Friday, January 31, 2014

Review and Commentary On The Free Download 'Usborne Book of the Future 1979' As Inspiration For Your Old School Science Fiction or Fantasy Campaign

Download It Right Over HERE

Many thanks to the Pointless Museum for this one! Way back when I was about nine years old I'd wander into book stores and marvel at some of the old school science fiction artwork. Much of that artwork was used in 'educational' material.
Basically it seemed like it was a great excuse to put a boat load of science fiction illustrations, diagrams, colour pictures together!  And predict kinda how the future was going to be from 2000 and way beyond!


'The Usborne Book of The Future' was one such book! This was one of those book's  that had a futuristic style that was not quite 'Space 1999', 'UFO', mysterious science fiction movie or television series of the  future  from 1970's look to it. The type of look that was kinda sort of going on in Star Wars but was all the rage around in science fiction illustration. It was also the look going on in so many Star Wars rip offs coming out of Italy, Japan, and many other countries. It wasn't a bad thing and helped to define and entire generation of science fiction. This book was great!

 This book was fantastic and I used the thing for illustrating what Gamma World looked like to players, OD&D science fiction mash ups, Traveler, etc. You name it and these were like 'crack' for players. These same illustrations appeared in countless science fact books in the 70's and 80's. Unknowingly the publishers actually kinda standardized what the future sort of was for countless grade school kids! 

Libaraies in New England states and schools always seemed to have one or two of these. They would be missing copies because kids would borrow them. Mostly it seemed on a permanent basis.

I used to borrow this book from time to time when I was starting a campaign from the library, school, or even friends. 

These same illustrations appeared in numerous publications and the look of Book of the Future found its way into old school gaming products (Iron Crown's Star Law series), the look of  certain television shows( The Highwayman from the 80's), cartoons( the vehicles in the MASK series come to mind), etc. 

From underwater cities to FTL travel this kid's book had it all! There were numerous illustrations, tech, idea, etc. While its all seemly dated now, its perfect for your retro seventies rpg campaigns!

It was so easy to pull this book out show the players exactly what design you were using that for a long time this was my Gamma World/Star Frontiers universe style!
What did the sub-trains look like from Gamma World?  Like this!

The illustrations are perfect for those wanting a retrofuture that doesn't exist for their retroclone science fiction game. Tech level three and beyond in Stars Without Number is right between these pages!

Thanks to U.K. based Usborne for making these books for kids and making my childhood awesome!

One of the numberous spin off series books that was spawned from the Book of the Future! 


  1. What an awesome resource. Thanks for the link Needles.


  2. You haven't seen anything.. yet Ed. Seriously man just wait!

  3. You are welcome Jay! If I find any others out there I'll definitely let you know man! Glad you liked it! And thanks for the comment!

  4. Oh man, I had some of the spinoff books. Fantastic.

  5. Thanks my friend and Fractal Bat you need to check out today's follow up on the 'World of Tomorrow' Weapons and Warfare' flicker set I stumbled upon! Awesome stuff!


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