This post is by James Davis Nicoll from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content
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Mae and Ira Freeman’s 1959 children’s picture book You Will Go To the Moon promised a glorious near future of crewed spaceflight, as did later books like G. Harry Stine’s The Third Industrial Revolution and Gerard K. O’Neill’s The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. Alas, almost sixty years later, it seems as if the Freeman book would have been more accurately titled You Will Die On the Earth, of Old Age If You Are Lucky, But Perhaps Of Violence Or An Easily Preventable Disease. Also, All Of Your Pets Will Die. Which would not have been half as heartening, but might have earned it a Newbery.
Why didn’t we colonize space?
Perhaps because some of the early space hype was unconvincing when regarded with any attitude other than fanboy enthusiasm. And perhaps because there weren’t any compelling reasons (political, economic, scientific) for significant human presence beyond low Earth ...