When I was contemplating starting a “space and culture” blog back in 2006 (Common Themes, which became this blog you see here), one of my inspirations was “Space Age” advertisements from the 1950s-1970s. I have a collection of advertising books from those decades, and a copy of Science Magazine with the initial moon rock findings from Apollo 11 (basically, LPSC #1) with some spectacular examples of horn-rimmed-glasses-wearing, white-lab-coat-sporting scientists forging ahead in the name of PROGRESS. I love this stuff. I have a whole category here for advertising, because it’s just so darn fun.
I love the “future that never was” because hey, that future was pretty exciting, and a lot more optimistic than the grim realities of what’s happening right now at NASA. In fact, the “new vision” is so nebulous that one might say we don’t have a future in spaceflight at the moment. That may change, and certainly I hope it does… in the mean time, I have shelves of classic and modern science fiction to keep me dreaming.
Anyway, last week I was pointed to a fantastic upcoming book by two Twitter friends, linking to two separate, high-profile interviews and reviews — this author has a savvy publicist!! — and all I could think was, “at last, someone wrote a book FOR ME!” This book is Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962 by Megan Prelinger. I must own this book, forthwith. Or, well, forthwith upon release.
With article titles like “The Space Program We Almost Had” and “Reaching for the Stars When Space Was a Thrill”, it’s clear that this book release has struck a nerve with the media and is uncannily timed (unintentionally, I’m sure.) Even impossibilities seem possible in hindsight, and I’d be willing to bet many people besides myself are looking backward and shaking our heads. (And in the mean time, Russia has realized they can charge whatever they want to ferry NASA astronauts to the space station, because hey, WHAT CHOICE DO WE HAVE? Um, none.)
I missed out on Apollo completely, and even most sci-fi I read was written before I was born. I long for the Space Age, having never experienced it personally. I’m a child of the Space Shuttle, and my era is ending, with nothing to replace it (on NASA’s part; full well I know that the next era will most likely be commercial, and I embrace that future with open arms. Maybe I’ll even get to go somewhere in my lifetime. Viva la space tourist!)
Which is all a really long way of saying, I really look forward to Another Science Fiction, and I can already tell I’ll be loving it from cover to cover. Preorder it on Amazon — it comes out on May 1st!
By purchasing this book through my links, I may possibly get an Amazon Affiliates payout… in another year or two. For more information, click here.