This quarter’s theme “Otherworldly Realms: Portals to Fantasia” got me thinking about my childhood reading fantasies and I definitely went through a phase where I was very much into books about the solar system, planets, and space travel (I was a very nerdy child, see the photo at the end of my previous post).
One such book was Challenge of The Stars, with gorgeous illustrations of spaceships, otherworldly planet-scapes and starscapes. The book describes in detail the possible future of space travel, including space stations, lunar bases, and even the use of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn as staging posts on our way to the far reaches of the solar system and beyond, with intergalactic travel using a Photon Star-ship or even an Asteroid Ark.
Re-reading the book as an adult, it was interesting to see, and understand better the appreciation given to the illustrator David Hardy in the foreword by Arthur C Clarke. As he says,
“… the astronomical artist, like the writer, will always be far ahead of the explorer. He can depict scenes which no human eye will ever witness, because of their danger, or their remoteness in time or space. Only through the imagination can we watch the formation of the planets, the explosion of a supernova, the ball-bearing smooth surface of a neutron star, or the view of our own Galaxy…”
*Star Wars appeared in cinemas in 1977… the original cover of the 1972 edition of Challenge of the Stars used a different image.
Copies of the original 1972 / 1977 editions are now hard to come by, but you might have better luck with the more recent revision published in 2004 – Futures: 50 Years in Space: The Challenge of the Stars
Buy Futures: 50 Years in Space: The Challenge of the Stars on Amazon
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