The Pyramids from Space by Jack Bertin (1970)

Like a fisherman throwing out a lobster net, the mysterious power from outer space sent the pyramids - to catch Earthmen

Oh man, do I love the 50 cent rack. Both of the used bookstores within walking distance of me have 50 cent racks outside, and I think they're completely awesome. A room full of used sci-fi books is great, but a little overwhelming. Faced with too many options, I end up with absolutely no idea what to choose, and I just stare at the shelves, doing little more than sucking up the intoxicating aroma of old books. With the 50 cent racks, it's simple: if it's old sci-fi, I probably want it. Fifty cents for a few hours of entertainment is a practically unbeatable value; you would be hard pressed to find its equal in the world of movies, video games, drugs or porn. I'll start visiting the theatre more when the tickets cost roughly 15 cents per hour, but until then I'll lay on the couch reading cheap sci-fi.

To help illustrate the awesomeness of the 50 cent science fiction book, I'm going to compare The Pyramids from Space to the movie Stargate. Like Stargate, The Pyramids from Space is a story about humans transported by means of a strange device to a planet on the other side of the galaxy that is, for some reason, inhabited by ancient Egyptians. Stargate is 10 bucks on DVD, 20 bucks if you want it on Blu-ray. The movie is two hours long, so it costs roughly 5 bucks an hour to see (10 bucks if you want to see it on Blu-ray). Your mileage may vary, but I read the book in about two or three hours, and it was only 50 cents. Since you can read this, I'll assume you're also capable of doing basic math.

Of course, enjoyment of a work of fiction or its medium is entirely subjective. Some people love to see special effects, and some people just don't like reading. For some reason, my short attention span works better with words than with moving pictures and sounds, maybe because I can set my own pace. And I've just never really liked Kurt Russel.

For fans of written science fiction, The Pyramids from Space is a good, light read. It's not terribly deep or meaningful, and is more fantastic than hard sci-fi, but it's entertaining the whole way through. There aren't really any slow parts to the story, and the short chapters tend to end with cliffhangers. I found myself deciding to read "just one more chapter" a few times, which I take as an indicator of a good book.

Were I to be faced with the choice of either Stargate or The Pyramids from Space, I would choose the latter. Not only is a better deal in terms of dollars, but it has dinosaurs, gangsters, and a Roman army. You have to use your imagination to enjoy it, but you don't have to imagine any of the characters are Kurt Russel. That is, unless you really want to, in which case you could even make all the characters look like Kurt Russel. Either way, I liked this book.

Buy this book.

No comments: