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I was 12 years old in 1988 and, that year, I spent most of my savings on a large format hardcover book where the authors attempted to tell the story of mankind's expansion in the universe.

They did that by taking characters, settings, technologies and plot devices from famous novels or pulps and juxtapose it with more or less random cover art. The result was extremelly well put together and -- at least to my young mind -- very convincing.

Needless to say, this book has been a kind of gateway drug for me.

Unfortunately, I lost this book about 15 years ago. I have no idea who were the author(s) or the editor(s).

Here is what I remember:

  • the book was written in French but I kind of remember that it was translated from the American
  • the book measured about 30 cm x 40 cm
  • it had one of those removable jacket that I lost quickly so I have no idea what it looked like
  • the actual covers were blue-gray and off-white and represented a two tone space scene with no title
  • all the art was in full colour
  • most of the art came from sci-fi books but there was also Conan-type fantasy when they needed to illustrate a planet returned to barbary or whatever

That's it.

Do you know this book?

  • 1
    I think I remember a book like this - but not the title or a print. I also got the idea that it might have been produced in the late 70s or early 80s. There was a world which had flooded pyramids, or something. And a planet of telepathic big cats. Any of that sound familiar? – HorusKol Dec 11 '11 at 12:43
  • The telapathic big cat seems familar, possibly with a pair of "savage" humans. The pyramids don't ring a bell though. – romainl Dec 11 '11 at 16:08
  • Well, it doesn't answer the base question, so I'm commenting this, but @romainl, I think you are thinking of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandalara_Cycle. – K-H-W Dec 11 '11 at 18:37
7

That sounds like the "Terran Trade Authority" series, by Stuart Cowley.

The series runs 8 or 9 books.

http://www.digitalwaterfalls.co.uk/ttabooks.html shows the covers;
http://www.digitalwaterfalls.co.uk/otherbooks.html shows related works' covers

From the slipcover and plain hardcover mode, it's probably one of the second run, the "Galactic Encounters" series.

Both describe the same universe and are by the same author, despite being credited under a pseudonym Steven Caldwell.

All are out of print. A revised version of a couple of the books was rereleased around the turn of the century, using new art (CGI) of the ships shown, by Morrigan Press, in 2006.

Further, a Role-playing game was also released by Morrigan.

The project is apparently dead over rights issues.

There is extensive web-presence due to fans.

  • Thank you aramis, from the description of each volume I think that my book was a kind of mashup of all volumes as is somewhat usual when translating large corpuses like that. I'll try to follow your lead. Thank you again. – romainl Dec 14 '11 at 6:34
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    Odds are it was "Spacewars: Worlds & Weapons"... but they're all excellent reads. – aramis Dec 14 '11 at 9:24
  • Thank you again, aramis. I had only followed the first link so I failed to notice "Spacewars" which is exactly the one I was looking for. Now I need to find a french print. – romainl Dec 14 '11 at 10:25
  • I don't know that it was ever translated; they were printed in the UK and US. – aramis Dec 15 '11 at 0:11
  • 1
    That was the language of my copy (I'm French) so yes, it was, at least in French. Here it is, I just ordered one. – romainl Dec 15 '11 at 7:52

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