Tag Archives: 1960s

Vintage Storytellers: A Review of The Future Is Female

Vintage Science Fiction month takes place every January, and has a few guidelines:

 – read, watch, listen to, or experience something science fiction / fantasy that was created in 1979 or earlier

 – talk about it online sometime in January

 – have fun

If any of my readers are interested in participating\ use the hashtag #VintageSciFiMonth or tag @VintageSciFi_ or @redhead5318 on Twitter if you’d like your posts to be included in the official retweets and roundups.  

The Future Is Female by Lisa Yaszek (editor) book cover. Image on cover shows a woman wearing rubber boots, a futuristic white body suit, and a glass bubble around her head standing on a white mound of sand or rocks while looking at up at a dark and mostly cloudless sky. Title: The Future Is Female

Author: Lisa Yaszek (Editor)

Publisher: Library of America

Publication Date: September 25, 2018 for this anthology. All stories in it were originally published between 1928 and 1969.

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 432 pages

Source: I borrowed it from the library.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Space-opera heroines, gender-bending aliens, post-apocalyptic pregnancies, changeling children, interplanetary battles of the sexes, and much more: a groundbreaking new collection of classic American science fiction by women from the 1920s to the 1960s

SF-expert Lisa Yaszek presents the biggest and best survey of the female tradition in American science fiction ever published, a thrilling collection of twenty-five classic tales. From Pulp Era pioneers to New Wave experimentalists, here are over two dozen brilliant writers ripe for discovery and rediscovery, including Leslie F. Stone, Judith Merril, Leigh Brackett, Kit Reed, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr., and Ursula K. Le Guin. Imagining strange worlds and unexpected futures, looking into and beyond new technologies and scientific discoveries, in utopian fantasies and tales of cosmic horror, these women created and shaped speculative fiction as surely as their male counterparts. Their provocative, mind-blowing stories combine to form a thrilling multidimensional voyage of literary-feminist exploration and recovery.

Review:

Content warning: War, radiation, pregnancy,  childbirth, pandemics, sex reassignment surgery, kidnapping, and birth defects. I will be discussing pregnancy, radiation, and birth defects in my review.

Buckle up for a wild ride.

I can’t review all of the stories in this collection in my review, so I’ll pick a few of the most interesting ones.

Leslie Perri’s “Space Episode”  began with the terror some astronauts felt at the exact moment they realized that they’d either need to find a way to dislodge the meteor stuck in their engine immediately or crash onto Earth and die. There wasn’t even time to share the characters’ names with the audience in that scene, and yet I immediately sympathized with them and couldn’t stop reading until I’d found out their fates.I can’t say much else about the storyline without giving away spoilers, but I thought was well paced and exciting. While I must continue being vague, the ending also had a nice twist in it that made me wish for a sequel.

Margaret’s fear of having accidentally exposed her fetus to dangerous amounts of radiation was overwhelming in “That Only a Mother” by Judith Merrill. It wasn’t difficult to figure out where the plot was going from there, so I was mostly interested in Margaret’s character development as she went through her pregnancy and began adjusting to being a new mom. I found myself wishing I could sit down with the author to confirm whether this was what she was hoping her audience would do given how easy it was to guess what would happen next. Then again, maybe this sort of storyline was much less used in the 1940s and would have been fresher for readers back then!

I was intrigued by Alice Eleanor Jones’ “Created He Them” immediately. The main character lived in a society where many necessities of life were difficult to get, from eggs to new clothes. She had two young sons to look after and was increasingly having difficulty keeping everyone in her family fed and warm. I’ll leave it up to other readers to discover more about her world, but I thought it was a memorable (if also depressing) place that could have easily been expanded into a full-length novel.

The Future Is Female was a memorable introduction to plenty of vintage science fiction authors I’d never heard of before.

Vintage Science Fiction Month: Unusual Food and Drinks

glass of alcohol on white surfaceVintage SciFi Month was created by Little Red Reviewer and is moderated by Red Star Reviews.

Any science fiction film, short story, play, or book released before 1979 is eligible for this celebration of classic science fiction. Click on the links above to participate, read other entries, or for more information in general. 

One of my favourite things about exploring a new science fiction universe is finding out what they eat or drink that is not available in our world (or that humans don’t generally consume for whatever reason).

This week I challenged myself to come up with as many unusual foods and drinks that were mentioned in pre-1979 science fiction stories as I could remember.

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster in The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Yes, this was from the 2005 film, but the book was published in 1978 and the idea remains the same.

 

Spice (gigantic sand worm secretions) from Dune.

 

The Low-Carb, High-Protein, and High Fat diet from Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper.

 

captain kirk from star trek bringing a cup of liquid down from his lips and looking stunned

I couldn’t find a copy of it online, but I was also always mesmerized by the brightly coloured food on Star Trek: The Original series. It looked so futuristic and delicious!

How many of these items would you to eat or drink? What would you add to this list?

Vintage Science Fiction Month: My First Taste of Vintage SciFi

Vintage SciFi Month was created by Little Red Reviewer and is moderated by Red Star Reviews. Any science fiction film, short story, play, or book released before 1979 is eligible for this celebration of classic science fiction. 

Let’s take a walk down memory lane today.

My family didn’t have cable* for most of my childhood, and there were a few years there when we didn’t own a TV either.

Photo of Burgess Meredith from The Twilight Zone episode "Time Enough at Last".Many of the shows we watched were old enough to have sold rerun rights to public TV or to channels that could be tuned into if you had a good antenna. This means that my first taste of vintage science fiction might have been a little out of the ordinary for the average kid my age.

I had no idea what The Twilight Zone was when I began watching Time Enough at Last.

All I knew was that I totally understood where Henry Bemis was coming from as he was distracted from reading over and over again as he went through his day.

There’s nothing like being in the middle of a good book only to have to stop and put it down when someone asks you a question, it’s time to eat, or you have some other urgent business to take care of.

Sometimes I’d grab my book, load up on snacks, and go hide underneath a piano or behind the couch so I could finish at least one more chapter without interruption. Bemis tried similar tactics, including taking his lunch hour in the vault at the bank where he worked so he could finally read in peace.

The trouble was, he picked that particular reading spot on the same day something terrible was about to happen to his city that would leave him the sole survivor.

Yes, you’ll have to watch it for yourselves to see what that tragedy was and why he survived.

What I remembered being most fascinated by was his reaction to leaving the vault and discovering his entire world had changed forever. I would have been frightened and yet he seemed oddly relieved. He finally had all of the time he could ever want to read!

If you haven’t seen this episode yet, do give it a shot. The ending was as clever as it was thought provoking. While I do see some plot holes in it that I didn’t notice as a kid, I still enjoyed the process of seeing how Henry reacted to a day in which literally nothing went the way he thought it would.

*We didn’t have Internet access either, but I grew up at a time when that was still common for non-wealthy people who didn’t work in the tech industry.

If you remember what your first taste of vintage science fiction was, tell me about it in the comment section below!