Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pardon me, would you care for a biscuit and a Mars card with your cup of Brooke Bond tea?

Thanks to an older biographical sketch of Welch science fiction author and newly minted millionaire Alastair Reynolds printed in the anthology Mars Probes (2002),
I learned about “The Race into Space," a collection of fifty collectible picture cards that were issued by the Brooke Bond Tea Co. in Britain in 1971. Distributed inside boxes of tea, the collection contains several cards related to Mars, including card #50, “The Manned Flight to Mars,” detailing a plan in which the United States would launch an expedition to Mars in 1981.

As Reynolds recalled in 2002 in Mars Probes, “As a child, I was an avid collector of the cards that appeared in boxes of Brooke Bond tea, and one of them, I recall, prophesied that we would most likely have sent someone to Mars by 1980. I remain bitterly disappointed that, even some twenty years later, we still haven’t managed to do that.”

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