Friday, 23 August 2013

Sheffield's Most Wanted. Part 16: Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #4.

Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #4, Lost City of Mars
When I was a  child, I got the idea into my head that science-fiction was a big, grown-up thing for grown-ups and it might therefore hurt my little brain to read it.

As nearly all my favourite movies were science fiction films and all my favourite comics were, to some degree, based on sci-fi principles, I have no idea where I got this notion from. But, somehow, it meant I didn't register those films or comics as being science fiction.

I think I'd decided that for something to qualify as sci-fi, it had to be pretentious. As the things I liked were mostly not pretentious, they therefore couldn't be sci-fi. Clearly, children, like Mancunian criminals, often see things in strange ways.

Regardless of my fear of science fiction hurting my brain, whenever I saw this issue advertised I wanted it.

Bafflingly, I did see it in a shop once but it never occurred to me to actually buy it.

While a lot of the tales from Unknown Worlds found their way into Marvel UK's weekly Planet of the Apes comic, a quick look at its entry on the Grand Comics Database tells me the only story title in this issue that rings a bell is something called Kick the Can. If it was indeed reprinted in Planet of the Apes, I have a feeling it involved an alien, a human and them firing ray guns at each other in between childhood flashbacks.

Of course, the title also made me think of Suzi Quatro's Can the Can and I shall therefore always associate it with leather catsuits.

But then, to be honest, I associate everything in life with leather catsuits.

It gives me pleasure to do so.

9 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Steve, you've highlighted a divide in sci-fi there, plenty of sci-fi snobs regard REAL sci-fi as the written form and look down on Star Trek/Star Wars as garbage but the outside world sees all sci-fi as cobblers, my father always called sci-fi " enjoyable rubbish ". Your Planet Of The Apes link led me to a Star Wars Weekly link on which somebody had commented that Star Wars was a blatant rip-off of the Fantastic Four ! I've never heard that before !!! I wonder if it's Han or Luke that's supposed to be Reed Richards ?

Steve W. said...

I suppose Luke would be Johnny Storm, Leia would be Sue Storm, Han and Chewbacca combined would be Ben Grimm and Obi Wan would be Reed Richards, with Darth Vader as Dr Doom.

Colin Jones said...

I thought maybe Luke would be Reed as he's the ' sensible ' one and Han would be Johnny Storm as he's the ' cocky, unpredictable ' one. The whole theory sounds bonkers to me !

Steve W. said...

Presumably Jar Jar Binks is the Sub-Mariner. Help!

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess they may as well add Fantastic Four to the list, since Star Wars has been accused of borrowing from Flash Gordon, John Carter, The Hidden Fortress, 633 Squadron, and Arthurian legend. I've heard that the original Doom Patrol was cribbed from the Fantastic Four. That assertion usually comes from people angrily denying that the X-Men ripped off the Doom Patrol. Then there is the claim that the FF borrowed from the Challengers of the Unknown. And so it goes.

Anonymous said...

There is a kind of reverse snobbery, and I've always disliked anything that seemed pretentious or self-consciously intellectual. I think even Star Trek and Star Wars got a little above themselves, especially after they both gained a cult following. Maybe "serious" science fiction, the kind that Asimov or Clarke would write, is inherently pedantic. A lot of movies and comics use science-fictional props (aliens, ray guns, space travel), but they are really just action-adventure stories with the high-tech stuff as gimmicks. Also, some "snobs" prefer the term "SF," at least for serious, written science fiction. So "Childhood's End" and "Foundation" are SF, while Buck Rogers, Godzilla vs. Megalon, and Lost in Space are sci-fi.

Colin Jones said...

Actually, I regretted using the word ' snobs ' in my comment - perhaps ' purists ' would have been better. When I was 12 (1978) I bought a box-set of the Foundation Trilogy, however I only bought it because of the fantastic-looking spaceships on the front. To this day I've yet to read Foundation which I feel slightly guilty about !

Al said...

Well,I definitely owned this. I believe the cover story was beautifully illustrated by Dick Giordano and the plot of which had very little to do with the very cover picture. The Robert Silverberg story may well have featured the world's first robot Pope.

Al said...

Sorry. The word 'naff' should have appeared between 'very' and 'cover'.

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