The future used to be awesome.

Space Colony Artwork 1970

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34 Responses:

  1. When I was a kid I had a book with that first one in it -- I never noticed the beach umbrella! Even in space, you can lay out.

  2. prog says:

    It's like an Arthur C. Clarke / James Lileks mashup.

  3. jayrtfm says:

    The artist is Don Davis whose site is

    A really good listing of space art is at

    And if you want to actually DO something about making this real, check out and especially and the organization founded by Gerard K. O'Neill

  4. psymbiotic says:

    No doubt, these paintings were inspirational for this:


  5. inoah says:

    I had a book with both of those pictures in it. Years later, when reading Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama, I realized the bottom picture is probably a lot like what he had in mind--if indeed the artist didn't get inspiration from that very book.

    • jwz says:

      The book I had with those pictures was Colonies In Space (1977), was it the same one?

      I love this line in the Amazon reviews: "This is a very good book and honestly my favorite book of all non-fiction (excepting scripture, of course)."

  6. boldra says:

    Just look how big CDs were in 1970:

    We've come a long long way.

  7. substitute says:

    Oh wow I totally had all this art as a kid. I probably still have some in poster form. FLASHBACK CITY

  8. It's like Halo... only peacful... with space yuppies.

  9. lordshell says:

    The future's still awesome, it's just got crappier aesthetic designers now.

  10. autodidactic says:

    My ex had a book in his childhood that talked about being on Mars by sometime in 1990. At sixteen, in 1990, he was inexplicably depressed.

    I remember all the kickass art from all the issues of OMNI that my mom's roommate would kick me. My bedroom walls were covered with it until I graduated to frosted-haired prettyboy rockstars.


    • Bradbury had some short stories about living on mars in 1990. I loved them, but now they make me sad.

      Where is my rocket car?

      • deafscribe says:

        You'd probably enjoy Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars series. And get a copy of the Traveler's Guide to Mars by William K. Hartmann, as a companion piece.

        We used to dream big. Of all the things we've lost since the 70's, I think that's the most profound. I love William Gibson's writing, but the bitter cynicism that underlies his style sadly - and accurately - reflects our times.

        • dzm6 says:

          I read Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars years ago. Found them to be completely tedious and pointless. Then I decided that maybe I was too harsh and recently started reading them again. Turns out that (so far) they're still tedious and pointless.

          • deafscribe says:

            YMMV. Lately I've been reading John Varley's stuff for the first time, and he's good, but he doesn't knock my socks off the way he does others. I think after a certain point, you get jaded and it seldom seems there's anything really new under the sun.

  11. 1eyedkunt says:

    that first one is kinda how i imagined freeside in neuromancer, only more mall-like, less grass.

  12. nelc says:

    Is there a word for when you remember when something was new and exciting, but now it's so old that everybody's forgotten it, and now it's new again? But unfortunately styled?