With 2013 being the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi, I thought that it would be nice to take a quick look into the world of science fiction.
Whatever your opinions on the origins, sub genres and politics of sci-fi, the fact remains that it really took a hold in the twentieth century, and this is when things began to get sexy. Now I cannot begin to cover all of the sexy sirens and burley beefcake space jocks in the sci-fi genre, so I shall look at 4 big influences in my own cultural experiences.
The 1930s saw the launch of a brand new comic strip, called Flash Gordon. Focusing on the adventures of the polo playing Harvard graduate Flash, his love interest and perpetual damsel in distress, Dale Arden, and the mad scientist, Dr Hans Zarkov, who kidnaps them on a rocket which crash lands on planet Mongo.
This created the perfect set up for one of the best love triangles in sci-fi, with Flash seen over the next 50 years or so caught between his love for Dale, and being seduced by the voluptuous Princess Aura. The 1980 film was fantastically camp, with a killer soundtrack by Queen, and cult lines that are still quoted with relish today (GORDON’S ALIVE?!).
It also contains some incredibly tight costumes (leather pants anyone?), girl on girl wrestling, reference to sex slaves, space Viagra, and BDS&M (the Aura “torture” scene which she seems to be loving), let alone the partner swapping and seductions between Aura, Prince Baron, Flash and Dale. All in all Flash Gordon is one sexy piece of space culture, and well worthy of the porn spoof, Flesh Gordon.
By the 1960s, sci-fi had already taken a serious hold, when Star Trek burst upon our screens, and once again, the genre was changed forever. There are many who might scoff at the sex appeal of Star Trek, but watching the re-runs in the late 80s, I was impressed by tight uniforms, courageous heroes, and a Captain who oozed sex appeal, knew how to charm women, and was capable of solving potential galactic threats with hand to hand fist fights in a quarry. There were green ladies with long hair who always seemed to be surrounded by “boyfriends”, and the mysterious episodes when Spock would experience Pon Farr, and turn into the Vulcan equivalent of a stag do in Amsterdam.
The original series saw a landmark for American television,which was extremely controversial at the time. In the episode Plato’s Stepchildren Captain Kirk’s was forced to kiss Lt. Uhura, which became a defining moment in television history as it was believed to be American TV’s first scripted interracial kiss.
Followed by the intellectual and foxy Frenchman, Captain Picard in the Next Generation, as well as the fantastic sex appeal of characters such as the Borg 7 of 9 in Voyager, Jadzia Dax in Deep Space Nine, the cast of the new Star Trek films (Simon Pegg for one!) and countless others and extras, Star Trek is full the brim of pheromones on stun.
Now, as I have mentioned before, I am a true geek at heart, and one of the reasons for this is my love for Star Wars. The Trilogy is sexy in so many many. Luke’s rebellious farm boy turned hero sent many hearts a-fluttering with that penetrating look into the double sun-set, as well as that (unknown at the time!) incestuous kiss during a frantic escape. You already know my feelings about Captain Solo’s, that wonderful nerf-herding scoundrel like diamond in the rough, who sizzles the screen with the sexual tension between him and the princess, and even looks sexy when frozen in carbonite. But the crown has to go to Carrie’s Fisher fantastic portrayal of Princess Leia. In the first 2 films, she was wearing battle ready/ambassadorial dress, and, in my mind, looked kick ass and beautiful.
In the summer of 1983, she blew the minds of an entire generation with the golden bikini, becoming an instant cult sex symbol and rocking the world of sci-fi forever. Leia’s metallic bikini scenes were voted by Empire magazine as among the most memorable in movie history.
My final example of sci-fi sexiness is perhaps not quite as pure to the genre, being a parody / humorous tribute to science fiction and horror B-movies, but nonetheless, my early teenage world was completely rocked when one night I happened upon the sheer genius of Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. I remember the awe and sheer delighted shock of seeing Brad and Janet stripped, teased and tormented by the cross dressing, tempestuous Transsexuals, and the moment when Tim Curry burst of the lift in stockings and pearls still fills me with delighted joy.
Burlesque, orgies, partner swapping, fantasy dress, bondage, whips, latex, innocence lost, jealousy, betrayal, anger, lust…it was a brief, whirlwind tour of the darker side of sex, and human nature at its basest. Disney romance be dammed…this was so much more fun! I was left with a fascination and longing to learn more about sex, as well as a sudden new interest in stockings and corsets, both of which I’ve retained to this day.
Now as you can see, there are many many more examples of sexy sci-fi I haven’t even mentioned…Barbarella, One Million Years B.C, Battlestar Galactica, and The X-Files to name but a few. But these 4 were some of the biggest influences, not only on me, but on making sci-fi one of the sexiest genres of them all.
With all those pheromones on stun, it seems such a shame that in space, no-one can hear you scream.