Sci-Fi-O-Rama contributor Ben Feldman recently pointed me toward an online selection of Heavy Metal, the infamous American Sci-Fi/Fantasy magazine most prominent in the late 70s and 1980s.
Heavy Metal was originally a remix of translated material from the French comic anthology Métal hurlant and prominently features art from Gallic masters such as Moebius, Enki Bilal, Philippe Caza and Phillippe Druillet.
Anyway, whilst scanning through the back issues I came across samples of this Jaw-dropping Jim Steranko adaptation of the Sean Connery Sci-Fi flick Outland (Peter Hyams, 1981). The level of draughtsmanship detail is simply incredible, a level of confident intricacy that rivals even the technicality Katsuhiro Otomo.
A quick recap, Outland is a ‘high-noon-in-space’ type thriller that features some superb claustrophobic set design akin to Ridley Scott’s Alien, though distinctive enough to merit its own plaudits. The plot revolves around a drug smuggling conspiracy set on a mining colony on Jupiter’s moon Io and whilst the film’s narrative is at times plodding it does have a brooding edge and features decent performances most notably from Connery.
The real star of the show, however, is the aforementioned design, It’s your typical early 80’s ‘used-future-look’
First up, Sci-Fi-O-Rama was 10 years old last month (28th of March) and though posts may have dwindled somewhat through recent years we are very much back, so a big thanks to long-term and new readers alike. On with the post…
I’m currently contracting with an Icelandic games studio and am fortunate enough to spend a fair bit of time over there. Recently I visited Reykjavík Art Museum (highly recommended) and came across the spellbinding video work of contemporary Danish artist Tinne Zenner.
Zinner features in a 4 part collective show entitled ‘Tak i lige måde: Contemporary Art from Denmark’ commisioned to mark a hundred years of Icelandic sovereignty and the road to independence from Denmark (Iceland became fully independent in 1944). Zinner’s contribution ‘Nutsigassat’ (Greenlandic: ‘Transitions’) was by far the standout and really blew me away, hence the taster here.
Nutsigassat is an extremely powerful 20-minute combination of text, spoken word and haunting 16mm film imagery, scored with a superb low-range soundscape by Wieland Rambke. The film’s theme concentrates on the power of language as a tool of the coloniser, in this case, the Danish influence over Greenland.
Of particular note is a cleverly designed computer animation (seen below) that appears in such a rudimentary fashion it’s difficult to know how exactly it was crafted, the 16mm post-treatment gives a very 1980s VHS feel. Combine this with Rambke’s brooding soundtrack and a native Greenlandic voiceover with word-for-word translation (broken syntax) and you have some extreme otherworldliness. I was mesmerised upon viewing, and poignantly it’s a piece that quietly blossoms in the mind, majestic if slightly unnerving.
Here’s an excerpt from the film.
Nutsigassat Excerpt#1 from Tinne Zenner on Vimeo.
First off a heavy disclaimer here: This post is based upon segments from a chapter of Jim Al-Khalili’s recent book ‘Science Asks: Is There Anybody Out There?’ (2016).
The publication is a spellbinding compendium that summarises the bleeding edge of science’s rapidly evolving hunt for extraterrestrial life and includes contributions from 20 expert minds, each at the vanguard of there respective fields.
If you’re even slightly interested in the scientific approach to ET this simply is a must-read, and offers both tantalising and tangible solutions to one of humanity’s greatest questions – Are we alone in the universe?
A tribute here to Harry Dean Stanton, legendary American cult character actor and unique screen aura who passed away last Friday (Sept 15th, 2017) aged 91.
Sci-Fi-O-Rama proudly present a very special feature on Chris Foss, as profiled by Jeff Love, owner and admin of the sublime Sci-Fi art blog Ski-ffy.
Born in 1946 in Guernsey, Channel Islands, Chris Foss is a British illustrator and a powerhouse of science fiction design and invention. His work is a celebration of future machinery, impossibly sized constructions exist on a planetary scale; a showcase of hardware so large that the human figure is dwarfed by comparison.
Arriving in the SF illustration field in the early 1970s, he is a cult figure, influential and universally admired. For British SF and SF art, his work can be seen as a catalyst; his prolific output was used abundantly in the UK paperback market, particularly by publishing houses like Panther, Coronet (Hodder & Stoughton) and Granada. Foss’ iconic paintings adorned the covers of American classics; E. E. Smith’s Lensman and Family d’Alembert series, reprints of the works of Asimov, James Blish and Philip K. Dick. These colourful scenes of gargantuan spacecraft, space-scenes and enormous robots not only influenced an entire school of imitators but instilled a love of future-tech amongst several generations of science fiction fans.
Still in movie poster mode and continuing on from Mondo here’s short but sweet entry focusing on another of my personal favourites that I’d filed for posting and then – as is often the case – completely forgotten about.
The art in question is this Bob Peak example of fantastical, illustrative master craftsmanship, produced for the 1966 big screen musical adaption of Arthurian myth and legend. Despite starring possibly one of Ireland’s finest ever exports, the late, great Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave I’m not sure the movies really regarded as a classic, however, the promotional artwork with it’s strong Gustav Klimt overtones almost certainly is!
Renowned American Illustrator Bob Peak (May 30, 1927 – August 1, 1992) made a name for himself after working on the poster for the classic 1961 musical West Side Story and upon this initial success Peak’s career took flight eventually spanning 25 years and more… Within this time frame Peak became pretty much the Hollywood’s default first choice, responsible for creating iconic artwork for classics like Rollerball and Apocalypse Now, so