View Full Version : LOL...Tales of Future Past

2006-Jun-17, 02:56 AM
I'm sure people have seen this site, but maybe some haven't. I must be punchy/tired, because by the time I got to Saturn I had tears in my eyes from laughing. The retro pictures of martians and such are hilarious.
Some of the other tours on the sidebar are amusing as well, again, especially for the retro pictures (such as the Atomic Power and Tesla stuff).

In the 1920s and '30s the most influential of science fiction illustrators was Frank R. Paul. He supplied many of the covers for Hugo Gernsback's magazines such as Amazing Stories and though the people he drew looked like suet poured into clothes, his buildings, machines, and aliens had a complexity, detail, and drama about them that provided artists with the visual vocabulary of science fiction to this day

You click on the "Start your tour with life on other worlds" at the bottom of the page:

2006-Jun-17, 03:50 AM
Wonderful site! Thanks for the link. Good for lots of laughs and it also brought back a few memories. Always loved the cover art on those old pulp scifi magazines.

Funny how our future then is now in the past, so to speak. :think:

Big Brother Dunk
2006-Jun-17, 04:48 AM
Great link! Thanks Mel.

The man from Neptune is thinking: "If this guy is French, I am so screwed."
:D :D Hilarious!!

2006-Jun-17, 01:36 PM
Thanks for the link! :)

Speaking of artwork, I'll also say an RIP Tim Hildebrandt :( , he and his brother Greg have put out some fabulous artwork over the years. Works include the poster for Star Wars, LotR calendars and more. See some samples at their website (http://www.brothershildebrandt.com/).

edited to fix typo.

2006-Jun-17, 02:34 PM
That was pretty entertaining, thanks.

2006-Jun-17, 03:56 PM
In the late '80s/ early '90s, the Smithsonian had a wonderful exhibit called "Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future," with graphics/artifacts display past predictions of the future. There is a soft cover catalog of the exhibition still kicking around. The cover illustration is the "city of the future" shown on the home page of the posted link (tho the giant aircraft there has been added to the original image). The catalog can be found for sale on Amazon and other places.

It became a travelling exhibit, but now ending it's tour (http://www.yesterdaystomorrows.org/about.html). The link here has many images from the exhibit.

Dr Nigel
2006-Jun-17, 05:12 PM
Very funny. Although Schiaparelli never thought there were canals on Mars. He called them channels, which was mis-translated as canals.

Disinfo Agent
2006-Jun-17, 05:19 PM
Not exactly (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=170220#post170220) mistranslated.

2006-Jun-17, 06:00 PM
You have to hand it to Paul, of all the planets to conjure up some form of life, Pluto was a long shot even in his day. Still, they are gosh-darn cute.


Why can't I shake the feeling these bat-people are about to pin the guy down, extricate his brain, and store it in a jar? ;)

Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-17, 06:20 PM
It appears that back in the 30's science fiction illustrators percieved the sun as being red or pink, not yellow or white.

2006-Jun-17, 06:36 PM
However absurd all these predictions of "future living" look now, there was a good reason for them. By 1920's and 30's an incredible number of not particularly rich people began to enjoy hygiene, warmth, comforts and entertainments which fifty years ealier or so were available only to very rich -- thanks to mass production and urban planning. Granted, these newfound comforts and (especially) entertainment rather lacked in variety, but at the time that seemed a minor, indeed contemptible complaint. Variety was a quaint artifact of handicrafts and had no place in the technocratic future. Bellamy's "Looking Backwards" had news and music piped to people's apartments; everyone listened to same thing at the same time*. No different radio stations. I think Bellamy truly hated unnecessary choice -- he would have been horrified by the iPods, let alone Internet.

Basically, pretty much everyone who tried to project the future in the first half of 20th Century did same thing: they looked at the trends which had improved people's lives, and took them to their logical conclusion. Hence antiseptic cities-in-a-building where everyone wears synthetic jumpsuits, eats synthetic food, and not a blade of grass in sight. Individual desires and idiosynchrasies were either ignored or actively condemned as bourgeoise anachronism.

*For a few decades, Soviet Union had exactly that

2006-Jun-18, 06:32 PM
Glad you found it amusing. The guy I had gotten the link from some weeks ago had actually linked this section (http://www.davidszondy.com/future/Living/life_2000.htm) on inventions and/or ideas that never came to pass. I thought some of those pictures were hilarious, too. Actually, the whole site is amusing, imo.

Sammy, thanks for the link. I never saw that exhibit, but I know from a 6th grade paper I still have, titled "My Utopia," that my ideas were very driven by Jetsons sort of stuff, such as I wanted a watch-tv-radio-stereo-movie-combo deal one could wear on the wrist, and the ability to talk to and view people all over the world (though I wanted it in the realm of telepathy, lol), but hey, at least there's the Internet and webcams. Sadly, no practical flying cars or ubiquitous jetpacks. :(

Another link of retro-ideas, though not in the same humourous vein, offers reminder tidbits:

Regarding the Davis astronaut-couple on STS-47...I can't say if it had been me I would have passed up the opportunity..."first in space"...they were married!...the heck with professionalism. :whistle:

Another cool retro site that has been posted here before:

Ilya wrote: Why can't I shake the feeling these bat-people are about to pin the guy down, extricate his brain, and store it in a jar?


*For a few decades, Soviet Union had exactly that.

The "bats" sitting on that structure look like penguin-bats. Regarding your other points, yeah, future food looked so appealing (not). Also, I recall P.J. O'Rourke's comment in his 80's book, "Holidays in Hell," when visiting parts of Warsaw: "Commies love concrete...Everything is made of it--streets, buildings, floors, walls, ceilings, roofs, window frames, lamp posts, statues, benches, plus some of the food, I think." But it was all crumbling even though new.

Kullat Nunu
2006-Jun-19, 04:31 PM
One my favorite sites... The space section is really hilarious.

2006-Jun-19, 06:42 PM
Pretty cool stuff. Easy to see the influence on today's work.

2006-Jun-19, 07:04 PM
What a great site! I spent wa-a-a-y more time reading that this weekend than I would care to admit.

My only gripe about the site is the white text on a black background. That tends to tire the eyes out really quickly.

2006-Jun-19, 07:22 PM
I love that site now, however, I do have a few gripes with some comments he makes, aka, NASA being stupid for not using pencils. All in all though I can tell I'm going to be reading it forever and a day.

2006-Jun-19, 07:37 PM
I love that site now, however, I do have a few gripes with some comments he makes, aka, NASA being stupid for not using pencils. All in all though I can tell I'm going to be reading it forever and a day.
I think he hasn't considered the damage graphite dust can do to electrical circuits.

2006-Jun-19, 07:46 PM
Great illos, hysterical commentary.

2006-Jun-19, 09:40 PM
I think he hasn't considered the damage graphite dust can do to electrical circuits.

It's urban legend that NASA spent a fortune to develop "space pens" instead of using a pencil.

When the astronauts began to fly, like the Russians, they used pencils, but the leads sometimes broke and became a hazard by floating in the [capsule's] atmosphere where there was no gravity. They could float into an eye or nose or cause a short in an electrical device. In addition, both the lead and the wood of the pencil could burn rapidly in the pure oxygen atmosphere. Paul Fisher realized the astronauts needed a safer and more dependable writing instrument, so in July 1965 he developed the pressurized ball pen, with its ink enclosed in a sealed, pressurized ink cartridge. Fisher sent the first samples to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of the Houston Space Center. The pens were all metal except for the ink, which had a flash point above 200C. The sample Space Pens were thoroughly tested by NASA. They passed all the tests and have been used ever since on all manned space flights, American and Russian. All research and developement costs were paid by Paul Fisher. No development costs have ever been charged to the government.