General Bel Riose
Painting by Eddie Jones from the book The Space Warriors (1980)
There was a period in 1992 when Isaac Asimov’s Library of the Universe was my favorite series of books. My favorite of the lot was probably Quasars, Pulsars, and Black Holes. I still read Asimov’s nonfiction more often than his science fiction.
Portrait practice for my fellow nerds out there.
Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014
By Isaac Asimov.
August 16, 1964
The New York World’s Fair of 1964 is dedicated to “Peace Through Understanding.” Its glimpses of the world of tomorrow rule out thermonuclear warfare. And why not? If a thermonuclear war takes place, the future will not be worth discussing. So let the missiles slumber eternally on their pads and let us observe what may come in the nonatomized world of the future.
What is to come, through the fair’s eyes at least, is wonderful. The direction in which man is traveling is viewed with buoyant hope, nowhere more so than at the General Electric pavilion. There the audience whirls through four scenes, each populated by cheerful, lifelike dummies that move and talk with a facility that, inside of a minute and a half, convinces you they are alive.
The scenes, set in or about 1900, 1920, 1940 and 1960, show the advances of electrical appliances and the changes they are bringing to living. I enjoyed it hugely and only regretted that they had not carried the scenes into the future. What will life be like, say, in 2014 A.D., 50 years from now? What will the World’s Fair of 2014 be like?
I don’t know, but I can guess.
Illustriation by Mark Zug, for Harlan Ellison’s screenplay version of Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot”.
Pebble in the Sky