That’s the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet in the Smithsonian Air & Space annex, snapped on a recent visit with a fellow writer and history buff.
The Komet was one of the late-war German “wonder weapons.” It was a revolutionary and amazing design–a liquid-fueled rocket plane. But it was utterly impractical–it flew so fast it couldn’t shoot other planes down. And it had zero impact on the war.
By contrast, many if not most American, British, and Soviet designs were dull and plain, yet were inimitably practical and had huge impacts on the war.
Maybe there’s an analogy for genre novels in there. The huge impact seems to come from novels that might be dull and plain but are also inimitably practical. And the revolutionary and sometimes impractical often has little impact. And maybe ends up ogled in museums.