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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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 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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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 18 July 2012
When I first heard that Shaun Hutson was writing the novelisation of 'X-The Unknown' I was actually very excited.
I'd only seen the film on DVD a year or so ago and really enjoyed it. A classic 50's Hammer Sci-Fi monster movie with plenty of Cold War paranoia, excitement, great characters and plenty that could be expanded upon in a novel to increase the viewing pleasure of the film's fans... including Mr Hutson I believe...

Imagine my surprise (and disgust) to find that the story had been updated (or 'reimagined' in todays Hollywood terminology used in order to justify producing bad remakes of classic films) and that the character of Dr Royston had been savaged as to be totaly unrecognisable to that of the man portrayed on screen by Dean Jagger.

The whole modern setting fails miserably compared to that of the 1950's where this story belongs... It just dosen't work at all in my opinion. In the 50's they didn't have to rely on modern weapons and technology to defeat the creature... they used their intelligence and the limited resources at their disposal in order neautralise the threat to Great Britain, happening so soon after the horrors of World War 2 and the beginning of the Cold War and the War in Korea. The modern 'War on Terror' just dosen't fit with the context of the story... Sometimes I just couldn't believe what I was reading and kept wondering if this was the same author who wrote the excellent 'Twins of Evil' in the same series?

To say this 'novel' was a disappointement to me as a fan of 'X-The Unknown' is an understatement. I believe that it is an insult to the film, to those who made it and to the Hammer Fans who had been looking forward to a good novelisiation OF THE FILM, not some re-imagined nonsense that might just as well be a different story altogether...

Shaun Hutson has wasted a great opportunity to produce a first class novelisation.

To justify the money I spent on this rubbish I use it as a door-stop so that at least it can be of some practical use...

And by the way Mr Hutson, the pilot of a Bf 109E during the Battle of Britain wouldn't 'eject' he'd 'bail out'...

So all I can say to all the real Hammer fans out there is avoid this one at all costs... a stinker!
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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 18 July 2012
I knew going in that this was going to be an updated version of one of my favorite movies. However, it was also by one of my favorite authors, so I was willing to give it a chance.

I liked it. He added some stuff in that may have not been necessary, but overall it was a solid read.
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on 30 March 2013
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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Part of the problem when you bring a book up to date from an earlier time is that the things that scared the viewer back then is something that can be quite tame by todays standard. Such is the case with this adaptation of the Hammer 1956 film X: The Unknown where radiation is the fear of the day.

Sadly by bringing it forward to today's setting a lot of what was assumed back then has sadly bitten the dust in not only theory but has been blasted into oblivion by fact. That alone took the book well out of the realms of believability which whilst you can suspend whilst watching the film sadly just niggles the reader.

Whilst Shaun's writing is a highlight for the publisher, as a reader I was sadly hoping for a lot more than was actually presented as this book felt flat not only in the subject matter but also with the characters within that weren't fleshed out enough for me to care for them as a reader. All in a great shame.
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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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