Terran Trade Authority

I recently rekindled my interest in the late 1970's pencil-and-paper role playing game Traveller. It was the SF answer to Dungeons and Dragons. I dug out my box of old role-playing materials, and started surfing the web for "what's happened since the early 1980's?"

Among the various things to happen to Traveller in the 1990's was a fourth edition ("Marc Miller's Traveller") published by the now-defunct Imperium Games. Notable about this version were very stylish covers featuring art by Chris Foss. This style seemed very familiar; I assumed I'd seen these illustrations before. Eventually, I remembered getting large picture books of SF spacecraft out from the local library when I was growing up. But I couldn't find the right search engine queries to figure out what the books were.

During a trip to Half Price Books I found a promising clue - Aliens in Space. Popping this into a search engine turned up the Terran Trade Authority [Wikipedia], and I had my prize! Perhaps the best overview of the books is provided at Digital Waterfalls, an homage site to the key book in the series, Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD.

A few more links:

Simply put, the books take a lot of "spare" paperback cover art from the 1970s and 1980s by a handful of artists and string them together with a story. Each book has a theme - spacecraft, space wrecks, battles, and so on.

A visit to AbeBooks and I'm reliving my childhood - and making sure that Caspian's is well stocked!

Fellow fan-since-childhood Philip Banks has an interview with the author, Stewart Cowley.