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Travel Distant Worlds!

"Soon there will be no one who remembers when spaceflight was still a dream, the reverie of reclusive boys and the vision of a handful of men"
-- Wyn Wachhorst, 1995.

Visit Your Friendly Space Travel Agency

Your appointment will be yesterday... Now wait for last year... Tomorrow as it used to be... It wasn't that long ago that we had a future... All these quotes and a rocket-powered imagination will propel us on a tour of Solar planets and beyond, all as advertised in Space Travel brochures and scenic holograms.

("Atomic Avenue #1", art by Glen Orbik)

Retro-inspired Travel Posters: Visit Other Planets in Style!

You've seen these wonderful vintage posters from the 1920s and 1930s, with the distinct Art Nouveau, or Art Deco look, extolling the pleasures of luxury European destinations:

(images via, see a lot more there)

Well, it turns out that you can enjoy similar travel posters for the popular luxury interplanetary destinations - courtesy of Steven Thomas:

We asked him how he came up with the idea for these space travel posters:

"A few years ago I acquired a table in an art show at a role-playing gaming convention. I needed to come up with something that would catch the eye, was sci-fi/fantasy related and something I would want hanging on my wall at home. The following year, "Venus by Air" and "Explore the Crimson Canyons of Mars" were very well received and a fellow artist suggested I create posters for the entire solar system. So, the next year (2007) "Europa Air" and "Midnight Zephyr" were added to the collection. Since then I’ve been hard at work completing the series".

Continuing on a futuristic tour of outer planets:

"...I really admire the art and design of advertising posters of the early 20th century. Combine that with my appreciation for retro science fiction magazine cover art and you get an ad for a futuristic destination. If you are fan of vintage travel ads you may notice that some of the posters are loosely based on existing travel or transportation posters. Whether that be color, layout or some other design element. I felt it would give them a sense of familiarity. Prints of various sizes are available at"

Rack up your Space Miles!

Take advantage of travel deals and blast off from the Earth-bound worries into the... space-related ones:

Illustrations by W.A. Kocher and Richard Loew, 1956

Karl Gilzin's book (from 1958) contained some pretty neat illustrations:

(image via)

But the illustrations got even better once this book was translated into Russian, and some nameless artist from DetGiz Publishing House in 1960 drew these inspiring scenes:

(art: DetGiz, Russia, 1960)

Get to the spaceport and meet your pretty flight attendants (note "shark fins" on the car, as well as on the rocket) -

(image credit: Plan 59)

Get to boarding, and perhaps even meet the pilot:

(Illustration by John Polgreen, image via)

(Illustration by James Heugh, image via)
There are some groovy hotels and busy spaceports out there:

(image credit: Michael Peters)

Art by Das, "Ruimtevaart" (image via)

I don't think you'd need to bring your furniture with you, but in case you want to settle down:

Sofa by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, 1958 - via)

Start your tour from the orbit:

L5 Society made up of huge rotating cities, placed in orbit (at Lagrangian points), was a popular futurist idea in the 1960s and 1970s. Toroidal and cylindrical colonies were supposed to be mankind's new pilgrimage and frontier for habitation; economical studies showed that the concept had merit, but political agendas and sheer cost of transport to space effectively killed this idea in the 1980s. Nothing prevents it from being revived some time in the future, so have a look at the concepts and - who knows - maybe your children will see something like this:

(art by Rick Guidice)

Interior views, featuring colossal windows, whole bays and inlets and even a suspension bridge:

(art by Don Davis)

See a lot more of 1970s "Space Colony" art on this NASA page.

Short Stopover on the Moon

NASA proposed vision of the Moon colony (drawn in 2001, compare to Arthur Clarke - Stanley Kubrick's 2001 vision):

You can even have Lunar Rover unloaded from a cargo spacecraft, and hit the back country in good comfort:

(images: NASA, via)

Edd Cartier's vision of concerned female pilot (from "Other Worlds" magazine, July 1952)

art by Edd Cartier, "Other Worlds" 1952

More postcards from other worlds... Some unnamed planet is getting explored by a spider-like vehicle:

(art from old Soviet "Znanie Sila" magazine)

(left - art from TM, Russia; right - image via)

art by McKenna, IF magazine, March 1967

You don't need much... This ad from the 1960s proclaims:
"Have Slide Rule, Will Travel!"

TO THE STARS! - rake up Light Years, not Air Miles!

And then, send postcards home from distant worlds at other stars, propelled there by mighty ships, devouring space and time:

M. Vasiljev "Travel to Space", Russia 1958


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic. I love Retrofuturism. Visions of Futures that will never happen.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...or maybe they will.

9:23 AM  

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Collecting Pulp Magazines

Ephemera Interview with Avi Abrams

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s

Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists

Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder

Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems

Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey

Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.

Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy

Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
...lovely baroque magical lands, and more

Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews

Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
(awesome must-reads)

10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction

Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
(many stories worth reading)

"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review

some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)

"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert

"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
"The Santaroga Barrier" and "The Green Brain"

Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s

"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!

"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators

Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque

Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre

Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts

H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations

"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther

original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories

The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F

more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links

The Surreal Office

"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge

Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick

"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.

Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany

"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.

Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane

Travel Distant Worlds!

Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...

Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...

Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife

Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration

Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
Mind-bending Cold War world-building

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2

Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"

"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Interview with John C. Wright

Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"

William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

Also read recent posts:
Author's Pen Names - Most Complete List Ever
The Wonder Timeline: SF&F Restrospective
Space Adventure Article



"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

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Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
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Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.