Monday, December 17, 2012

The Overlook: Experimentation in Sci-Fi

Star Trek 2009 Concept Art
This has been an inspiration to me as well. Artwork done
for JJ Abram's film was stunning!
I am an ardent Star Trek (original series, aka the J.J. Abrams films) and Star Wars fan, but I haven't dabbled much in the realm of Sci-Fi. I suppose Star Wars couldn't really be considered pure Sci-Fi, but maybe Firefly counts? Either way, it isn't usually a genre I'm interested in . . . unless it has a captivating story and characters. I'm always excited when I discover some new book, series, or movie that I can enjoy, and I've found that maybe I could love Sci-Fi a whole lot with the works of Isaac Asimov. Yes, I know, he's been around forever and is the grandfather of Sci-Fi, but I never really was interested in trying any of his books. They were about robots, space things, and who knows what else; I didn't really give him a thought. It was a good friend of mine who got me into reading Asimov and we've been reading through his Foundation Series and we'll also be reading his Robot series. I suppose I should have known I would have liked his work because usually anything early 20th Century or earlier is when all the good stuff was written, i.e. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, George McDonald, Agatha Christie, just to name a very few. Isaac Asimov writes compelling science fiction, and it is strange because his characterizations aren't always super strong. He gets better in his later works, but what really drew me into his work is how he is able to engage you immediately into conversations between characters who you know nothing of yet whatever they are talking about is super exciting! His dialogue between characters are a lot like a chess match, using wit and creativity to build their motivations which fuels his plots. I can only describe his endings as having a "check-mate" sort of climax as the cumulation of events and characters fall into their place and all is revealed. There is an almost mystery-esque, process of deduction feel to his novels, which being that I'm a huge mystery novel fan is no surprise why this is what would draw me into Asimov's work. Another aspect of his storytelling that I find impressive is that he doesn't use aliens very often, but when he does, he puts originality and thought into creating them, making them truly otherworldly as if they could really be from another planet from our own. Yet, overall, Asimov uses originality in anything he writes, and his work has really be an inspiration to me.

Thought it wasn't until I read End of Eternity that I was inspired to put something down on paper. The novel is about a man named Andrew Harlan, who is an Eternal, part of a league of chosen men who are brought out of Time to monitor countless centuries of Earth's history and its effects, altering and changing whatever they believe is for the good of Mankind. Harlan is a particularly gifted Eternal; however, he ends up falling in love with a woman who is in Time, which is forbidden. So as he uses his powers and influence to keep their love hidden, Harlan begins to unravel the secrets of Eternity and ultimately the fate of Universe itself. It is a fascinating read, one of which sparked a lot of thoughts and ideas. While I was contemplating them this image stuck in my mind:

The concept behind this image is that it is thousands upon thousands of years in the future, and mankind has found a way to spread himself into space as easy as it is for us to build cities on Earth today. The man-made establishments interconnect all throughout the solar system, the galaxy, and beyond. I had the idea that they would be structured after molecules, and that there would be shuttle travel through tubes that connect you to the next city structure, so in a sense mankind has gone molecular on a macroscopic level. I imagined these being wide-spread far into the Universe, connecting galaxies even; mankind spreading deeper and deeper into space, controlled by the insatiable desire to reach the stars and beyond! In this image, though, one lone scientist overlooks a section of the Earth, the sky obstructed by these structures. My young brother observed that the structures looked a lot like dandelions, which isn't surprising really. Drawing architecture or any geometric space isn't my strong suit being that I like working with organic shapes, so even my buildings take on the shapes found in nature. That is why this drawing is really an experiment for me, to push my imagination, skill, and to challenge me in an area that I am weakest. 

This concept does have an even larger story behind it. Maybe one day I will write it out, I kind of imagine it as a novel with illustrations, but for now I have this drawing and Isaac Asimov will continue to inspire me.


  1. Hey Danielle, I just read this entry. I have to tell you how much I love this image. Its starkness and retro sci-fi feel definitely remind me of Asimov, or even going back further, images from that scifi 1920s film Metropolis. I really like the contrast of the very regular, organized structures of the buildings with the more organic looking shapes of the interstellar (intergalactic?) structures in the sky. The spire seemingly soaring to unfathomable distances and then branching out into countless directions is awe-inspiring. Such a cool concept! It also kind of reminds me of how ice looks when it's shattered, the fractures expanding out from the point where it was hit. I think this has to be my favorite drawing of yours! :)

  2. Thank you so much, Brittany! I couldn't wait until you saw this post. ;) That is so cool that you see it being as retro, like from the 1920s scifi. I didn't think about it in that way, but seeing as my inspiration came from Asimov, it would have some of that retro influence. I'm so glad you felt the presence and atmosphere I was going for with the intergalatic (yes!) structures. They do look like fractured ice as well and how it expands. I love that mental imagery. I'm very flattered that this one is your favorite. :)

  3. Great post and great comment by Brittany! I love this whole idea, obviously, but it was great to see how you captured that sci-fi essence in the whole "art of..." book style. The background is my favorite. Definitely do more like this! :-)