This book cover art, by Johann Goutard, was last week’s top image on my Facebook page. It was posted Sunday, quickly raked in 339 Likes, and held the top spot all week. It’s a great image and, at first glance, looks like a scene from Bungie’s Destiny. But the planet in the sky lets you know it isn’t Earth, and the orb floating above the city is too small to be the Traveler. Goutard mentions the book La fraternité du Panca in the image description (which roughly translates to: The Brotherhood of Five), a space opera series written by Pierre Bordage. However, I wasn’t able to find a book in the series using this cover art.
Regardless of its association, I think what makes this such a great image is that it captures a feeling shared by many science fiction fans. I won’t try to name it, because it isn’t anything specific. It varies from mind to mind and could be anything—curiosity, pride, longing. Exactly what the image makes you feel doesn’t matter, and I think that’s what makes it great. It captures an emotion, but allows the viewer to insert his/her own vision. As fans of science fiction, we’ve all stood on that platform, gazing out in awe at some epic, interstellar future that exists only in our minds. Science fiction, like this image, can be whatever we want it be. And that’s why we love it.
"I'd love to see sunsets like this every day." ~ Bill Spagnuola
"I'm curious about the close proximity of the planet & moon & their tidal & other effects?" ~ Andrew Miller
"Our homeworld, there in the night sky a reminder of our mistakes." ~ Shawn StClair
Jerad Marantz’s The Blind Ones was this week’s top image on my Facebook page, and quite possibly the best received image to date. It got 337 Likes on the page and another 60 on Shares.
The craziest thing about the post was, as much as I liked the image, I thought it might be too creepy for some, and never expected it would come close to being the top image. But, in retrospect, I think that despite their leathery skin, black garb, and being shrouded in mist, Jerad Marantz manages to give these beings an air of majesty. Their stance, the flowing tails of their garments, the lighting, and their perceived height all work to overpower the underlying creepiness and peaks your curiosity, instead.
A few questions that popped into my mind were:
Friend or foe?
How do you they see?
Given the decorative nature of their clothes and the structure in the background, I think it’s safe to assume they have other perceptual ways of navigating their environment.
Are they leaders, or do they all appear and dress this way?
They remind me of the Heirarchs from the Halo Universe. I can easily imagine them as a leadership caste/group.
Is that a female on the left?
I’m assuming there’s a reason why that one has four arms and a slightly different head dress.
And that’s just the immediate questions. It’s amazing how a single image can set your mind running. What do you think when you look at The Blind Ones? What would you like to know?
"Holy shi* I want one as a friend." ~ Callum Hoof
"Woah dude, would not want to see them behind the helm of any starship!" ~ Jeffrey Linn
"Something tells me that even without eyes, they "see" just fine..." ~ Evan Hourihan
"Not something too stare at too long before bedtime." ~ Jim Mason
"Run.....run away now!" ~ Matthew Allen
Concept artist Johnson Ting claims this week’s top image on my Facebook page. His image, Frontier Buccaneers, pulled 261 Likes, which, as of today, was actually tied with Dmitry Dubinsky’s Stronghold, but Ting’s image had more comments, so it takes the top spot.
I think it’s a brilliant image, providing lots of great detail, while also leaving quite a bit to the imagination. Where/what are they dropping into? Is it a ship or a station? Derelict or crewed? Are they expecting resistance—civilian or military? And those visors! Imagine the psychological effect they’d have.
A few people pointed out that glowing visors weren’t suited for combat situations—basically acting as a target, telling the enemy where to shoot. While that’s absolutely true today, I wonder if it would be much of a concern in the distant future. Advances in night vision and computer-assisted targeting might make it a moot issue. If the enemy can see at night just as clear as day, then the glow wouldn’t really give anything away. And if a computer is selecting targets and identifying the most vulnerable areas to fire on, then it’s probably already locked onto the head, or, may not be concerned with it at all (contrary to popular belief, center-mass is actually the best place to aim in combat—the chest area providing a much larger target than the head). Of course, if the enemy doesn’t have these capabilities, then their tech must be old. In that case, maybe they aren’t firing anything strong enough to break the tensile strength of the pirate’s visors.
That’s what I love most about science fiction—there are no certainties, regarding the future. The only thing we know for sure, is that new discoveries and technologies will be made. But how they effect and transform our lives and understanding of the universe, is anyone’s guess. When it comes to writing futuristic fiction, the possibilities are truly endless.
“My favorite thing you have shared to date.” ~ Andrew Reed
“Want that armor!” ~ Melissa A Hamilton
“From a person who was born on "International Talk Like a Pirate Day" and who has two Pirate Captains (One with the surname Morgan) in his family tree . . . Liam M. Approves!!!” ~ Liam M. Edwards
“If someone were to make these visors, they would be rollin’ in the doe. LOL.” ~ John Bumgarden
“When I am a high tech engineer, I am gonna make some of these and send one to u.” ~ Callum Hoof
This amazing concept art by Jean-François Liesenborghs was last week’s top image on my Facebook page, grabbing 239 Likes, and it’s easy to see why.
What I like about the image is the cropping. The structure is immense, but you’re left wondering just how big it is. The two ships provide a sense of scale, and let you know that even if it doesn’t extend too far out of view, it’s still enormous—decades beyond our current construction capability, maybe even centuries, depending on how large it actually is.
Another thing I like—and quite possibly the most—is the fact that it’s not solid. I’ve seen a lot of concepts of extremely large, dense buildings that could possibly hold tens or hundreds of thousands of people. But as much as I love looking at the art, I’m always left wondering how it would actually work, infrastructure wise. Ventilation for one thing. How do you get fresh air to the inner most parts of a structure that’s several kilometers, or more, wide? Perhaps that’s what prompted the civilization depicted in Jean-François Liesenborghs’ “Labyrinth” to build in an open, maze-like pattern around a central core. Either that, or it was built by Replicators, and they just happened to be into spirals that year.
“Oh shit, better get SG-1 on the case...” ~ John C. Scott
“It was left by the Forerunners.” ~ Philip Archer March
“Love it. Love it. Love it.” ~ Jyothi Kuruvilla