In this exploration of retro futurism beauty, we look at novel covers, technology and a bit of architecture!
Welcome back to another edition of the weird and wonderful realm that is retro sci fi art, otherwise known as retro futurism.
It is in this realm that we capture the essence of naive minds forecasting an unknowable future through the medium of art and technology.
The criteria for forecasting such a future, from the perspective of the 50s-80s, was fairly simple – the future world must be way more weird and alien than the present and must be full of interesting technology that solves ‘present day problems’ using a slightly different if not identical technology already available in the present.
All forms of artistic expression seen in the present will also carry through for decades to come. So clothing, architecture, automobile design and hair styles will not be factored in to the forecasting of tomorrow’s world. Wonderful.
And so to illustrate the above, let us simply view some examples!
Retro Futurism Selection 1: Tim Doyle posters
This is a nice collection of retro posters. Not all strictly retro futurism but some nice ones often done in a retro style. Click here to take a look.
Retro Futurism Selection 2: More Retro Posters
This is a part of a web site (The Art of Movie Posters) that has some amazing retro posters. Check out the Planet of the Apes ones. Again, not strictly retro sci fi but definitely carrying the same unusual 70s style.
Retro Futurism Selection 3: Cool Retro Sci Fi Blog
Ski-ffy is a cool blog showcasing some retro futurist novel covers and artwork. Go check it out.
Retro Futurism Selection 4: Terrible (But Cool) Sci Fi Novel Covers
Above we can clearly see a flying Tyranosaur Dragon riding a spaceship dangerously close to the surface of, say, Mars. I’ll just put a tick in that box.
Good Show Sir is similar to the site linked above but boasts “Only the Worst Sci Fi/Fantasy Book Covers” – brilliant!
Retro Futurism Selection 5: Galaxy Science Fiction
Galaxy Science Fiction is an old magazine that appears to be some kind of futurist publication that spanned a few decades from the 50s to the 80s and had a few in the 90s.
This site showcases all the covers from that entire duration! Well worth checking out!
Retro Futurism Selection 6: Penguin Science Fiction Book Covers
This site showcases many of the retro sci fi novel covers published by Penguin Books. The images aren’t very large but I recommend looking around to see what you like and then just googling the name of the novel to find higher res images.
Retro Futurism Selection 7: Retro Future Architecture
This site is a bit of a pick n’ mix of retro style art. It seems mainly to be filled with architecture and has some lovely imagery. Click the arrows in the top right to navigate.
Retro Futurism Selection 8: 80s Retro Future Computer Games
Sci-Fi-O-Rama is a very cool site with lots of sub-sections to choose from in the retro sci fi genre. Above is a link to their computer games section, featuring some artwork from Tron and Elite.
Retro Futurism Selection 9: Futuristic Beige Video Telephone!
Here is a link to the article.
Retro Futurism Selection 10: More Cool Architecture
Ford Times, Nov 1959, House 08-09
On the stern and rockbound edge of Maine’s Acadia National Park, this plastic shell on a reinforced concrete pedestal would safely provide intimate association with the waves for hermits setting up light housekeeping. The cars: a Fairlane 500 Fordor and Thunderbird Hardtop.
Click here for a few more images.
So that’s all for now! Do check out my portfolio for one or two retro sci fi pieces and drop me a line if you want to commission me to do a piece for you.
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