“Something wrong with the proto-cakes, Michael?” asked June. “You’ve barely touched them.”
“I guess I’m too excited, Mommy.”
“Well,” she said, smiling. “Even Uninauts need to eat.” She pressed the button for housekeeping. An electric door snicked open and a slim silver android glided out. “See that Michael finishes his breakfast,” she told the robot.
“Compliance,” it replied.
June walked through the house, pausing in the common room to look through the great curved window onto the vast network of canyons beneath the pale Martian sky. It looked like the Texas of her great-great-grandfather’s day. Pioneers then, pioneers now.
“Are we ready?” said her husband. He held the gleaming sphere of his deep-space helmet, much larger than the one he used for commuting. “The rocket for Earth leaves in two hours. We should get there early.”
“Oh Ward,” she said. “Who’d have thought a beach vacation could be so exciting?”
This story invokes time travel, but backward to the 1950s. The postwar era gave rise to a booming industry of pulp paperbacks and science fiction magazines that promised a futuristic utopia filled with rocket cars and domed cities. It all seems impossibly quaint now.
I was born in the 1960s, so the science fiction of my era promised a dystopian cyberpunk nightmare of corporate greed, pollution and hyperbolic public figures who committed insanely evil acts.
I guess we know which one came true, but I still love the era that gave us Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury and some of the coolest illustrations ever.