Saturday, January 10, 2009

Venus Needs Men

Last month, Blog Buddy Matty Boy at Lotsa Splainin' contacted me and Blog Buddy Undersquid with an idea for one of his regular Giant Women posts. He wanted to feature collages inspired by several verses in four of Elvis Costello's songs which allude to either giantesses or shrunken men. The verse I eventually worked with was from his song My Science Fiction Twin.

He's trapped in his own parallel dimension,
That's why I'm so forgiving,
But how can I possibly forget to mention those fifty foot women
Who put the fascination back into my science fiction twin?

You can see the final results of all four collages and verses at this post here. Featured are two collages by Undersquid, another by TheShrinkee, and one by yours truly, which is also posted below.

I'd never made a fifty-foot-woman style image before, nor any other size difference other than what fit within the confines of My Own Parallel Dimension. However, I was also loath to depart from the rest of my collages and do a one-off piece that I couldn't really post here as this blog is, really, only about my world. This led me to come up with the concept of a poster for a science-fiction movie or TV series from my world which features your classic 1950s-style giantesses, but updated for modern times. This is what I ended up with.

In my world during the 1950s, just like in yours, there was a large selection of campy B-grade science-fiction movies featuring alien invasions, colossal women, and other such material. One of the campier ones was a movie called Venus Needs Men. The story involved Earth being invaded by Venusians, whose females are fifty feet tall while their males were the same size as our Earth men. The main cause for the invasion was their desire to abduct and enslave Earth's male population for their own nefarious purposes. They are eventually defeated by the United States Armed Forces in a smorgasbord of terrible special effects and Cold War-era jingoism. All very good ingredients for becoming a cult classic.

Fast forward sixty years to our more self-knowing and ironic age, and the story has been "re-imagined" as a television series for a smarter, hipper audience. Unlike the original, the first wave of Venusian attacks destroys most governments of major nations as well as the command centers of the major effective fighting units on Earth, throwing Earth's population into shock survivalism mode. These new Venusians are far more vicious and terrifying than their original counterparts: using their visors, they can shoot high-powered energy beams as well as stasis fields that paralyze any living thing held within; their massive slave ships hover over major population centers, efficiently holding captive Earth males in cramped cages for interplanetary transport; their powerful EMP weapons easily knock out the avionics and control systems in our modern vehicles; and their bodies are impenetrable to our small arms fire.

One of the main heroines in the show is the rugged-looking woman astride the motorcycle in the poster. The series starts with her waking up in a room in a saloon with two naked boys in her bed. She gets up and dresses herself while the boys watch her wistfully. She puts on her longbow and quiver, and they ask her what she's doing out here. "Longbow hunting," she says. They ask her why she doesn't use a rifle like other women. "Gotta give 'em a fighting chance," she says with a grin. She casually tosses them a few crumpled bills as a tip, turns to leave, and that's when there's a huge explosion outside. In the ensuing chaos of the entire saloon's occupants' first encounter with the Venusians, she manages to escape the building with the two terrified boys in tow. They beg her to take them with her. She reluctantly agrees, and roars off on her classic hog with them hanging on for dear life, just as a massive EMP wave takes down the electricity in the town and all of the modern vehicles parked in the area.

Later, she encounters a group of Hell's Angels who are also on the run, and they band together to survive. We find out she was a former nuclear engineer who was working on a top-secret atomic fusion project before she was betrayed for as yet unknown reasons by her then husband under the influence of a shadowy woman from a shadowy government agency. Previously on the run from the law, she now has to put her survivalist skills to use in this post-apocalyptic world, while trying to uncover the sinister secret of why she was betrayed in the first place.

It doesn't take a screenwriting genius to figure out that her nuclear engineering background turns out to be one of the keys to Earth women eventually defeating their Venusian invaders. And that's just one of the many story arcs.

There are many noteworthy stylistic and thematic elements in this show. Out of necessity, much of the weapons and vehicles used by the Terran survivors are of low-technology, due to their reliability under EMP attacks and their ease of manufacture. The Hell's Angels quickly learn to craft longbows and arrows from wood and are able to use them effectively due to their stealth and higher penetrating power compared to small arms over short distances. Vehicles used are also older vintage cars and motorcycles. Another story arc follows a group of women and their men as they try to survive in the claustrophobic sewers and subways under a devastated New York City, beneath the boots of the Venusians and under the shadow of the ever-present slave ships.

Because this series is on cable, the creators are able to take many liberties with the content of the show. There's nasty language, even nastier violence, tons of graphic and violent sex, including fatal sexual encounters between fifty-foot women and tiny Earth men like many of Our People like to imagine, and fetishistic images of naked men in bondage. The survivalist scenario also eventually turns Terran women to brutes, as vicious to their men as the Venusian invaders are. The series has been called things ranging from chauvinist and misandrist. It's also a huge ratings success. If I had the time and the patience, and any decent skill in writing, I'd write a novelization of the series and post it here, but all three are in short supply, so it'll likely never happen.

Still, I'd like to thank Matty Boy for doing this, for taking me outside of my box and giving me a brand new idea to work on. Also, kudos to Undersquid and TheShrinkee for their awesome work!


  1. As I mentioned to you before, I was really looking forward to seeing this collage of yours, for two reason: 1. It's a new trinket collage, and we don't get to see those very much, so I knew it was going to be a special treat.

    (Although technically all your collages here are "new", since you are editing and tweaking some things in them. :))

    2. Once Matty Boy made clear which collages he was going to use for what lyrics, it was obvious you were going to complete one about the fifty foot women Elvis Costello cannot possibly forget to mention, and as familiar as I am with your work, I wondered how you were going to move away from it to come up with something so... untrinketish.

    But hey, it turns out it isn't untrinkety at all! Your collage is terrific, and the idea behind it is phenomenal! I would love to see this series in this real of reality, but that's not very likely to happen. It would probably break my heart to see shrunken man after shrunken man die by Snoo-snoo, so maybe it's for the best.

    The "naked dancing boys" sign tickles my funny bone because it's the reverse of what I'm accustomed to seeing in front of such places, but at the same time there are similar places in my world, so thumbs up on that approach to this idea!

    And how can I not love the notion of women in control as they battle these evil invaders? Great work, trinket! Both in collage and in blog entry form!

  2. Undersquid, you put more thought into a post comment than most bloggers put into entire entries! Thank you very much.

    Also, there were only two notable scenes of Death by Snoo-Snoo in the series. After all, the Venusians are enslaving Terran men for a reason, and it's not summary coital execution. You have to set an example with the rebellious ones who think they can defy you and try to escape, however.

  3. Well, I agree... but the more those Venusians tighten their grip, the more shrunken men will slip through their fingers.

    And it's very nice to know there are very few such scenes in your fictitious series, because otherwise I could not imagine myself imagining watching it. :D

  4. Thanks for this post, trinket, and the extra link back over to my stuff. I am very happy that I was able to use new stuff from both you and Undersquid on my blog. I have an idea for a post later this month that should include a new collage by another of Our People, who like yourselves is gracious enough to work for what I can afford to pay, which is zilch.

  5. Hi Matty Boy, you're most welcome.

    I'm looking forward to your next post with your new and heretofore unrevealed collaborator.