2001 Nights (1985)

A set of short stories (or better short manga/comic stories) chronicling the near future attempts at space exploration, mainly concentrating on the solar system. The drawing style is unlike the common manga variant, very realistic in it’s depiction of humans (reminded me of some European comic artists). Hoshino art is also excellent at capturing the grandness of space, with human spaceships just specks of dust. And yet, against this awe inspiring background, the human endeavors in space never feel foolish or futile.

At heart Hoshino’s stories depict a very optimistic view of space exploration. Sure, people often die in his stories, showing the deadliness of space. And yet, these deaths are never in vain, the human drama is transcended by taking part and furthering space exploration. 2001 Nights is drawing on Clarke’s and Kubrick’s 2001, but whereupon the later only showed big concepts, missing the human element (unlike its IMHO much better sequel 2010), 2001 Nights strikes a perfect balance between big concepts and human drama.