I went to a small, private elementary and junior high school back in the late 1970s and early 80s. Having seen the Star Wars movies, I was quite impressionable. Spaceships were objects that fueled my imagination and set my dreams adrift through the cosmos. One day, we were in the school library doing some classwork, when I came across something that astounded me.
It was a discovery of epic proportions. Eureka! I found pure gold in the form of some books that had some of the most beautiful spaceships I ever saw. In my limited experience, I had seen only a few Star Trek and Star Wars ships, but this book really opened my mind. Spaceships of all sorts. Ships for battle. Ships for passenger travel. Ships for utility or cargo. I discovered the series of Terran Trade Authority books, by Stewart Cowley. Visions of sheer immensity and beauty sparked my imagination and fueled my love of all things science fiction.
These books featured some of the giants of science fiction art in the 1970s, including Fred Gambino, Chris Foss, and Jim Burns just to name a few. Every time I went to the library, I would make my pilgrimage to the shelf in the library and pull them down and dream. I was on board, soaring through the cosmos, and that was just the best thing for an impressionable young boy. In retrospect, I should have been doing my homework or studying, but how could I when those spaceships were just right on the shelf waiting for me.
I love reading and there’s a nice used book store here in Raleigh, NC that I love to frequent all too often. Sometimes I don’t see much, but you never know when you’ll strike gold. I saw “Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD” and let’s say I was smiling all the way home. As I relaxed in my rocking chair I use for reading, I was back in that library as I flipped through it. A 5th grader, dreaming of space travel and exploration, all over again. Growing up and maturing is vital, but never let go the inner dreams that fuel your imagination.