11/21/2008

Fossed

Neal Asher wins the no-prize for being the first in the previous posts's comments to spot something curiously Chris Foss-like about the cover illustration for Nova War. That's no accident.

Years ago, I remember hearing the now-deceased Glasgow sf writer Chris Boyce talk at cons about how he kept putting Fossian space ships into his books. The reason he did this was that no matter the content of your book, if it was published anytime in the Seventies it had a very good chance of getting a typical Chris Foss illustration of big spaceships shooting at each other. But when Chris described distinctly Foss-ian craft in his own novels by way of a small in-joke, it seemed to guarantee he would never get covers to match.


So when I was writing certain scenes in Nova War, just for fun I described them in Foss-like terms, not really imagining anything from them would wind up on the cover. Surely, I thought, they'll immediately spot what I'm up to. But oh no.

I think I've probably had Foss on the brain ever since I got hold of a copy of 20th Century Foss when I was a teenager. I had a look at that book last year for the first time in many, many years and discovered something curiously relevant to the Moebius illustrations for Jodorowsky's never-made '70's version of Dune that have been floating around the internet. What a lot of people don't realise is that Chris Foss was also commissioned to create many concept paintings for that movie; many of which can be found in 20th Century Foss and are, frankly, incredible (he's also responsible, er, for the original illustrations in The Joy of Sex). In fact, the book in many ways is worth finding for its introduction, which is written by Jodorowsky himself (21C Foss, you idiot, not Joy of Sex). You'll love the man's ideas, but you'll be glad he never got the chance to make Dune.

Some of you may be interested to know that fellow GSFWC alumni Hal Duncan has a new book, Escape From Hell!, out from MonkeyBrain in December. Go buy. Mike C's epic space opera Seeds of Earth should be out by Easter next year, I think.
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