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Vassos, Ruth

(1896-1965) US fashion designer/adviser and author who, in collaboration with her husband, the artist/industrial designer John Vassos (1898-1985), produced three narratives which, though very heavily illustrated, were not constructed as Graphic Novels. Of sf interest is Ultimo: An Imaginative Narration of Life Under the Earth With Projections by John Vassos and the Text by Ruth Vassos (1930), which depicts a future Earth whose inhabitants have been driven into vast Underground Cities by the fading of the Sun. John Vassos's brutalist Art Deco images of great ocean liners caught in global ice remain intensely vivid, though Ruth Vassos's text is much more pointed in its descriptions of the advanced Technology developed below, aids for survival that function as instrumentalities in the maintaining of a coercive Utopia. After reaching what seems to have been the Earth's core, the remainder of humanity – some of them at least resembling naked Superheroes, like Ultimo himself – plunges into interstellar space, riding Rockets guided through translucent magnetized tunnels, looking for a warm planet to inhabit. [JC]

Ruth Vassos

born Albany, New York: 1896

died Wilton, Connecticut: 16 February 1965

works (selected)


Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 23:39 pm on 29 June 2022.