The World of the Future: Future Cities (Usborne, 1979)

Usborne Future-1

Usborne Future-2

Usborne Future-3

Usborne Future-6

Usborne Future-4

Usborne Future-7

Usborne Future-5

There were four books in Usborne’s The World of the Future series: Future Cities, The Book of the Future: A Trip in Time to the Year 2000 and Beyond, Star Travel, and Robots. All of them were written by Kenneth Gatland and David Jefferis, and all of them were published in 1979. I have not been able to pinpoint the illustrators yet.

UPDATE (4/12/14): Author David Jefferis kindly shed some light on the series and its creators. The post has been revised accordingly.

I worked with the sadly late Ken Gatland to create these books, but the editorial direction, page visuals for illustration briefings, and the words were mine.

Ken and I worked on the ideas and flat plans together, and Ken approved all, tweaked where needed, and added chunks of text as necessary .

Reasonably enough, we put our bylines in alphabetical order.

The books are, as you can see, amazing, and somewhat prescient—with the exception of the Olympic Games on the Moon. The last page draws heavily on concepts explored by NASA in the 1970s: see T.A. Heppenheimer’s Colonies in Space (1977), for instance.

The very last panel is a nearly line by line lifting of a lunar colony design by artist Rick Guidice, who did other work for NASA, as well as the visionary Basic Programming cover art for the Atari 2600 cartridge, also from 1979.

Atari Basic Programming

(Book images via Will S and Robert Carter)

10 Responses to “<em>The World of the Future: Future Cities</em> (Usborne, 1979)”


  1. 1 leftylimbo March 5, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    My best friend had all four of those books in ’79-’80. It was common practice on weekend sleepovers for us to spend all Saturday afternoon thumbing through those books and discussing how awesome these future cities/colonies, etc. were and which ones we’d prefer to live in.

    Man, now that you’ve brought all those memories back, I’m just gonna have to fish for those books again. Those were the best books ever.

  2. 6 David Jefferis (@Technosphere) March 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Hi,

    Just thought I’d a add a word.

    I worked with the sadly late Ken Gatland to create these books, but the editorial direction, page visuals for illustration briefings, and the words were mine.

    Ken and I worked on the ideas and flat plans together, and Ken approved all, tweaked where needed, and added chunks of text as necessary .

    Reasonably enough, we put our bylines in alphabetical order.

    World of the Future was among my first titles, and remains close to my heart – I’m now spending a lot of time in domestic solar energy, so my ‘2001 House of the Future’ pages are coming true at last!

    There’s no link with the Atari box btw – this is the first time I’ve seen it.

    Best wishes,

    David Jefferis.

  3. 8 Hans Eisenvater May 27, 2016 at 12:23 am

    does anybody know if these books were also published in other languages, german for instance? many thx


  1. 1 Christmas Morning, 1979: Micronauts and Starcruiser 1 | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on December 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm
  2. 2 The World of the Future: Star Travel (Usborne, 1979) | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on January 15, 2015 at 5:18 pm

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