Vintage Nudnikery

Recently, the topic of nudniks and their war on fun has come up again in the pulp circles. Daddy Warpig in particular had a pretty good rant on the subject the other day.

So, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share this letter from the Summer 1947 issue of Planet Stories. I touched on it here years ago, but it’s worth seeing in its entirety.

Vintage Nudnikery

Retro Fandom Friday (On a Monday): Fans Have Always Fought

[originally posted here at Castalia House]

Again it’s time to look at the letters to the editor sections of SF mags from the days of yore in search of juicy tidbits and glimpses of what was relevant and interesting to fans at the time.  I’ll give you a hint: it starts with D and rhymes with ‘aims’.

While some fans have complained about the pulps resorting to cheap tricks like scantily clad ladies, there are plenty who will rise to their defense.

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1947 Sci-Fi Fandom Debate Rages on Depiction of Women in Science Fiction!

Is this woman hot enough?

Is this woman hot enough?

What was the Greatest Generation saying about science fiction in mid 1947?  Well, for one thing, they were loving Ray Bradbury and applauding Rocket Summer.  There was a debate going on as to whether the ladies on sci-fi covers were smoking hot or not smoking hot enough, but lots of people seemed pleased that Allen Anderson was drawing them.  Folks voiced their opinions on the ups and downs of the Magazine over the years and gave the editor grief (most of it good natured).

People writing in also had the opportunity to vote for who’d written the best letter that’d been published in the previous issue, the fan with the most votes getting their choice of an original piece of interior art as a prize.  Suddenly I’m starting to see why other folks had these weird ideas about what Best Fan Writer meant: it really is basically “best internet forum commenter”.

Speaking of eye catchingness, the fair damsel wielding the smoke-shooter is assuredly enough to electrify any masculine gaze that chanced to be wandering o’er the news-rack.  Can’t say I care much for the rest of the cover illustrations, but this dame alone is well worth the 20 cents.  – Joe Kennedy

What I would like to know is how did you wean Ray Bradbury away from his naked dames long enough to write Rocket Summer?    – Edwin Sigler

The gal wasn’t sexy enough.  If the powers-that-be blindly insist on wimmin on the cover of STF-mags, let them present us with something worth drooling about.  …Take Chad Oliver’s comments to heart.  Strictly good dope.  “…and the clinging material revealed every curve and contour of her figure…” Every contour?  Try it on the cover sometime unless you decide to reform the thing. – (forgot to source this quote)

Lin Carter is a fan of Gardner F. Fox.

[Gardner F.] Fox really turned out a swell hunk o’ writing this time, Ed!  …By all means keep this guy coming – he’s good.  – Lin Carter

Some guy is not a fan of Lin Carter.

Lin Carter’s letter was a fan letter of the usual (crumby) (look you, you keep your parenthesis shut or else!) fan letter.  – Telis Streiff

Not all was well in the Golden Age.  One nudnik wrote in complaining about stories having romance and lacking hard science facts.  He calls the readership of PS idiots then demands dissertations on Einstein’s theories.

Each fan seems bent on airing his opinion, no matter what!   …I also advocate removal of Vizigraph [the letters section] unless you can get some letters written by responsible people, with the aforesaid debates [on Einstein, relativity, etc.].  – James Meade

Just imagine how awful SF Fandom would be if guys like that had computers!