As the sole proprietor of the 70s Sci-Fi Art blog, I see a lot of sci-fi art centered on a very specific time period. There's a reason I went so specific: Just "retro" sci-fi is a term that can cover anything from the 1920s to the 1990s, and I'm really only interested in the styles of speculative art that peaked during the 70s. The other eras have their moments, though, and space artist Chesley Bonestell definitely tops my list of 50s-era sci-fi artists.
Meet the Father of Modern Space Art
Erik Shilling, Atlas Obscura
The early 1950s, for [Chesley] Bonestell, was one of the most productive of his career. He produced space painting after space painting, depicting imagined parts of the universe in all its forms, in addition to man's (then still-hypothetical) attempts to explore it. Look, there's a colony on Mars! And, look, the surface of Mercury! And here we have the assembly of ‘moonships’ above Hawaii!
And here's another, earlier profile, titled basically the same thing, but that name-drops more of the influential sci-fi and space exploration figures affected by Bonestell.
Original Creators: Father Of Modern Space Art Chesley Bonestell
Julie Le Baron, Vice
Many astronomers and writers such as Arthur C. Clarke marvelled at his remarkable technique, and many people mistook his works for actual color photographs. Later on, Bonestell took part in a space flight symposium for Collier’s, and was invited to illustrate concepts by German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. This resulted in a series of articles demonstrating that space flight was not a goal for the distant future, but a close reality.
Looks like I should have waited on that Solo-themed issue of this newsletter last week... Here's two more Star Wars articles I didn't include.
First, one that posits Star Wars can't support a Marvel-style cinematic universe. I think it potentially could! It just needs to get a lot weirder and stop turning inward.
What Does It Take to Build a Successful Cinematic Universe?
Keith Phipps, The Ringer
Post-Solo it’s worth considering whether Star Wars works better as an occasional event, whether making too many visits to that galaxy far, far, away has a demystifying effect. Where Marvel rolling out a new chapter in its ongoing story every few months feels right, and true to the material’s comic book roots, Star Wars may not work the same way.
Not sure I agree with the argument that wraps up this next article, which is that we need to create entirely new stories in order to center minorities rather than refurbish the stories we have. I'd say both are good options. Fans complain about all change right up until it becomes the new normal. People used to complain that Daniel Craig was too blond to be James Bond, and now he's considered one of the best.
We Can’t Trust Hollywood to Fix Toxic Fandom
Abraham Riesman, Vulture
To be a member of a fandom is to take a property and embrace it like a vise. You consume it, you talk about it with fellow fans, maybe you go to conventions, maybe you write fanfic or draw fanart, and no matter what — and this is the most crucial part — you pray that, if there’s more of it, it’ll be as good as the best of what’s come before. There are polite fans who say it quietly and don’t get mad when their needs aren’t met. But, by their very nature, such fans are always going to be drowned out by the ones who, like Bobby Axelrod, declare to the world, These are my needs. What’s remarkable and dangerous is the fact that, in the past 20 years, Hollywood started feeding them. They started getting what they wanted, and they’ve never looked back.
“Who Is She?”: How ‘Killing Eve’ Challenged the Girl-Power Trope
Lindsay Zoladz, The Ringer
In daily life, battle lines have felt so starkly and irrevocably drawn that the murky ambiguity of Killing Eve’s moral universe was a huge part of its refreshing appeal. It didn’t pander, at a time when so many things do. It flirted with gender essentialism only to spit it back into the viewer’s face like poisoned perfume. Not all women are heroes, the show reminds us; and not all men are villains (poor Bill, we hardly knew you). And while it might not seem so in the age of the “necessary” show, I found Killing Eve to be infinitely more respectful to its female viewers than the kind of art that makes me feel morally superior simply by watching it, or by being female.
Next Week on Maddd Science: Heists
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