By chance I recently heard of the late illustrator Peter Elson, when someone (thanks Alexander) directed me to a site with his works, mainly book covers. Top-notch craftsmanship — link >>>
Every once in a while, I find small treasure troves on the web. Here is a Russian fellow who has created a lot of illos of great-looking diesel- and atom-retro devices and vehicles — link >>>
In the beginning of the 1950s, the United States military built a major air base in the icy wastes of Greenland. Quite a feat with the technology available 60 years ago. This enthusiastic period documentary tells how and why.
During the Cold War, top-notch scientists and engineers in the United States developed plans for a interplanetary spacecraft, called the Orion, which was to be propelled by a string of nuclear explosions, hundreds or thousands of them. Project Orion’s first target was — unsurprisingly — Mars. BBC has made a documentary on the story.
In the 1960s, the Soviet Union had an ambitious program for putting a man on the Moon. However, it failed due to serious rocketry problems and was discontinued. This documentary tells a lot of interesting facts about it.
Photographer Renaud Marion has made a series of photos of retro-futuristic Mercedes Benz air cars. Very cool. Link to the full set>>>>
The X-15 research plane was a legendary rocket aircraft when I was a kid in the 1960s: a sleek black beauty that daring silver-suited pilots steered to the edge of space.
It turns out that its accomplishments fifty years ago have become useful once again in the current development of the state-of-the-art spacecraft SpaceShipTwo and DreamChaser. BBC has published an article on these aspects of the X-15 project – link >>>
And here is a period NASA documentary on the original X-15 project — link >>>
I was born in the 1950s. So I currently live in the future of my youth — and it is hardly what my younger self expected it to be. But it is fortunately a much better “place” than those we were able to imagine in 1973.
More than fifty years ago, science fiction author H Beam Piper penned Omnilingual, a novelette* about archeology and “forensic” linguistics on an alien world. I read it for the first time in an SF anthology in the late 1970s and it struck a chord deep in my heart, my being a language nerd. I would have loved to participate in that interplanetary expedition and test my wits against the enigmas of the distant past.
By chance I recently discovered a lightly edited version of the story being freely available on the Internet. It seems that the original story has entered public domain, at least in the United States (I am not sure how, because Piper died only about 50 years ago).
In Omnilingual, Piper combines the spirit of field work with the alien-ness of being elsewhere in cosmos. He expertly mixes some of the genres that I love: alternate history, legendary “Mars”, scientists in action (i.e. researching and analyzing while squabbling and practicing scholarly one-up-manship — yes, research funding disputes, college politics and “publish or perish” are all there).
*i.e. a long short-story.