunderbirds’ definitive episodes and a cross-examination of Captain Scarlet’s characters, enhanced by original interviews with some of the series’ directors, writers, model makers and designers.
Anderson’s Supersonic Centuries is a spirited and comprehensive critical encapsulation of an incredible body of work of British science fiction and cult television. Gerry and Sylvia’s creative output bursts with intelligent and imaginative subtext. Whilst many of their works were intended for young audiences, they rarely talked down to those young audiences. This book pays tribute to that perspective which unites much of their work.
❉ Written by Fred McNamara, with an introduction by Ayshea Brough, ‘Anderson’s Supersonic Centuries: The Retrofuture Worlds of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’, will be published in March 2022 by Telos Publishing, RRP £14.99. CLICK HERE to pre-order. Also available as a Telos e-book edition from selected online retailers. ISBN 978-1-84583-197-4 .
❉ News source: Fred McNamara/Telos Publishing
❉ We Are Cult is not responsible for the content of this news release.
It’s a fascinating point made at the end of that review which mentioned that none of these legendary programmes talked down to the children who idolised them, as I did. They were intelligent and powerful images and stories. I think that’s why they have endured and would be enjoyed by children today just as they were when I first saw them as a wide eyed wee boy watching in black and white on 405 lines in the 1960s.