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How Astounding Saw the Future - The New York Times

Science fiction has become so central to our culture that it can be easy to take it for granted, but its modern form arose at a specific historical moment. During the genres golden age, which is conventionally dated from 1939 to 1950, its ideas were refined by a relative handful of authors, editors and artists and its most immediate impact came through its illustrations. Out of the pulps emerged an entire visual language that relied on striking painted covers to attract newsstand buyers, and while it took years for the stories inside to live up to readers dreams, the pictures were often unforgettable from the beginning.