Dream Machines: An Illustrated History of the Spaceship in Art, Science and Literature

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Editorial Reviews

A history of the spaceship as both a cultural and a technological phenomenon, tracing its history first as a speculative concept from about 1500 (the idea of a vehicle for traversing the space between worlds preceding the ability to make such a device by several hundred years), and then tracking it through the era of space travel. The chronological entries allow comparisons between actual astronautical events and speculative ventures, as well as between simultaneous events taking place in different countries. The scores of exciting illustrations include artworks, drawings, and photos contemporaneous with the subject. Among these are rare illustrations from scarce books and novels, photos and drawings from Soviet spacecraft, rare stills from both famous and obscure science fiction films, and unpublished photographs from NASA archives. Fascinating and fun for a wide audience. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Elliott Swanson
Writer-artist Miller's new book is the most comprehensive history of spacecraft design concepts published to date. Written primarily in nontechnical language, it chronologically reviews the inspirations and scientific breakthroughs that set the course of humankind's exploration beyond the atmosphere. (It may surprise people to find out that the first story postulating space travel was written in A.D. 160 by Lukian of Samosata.) Nearly every page of the book contains black-and-white or duotone illustrations and photos, and there are two additional sections with 16 pages of colorplates. While the key spacecraft that were actually used in programs throughout the world are represented, along with their prototypes, the main focus of the book is on designs that were technologically sound--at least when originally conjured up--but only flew in the imagination. For example, in the section on Project Apollo, there is only one page showing the final configuration, but five pages showing its engineering evolution. Nearly 200 pages are devoted to the "golden age of the spaceship," the years 1946-61 (when Yuri Gagarin made manned spaceflight a reality). There are also depictions of classic fictional spacecraft, ranging from wooden cabinets pulled by birds to the "Discovery" from "2001: A Space Odyssey". While the price of the book may seem high, much of the material cited can be found only in bits and pieces throughout the body of space-related texts, many of which are long out of print. Further, Miller captures the romance of space travel more vividly than any other writer. Even at more than $100, this book is a bargain. A foreword by Arthur C. Clarke, plus a bibliography, add to the value
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780894640391
  • Publisher: Krieger Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/1992
  • Pages: 714
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 2.00 (d)

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