Saturday, 28 August 2010

ALIEN LANDSCAPES

Mayflower paperback, first American edition 1979. © Young Artists. Cover painting by Les Edwards
"Alien worlds have always been a central excitement in science fiction. Imaginary landscapes, some surreal, others realistic, are highly important to the novels in which they are contained. Many of these worlds are carefully constructed, realistically detailed and vividly imagined. 
ALIEN LANDSCAPES explores ten of the best-known worlds with a detailed text explaining their history & politics, climate, geography, flora & fauna and their location in the galaxy. All are brilliantly visualized in 30 original paintings, specially commissioned from ten of the best sf and fantasy illustrators. 
See in full colour the spectacular worlds of Arthur C Clarke's Rama; Anne McCaffrey's Pern; the Okie Cities of James Blish; Hal Clement's Mesklin; Harry Harrison's Eros; the Arrakis of Frank Herbert's Dune; Larry Niven's Ringworld; Trantor from Asimov's Foundation Trilogy; Brian Aldiss's Hothouse and the End of the World of H G Wells. These illustrations give an inspired reality to the life and times 'out there' from the full planetary view right down to the details of landscapes and society."
First Contact by Jim Burns.
 "After Lieutenant Pak and the Dragonfly crashed near the south pole he became the first explorer to encounter a Biot. This was one of the most abundant forms, the scavenger, which played an important part in recycling waste material on Rama. Here it is slicing up the remnants of the Dragonfly with its scissor-like claws and placing the pieces in a storage cavity on its back with the help of appendages closely resembling human hands."
Okie City, Trading Contact by John Harris.
 "In orbit around a colonized world, the Okie City of New York, with its familiar Manhattan skyline, makes contact with a space vessel sent up by the colonists to make first trade-contact. Such stops frequently include the transfer of some personnel, some city dwellers deciding to apply for immigration permission, some colonists requesting permission to come aboard the flying city and make a life for the stars."
Storm Debris On Mesklin by Tony Roberts.
 "A hurricane has raged across the equatorial area of Mesklin wreaking immense damage to life and land, and reaching deep into the sea itself. This huge deep-ocean creature has been cast onto a sandy beach, dead and rotting. An earthman, wearing the heavy, life-supporting suit that enables him to walk despite the 6 times normal gravity, tries to dig a sample of the creature for analysis, but he has no instrument strong enough to tear into the 'teak-wood' like tissue of the monster. The tiny Mesklinites, a group of traders, gather round to watch, and solve the problem themselves' their forward pincers are able to cut tungsten steel, and they snip off pieces of the creature with ease, eating more than they give to the earthman."
The Valley by Colin Hay.
 "From a vantage point high above the valley the pronounced curvature of the small world can clearly be seen. A river runs the length of the valley, providing a natural barrier between the two primitive communities. The valley's 'sun' is actually a ball of plasma in a controlled fusion reaction; it runs across the 'sky' (whose illusion of reality is complete even at close proximity) on tracks. Here, having finished its daily traverse of the sky, the sun is about to enter the interior of the asteroid, where it will cross under the valley in time to emerge above the distant mountains for tomorrow's dawn. Night is about to fall: in the valley the villagers hurry to the safety of their villages as Coatlicue emerges to stalk the fields and marshes."
Sandworm And A Rider by Terry Oakes.
 "At the fringe of the deep desert the Fremen have summoned a Sandworm by means of a 'Thumper'. Now the Hookman mounts the worm, holding open the fore edge of the ring segments with his Maker hooks. Other Fremen wait to follow once the Hookman has control. This is a medium-sized worm, perhaps 250 metres long; in the deep desert worms may grow to almost double its size."
Ringworld Surface At Night by Stuart Hughes.
"Only at night can the true awesomeness of the ringworld be appreciated on its surface. In daylight the landscape dwindles away into a hazy, horizonless infinity; at night the arch of the Ringworld becomes visible, soaring overhead - a mere line of brightness at its apex - and descending again at the other side (behind the vantage point of this picture). At night it is possible to appreciate the sheer immensity of the ringworld. The mountain in the right foreground is the thousand-mile-high first-of-god, formed by the impact of a meteorite striking the underside of the ringworld and causing even the fantastically strong foundation material to bulge inwards."
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