Stories from Marvel Science Stories May 1951
By far this issue’s most poignant story is “Golden Girl” by Jack Vance. At first only a select few
are allowed to see the alien female, brought to a small, private hospital by Bill Baxter, the man who found her amid the wreckage of her ship. “. . . it was rumored that the golden woman was beautiful. Young and fantastically beautiful.”
Bill appoints himself her guardian, but of course with no official standing, those in authority are quick to dismiss him. Fortunately, Lurulu, the golden girl herself, prefers Bill’s company to the other strangers vying for her attention—so he stays. And for a time that’s enough, until the story reaches its fateful end.
Vance must have liked the name of his female lead, his final novel, in 2004, was titled Lurulu, a sequel to Ports of Call (1998).
The lead story, a novelette, in the eighth issue of Super-Science Fiction (Vol. 2 #2, February 1958), is “Worlds of Origin” by Jack Vance (1916–2013). Here’s how it begins:
“The Hub, a cluster of bubbles in a web of metal, hung in empty space, in that region known to Earthmen as Hither Sagittarius. The owner was Pan Pascoglu, a man short, dark and energetic, almost bald, with restless brown eyes and a thick mustache. A man of ambition, Pascoglu hoped to develop the Hub into a fashionable resort, a glamor island among the stars—something more than a mere stopover depot and junction point. Working to this end, he added two dozen bright new bubbles—‘cottages,’ as he called them—around the outer meshes of the Hub, which already resembled the model of an extremely complex molecule.”
The tale is a whodunit set in outer space. It’s illustrated by Ed Emschwiller and runs 25 pages. Vance literally wrote volumes of stories over his career and is perhaps best remembered for his “Dying Earth” series.
F&SF July 1972
John ONeill shares vintage treasures by Jack Vance: The Durdane Trilogy. The books have been printed in numerous editions over the years, but made their debut in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 1971–1973. See Black Gate for more info and lots of great covers.