The May 2013 Freebie Challenge
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
- Yogi Berra
Even before we could make movies (let alone make renders), we’ve been using visual media to tell stories about the future. One of the first colour movies was an adaptation of Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon,” and Lang’s “Metropolis” is a classic of the silent-film era.
The ‘50s saw an explosion of visual futurism, with Colliers’ Magazine running illustrated stories about possible space stations and Moon missions, and Hollywood releasing such gems as “Destination Moon,” “Forbidden Planet,” “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” and George Pal’s “War of the Worlds” (and some not-so-fine examples such as “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”), with their plastic-and-rayguns futures. Sci-fi book covers were adorned with square-jawed heroes, damsels in distress, and mighty rocket ships. And who can forget “Buck Rogers” (or “Duck Dodgers”)?
The ‘60s gave us “Lost in Space” and “Star Trek,” swapping the plastic for velour and miniskirts - and “The Prisoner,” swapping the idealism for mind-games. Time marched on, and capable women, friendly androids, and sympathetic aliens took their places on novel dust-jackets and movie soundstages alongside the men. We’ve seen the dystopic futures of “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report,” the post-apocolypse futures of “Mad Max” and “Nausicaa,” the near-utopian future of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the just-like-the-present-but-in-space “Star Wars” and “Babylon 5,” the cyberspace stories of “Tron,” “ReBoot,” and “The Matrix,” and many, many, many more.
Of course, the details of those futures haven’t matched what actually came to pass ... but we only know that with the benefit of hindsight.
This month, look through the lenses of the past century and show us what our parents or grandparents may have thought the future would be like - either a completely original work or a homage to a classic (or not-so-classic) story.