Stephen Andrade "Small Wonder (Vintage Pulp Edition)" Print
giclee print on matte paper
11 x 17 inches
signed and numbered, limited edition of 20
inspired by Small Wonder
SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY Fall 1951
Robots were and will always be a staple of science fiction, and Radical’s pulps were certainly no exception to that rule. The Fall 1951 issue of SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY introduced a new character to the robot pantheon in Ted Lawson’s “Small Wonder,” a robot child named Vicki. In her origin story, Vicki (or more accurately, V.I.C.I.— an acronym for “Voice Input Child Identicant”) is created by a scientist as a domestic assistant, but it soon becomes apparent that Vicki possesses a certain quality that makes her more than a mere machine, and she becomes a special part of her inventor’s family. The “Small Wonder” series was a mix of humor, gentle whimsy, and juvenile science fiction, and was a popular feature of the magazine for the next four years. The most interesting story, however (and the hardest to find for collectors), is Vicki’s final tale from the SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY Spring 1955 issue, “The Robot at the End of Time.” An abrupt, dark shift in tone, this story finds Vicki as the last surviving thing on Earth after humanity has utterly destroyed itself by nuclear annihilation. She roams the blasted planet for centuries, until finally deciding that the only life that remains will be out amongst the stars, after which she somehow flies out into space! Though the end of the story softens the nihilistic tone somewhat by revealing that it was all a “dream”— an experimental subconscious program installed by Vicki’s inventor— the grim descriptions of the robot girl wandering through streets filled with skeletal remains are a reminder to modern readers of the Cold War fears of nuclear devastation that permeated 1950s America.