This has been my week for wild and serendipitous discoveries.
First, this great SF magazine cover from 1943, which I found in an antique shop in the little town of Mars Hill, NC, not far from my home of Marshall. I had gone into the place looking for coffee while my husband had his hair cut at the barber’s down the street on the recommendation of a third party. The shop was undergoing renovation, and a bit of soul-searching, too. Seems the owners hadn’t decided whether they wanted to go all-in on the antiques/junk thing or double-down on a coffee shop. But they had coffee in a big carafe and some interesting stuff to look at.
At the back of the store were these fabulous framed vintage SF magazine covers. I zeroed in at once on this one. Why? Because the heroine is taking an active role in engineering the escape from the “Alcatraz of the Starways,” and in a skirt and sandals, no less! (Of course, the hero’s not faring much better, fashion-wise, since he appears to be wearing a skirt, also.) Meanwhile, members of a variety of alien species seem to be trying their best to hinder the escape, using knives, guns(!) and, in one case, an overgrown crablike claw. (Oh, for the old days of science fiction, when a writer could do just about anything and readers ate it up!)
Compare this cover, though, to one from 1951-52. Here the presumed heroine is in a more typical faint, being carried off by the evil alien. We can only hope there is a rugged hero somewhere in her future to rescue her. Of course, by this time in the history of SF (and SF cover art), real-life heroes had returned from WWII to resume their peacetime place in American society. By extension, women had to take up their “proper” roles again, after the independence of the war years, in which they had served in the place of men in factories, hospitals, farm fields and offices.
Not until the New Age revolution of the Sixties would science fiction see a re-emergence of the strong, independent heroine in SF. By that time, SF cover art had moved on to a preoccupation with less human themes, the graceful lines of spaceships or awe-inspiring star-or planetscapes.
A Message from a Star
The American Greetings® greeting card company sent me a special message this week from someone I love. Yes, it was a come-on, but one I just couldn’t resist. Click on the link below and you’ll see what I mean. Now I have instant motivation whenever I need it. Maybe you should consider sending yourself a message like this one, too!