The Future of the Past

In Strange Stars, I mentioned how I saw the stylings of this particular future as harkening back to the science fiction of previous decades. I imagine spaceships like in seventies films, seventies and eighties book covers and comics books, particularly the Terran Trade Authority books.

strange stars spaceships 2
David Lewis Johnson’s art for Strange Stars and Chris Foss’s designs

The groovy fashions of late sixties and seventies sci-fi book cover art, the euro-sensibilities of Heavy Metal, and disco-era comic book sci-fi in the U.S. inform how I view the fashion and material culture. Sure they’re silly in a lot of ways–but often so are clothes from real historical eras to modern sensibilities.

strange stars costume
Waclaw Wysocki’s Instrumentality Spy and Jessica from Logan’s Run

Now as anyone who has read Strange Stars or my blog posts on it knows, its not retro-sci-fi, overall. It’s just that I wanted to go beyond the current 21st future aesthetic: a lot of darkness, sleek suits, and electric blue holograms, etc. I’m certainly not immune to recent influences, but I feel like those things get too familiar. The future needs to seem exotic and going back to the past is a way to restore some of that exoticism. At least it reminds me (and maybe other around my age) of a time where the future looked different, and we were young enough to be encountering these images and the ideas behind them for the first time.

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