The New York Times ran an interesting piece on advertising the space race recently, which itself was inspired by a book called Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race.
It was “Mad Men” meets “Flash Gordon.”
The years from 1957 to 1962 were a golden age of science fiction, as well as paranoia and exhilaration on a cosmic scale. The future was still the future back then, some of us could dream of farms on the moon and heroically finned rockets blasting off from alien landscapes. Others worried about Russian moon bases.
Scientists debated whether robots or humans should explore space. Satellites and transistors were jazzy emblems of postwar technology, and we were about to unravel the secrets of the universe and tame the atom (if it did not kill us first).
Some of the most extravagant of these visions of the future came not from cheap paperbacks, but from corporations buffing their high-tech credentials and recruiting engineering talent in the heady days when zooming budgets for defense and NASA had created a gold rush in outer space.
One of the high points of the article was a quote from the author of the book.
“These images suggest that the furthest reach of what humankind hoped to find in space was in fact the very essence of infinity,” Ms. Prelinger writes.
Think about that.
A perpetual frontier waiting to be conquered, with no end in sight, ever.
You can find a collection of the images the article refers to here.