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3.8 out of 5 stars
X The Unknown
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2012
Great read. Vintage in its style. The army, nuclear scientists and some ancient horror out in the countryside. Feel of the Quatermass films and books. Good read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2012
Shaun Hutson has done a brilliant job of novelising the screenplay to this 50's Hammer classic. He previously novelised another Hammer movie, Twins Of Evil. With X-The Unknown he has updated the story by moving it from the 1950's to the present day, whilst at the same time keeping true to the theme and tone of the original piece. It reads like vintage Shaun Hutson horror fare and will delight both his literary fans and Hammer officiandos alike. It will also serve to introduce new people to an old, but certainly not forgotton, masterpiece
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I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Like many of us, I'm a bit of a purist regarding adaptations of classic works, so the fact that Shaun Hutson chose(actually, this decision was the publisher's, not Hutson's)to bring this adaptation forward to the present day and relocate it a long way south of the events of the original 1956 film filled me with no little trepidation.

Having said that, I hadn't seen the movie for a very long time--probably sometime back in the late 60s--so I decided to watch it again first, so I could more easily see what changes had been made.
I'm pleased to report that the alterations actually work very well and, in hindsight, the book hangs together rather better than the original.

Freed from the constraints of the film board censorship, Hutson is able to be more realistic with the dialogue of the soldiers. He neatly adds material and characters which give more weight to the events of the film, without sacrificing anything. There are only two major changes, other than period and location. The first is in making the lead character somewhat younger than in the original, which I found perfectly logical. The second is right at the end, where he has Royston realise that his original plan for destroying the entity was simply not going to work and comes up with a better and more believable one.

I'd always thought the "monster" to be vaguely Lovecraftian in concept, and it's evident that Hutson agreed, as he ends the book on a quote from the master himself.

To some extent, I regretted my decision to view the original movie version first, as it rather took all the suspense out of reading what turned out to be a very enjoyable SF/horror novel.
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on 22 April 2015
The book is not involving at all. It's an OK tale, but I don't identify with any of the characters - they don't really come to life.

They keep wittering on about 'radiation', but that was established at the beginning of the book - why do they keep discovering it every five minutes.
The author claims to have brought the tale up to date, but I'm afraid the odd reference to Afghanistan and mobile phones just doesn't do it. It's written as an old tale.

A couple of examples:
- doctors haven't worn white coats for many years - it's all 'pyjamas'
- radiographers don't stay in the same room as patients when treating them

Basically, I feel the story is weak and the writing lazy.
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on 28 July 2013
Being a fan of Hammer films and Hutson I was intrigued by this marriage. Hutson updated the story while all the time keeping the overall feel of the original script. Both Hammer and Shaun have a style all of their own, but each was equally mantained which I found very impressive. All through the book I could feel the charm and feel of the film which was unique to Hammer.
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on 8 April 2015
Typical Hammer Horror story: Good build up, poor finale. The story has been updated well, and retains enough of the original movie plot to stay true. But the ending is a complete let down. It could have remained set in the 50s, nothing would have been lost. For a modern story, it just needs more explanation and maybe a bit more creature
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on 3 August 2013
very poor for shaun hutson .it read like a hammer films script early sixties style.i think mr hutson must have watched the film of the same title then tried to modernise it a bit .very poor shaun i have been a fan for a long time so i was very dissapointed with this book/
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on 20 May 2013
The original story was set in the 1950's and was good for its time, but this version has been updated to the 2010's making it a good read. With this update it would be interesting to see if anyone would pick it up and re-make the movie
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on 23 June 2013
updated to the modern day without losing the overall feel of the original movie on which the story is based. Embellishes the plot without straying too far from the original screenplay.
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on 27 November 2013
I love Shaun Hutson novels and this is yet another that doesn't fail to impress. Read it cover to cover very quickly and really loved the suspense! X
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