After reading a couple of large, dense books lately I fancied a guilty pleasure, so what better than a silly sounding story from the naive days of 1950s scifi?
As part of a large Science Fiction Book Club collection I have had this promising sounding title hanging around for some time, conjuring images of camp, dayglow drivein grindhouse trash from a more innocent age.
In the year 1999 gender roles have been reversed in America, with women assuming leadership in business and government, while men receive subsidies to stay behind and take on the responsibility for "home engineering".
When reporter Dave Hull gets overlooked for a promotion and his girlfriend becomes his boss he decides enough is enough and resigns, heading out for the one state where the feminists of "Biddyland" have yet to take over, Texas.
Upon becoming a Texan citizen, Dave Hull has to give up his car for a "hoss", take lessons in the lasso and start referring to the rest of America as a bunch of no good "pantywaists"
Then wouldn't you know it, the world is visited by aliens who turn out to be a race of amazonian women dressed like intergalactic cheerleaders (yeah!), controlled by a Weird Sistersstyle cabal of old crones.
Their motives seem ambiguous and Madame President seeks appeasement, but the men of the Lone Star state take matters into their own hands, infiltrating the invaders, saving the planet, and more importantly freeing all men from the shame of emasculation in the process!
So it's essentially cowboys versers amazons, with all the chauvinism, ridiculousness and chuckles that implies. A terribly dated but amusing piece of hokum, tongueincheek enough to forgive the appalling gender politics.
Not really worth hunting out though. Spend a couple of hours watching some tacky old classic like Plan 9 from Outer Space instead. Witty Science Fiction spoof of the extremes between sexism, misogyny, and feminism. Pretty much what you would expect from a SciFi book with this title from 1955.
An awesome classic scifi novel that will tickle the funny bone and give an interesting insight to what was "hot" in malemarketed science fiction at the time. A wellplanned, fun novel with a great storyline, characters to care about, and a mystery as to just who THE GIRLS FROM PLANET 5 really are and what they want. Wilson’s novel is set in 1999, when women run the US, except for Texas, where men remain men and the women either like it that way or have left the state. When visitors from Planet 5, System 7 arrive in Washington DC in the form of beautiful, scantily clad young women, it is only the men of Texas who are suspicious of their motives.
From the title and vintage of this novel, I was expecting a dated piece of sexism possibly enjoyable in a campy Cat Women of the Moon way, but the novel, while a light work, is more thoughtful than I expected, satiric, and laugh out loud funny in places. While the comedy is normative, tending to accept the idea that, after all, things are maybe a little bit better with the men nominally in charge of things, Wilson’s humor is more often at the expense of men than of women. The condescending attitude of the novel’s women authorities are obviously based on unenlightened contemporary male statements, simply with the genders reversed. The male elites of Texas are a caricature of the 1950s masculine ideal: they eschew cars in favor of horses and pride themselves on their skill with a lariat, which is used at one point to rope and subdue one of the beautiful warrior maidens from space. Another satirical target of lasting relevance is the hysteria generated by the media, as the visitors from space are successively adored and reviled depending on the latest discovery or speculation by the authorities.
If you enjoy comic SF of the 50s, such as that by Fredric Brown and Robert Sheckley, this book is probably worth reading.
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