The first time I gave For All Mankind a try was not long after I’d seen Altered Carbon, and another ten episodes of Joel Kinnaman’s pent-up anger was more than I could bear.
I still find it off-putting, and his character in For All Mankind shows almost no growth over two seasons. But the rest of the series makes up for it.
It starts with the Soviet Union beating the Americans to the Moon and shows the Space Race continuing into the 1980s. Along the way, the Soviets land the first woman on the Moon, convincing the United States to train its own female astronauts; both superpowers built lunar colonies; and East-West tensions come to a head in a Panama Canal Crisis, which in this timeline is aggravated by Ronald Reagan winning the presidency four years earlier and refusing to relinquish American control of the canal to Panama’s pro-Soviet government.
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Chris Moore is a British artist who has illustrated everything from (science-fiction) novels to LP covers.
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The 1960s Space Race saw the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in an ever-evolving game of oneupmanship. One that saw them leaping from first satellite to the first man to the first woman and first multi-person crew to, thanks to President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 declaration before Congress, to putting someone on the Moon first. That goal was reached in July 1969, when Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Lunar Module Eagle onto the lunar surface.
In a different world, it might have been another astronaut taking that one giant leap using modified Gemini hardware with such a scenario depicted in Robert Altman’s 1968 movie Countdown.
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John Harris is a British artist known for his otherworldly landscapes and science-fiction book covers.
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For a while, the Soviet Union was ahead in the Space Race. It launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space in 1961. Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space two years later.
These early victories spurred the United States into action. President John F. Kennedy set a goal of putting an American on the Moon before 1970. NASA, created by his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, received massive funding. The Apollo program succeeded while the Soviet space program languished. Following the 1969 Moon landing, both sides returned their attention to Earth.
What if they hadn’t? What if the American program had failed and the Soviet Union had continued its exploration of — and expansion into — space?
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Andrei Sokolov was one of the most prolific Russian space artists. He worked closely with cosmonauts, in particular his friend Alexei Leonov, to make sure his depictions were realistic. Some of his works were carried into space aboard the 1971 Soyuz 11 mission and later transferred to the Salyut space station.
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Robert Theodore McCall (1919-2010) was an iconic illustrator of the Space Age. He created concept art for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and was hired by NASA to document the history of the Space Race.
He also painted many scenes of what the future of space exploration might look like.
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An American military base on the Moon, defended by nuclear grenade launchers. If that doesn’t sound like an atomicpunk fantasy, I don’t know what does.
Except it was a real plan.
A 1959 feasibility study, codenamed Project Horizon, argued for a lunar outpost, manned by about a dozen soldiers, to keep the Moon out of Soviet hands.
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Maciej Rebisz is the man behind Space That Never Was, which imagines the Space Race didn’t end. Spacecraft based on the Apollo mission that first landed men on the Moon now travel to Venus. The Soviets reached the Moon. There are crewed missions to Mars. Private space companies flourish. The people of Earth, as Rebisz puts it, have “never stopped dreaming big and aiming high.”
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Vincent Di Fate is an American fantasy and science-fiction illustrator. He started his career in the 1960s drawing for pulp magazines and has since produced artwork for IBM, NASA and the National Geographic Society, among others.
He is also the author of some 300 articles and three books and a professor at the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.
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