The third and final Love Set in July 1976's Penthouse took us 100 years into the future in the first of what would eventually be many science fiction inspired sets in the magazine. Photographed (and "produced"; this particular credit being a first) by Earl Miller it took a very Barbarella, pre-Star Wars, approach to SF costume, from the days when everything SF was plastic, shiny or metallic.
This was not only pre-Star Wars but pre-Close Encounters of the Third Kind as well. In a year's time those two films would catapult SF into the mainstream and pull it out of the low budget hole it had been in since the fifties.
Strangely, our SF hero doesn't look dissimilar to Mark Hamill from Star Wars. The young lady is considerable hotter than Carrie Fisher at the time (her sail barge slave girl outfit being some years in the future).
The text for this pictorial eschewed the usual telling of the story of the couple and, instead, read like it had been written in 2076 looking back on all the things that people in 1976 would have been surprised by.
In particular, it discussed the prevalence of virtual sex using stored memories of previous experiences and personalised aphrodisiacs.
Fortunately, from a visual point of view our 2076 couple seem happier to inhabit the same space rather than transmitting their passion "via satellite".
Here, Luke, launches a tentative probe towards Venus. Compared with some of the previous girl/boy sets this one is quite modest and is rather more like one from the early seventies; without all the wandering in fields and woods, of course.
Luke soon turns his attention to her heavenly spheres and very appealing celestial objects they are too.
The girl rides Luke's rocket for a time before he launches an exploration of the alien vegetation on her planetary surface.
The strange "science fiction" colouring in this is a bit distracting and the print reproduction in this issue wasn't that good leading to a rather blotchy effect. Most of these pictures we scanned from the UK version which had better print and paper quality. I'm not sure if the glowing necklace is supposed to reflect the accompanying text's talk about virtual "vibraphonic" sex in that the girl is perhaps receiving a sexual experience via satellite. The use of the term "vibraphonic" is curious, as it conjures up images of a young lady reclining in front of Lionel Hampton.
In the past, the UK version of Penthouse had often omitted faux fellatio shots such as this but this time they let it through.
Our future femme appears to be trying to reignite Luke's rocket in this one.
Having the man's hand on the girl's pussy was still quite a daring pose and including some kissing as well makes it all the more effective.
So, something of a curate's egg of a pictorial. The SF approach makes a change although now looks horribly dated. The girl, whoever she is, is gorgeous but the strange lighting often doesn't do the clarity of the pictures any favours. Miller will be back with another more traditional boy/girl shoot the following month and we will feature that one shortly.