Boing Boing heroes Megan and Rick Prelinger run the Prielinger Library
, an amazing privately-funded but public "appropriation-friendly" collection of books, magazines, and ephemera in San Francisco. In my opinion, the Prelinger Library's materials have the vibe that I imagine a Boing Boing Library would feel like. Megan has been working on a fascinating book, "Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962
," that will be published in May by Blast Books. Judging by today's New York Times preview of the book, it's going to be a doozy of retro-futurism and atomic/modernist design. Congrats, Megan! From the NYT:
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.
"Reaching for the Stars When Space Was a Thrill" (NYT, thanks Greg Long!)
In the pages of magazines like Aviation Week, Missiles and Rockets and even Fortune, companies, some famous and some now obscure, were engaged in a sort of leapfrog of dreams. And so, for example, Republic Aviation of Farmingdale, N.Y. -- "Designers and Builders of the Incomparable Thundercraft" -- could be found bragging in Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine in 1959 about the lunar gardening experiments it was doing for a future Air Force base on the moon.
Or the American Bosch Arma Corporation showing off, in Fortune, its "Cosmic Butterfly," a solar-powered electrically propelled vehicle to ferry passengers and cargo across the solar system...
The book, she said, was inspired by a shipment of old publications to the library, including Aviation Week & Space Technology and Missiles and Rockets. "I little expected that the advertising in their pages would seize my attention more than the articles themselves," she writes in the introduction to her book.
Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962 (Amazon)
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