Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Astounding Science Fiction February 1941

Astounding February 1941Continuing our tribute to pulp writer Nelson S. Bond (1908-2006), the Magazine of the Week is the February 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, with Nelson Bond cover story "Magic City." That Bond is the sole author mentioned on the cover shows how highly he was regarded during the pulp era, for this magazine also contains stories by science fiction legends Robert A. Heinlein (one story under his real name and a serialized novel under his pseudonym Anson MacDonald), Theodore Sturgeon, and L. Sprague de Camp.

This issue also has a great cover by Hubert Rogers. The film Planet of the Apes (1968), starring Charlton Heston, effectively used the image of a ruined Statue of Liberty to symbolize lost hope in a post-apocalyptic future. But with only one important exception Hollywood science fiction has always been decades behind written science fiction, and so we see that the ruined Lady Liberty concept originated not with Hollywood but with Nelson Bond's story "Magic City." ("Magic City" also takes the reader into the derelict New York subway tunnels, anticipating the best of the film sequels, Beneath the Planet of the Apes.) No need to speculate whether Pierre Boulle, author of the novel on which Planet of the Apes was based, ever saw this magazine growing up in France, for Boulle's novel doesn't contain the Statue of Liberty scene at all -- the novel's twist ending is closer to the ending of Tim Burton's 2001 remake.

And just in case anyone wants to give Hollywood credit for adding power to the image by burying the Statue of Liberty in the sand, we'll dispel that notion with next week's Magazine of the Week.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Actually, the surprise ending of the 1968 Planet of the Apes film combines the endings of the first parts of the trilogy that Magic City is a part of. In the first story, it's Mount Rushmore that gives us the rude awakening at the very end. That's undoubtedly the inspiration behind Rod Serling's 1968 screenplay (especially since Serling knew Bond and tried to get him to come out to Hollywood).

I've talked briefly with Bond before his death to get his views on the matter and also to discuss and prepare the way potentially for a screenplay adaptation of the first of these stories. The concept is still in very rough outline form, and can be seen (as a work in progress) under "The Place of the Gods" at