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The Terminator

Novelisation by Shaun Hutson (England) 1984.

You all know the plot, but here goes anyway. Sometime in the near future a US computer coupled to all nuclear weapon sites becomes intelligent. It decides that all humans are the enemy and starts World War III. In the remnants of the world, the machines rule. But one man, John Connor, resists, and teaches mankind to fight back. As the machines finally lose the war, they send a terminator - a cyborg killing machine - back in time to kill Connor's mother Sarah before he is conceived, thus preventing his entire existence. One human manages to follow the terminator through time, his mission to destroy it before it destroys Sarah Connor.

More gore, more sex, and generally more Shaun Hutson than the cult film, but all in all it's a pretty faithful novelisation of a good and successful movie. The screenplay, written by James Cameron with Gale Ann Hurd, was more violent science fiction but, true to form, Hutson injects enough of his usual fare to make it near enough horror as well to make it necessary for inclusion here. In fact, though he made his name as a horror writer, Hutson's personal tastes run more toward the violent than the horrific, as a swift glance at his Horror Film Quiz Book will show: he spends as much time with the likes of Straw Dogs or First Blood as he does with Frankenstein or The Evil Dead. His more recent novels have worked towards that direction as well. Here, he does his job sufficiently well at least to make the novel worth reading in its own right.


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