Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962
Even the most ardent futurist would agree that space has lost something of its lustre. In this fallow period of space exploration, with the space shuttle’s impending retirement, failing satellites and slashed NASA budgets, the association between innovation and outer space has been slightly lacking.
Another Science Fiction looks over the early years of the space race, when government billions propped up a rampantly expanding defence industry, eager to sugar-coat its wares with the sheen of a science fiction tomorrow that was eternally just around the corner.
As a result, Megan Prelinger’s book is a fascinating history of how the military-industrial complex pitched its wares against a starry backdrop of moondust and interplanetary exploration, creating new vistas that existed largely in the copywriters’ imaginations.
Richly illustrated throughout, it provides a thorough cultural backdrop for the freshly revived retro aesthetic of 1950s space travel. Right now, the future of space is looking ever more commercial.
As private space travel gradually grows in profile and popularity, we can probably expect a return to the gung-ho days of glamour by association, as big brands hop aboard the next generation of rocketships and space planes to ensure their products and services are placed right at the final frontier.