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Warning: Contains Science Fiction. Don Gloves and Masks.

Archive for the category “Futuristic Design”


On one of my favorite YouTube channels, Vsauce comes up with a few doozies of speculation in this fantastic video. (Hence the title.) Some topics of interest within include:

  1. What it would be like to experience a nuclear attack through the EAS IF it happened…
  2. What Russian astronauts would have worn IF they had landed on the moon…
  3. What speech Nixon would have given to the world IF the moon landing had gone horribly wrong…

Check it out!


(With a falsetto please…) “In The Year Two-Thousand….!”

In 1910 French illustrator Villemard created a series of pictures that imagined the year 2000. Here are a few. For the entire collection, go here. Let us proceed:



While it’s true airplanes were up and running by 1910, winged craft were limited to experimental machines that had little power or distance to carry more than three passengers, as would any ocean going vessel, car, or horse-drawn carriage of the day. The romanticism of en masse leisure travel over great distances still lay in the lighter-than-air dirigibles that Germany popularized a few decades later– Uh… Does anyone smell something burning?



It’s no wonder that as flying became the standard in the 1910s that wings would trump rockets in the imagination of the time, much the way physics and aerodynamics would eventually trump Villemard’s imagination.

As a side note: Is anyone seeing here Truffaut’s 1966 film Fahrenheit 451? Look closely. If you lose the wings and give ’em jet packs, the uniforms–down to the helmets–will match those worn by the firemen in the film. Right? (Hey Montag! Check that baby’s britches for copies of Peter and Wendy!)

Read more…

Imagineering Transportation

Let’s start with this picture:


Here in the year 2013, we can approach this 1950s imagination in numerous ways; I will do so in this manner: Here is a portrait of unbridled post war optimism. The conjurers of this scenario are not concerned about how technology will surmount the realities of physics. No. What we have here is the audacity that technology will find a way and that it will be dressed and designed in appropriate asthetics of the day, like a steering wheel and headlights and plush interior seating, genuine calves leather no doubt. From this view the prosperity of the day allows not one flying saucer but–heavens almighty–two flying saucers in every garage. How…Republican. (Please note that the dog is heavily sedated, as is the mother, probably on Miltown. After all she is flying.)

Read more…

If You Dream It, They’ll Come and Get You

If you have any sense of art history and a twinge for science fiction, you’ll see in this 1940s advertisement from the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation a distinct design that was widely popular throughout the 1930s and 40s. Art deco reflected a cultural grandeur, an advancement from a savage soot-faced industrial age into a type of H.R. Giger erotic mechanization. Herein technology embraced a new self-aware expression that placed our mark upon the earth in an aesthetic style.

Gas mileage? Oh, don’t ask.

For a gander at this eye-candy of pomposity (like my aforementioned sentence), click on the picture and it’ll take you to Ubersuper.com for a collection of these advertisements. While this pictorial is a vision of a future that never happened, I am fascinated at how this optimism exploded into macro levels of architecture and design. Like Napoleon who placed the crown on his own head, through these and similar imaginations of the 1930s and 40s, we placed our ballooning sense of worth alongside the Olympus Gods in the designs of our Hoover Dams and our Empire State Buildings.

I can’t help remembering a cautionary tale by Stephen Vincent Benet. In his 1937 short story “By the Waters of Babylon” he wrote of a young warrior, John son of John, who discovers–ala Planet of the Apes–that the revered and feared City of the Gods is in fact the mere crumbled remains a city of technologically advanced men with electrical appliances, books, flying machines and tall buildings that scraped the sky. As for the city that once was…it’s New York!  Betcha didn’t see that comin’.

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