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Wiffle Lever to Full!: Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy-Eyed Nostalgia at the Strangest Sci-Fi Conventions Paperback – 24 Jul 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (24 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340962011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340962015
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,016,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

'amiable and amusing' ( Daily Telegraph)

'Personal and engaging . . . anyone who agrees that "Star Wars was a defining moment of our collective childhood" will love this book' ( The Times )

'a witty, heartwarming exploration of the light side of SF fandom' ( SFX magazine)

About the Author

Bob Fischer is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy fan who has previously enjoyed careers as a record shop owner, a solo singer-songwriter and a short-lived Elvis impersonator (one gig). He now works as a radio presenter for BBC Tees, a job that has led him to spill tea over Jack Charlton's antique fireplace and sing on a UK Top 10 hit single ('Bunsen Burner' by John Otway, No 9 in October 2002). Bob has also won a prestigious Sony Radio Award . . . just a bronze though, so don't get too excited.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Hatfield VINE VOICE on 26 April 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An absolute delight. This is another in the procession of male memoirs focusing on childhood and adulthood obsessions. Nick Hornby did it with football. Seb Hunter did it with Heavy Metal Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict. Here, Bob Fischer relives his childhood fascination with Star Wars, Star Trek, Discworld, Robin of Sherwood, The Prisoner,James Bond, Blake's Seven, Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, Hitch Hiker's Guide... and Monty Python. He does this by visiting a series of conventions as an adult and reflecting on his childhood attitudes and beliefs, compared with his adult's eye view. Much like Blake's ideas of Innocence and Experience, he contrasts the two perspectives. And if you think that's a wildly pretentious simile, then you haven't read this book ! In amongst the funny anecdotes and self-deprecating humour, there also lies philosophy, musing on relationships and friendship, and a warm look back at the past as a different country.
At the end of the day, a book like this depends entirely on your response to the author's style and personality- and Bob is witty, wise and likeable; the kind of person you want to spend time with, listening to his stories and opinions. As a radio DJ, he might be expected to be glib and facile, but he shows real talent as a writer, a facility with language and structure which brings this disguised autobiography to life.
You will laugh out loud while reading this, and you may even want to get your lightsabre out of the attic, pick up your twelve-sided dice, or don your long leather coat. Why not? After reading this book, Fischer's world sounds like a lovely place to be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Berry on 10 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
Wiffle Lever to Full!: Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy-eyed Nostalgia at the Strangest Sci-fi Conventions

Frankly, I can't believe the negative reviews of this book. It's a beautifully written slice of whimsical nostalgia. Fischer's tour of the UK cult/sci-fi convention circuit is charming, wonderfully readable, and worthy companion to the writings of Stuart Maconie, Charlie Connelly or Charlie Brooker.

An essential read for anyone who's hesitantly dipped their toes into the dark water of cult fandom, or - indeed - their other halves.

Steve Berry, author of TV Cream's Toys: Presents You Pestered Your Parents for
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jezza on 7 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful. Mr Fischer has such a gift with words that it was all I could do to stop myself from bursting out loud with laughter on the train.

Whilst I am a fan of many of the sci-fi subjects covered in this book, the introductions to the movie or TV show in question make it easily accessible to anyone who may not be so familiar with any of the subject matter. And, in contrast to other similar books (eg "Who Goes There" by Nick Griffiths), I could not help but empathise and sympathise with Mr Fischer as he went on his journey.

Overall, a fantastic book which I cannot recommend highly enough.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By fegMANIA! VINE VOICE on 20 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Having spent his youth being transported to other worlds, Bob Fischer takes the opportunity to transport us to his and it turns out to be a very amusing and heartwarming world indeed. It also turns out to be worryingly full of Flamin' Hot Monster Munch, but surely nobody was ever put off reading a book because of a corn-based snack food?

I confess that I bought this book purely as a result of enjoying the author's way with words in the course of his now nightly shows on BBC Radio Tees rather than out of any affinity with the subject matter. I had little or no interest in any of the featured "fandoms", but felt sure it would be a highly entertaining read. This, it transpires, was something of an under-estimation. My lack of in-depth knowledge of most of the subjects covered was not the hindrance I'd feared, because Bob has a real gift for weaving the right amount of 'beginner's info' into each uproarious chapter, and in any case the book is less about the individual "cults" and more an exploration of what it means to be a child of the 1970s and 1980s in a 21st Century world where evil can lurk inside a knitted Ray Winstone doll and Johnny Depp never quite makes it to your pub quiz.

Rites of passage from childhood, adolescence and adulthood punctuate the more literal journey of a year spent attending conventions and other fan events, and while some of these are touchingly personal, they all have a surprisingly universal resonance for anyone of roughly the same generation as the author.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. North on 29 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
As I devoured 'Wiffle Lever to Full!' in its entirety over the course of about a week the book quickly climbed its way up to take its place among others in my mental list of favorite reads. I'd happily recommend this book to anyone and indeed I already have on numerous occasions. This isn't just a book on science fiction, it's about letting go of childhood, the transition into adulthood and that never ending desire to return to the people, places and things that made you happy when you were young.

The overwhelming impression one gets from reading this book is just how plain nice Bob is. This isn't the sort of book that mocks and derides a defenseless sub culture. Fischer loves the subjects of the conventions he attends and actually enjoys spending time with the weird and wonderful people who populate them. At the same time the book is not written from a bitter fan's perspective. Bob love's these films and television series but understands that you might not. He isn't going to judge or deride you if your first impression of science fiction fandom is negative but he will do his best to win you over. If you purchase this book I'm sure he will.
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