Friday, January 28, 2011

CoastCon 34 Artist Guest of Honor

The artist guest for CoastCon 34 (11 – 13 March 2011) is David Mattingly, a well known artist who had done over 500 covers for SF & F books, album covers, worked for Disney and other studios making background mattes for movies in pre-CGI days. Now he uses computers to help generate his works.
CoastCon 34 David Mattingly
I know that all you SF & F readers have owned books with his fine art on the cover or seen movies with his work and would like to meet this prolific pro artist.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Creatures From Beyond ….. No, From Within!

The Carmagnolle brothers patented the first anthropomorphic articulated hard suit in 1882.
It was a very complex undertaking; the suit had six joints per arm, four in per leg and two in the body of the suit, making 22 rolling convolute demisphere joints in all. The distinctive helmet had 25 individual mini viewing ports cleverly spaced the average distance of the human eyes, giving far more viewing area than it might appear.
The suit is on display at the Paris National Marine Museum. It was never put into production and this single suit was the only one made by Alphonse and Theodore Carmagnolle.
This is real Victorian technology – authentic steampunk! Imagine an army of these armor clad undersea warriors marching across the English channel, under water, clutching their arms to invade Mother England. Mon Dieu mes ami!
I know what costume I want to wear at the next CoastCon or Steampunk convention.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bulb Vase Still Life

A new work by Michael W. Moses is entitled Bulb with Flower Vase is the featured portion in this still life. The photo has several interesting props in the picture to add mystery to the composition.
Bulb Vase Still Life 1
The cryptic writing and drawings were done in the early 80s as part of another project and the enigmatic ceramic figure also dates to the first part of the 1980s. The three alabaster containers are in fact, original Egyptian tomb offerings dating to circa 2,000 BCE. They contained cosmetics for the mummy’s use in the after life. The contents are all gone, but the beautiful stone vessels remain.
Bulb Vase Still Life 2
The exotic plant in the vase is called Queen’s Tears (Billbergia Nutans) and is in the Bromeliad family. It’s not a rare plant, but in the present circumstances and setting, it gives an alien feeling to the composition.
Bulb Vase Still Life, Detail 1
A view of the back side of the artifact.
Bulb Vase Still Life, Detail 2
Fired clay, hand carved, about four inches long.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gulf Coast Bookstore Destoryed

Tragedy stuck the Mississippi Gulf Coast last night when a section of Old Biloxi known as the Vieux Marche burned. Three businesses were destroyed including the venerable bookstore Spanish Trail Books.

The bookstore started out in Ocean Springs in the 1970s and later moved to Biloxi. It featured antique and rare books as well as hard to find reference books. In the days before the internet and Amazon, bookstores like these either had the rare books you were seeking or networked to find the tome for the discriminating customer. With the loss of Spanish Trail Books, the Gulf Coast loses not only a fine bookstore, but also a repository of thousands of books of all kinds and a vanishing way of life, the independent, privately owned bookstore.

This hits me hard since I had been visiting Spanish Trail Books off an on for decades and coupled with the loss of many private SF & F collections from Hurricane Katrina. Each shop and collection lost diminishes us and fandom.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Being Human -- Brilliant U.K. Original vs. U.S. Mediocrity

Last night I saw the first episode of SyFy (See Fee) so called “original series” Being Human, a copy of a British series. How did it stack up to the original U.K. version? The perfunctory performances, lack of humor or wit that was such a spark in the original U.K. series really made for a passable, mediocre view in the U.S. version. Passable that is if you had never seen the original U.K. series. The SyFy version is a sanitized, Twilightized, going-through-the-motions and rather dull copy of a beautiful original. See Fee is trying to figure out this SF thing just like it was their first year.

It doesn’t miss the mark as nearly as bad as the U.S. version of the Life on Mars miniseries (aired on ABC) vs. the U.K. Life on Mars, but it sure doesn’t sparkle much, either. I guess it’s a step up from wrestling for SyFy, but it’s going to take more than a pseudo name change to salvage SyFy from second class main stream.

It may seem that I am coming down rather hard on SyFy, but frankly, they don’t measures up to Being Human. Why can’t we get it right?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Tasty Horror of It All

The rumor is that Twinkies will last forever. They will survive atomic war and the Ice Age. Twinkies now have this new peculiar jingle: “That is not dead which can eternal lie and with strange aeons even death may die”. Kinda snappy and if you eat enough of them, you won’t need embalming fluid to preserve you when you die.

Twinkie Henge

Also, whoever gets eaten by Cthulhu will be filled with a yummy creamy center. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Twinkie Hostess wgah'nagl fhtagn!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CoastCon 34 -- Getting Nearer

CoastCon is getting nearer: March 11 through 13, 2011 and I haven’t posted any CoastCon information lately, so here are a few updates:

The Author Guest of Honor is Mike Resnick a major American Science Fiction author, five-time Hugo award winner, Nebula award-winner and a huge supporter of Fandom.

A new feature this year is the Short Film Contest. Read up on the rules and submit soon.

CoastCon has a new forum up and running: CoastCon Forum. It is open to all fans

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tender Mercies

The DMV of Virginia was not amused by this license plate and had the owner turn it back to the state. I understand his original intention was to make a cannibal joke due to the bloody red hands on the license plate, but apparently the state felt there was a darker message. Obviously they never read H. P. Lovecraft.

Tender Mercies

The first thing I thought of was a famous parody of a well-known ultra-fundamentalist Chick tract, “Who Will Be Eaten First”. I put a copy of the offending license plate together with an image of Cthulhu to make the point more obvious. Anyway, the bloody red hands on the original Virginia license plate was just asking for something funny.

Lighten up, world!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Still Life at Solstice – Chthonian Staff Piece

Here are some photos featuring a Chthonian staff piece in a stand which is one of Michael W. Moses’ new works. The fogginess of the vintage convex mirror just adds to the mystery and the clutter of esoterica give the impression of a work table.

The ceramic staff piece was given a bronze glaze and then a cold verdigris patination was applied to give it an aged look.

The stone is a vintage deep cut aurora borealis crystal, which catches the light weirdly and shifts color.

The photos are hosted on Michael W. Moses' flickr account.