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Star Maidens

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(Corgi, London, 1977)
price: 60p; 176 pages

dedication: To the biggest Bopper of them all, John Harvey...

The blurb on the backs:

On Medusa, the laws of nature had decreed that the female of the species should reign supreme - leaving the lesser able males to take care of domestic chores, nursery duties and other menial tasks.
For eons, the Medusan women ruled their world. But then Medusa entered the orbit of Earth, and rumour got out that here was a planet controlled almost entirely by men ... a paradise planet to which two of the most rebellious manservants managed to escape, so beginning the feud between Earth and the incredible STAR MAIDENS.

opening lines:
'Heroines Through The Ages! What about the men?'

I have no memory of this TV series at all. Luckily there's a fantastic website devoted to it which tells me every last thing I could possibly wish to know. And then some more stuff. So apparently Star Maidens (Die Madchen Aus Dem Weltraum) was a 13-week series co-produced by British and German TV companies and screened in selected ITV regions in 1976-77, locating it smack in the middle of the Space 1999/Blake's 7 era, but achieving nothing like the penetration or survival of those series.

The problem, as far as I can judge, is that it aimed at kitsch humour, which generally tends to be a mistake - you should really leave the audience to decide how kitsch your show is, not spell it out in flashing camp neon. Mind you, that element doesn't come through on the page, and this is still terrible, so maybe it's just a question of lack of talent in the creativity department.

The basic premise is promising: Medusa is a planet run by women which has drifted from its original orbit and wandered through space (the people have survived by living below the surface), only to arrive in our own solar system. A couple of oppressed male Medusans escape to find Earth, the fabled paradise where men control society; they're pursued by female Medusans and the action spans both planets. The conflict of cultures was presumably intended to have some kind of satiric point akin to, say, Planet of the Apes, and to be informed by the rise of feminism and the increased questioning of gender stereotyping in western society. But none of that has survived here.

To be honest, the book is as dull as a very dull thing indeed. But it did give me the opportunity to find the Star Maidens website, which I would thoroughly recommend if you want beautiful stills, absurd levels of detail and rigorous honesty: 'It's certainly not the worst sci-fi series ever made but by no stretch of the imagination is it the best.'

Additional Note: I am told by regular correspondent Mr Ian Covell that Ian Evans was a pseudonym used by Angus Wells, a former editor at Sphere who was responsible - under various names - for a huge amount of the genre fiction published in the mid-1970s.


Like this? Try these...

Escape from the Planet of the Apes

Day of the Women

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