Old-school Moon Exploration


Lunar exploration in the old-school heroic way: Fred Freeman made this piece of artwork for First Men to the Moon, a realistic moon-flight novel by rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun, published in 1960. I read the book in a Swedish translation in 1966 or 1967, but I only retain three fragmentary memories of its two astronauts’ troubled voyage to the Moon and back.

Space That Never Was

Space That Never Was is an art project by illustrator Mac Rebisz. The goal is to make technologically accurate depictions of space missions that could have been executed if the US/Soviet space race had continued for another decade at the hectic pace of the late 1960s, with manned expeditions to Mars and beyond.

The Soviet moon landing depicted above (click on the picture for a larger version) was on the way around 1970 and the one-man lander would have looked like that. However, the endeavor foundered because of insoluble problems with its huge N-1 rocket.

Read more about Mac’s project and view his “space history” paintings here — link >>>

Retrotech Space Travel


In the post-WW2 years that form the interface between dieselretro and atomretro, master illustrator Chesley Bonestell created a pseudo-realistic vision of near-future space travel: sleek craft heading for dramatic alien worlds. I encountered his works in my childhood in 1960s and they have stayed in my mind.

Here is one of Bonestell’s stylish rocket planes. When I write science fiction, I enjoy putting that kind of spacecraft in the stories because of their beauty.

What If Mao Failed in 1949?

Alternate history is always an exciting mind game for me. The Economist magazine has written an interesting piece on what could have happened if the Nationalists had won the Chinese Civil War after World War Two. Read it here — link >>>

Hint: China would probably have been a better place for the common people without Mao’s mass-murders, man-made disasters and ideological obsessions.