Raygun Gothic

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A 1950s coffee shop sign evocative of then-nascent spaceflight on Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Raygun Gothic is a catchall term for a visual style that incorporates various aspects of the Googie, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco architectural styles when applied to retro-futuristic science fiction environments. Academic Lance Olsen has characterised Raygun Gothic as "a tomorrow that never was".[1]

The style has also been associated with architectural indulgence, and situated in the context of the golden age of modern design due to its use of features such as "single-support beams, acute angles, brightly colored paneling" as well as "shapes and cutouts showing motion".[2]


The term was coined by William Gibson in his story "The Gernsback Continuum":[2][3]

Cohen introduced us and explained that Dialta [a noted pop-art historian] was the prime mover behind the latest Barris-Watford project, an illustrated history of what she called "American Streamlined Modern." Cohen called it "raygun Gothic." Their working title was The Airstream Futuropolis: The Tomorrow That Never Was.

— William Gibson, "The Gernsback Continuum"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Olsen, Lance. "'The Future of Narrative': Speculative Criticism: or Thirteen Ways of Speaking in an Imperfect Tense". ParaDoxa 4 (11): 375. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Raygun Gothic and Populuxe Culture: The Next American City, Today!". The Next American City. 2008-01-14. Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  3. ^ "The Gernsback Continuum" in Gibson, William (1986). Burning Chrome. New York: Arbor House. ISBN 978-0-87795-780-5. 


  • Alonso, Carlos (1998). Julio Cortázar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45210-6.