Today, as it happens, marks the fourth anniversary of Rocketpunk Manifesto. Unlike the Enterprise of Trek: TOS, this blog is not on a specified five year mission, so it will not end after another year. This mission will continue as long as I feel like posting here. (TOS itself, of course, was canceled after three years.)
The four years of blogging so far have not been all of a piece. I launched Rocketpunk Manifesto with the usual early burst of enthusiasm, which lasted about three months. After that my blogging started to lapse, until I was posting only an item or two per month - a total of 23 posts in 2008, only seven of them from June through year's end.
Around March of 2009 I decided to try bringing the place back to life. I started posting more, and traffic, which had been running about 250 'unique visitors' per month, began to rise - especially after Winch of Atomic Rockets linked some particularly topical posts. Monthly readership grew about tenfold by last spring, and the comment threads started to take on a life of their own - something that has continued rather bumptiously. They have become a very large part of the overall value of this blog, for which I thank the commenters, both regular and occasional.
My posting rate has settled down to about once per week, concentrating on long-form essay blogging. I've sort of drifted away from shorter posts in between, to comment on space news or showcase images from places like Astronomy Picture of the Day. (Would readers like to see more of those posts again? Speak up if you do!)
I have no 'long arc' intentions here, though I will probably (and shamelessly) keep posting additions to the Space Warfare series so long as pandering to the taste for senseless death and destruction IN SPAAACE !!! continues to goose my traffic stats, as it consistently has.
Apart from that, this blog will probably continue to waver, as it long has, between discussions of what might happen in space in the Plausible Midfuture, and what might happen in space in Romance, or at any rate the subgenre of Romance known as SF.
The two, I suspect, will not have all that much in common. Space is filled with wonders, which we will continue to explore. But there is probably no more reason for people to settle there in large numbers than to colonize the slopes of Everest or the depths of the Marianas Trench. Many of you will disagree, often in the comment threads, something that has tended to add spice and vigor to this blog.
But at least on the science fiction side of the balance my perspective leads to a curious paradox. What place do Realistic [TM] spaceships and other trappings have in settings that are fundamentally operatic, settings of Romance? The answer, as I see it, is essentially a matter of aesthetics. If a ship in a fantasy novel is magical anyway, it might as well be built out of bricks. But most of us would find that vaguely unsatisfying.
The Rule of Cool prevails, but one of its subtler tenets is that truly Cool ships, swords, spacecraft, whatever, while they may not be exactly realistic, should at least look like they might be real. At least they should not look embarrassingly fake. The willing suspension of disbelief is supposed to be helped, not gratuitously insulted. D'Artagnan may live in the France of Romance, but his sword is sharp.
So there remains a place for space warcraft (and peaceful trading craft, for that matter) that, however operatic in their implications, nevertheless look like products of a technology that once passed through the Plausible Midfuture, and learned there how to build and operate believable spacecraft.
And I will continue to discuss them here. Along with whatever else I'm interested in and think you my readers might also be interested in.
Yes, you've heard this before, but ... discuss.
The image comes from this website - I have no idea whether it accurately portrays the TOS version of the Enterprise. But I remember wondering about the diverging phaser beams.