Lois Jean Miles, “Miss Science Fiction,” at Cinvention, 1949.
She “sported a walkie-talkie attachment,” noted the Cincinnati Enquirer, but “had a difficult time keeping receiving set upright on her blond head.” The backdrop is by Bill Kroll
. (From the collection of Forrest J Ackerman via Andrew I. Porter.)
“Lois Miles,” wrote Roy Lavender in his 1949 Cinvention conrep, “The Convention Scene Dimly,” “Found that she was a most appropriate choice for "Miss Science Fiction", even if only by chance. She really does read s-f and can talk it with the most rabid of the fans. Need I add that only the most rabid fans would? Our best to her. She did her job well.”
Other attendees disagreed, as Dick Eney wrote in Fancyclopedia 2, and few seemed to take the time to figure out who she was, apparently in an early “Fake Geek Girls” reaction.
According to a 1976 account by Fred Patten, Miss Science Fiction was one of several fans who posed in costume for the benefit of the press. She wore “a sort of leopard-spotted swim suit with a telephone dial strapped to one thigh and a walkie-talkie cap.”
Though Dave Kyle’s girlfriend at the time, Miles, in fact, was a member and secretary of the Hydra Club, and a schoolmate of Carol Stanton’s.
Kyle recalled in Mimosa 10 (July 1991): “It wasn’t until my return to the New York scene to start Gnome Press with Martin (the original) Greenberg in the late 1940s that I had a steady girl friend who became part of the science fiction crowd, Lois Miles. She was a garment district model, a tall girl from Pennsylvania described by my friends as a ‘beautiful, blue-eyed blonde who deserves better.’ Lois became a regular at the Hydra Club, and when I became chairman, she became the secretary.”
Soon after Cinvention, Lois married Futurian Jack Gillespie.
|From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
|At the Cinvention, the Hydra Club rang in on us a cheesecake model. (Dave Kyle seems to have been responsible) who had been promised that she'd be declared "Miss Science Fiction" and would be available for the usual lightly-clad photos. The general indignation was voiced by Milt Rothman, who declared that if this was a sample of what they could expect from New York (which was bidding for next year's con) Portland would have his vote. The move was justified on the ground that all publicity is good publicity (a doubtful claim anyway, and hardly one to appeal to fans). Objection to it was founded on (1) the fact that fandom didn't sponsor it -- it was dropped into the con with no notice; (2) the model's exhibition of model-type stupidity about stf; (3) the sort of people it would attract; not that fans don't enjoy Beautiful Unclad Damsels in picture and person, but as publicity such things are identified with middlebrow and lower types of people. Fans, as individualists of some intelligence and education and critics of standardized morality, rank as highbrows (yes, SaM, even when they drive trucks) and could not attract compatible types by cheesecake publicity.
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