Retrofuturist Flashback: The Infinity Bridge


Old-school cosmic megastructuring. The British Library/Robana/Getty

As we cross the imaginary bridge between one year and the next, I thought it might be a good time to look at French caricaturist J. J. Grandville's fabulous Bridge of Infinities.

The concept takes us all the way back to 1844, and Grandville's book "Un Autre Monde." Quite impossibly, this incredible structure holds the planets in their orbit and connects them all via a handy highway.

Now Grandville celebrated the absurd and the surreal, so waste no time wondering if he was serious about this concept. As you'll explore in his many other illustrations from the book, "Un Autre Monde" concerns a trio of parallel world created by Dr. Krackq, Dr. Puff and Dr. Hahblle.

But as we ponder such far-future structural marvels as the Dyson Shell, in which we completely enclose a star in an artificial sphere, maybe an infinity bridge isn't that loopy after all.

Who am I kidding? It's nuts. And I love it.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.