Sunday, December 09, 2007

Aaron's Magazine of the Week :: Famous Fantastic Mysteries February 1949

Famous Fantastic Mysteries February 1949The Magazine of the Week is the February 1949 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, cover art by Lawrence Sterne Stevens. The cover story is a reprint of the short novel The Scarlet Plague (1912) by Jack London.

Jack London is remembered today as the author of such classics as The Call of the Wild and The Sea-Wolf, but a great deal of his output was what we now call science fiction. The Scarlet Plague, a post-apocalyptic tale set in the year 2072, is a good example. Other Jack London SF includes The Iron Heel (1908), about a future dystopia; Before Adam (1907) and The Star Rover (1915), both of which feature time travel through out-of-body experiences; "The Unparalleled Invasion" and "Goliah" (1910), which describe future warfare involving biological and energy weapons; and "The Red One" (1918), in which an island comes under extraterrestrial control.

Also included in the Magazine of the Week is "Angel Island" by Inez Haynes Gillmore, a reprint of an important early work of feminist fantasy first published in 1914. The premise is that five sailors shipwrecked on a strange island fall in love with five beautiful native women who can fly. The men manage to woo the angelic women and marry them, but soon decide that it would be best to clip off their wives' wings. The story is a rather obvious, but remarkable for 1914, parable for Gillmore's feminist views.

We'll look at some less socially conscious pulp fiction next week.

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