I was browsing on Mastodon when I saw an account produce a vintage issue of Amazing Stories from August 1946. The account is dedicated to showcasing the fantastic and weird covers of pulp fiction, but this one grabbed my attention because—you would guess—it featured a giant woman. She was rising from the sea, coiffed like vixens of black-and-white cinema, reaching one beckoning hand to a foreshortened man crawling on craggy rocks on the shore.
I looked up the story and, sure enough, he encountered a gigantic race of ocean-dwelling humanoids, twenty feet long. His first contact is with a gigantic woman, and the little man wavers between “on your guard, she’s not human” and “OMG she’s gorgeous.” This is “The Sea People” by Richard Sharpe Shaver, and if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know I bring him up as the author of “I Remember Lemuria,” Amazing Stories, March 1945. Among other elements in this lost-world classic, he wrote about tiny people, the Deros (“detrimental robots,” referring to an absence of empathy), who kidnap our women, shoot them up with a “stim-ray” that makes them writhe in preorgasmic bliss, and they perch on them like an erotic couch.
The “I Remember Lemuria” issue sold out immediately and became a cult classic as readers wrote in (tens of thousands, according to one biographer), insisting they too remembered this Atlantis-analogue, and Shaver leaked that it was autobiographical. He claimed that the coil field of the welding guns he worked with in 1932 somehow imbued him with a terrible telepathy especially attuned to dark entities dwelling within the earth, and that he had even been tortured in the Deros’s caverns. (Read about the Shaver Mystery here.)
In 2004, Mount Shasta Light Publishing released Aurelia Louise Jones’s Telos, vol. 1, Revelations of the New Lemuria, perhaps building on Shaver’s counter-cultural work. I’m afraid it veers from extremely woo “angels and aliens, crystals and channeling” into the New Age trope I call “Chapter 13: Why It’s Okay to Fuck Teenagers.” One wouldn’t read this book to get more of the Shaver mythos; one would read this book if one is deeply emotionally damaged, rudderless, and open to bad ideas.
As soon as I saw this issue of Amazing Stories on the Internet Archive, I’m like, “what happens if I search for ‘giantess’ there,” and then I was like, “why have I never thought of this before.” Obviously, the first thing you get is tons of very old mythology texts and some poetry, creative allusions to robust women who lumber about at a commanding five-foot-six. That’s still fascinating, though, and an easy way to accumulate a respectable list of Scandinavian giantess names and stories.
The thing to do was to narrow my search down to publications, searching for “amazing stories” and “giantess,” and this got better results. Now I’m swimming in sci-fi and fantasy stories, from sources like Worlds of If, Dragon Magazine, and Famous Monsters of Filmland. That last published an article in March 1980, where they speculated about what might have happened at the end of Disney’s The Black Hole. Let me tell you, fan speculation has come along way since then, since rumors circulated that the Cygnus, the ship sucked into the titular cosmological phenomenon, would then appear over the Vatican in Rome, or else:
Again—this notion might be called “The Amazing 50-Mile Woman’’—it has been suggested that the spaceship Cygnus, which is captured by the gravitic forces of the Black Hole, emerge from the other end of the hole to land … in the palm of a giantess of a Giant World!
Ah yes, Giant World. We all know this beloved cultural landmark. My parents used to take me there as a kid each summer, it deeply impressed me.
And you’d think Dragon Magazine would be a natural place to see stories or features about giants, and you’d be right.
- “For Better or Norse” (June 1986)
- “The Goals of the Gods” (January 1990)
- “The Bigger They Are” (December 1998)
It should be apparent that not all of these vintage stories will state “giantess” outright. Many use colorful terms or mechanical descriptions to get the point across. I assume there’s a trove of works waiting to be discovered through either creative ingenuity or dogged determinism.
4 thoughts on “Not Real Research, But”
It’s my understanding that one of the chief uses of Large Language Models is as search engines for those who need to move beyond Boolean syntax. I’d like to see one trained on this set of inputs.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’ve been dreaming about a trove of works, but one that fits my perspective, either as a searcher and finder of a tiny form upon which to focus all attention, or as the enormous one that enters a realm inhabited by people that consider their size the standard one.
I need to get back to creating said trove.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I was just thinking that, we don’t have a convenient single word for a tiny man or a shrunken man, like we do for “giant/giantess.” That would be an even more difficult contextual search. I can only hope we’re getting closer to thematic searches.
Well, I created my trove because I found you resting and wanted something nice for you to wake up to. I hope the universe guides to the inspiration (and time) to amass your own trove.
LikeLiked by 1 person
In German-language size works, I’ve seen a tiny (mouse-sized) person called a Zwerg, which translates as “dwarf.” Unhelpfully, this is the same word used to describe someone like Peter Dinklage, and in English I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone under three-feet-tall called a “dwarf.” Other synonyms are more closely related to mythological creatures than just a tiny human being. There’s Liliputaner, but in neither English nor German is that generic enough for a search term to capture all tiny people. “[X] in Lilliput,” however, does sometimes turn up non-Swiftian texts. “Undersquid in Lilliput” sounds right, but where else would she be?
LikeLiked by 1 person