Terran Trade Authority Books

When I was younger, and first showing a quite keen interest in science fiction, my family bought a book for me. It was Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD and I am not entirely sure they realised quite what it was they gave me. It was a book that postulated a possible future and used various pieces of space art as illustrations. As such it was bright, colourful and quite caught my imagination.

It was one of four such books and I count these books as being a primary influence on my imagination and dreams. The four books are :-

Additionally repackaging of two of the books resulted in an extra version :- All the books were written by Stewart Cowley, with the exception of Great Space Battles which was co-authored with Charles Herridge, and featured a wide variety of artists.

I have a brief precie of each book and further down the page there are some answers to commonly asked questions about these books. A section of 'sightings' where people have seen references to or images that bear a striking resemblence to material featured in the books. Finally a news section when material featured in the books or the books themselves manage a mention in the news.

Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD

Image of book cover. (39 Kb jpeg)

Publisher: Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd (1978)
ISBN: 0 600 384 39X

Publisher: Hamlyn/Chartwell Books (1978)
ISBN: 0 890 092 117

This was the first of the TTA books, a concept book & an attempt to take various pieces of space art and hang a coherent history around them. For such a begining the book works remarkably well.

Essentially this book covers the initial leap into space and the first alien contact, then interstellar war. Consisting of a picture paired with a ship specification listing and history the book works it's way through the various military, civilian and unknown craft featured in the time period given.

The pictures really are glorious but what makes it all work is the history holding them together. With each specification given you learn a little more of the time and circumstances that caused the ship to be built, then through that you learn more about the world behind it all.

As a showcase of artistry the book shines and as the first concept book of it's kind it was succesful enough to spawn three sequels and a host of imitators. But for me this book remains the best of the lot with a pleasing mix of stunning images and story.

Great Space Battles

Image of book cover. (55 Kb jpeg)

Publisher: Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd (1979)
ISBN: 0 600 383 687

The next in the series of the TTA books (Terran Trade Authority) this was fairly hard to find. It changed style away from a specification listing to that of trying to tell full stories. Unfortunately the style of art changes so much between images that the effect is less than convincing.

Still the story itself is reasonably engaging and gives a feel for tactical combat and the kinds of decisions it entails. Where it ultimately fails is in the choice of art. Alot of it is fairly lacklustre material, bar a few stand out images by Peter Elson. I remember I fought long and hard to find this book and was vaguely disappointed when I did finally get it.

SpaceWreck: Ghostships and Derelicts of Space

Image of book cover. (42 Kb jpeg)

Publisher: Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd (1979)
ISBN: 0 600 329 909

Here we had a considerable improvement over 'Great Space Battles'. The stories were shorter and more tightly linked to one image rather than trying to link to several. Although one or two stories did feature linked images they tended to be images done by the same artist and as such worked together far more coheisively.

Also the choice of subject matter was a smart move. There is something wonderfully intrieguing about a wreck. How did it get there? Could the disaster have been avoided? The tragedy and futility can be captured exceedingly well by the combination of image and story.

As such this book worked well. The quality of the art work was good and the wide choice of subject material meant a diverse variety of stories could be told.

Starliners: Commercial Travel in 2200 AD

Image of book cover. (29 Kb jpeg)

Publisher: Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd (1980)
ISBN: 0 600 353 575

The last in the series, that I know of anyhow, this one is where he reached highest. The quality of the artwork is uniformly good and, due to the subject material, a strong glimpse into the lifestyle of the twenty second century is given.

I know I had my reservations about the book when I saw the title. But this book shines through as a quality effort all the way. Second only to 'Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD' it tells a story and tells it well. Keeping a travel guide tone through the book he touches on the history of each company, why it was formed and the background events that enabled it to flourish.

Spacebase 2000

Cover of Spacebase 2000. (29Kb jpeg)

Publisher: Hamlyn Publishg Group Ltd (1984)
ISBN: 0 600 385 469

Publisher:St Martin's (1985)
ISBN: 0 312 749 406

This book is essentially a reprint of the material in 'Spacecraft 2000-2100 AD' and 'Great Space Battles'. Tt had a strong release in the US but I have heard of people all over Europe buying and owning copies. It even made it to Australia and I had thought for a long time that it had not made it to New Zealand. Thanks to an email from Conrad Schumacher I now know that some copies did indeed make it out here. No new material was added so people with the other two books need not seek it out unless they are completionists.

Commonly Asked Questions


This list is dedicated to those images and references that look like they could have come straight out of the series of books, if indeed they haven't been inspired by the books themselves.

If you have seen film, TV or other images that look like references to these books please feel free to email them in for listing here. At the very least it gives people a list of stylisticly similar science fiction to look at that they may not have tried before...


Not often, but every once in a while a tidbit of news crops up about the books and the images in the books.

Philip R. Banks
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