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Dirk Loechel, a visual artist from Germany, loves spaceships. So much so, that he created a beautiful scale chart of hundreds of spacecraft from many of the most popular science fiction IPs, including Warhammer 40k, Star Trek, Gundam, Final Fantasy, and even Spaceballs. If you’ve got a favourite ship, it’s probably in there!

The scale of the chart hit me when I spent five minutes looking for the Enterprise D, expecting it to be among the middle-ish of the pack in size. I had to squint to find it. Loechel’s chart uses a pixel:metre scale of 1:10, making the chart itself 57km tall and 43km wide. That’s a lot of spaceship.

(Full chart after the jump.) Read More »

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How cool is that image? It’s a bunch of dinosaurs equipped with laser beams and cockpits. Who cares if you have Dimetrodons and Pachycephalosaurus living in tandem? It’s dudes riding dinosaurs with lasers. Dino Riders was my Jesus as a kid. As a dino-obsessed youth, the idea of riding dinosaurs into battle was the thing of legends and far-off planets where anything was possible.

Today, Tor.com revealed not only 2014’s best cover, but also the winner of the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Novel: The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán. He and I might be a generation apart, but, in our love of dino steeds, Milán and I are clearly cut from the same cloth, and the legacy of Dino Riders is alive and well. Read More »

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Prisoners, Deserters,
and an Age of Heroes

I was a college freshman on 9/11. The events of that Tuesday morning kicked off the 21st century in the United States of America, and changed my life, as it changed the lives of so many young people of my generation in the USA and beyond.

9/11 started the “War on Terror,” two wars in the middle east, poured nitrous oxide into the burning engine of the United States’ national debt, and set the tone for the first decade of the 21st century in the USA, the first decade of my adulthood. I remember telling classmates that we needed to write to our representatives, ask that they not go and start a war over this, that we could do better.

I created an Individualized Major of Creative Mythology, with the aim of studying how myths and legends were structured, how the ur-stories of world cultures were formed.

When I arrived at Indiana University, I declared an East Asian Studies major. I wanted to learn more Japanese, study Japanese history, and go off and work for a video game company, or an anime company, or something involving that skill, and that interest. But after 9/11, I was flailing for meaning, desperate to find some way forward as the world very quickly spiralled away from the future I had expected. As members of my age cohort signed up for the armed services, to be analysts, anything to help, I looked back to Mythology, to hero legends, and in looking back, saw my path forward.

We make meaning out of stories – that’s what humans do. I needed to make meaning out of what was happening in my world, needed to imagine an alternative to the path that history was taking, to dream a brighter future. In spring of 2002, I created an Individualized Major of Creative Mythology, with the aim of studying how myths and legends were structured, how the ur-stories of world cultures were formed, so that I could make 21st century myths and legends to help point the way forward, to see through the cloud of ashes and confusion and anger left by the fall of the towers.

But 9/11 wasn’t the first time the WTC towers had loomed tall in my life, with their presence or their absence. Read More »

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Cyril Rolando, known online as AquaSixio, is a French illustrator who works predominantly with digital mediums, such as Photoshop. “My artistic approach is set between surreal and fantasy style… in one word : Otherworldly,” he says of his art.

“I want to ‘tell a story,’ not just ‘show pixels,'” says Rolando of his digital art. “Tim Burton and Hayao Miyazaki are both the roots of my own world. I like the surrealism movement, especially the work of Boris Vian and his Foam of the Daze (l’écume des jours). I like the absurdity, the creativity and the enchanting universes, where colors bring more emotions than thousand smiles or a million tears.”

Living on an island, I’m drawn to many of the thematic elements that Rolando incorporates into many of his images: waves, underwater, aquatic life, snow, rice beds. Doubly impressive is the way that the running theme of water is utilized without all of the images feeling repetitive or same-y. Rolando fills his images with deep blues, rich purples and reds, and nurses out a lot of evocative emotion through his use of colour.

You can follow Cyril Rolando on Tumblr and DeviantArt. His art is available for purchase through his online store.

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I’ve got one response for this:

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(Okay, I actually have more than one response, natch, so bear with me. Orbit Books is one of the few big SFF publishers that understands the value in building a brand for its authors. When they weren’t happy with Brent Weeks’ cover for The Black Prism, they recovered the whole series and created an eye-catching and instantly recognizable series on bookstore shelves. They’ve done so with James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse, and Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch series. The packaging and branding for Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin was never their finest work, but it was bold and the emblematic weapon (sword, axe, torch, shield and spear) were consistent and matched scale. Read More »