Good morning everyone,
Movie producers routinely reference 1958’s “Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman” whenever they make a new giantess flick. For instance, there was 1994’s “Attack of the 50 Foot Hooker!,” 1995’s “Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold,” 2012’s “Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader,” etc. There is also the upcoming ”Attack of the 50 Foot Camgirl.” Because of this ongoing naming trend, it may be tempting to assume that Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman was the first modern (as in post World War II era) attractive giantess.
Yet, that’s not actually true! To prove my claim, let’s check out one of the several modern giantess stories written before Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman. We’ll dive into a fantastic tale entitled “The Goddess of World 21.”
The Goddess of World 21 first appeared within the pages of “Fantastic Science Fiction” in March 1957. (NOTE: It was later reprinted in “The Most Thrilling Science Fiction Ever Told” No. 11 during the winter of 1968.) This 38-page long story (not counting the two-page artwork seen above) was written by Henry Slesar.
Slesar was a prolific writer whose work appeared in print (under many pseudonyms) as well as on radio and TV. He published his first work, “The Brat,” in “Imaginative Tales” September 1955 edition. Later in his career he produced numerous scripts for various televised shows. To give just a few examples, he wrote multiple episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” one episode of “The Twilight Zone,” two episodes of the 1960s “Batman” live-action series, and several episodes of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Slesar also had a 15-year run as head writer for the crime drama soap opera “The Edge of Night.”
The Goddess of World 21 is set in a future setting where interstellar travel was treated as a routine matter. Despite the title, the bulk of this story was focused on a reporter named Stuart “Stu” Champion, and not on the titular goddess. A spaceman called Russ Mackey arrives one day and tells Stu about an accidental encounter with a gigantic woman. Russ describes her as being “… big as a house …” and further states that there was “… so much of her and all good lookin’!”
Following the clues provided by Russ, Stu learns the backstory behind the giantess. He discovers that her name is Victoria Bray and that she was originally an ordinary Earth girl. As a young 20-year old she underwent an experimental treatment meant to regrow three fingers and her left thumb which she had lost in a childhood accident. To the scientists shock, that procedure did more than just regrow severed digits. Over a lengthy period of time, the process made her entire body swell to a height of at least 100 feet tall!
In order to avoid undue publicity, the decision was made to exile Victoria to another world, World 21. The scientists hope that she will never be discovered, but never anticipated Russ stumbling upon her planet.
Stu then secures financial support from an unscrupulous businessman. He sets out to meet and learn more about the enigmatic giant woman. He eventually finds her world, and a little romance along the way, but the evil businessman has plans to make money off Victoria’s unusual appearance, without her consent. This leads to conflict!
(SIDE NOTE: There was also discussion about a mysterious and presumed legendary alien world called Gulliver which reportedly was populated by giants. It’s important for the conclusion.)
Overall, The Goddess of World 21 is recommended. It was a fun giantess story created by a man most remembered for his work on the so-called “small screen.” Copies of the original Fantastic Science Fiction issue can still be found on eBay. Additionally, The Goddess of World 21 was bundled into a two-pack paperback edition along with “The Last Days of Thronas” by S. J. Byrne. It was selling for $12.95 on Amazon, as of mid-March 2022.
However, The Goddess of World 21 also demonstrates that, for better and for worse, audiovisual media, such as films and television, have a more significant impact on popular culture than the written word. That explains all the homages and remakes of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman and the complete absence of homages or remakes of The Goddess of World 21.
That’s it for today folks. Thursday’s review will cover a 1980s adult film focused on a biblical character who develops a penchant for shrinking people. Until then, keep growing!
This review was written by SolomonG and is protected under Fair Use copyright law.
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6 thoughts on “A Look Back at “The Goddess of World 21” by Henry Slesar”
“1980s adult film focused on a biblical character who develops a penchant for shrinking people. ”
It was very kind of them to let her keep a dollhouse in the asylum…
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I remember actually reading this story. What really struck me is how well Victoria fit the the damsel-in-distress trope through most of it.
Incidentally, Henry Slesar’s résumé doesn’t just include television. He also penned 47 episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1974-82), including its opener.
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I could definitely see Victoria as a damsel-in-distress. Albeit her “distress” was not life-threatening danger, but loneliness and later on the threat of being exploited like a circus sideshow.
Henry Slesar had quite a career! Seems like his true passion was writing crime and mystery stories, rather than sci-fi.
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Yo Solo, a quick question. Which is the best buy, the actual magazine or the paperback book? I’m looking to get the biggest bang for my bucks.
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Hmm… well, I haven’t read the paperback, meaning the two-pack which also includes “The Last Days of Thronas.” I bought a copy of March 1957’s Fantastic Science Fiction on eBay. It’s possible that “The Last Days of Thronas” is a great read. But, based on the description and if the prices are comparable, I’d lean toward the magazine.
March 1957’s Fantastic Science Fiction has 6 stories in total, including The Goddess of World 21. Plus, it also had a few other odds and ends like a page entitled “It Sounds Fantastic, But…” which listed various real-world odd coincidences along the same line as “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” No sources were given though so take those factoids with a grain of salt. Fantastic Science Fiction is digest-sized, 5.5 by 8.25 inches, so not as large as typical magazines which normally are 8.5 by 11 inches.
The Goddess of World 21 was the only size-related tale, but “Citadel of Darkness,” about a roaming planet of bandits, was also enjoyable. Citadel of Darkness was a short story so the ending was a bit abrupt. Still, it was fun.