I’m always a little awed by the pervasive optimism of early science fiction art. It’s not that they suggested that space travel would be easy, or loads of fun. There were plenty of dangers, and the astronauts were portrayed more often as stoic, serious men than as grinning explorers. But there was a sense in this art that space exploration was a fundamentally good, noble thing.
I’m thinking about this because I was directed to Space Art in Children’s Books, a wonderful example of what I’m talking about. Sure, some of the details are wildly inaccurate, but then, details often are. What’s more remarkable is the pervasive positive tone. It feels as though the artists are whispering, “This may be dangerous, and costly. But it’s important.”