Monday, February 18, 2008

Life on Other Worlds: Mars

David S. Zondy presents some great images of life on other worlds, as well as futuristic depictions in his "tales of Future Past" series:

In the 1920s and '30s the most influential of science fiction illustrators was Frank R. Paul. He supplied many of the covers for Hugo Gernsback's magazines such as Amazing Stories and though the people he drew looked like suet poured into clothes, his buildings, machines, and aliens had a complexity, detail, and drama about them that provided artists with the visual vocabulary of science fiction to this day.

In the late '30s, Paul had a chance to let his imagination run for a bit with a series of back-cover pieces depicting cities on other planets and the creatures that inhabit them. His ideas of what our neighbours in the Solar System and beyond look like were often strikingly beautiful and showed a creativity that put the standard Star Trek man-with-a-lumpy-forehead school to shame. They were meant as flights of fancy rather than educated theories, but it says a lot about the times that his Martians, Venusians, and Whateverians were taken seriously and not as the product of using paint thinner in an unventilated space.

The image is courtesy of Fabio Feminò, who has an excellent online collection of SF art. His site is in Italian, but if you go in through the home page you can click on the Babelfish link, which will translate all the text on the site.

Femino has a collection of covers of Robert Heinlein novels published in Italy, Chesley Bonestell, the Colliers series of space explorations depictions from the Fifties, and other futuristic art.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Maori on Mars


THE NIGHTMARE BEGAN late one night in 1796, when the NGA MAIA tribe literally vanished from the face of planet Earth. Gone, every single man, woman and child! Scooped up as easy as fish in a net by intergalactic slavers and transported across space and time to a screaming nightmare on Mars. Taken to slave until death, joining millions of other godforsaken creatures abducted from all over the Universe, building the mountain-size FACE ON MARS for the bizarre, raven winged OMEGONS.

Full article

Website says the series is due to go straight to DVD, but hasn't got it, and the film-makers' website gives no contact information.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Post-Apocalypse Statue of Liberty

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair

It was my week to post at culturemonkey this week, and I delivered with a post about the motivations for apocalyptic fantasy, what it is and what it's for. Check it out. Comments, criticism, and elaborations of all sorts are very welcome.

While writing the post, in connection with Ryan's theory that the most salient feature of apocalypse in science fiction is the way in which the same images are simply repackaged for us over and over again, I was struck by the recurrence of a ruined Statue of Liberty as perhaps the quintessential icon of disaster since the 1940s. So struck, in fact, that I began to obsessively collect these images from the 'net wherever I could find them.
-- Gerry Canavan

Full article with lots of illustrations

Thanks to Rigorous Intuition blog

Movies that Smash the Statue of Liberty. io9's list.

If anyone knows of any bibliographies or checklists of science fiction that is set in New York City or upstate New York (preferably short stories or novels), I'd love to hear about them.

The Dutch Moisturize Mars

The Dutch Moisturize Mars

The pessimist mourns the glass’s half-emptiness, the optimist rejoices that it’s semi-full and the engineer just thinks the glass is twice the size it should be. I wonder what a space engineer would think of this map of Mars, half underwater.

Although the latest scientific evidence seems to indicate there once was water on Mars - laying to rest a controversy that has raged ever since ‘canals’ were detected on its surface – The Red Planet nowadays is rather rocky and definitely dusty, and not even close to moist. To map Mars as if it’s covered with oceans, seas and bays is clearly too Terra-centric.

It might help to know that this map of of a semi-submerged Mars is of Dutch origin. As the Dutch have always struggled to keep their country above sea-level, they might find it impossible to imagine a world without encroaching seas. This map therefore may say less about the precarious environment of Mars than about that of the Netherlands itself, a country not coincidentally named for its disadvantageous position vis-à-vis the North Sea.

Full article

One of the commentators gives the source as the Dutch translation of Camille Flammarion’s Astronomie populaire, published in 1884 as De wonderen des hemels (”The Marvels of the Heavens”).

The Dutch image which was originally accompanying the article has disappeared from the blog. I've substituted what I believe is the French version, thanks to