Grand Delusion: Cunard Caribbean Cruise Brochure, 1979

The number of cruise passengers worldwide increased from half a million in 1970 to 3.8 million in 1990, the hike almost exclusively thanks to Aaron Spelling’s The Love Boat (1977-1986), a one-hour dramatic fantasy that portrayed a relatively diverse, generally middle-class group of passengers and the close-knit crew that tended to them (and often cavorted with them) during the voyage…

Pontin’s International Holidays Brochure, 1976

A potent ingredient of the “You’ve never had it so good” mindset of post-post-war Britain was the modern holiday. Traditionally, the British industrial working- and lower-middle-classes had spent what holidays they’d managed to prise out of the generous fists of their employers in one of the many resorts dotted along the island’s coast…

This Green and Pleasant Apocalypse: Graham Oakley’s ‘Henry’s Quest,’ 1986

Four years after the release of Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows, children in the British Isles were treated to another misleadingly cheerful-looking jaunt through a postlapsarian landscape in Graham Oakley’s 1986 book Henry’s Quest. I’ve spoken elsewhere about the extent to which the British culture of the 1970s and ’80s seemed determined to inculcate feelings of dread and hopelessness in young people, but with its superficially light-hearted tone, Henry’s Quest took a different approach…

California Dreams: Our Cyberpunk Future According to ‘Wild Palms’

By Michael Grasso

The 1980s saw the gradual ascendancy of cyberpunk narratives in popular science fiction. The genre projected Western societal trends seen in the decade—corporate conglomeration, the rise of computer networking and global media, and the ascendancy of Pacific Rim economies, most prominently Japan—into a vision of the future bursting with high technology controlled by a few neo-feudal corporate interests…