A friend lent me an interesting book in about 1985 that was a fictional history of spaceflight from 2000-2100. It was a largish book, with full-color full-page graphics, with only a couple paragraphs of explanitory notes per page. It covered our contact with Alpha Centauri, the development of various spaceflight technologies like new engines, and new spaceships developed for certain wars which happened. The last half-dozen or so pages were dedicated to alien derelict spacecraft that we had come across, and the mysteries surrounding them. I remember that one of the derelict alien spacecraft was organic, and another one was semi-transparent like a 3-d hologram.

The book did not seem old-fashioned at the time, so I would guess it was from the early 1980's perhaps. In other words, it definitely wasn't 60's- or early 70's-era art or concepts.

Unfortunately I don't remember the name, author, or much of any wording from inside, other than our first contact being with a civilization from Alpha Centauri.

up vote 16 down vote accepted

This is almost definitely "Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD" (a "Terran Trade Authority Handbook" - Wikipedia link)

Front cover

The "semi-transparent" ship is probably "Object #1 at Barnard's Star" (art by Tony Roberts).

Object at Barnards Star

I think I've finally found the other image you mention, also by Tony Roberts:

Double Star by Tony Roberts

  • And of course if this is correct, it's a duplicate of this very old question – DavidW Dec 6 at 22:45
  • Bingo, that is definitely the book. Sorry about the dupe -- I really did do an extensive search for past questions, and on Google. Still somehow missed it. – Haydentech Dec 6 at 22:58
  • To be fair the answer to the other question is the series of books and not this one in particular. So maybe it's not exactly a dupe, and the generality would make it harder to find. – DavidW Dec 6 at 23:19
  • @DavidW I also have that which I still look at on occasion. – dean1957 Dec 7 at 1:13
  • Note that the last picture above became the subject of great controversy when an unattributed “reimagining” of it by artist Glenn Brown was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2000 under the title “The Loves of Shepherds”. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1044375.stm – Mike Scott Dec 7 at 6:47

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