Tag: SF

Children of the Elder Things, or Echinoderm Horror

  As I talked about here, H. P. Lovecraft’s Elder Things were such a unique creation both of their time and for SF in general that their caliber was not duplicated  for many years. There were echoes of them in the BEMs (bug-eyed monsters) of the lurid SF pulp covers of the 1930s through the …

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The Art of the Elder Thing (Part III)

In this post I’ll examine  Elder Thing depictions done in different media and styles. This is an Elder Thing stripped down its basic elements: starfish head, wings, cucumber body, five tentacle legs. I’m guessing it’s a petroglyph painted on some exposed shale rock, which since has been desecrated by bird poop. The creator of the …

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The Art of the Elder Thing (Part II)

In Part II of this series I’ll be taking a look at the Elder Things interacting with their natural environment — either the snowbound Antarctica of At the Mountains of Madness, or their titanic cities of long ago. This illustration of the creatures shows them checking out a ship that has been stuck in the …

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Roadside Picnic
[Reading Challenge 2022]

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky Translation by Olena Bormashenko Chicago Review Press, 2012 (Originally published 1972 in the USSR) [ Challenge # 34: A book by more than one author. ] Roadside Picnic is an SF classic. Originally published in the USSR at the height of the Cold War — and Communist censorship …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/19/22: The Best of Twittersnips
xxxx(Playing in Another’s Sandbox)

Very occasionally over the past years I’ve stepped out and created random characters for existing media —  books, movies, or even toy lines. Here’s a selection.   Franchise and fanfic characters Middle Earth (J. R. R. Tolkien) Smerri Peachlake, Nol Bluffbuggin, Gosti Threeclasp (Hobbits) Yevenglazar, a giant spider Prince Thrindhöil Gandian Graymurgh, a wizard Islands …

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Dissing on The Dispossessed

I’m not going to snark on the book itself here, only the covers. But in doing so you’ll learn a fair amount about the book! First of all, this one, which to my mind is the classic one. It’s grand, sweeping, colorful, exciting. It boils the tale down to its basics: two worlds, very different, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 4/7/21: Atompunk Computers

Atompunk computers deserve their own nomenclature. Running on vacuum tubes and early transistors, and programmed with miles of magnetic tape and punch cards, in the media they were mostly objects of menace. Many classic SF stories of the age revolve around artificial intelligence taking charge of humans and becoming their overlord. In the movie Colossus: …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/31/21: Atompunk Robots

Atompunk robots (those in media from 1945 – 1965) tend to have the same sort of names. Short ones like Gort, cutesy ones like Robbie or Tobor (“Robot” spelled backwards) or functional ones combining scientific terms with letters and numbers. That’s the sort I was after here with this randomly generated list. These names showed …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/24/21: Anarres and Urras

Ursula K. LeGuin’s political science fiction novel The Dispossessed has as its subtitle “An Ambiguous Utopia.” But screw that. Isn’t this a whamdoodle of a cover? Twin worlds, close enough to touch, one lush and green, one red like Mars but cratered like the Moon, done up in a riotous rainbow of colors? (I’ll do …

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Swooning Spaceman

For a change, the BEM (Bug-eyed monster, even though it’s a robot) is carrying away a strapping but unconscious young man instead of a scantily clad young woman. His plight is equally dire as the robot seems none too friendly.