Desperately seeking illustrated books on our future in space from 1960s, 70s and 80s
July 6, 2007 8:30 PM   Subscribe

When I was a kid, my local library had a great selection of illustrated books focusing on the hypothectical future of space travel, life in space stations, space craft, planetary exploration. Some were pretty far out, but the most memorable were kind of "2001" in their theme and a bit more serious. After several google missions, and a swing through amazon's used and rare books, I've come up pretty much empty handed. Anyone else out there remember flipping through these books and planning your first trip to mars? Titles, authors, links or any hint what so ever would be appreciated!
posted by thehickmans to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Does this help?
posted by YamwotIam at 8:42 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

(from this Google search)
posted by YamwotIam at 8:52 PM on July 6, 2007

Isn't Chesley Bonestell the de facto retro-future space art guy?

I've only found this on Amazon so far, but if you weren't familiar with the name already, maybe his work is a good start:
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:57 PM on July 6, 2007

WOW -- YamwotIam's link is astounding. It's interesting though trying to figure out what this 1930 illustrator was thinking with a Lindbergh Flyer type airplane landing on the moon.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:24 PM on July 6, 2007

Have you had a wander through the archives of Paleofuture?
A little bit early but from 1946: La Croisière du Nébulor Fusée Atomique [via]
posted by peacay at 9:56 PM on July 6, 2007

I still have this one hanging around my library. Now that I think about it, I've been carting it from place to place for nearly 30 years. Wow.
posted by JohnYaYa at 9:58 PM on July 6, 2007

My sister made me a scrapbook of kids pictures, and in one from 1975 I'm holding what I believe says "Purnell Library of Knowledge" and "(something) ROCKETS". It had a red cover and I remember towards the end it pictured a spherical nuclear rocket.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:00 PM on July 6, 2007

The ones I remember were the Usborne World of the Future books: one is described here, but there was also a book on star travel and one on robots.
posted by Paragon at 11:33 PM on July 6, 2007

Taschen's Future Perfect is a wallow in that kind of art, yet not an expensive volume.
posted by zadcat at 11:52 PM on July 6, 2007

Seconding Chesley Bonestell.

I picked up an old copy of his landmark illustrated coffee-table book, "A Conquest of Space," on Ebay. Great illustrations -- some amazingly accurate, others far off the map (Bonestell depicts fields of grass on the martian surface!).

Bonestell also provided paintings for the backgrounds for color 50's Sci-Fi movies, like "Destination Moon." (You can pick up this title on Netflix.)
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:56 AM on July 7, 2007

Most of your suggestions so far are from the 60s and 70s. Welcome to Moonbase is one I loved from the 80s.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:22 AM on July 7, 2007

"You Will Go to the Moon" was a childhood favorite of mine.
posted by brownpau at 8:05 AM on July 7, 2007

When I was a kid in the 1980s, National Geographic put out a series of coffee table-sized hardcovers with titles like Our Fifty States, Our World and so on.

I read these books obsessively, and my favorite was Our Universe. The cover was a dramatic oil painting of a starship and the book had an overarching narrative that posited an intrastellar journey to each of the planets. The book was divided into sections for each world, with essays, charts and maps (if possible), but the first section of the book was a fanciful primer on what sort of life we could conceivably find on the other planets. I remember the Jupiter one very well: an oil painting showed benevolent hot-air balloon animals and the shark-toothed carnivores that hunted them.

Here's the 1995 edition; it's got the same cover, but hopefully the alien section hasn't been redacted.
posted by CRM114 at 8:17 AM on July 7, 2007

a classic
posted by Max Power at 10:21 AM on July 7, 2007

Seconding Spacecraft 2000-2100, A.D. mentioned by JohnYaYa above. It is charming.
posted by thinman at 11:20 AM on July 7, 2007

YamwotIam's link is astounding

Yeah, he beat me to it. Wish that site had more scans. Although Chesley Bonestell's the master I also liked the books by Roy A. Gallant (for example, Exploring the Planets) but they were more space art than spaceship art.
posted by Rash at 2:32 PM on July 7, 2007

All of Stewart Cowley's Terran Trade Authority books are pretty sweet.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:21 AM on July 8, 2007

« Older Make me a cheap wizard   |   Cliff's Notes Guide to the UN +IR Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.