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 >>>

“Space 1889”: Sky Wolves in Action

The year is 1891 and the place is Mars. A pack of steam-propelled airships slogs it out with a sky frigate above a canal city. The small ships display no flags, so their attack is a case of piracy and not a legitimate act of war.

This is a scene from the Victorian science fiction game Space 1889 (link >>> ) by Frank Chadwick. This has been my favorite game since the early 1990s; my buddies and I have experienced scores of adventures in the dilapidated cities and cold skies of the Red Planet.

Click on the picture for a larger version.

Artist: Flavio Bolla at DeviantArt

“Mars 2030”: Virtual-reality Mars

NASA is working with Fusion Media in developing Mars 2030, a virtual reality simulator closely based on a patch of real Martian landscape. The simulation is painstakingly detailed and based on current research data, including such matters as the reflectivity of the sand. The simulated astronauts’ suits, habitats and vehicles are also derived from NASA’s design concepts. The players will for example work as geologists, speleologists and surveyor.

Mars 2030 is supposed to be launched in late 2016. I plan to get it asap, provided that I do not have to invest in a fancy new computer to handle its graphics.

Read more about it here — link >>> — and do take a look at the Youtube teaser below.

“Dusk and Dawn”: an Oasis Stronghold

Today I continue with the Patchwork World theme that started in the previous post, but now we go elsewhere in that multifaceted setting.

I am currently in the final stages of writing Dusk and Dawn novella, the third Patchwork World story. It is a stand-alone sequel to the published short-stories “Dust” and “The Road” (link >>> ). Much of its action occurs in the arid Flatlands, a region that has been inspired by the Martian deserts portrayed in many of Leigh Brackett’s stories.

Here is a place that could be a fortified oasis settlement in the Flatlands, located at an ancient dead canal. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Artist: Adam Kuczek on DeviantArt

Here Be Robots: a “Medieval” Mars map

Science illustrator Eleanor Lutz has hand-drawn this pseudo-medieval Here Be Robots map of Mars, using recent topographic data from NASA. (Click on the map for a larger version.) There are plenty of details, such as the location of current and past Mars probes and the background of the names of terrain features. I wish I had a suitable stretch of free wallspace in my bedroom for it.

Ms Lutz also sells prints and posters of the Here Be Robots map via her blog. Read more here — link >>>

Terraform Mars on the kitchen table

When it comes to boardgames, I prefer those that emphasize progress, development and resource-management, because I want to construct, not tear down. So when I learned more than a year ago that a card-driven boardgame simulating a future terraforming of Mars was being designed here in Sweden, I rejoiced. And now it seems that it will hit the market coming autumn.

Read more at Fryx Games’s site — link >>>

Leigh Brackett’s 100 years

Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton. Two successful pulp writers, married to one another, in a sci-fi cosmos a long time ago.

One of my favourite science fiction authors, pulp queen Leigh Brackett, was born one hundred years ago on December 7, 1915. She wrote interplanetary adventures in a dramatic solar system: canals and ancient horrors on Mars, jungles and dark science on Venus, and so on. Her stories frequently moved in the borderland between SF and fantasy, because the genre boundaries were less clearcut in those days.

The fantastic Mars she created has been close to my heart since my first visit to it in my late teens. Check my review of her Sea-kings of Mars novella here — link >>>

Leigh Brackett’s final feat was the manuscript to Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, which so far is my favorite in the Skywalker Saga. Unfortunately she died before the completion of the movie.

Here is an article commemorating her centenary — link >>>