Journalist Natalia Ershova is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘Retropy’. To see Natalia’s body of work, click on any photograph.
My project is about the nostalgia of the upcoming future that was believed in during “The golden age of science fiction”.
Nevertheless, the concept of tomorrow has not always been there. The world of the ancient people faced the ancestors and was interested in reality. The time was cycled into the day and night, into the change of seasons.
During the medieval times, a major transition happened in the minds of the people. The idea was based on the Christian doctrine. The Future was pictured in the dullest colors – fires, famine, war and diseases. All of this was supposed to destroy The Earth, after which the Reign of God would to come. Philosophers such as Marshall McLuhan related this process to the invention of mechanical watch. Afterward there was a clear difference between “yesterday” and “tomorrow”. ¬
After the Industrial Revolution a new science Prognostics developed. Along with it appeared a new genre of literature – science fiction. It was first introduced with the Frankenstein by Mary Shalley. Then came the works of Jules Verne and followed by Herbert Wells with fiction about The Space
“The golden age of science fiction” continued from 1930 until 1940. One of the major figures of the time was Hugo Gernsback the editor of the magazine Amazing Stories. He became not only an icon, but he also influenced the popularity of fantasists at the time. This period is also known for the popularity of such authors as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Paul Anderson, Catherine Lucille Moore, Robert Heinlein and Alfred Bester.
A significant part in the minds of the majority played the fact, that science fiction originally was considered as tabloid literature. It was read by teenagers on the pages of cheap popular and widely available publications. On the other hand these tabloids often published new material, that was a lot more serious, than it was thought at the time. The authors appeared a lot more talented too. In addition the twentieth century offered new and more effective ways or telling stories – the radio, cinema and television.
For example, Herbert Wells became popular among the crowds due to a radio show of Orson Welles “War of the worlds” in 1938.
All these people – producers, writers, architects and artists had told us about the future that awaits. They had been dreaming and inspired a whole generation.
Everyone had thought, that all these dreams would come true, when Gagarin made his first flight or when Neil Armstrong for the first time stepped on the moon. But it had only been thought.
Now, it is the twenty first century, but we still haven’t been to the Mars and we don’t know what lies underneath the clouds of the Titan. We haven’t found anyone.
The humanity has faced enormous expenses and a great deal of problems, that the modern science cannot solve. It became clear, that further development has to continue in a totally different way, not like the one that we had dreamed about.
I take pictures of these monuments not just because they are dedicated to space achievements, but rather because they are of those past ideas about the future. About the great and magnificent future made of cement and iron. The type of future, that was not supposed to become reality.
Images | Moscow, Russia
All images and text © Natalia Ershova
By Natalia Ershova
Natalia’s Previous Contributions To Edge Of Humanity Magazine