Dinosauroids - Color test

The Dinosauroids is a fascinating concept being explored by artist Simon Roy (deviantART, Blogger, tumblr) based on the premise that the dinosaur-killing Chicxulub asteroid misses Earth:

However, the resulting world is not simply a long-lived cretaceous paradise – the Deccan Traps still flooded the sky with ash and changed the climate and atmosphere, killing off most, if not all, of the great dinosaurs. The survivors of such an event, however, are a handful of small therapods, mammals, birds, and even a few pterosaurs.

While our ancestors developed the hand-axe and honed their stone-throwing skills to scavenge kills, the saurian’s ancestors were developing more and more advanced pointy sticks.

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Humans and other animals

The Dinosauroids

The Dinosauroids is a fascinating concept being explored by artist Simon Roy based on the premise that the dinosaur-killing Chicxulub asteroid misses Earth, but the changing climate still wipes out most of the great dinosaurs leaving the world to a handful of small therapods, mammals, birds, and even a few pterosaurs.

Solarpunk is a wonderful new genre conceived by Olivia Louise.

Art by Owen Carson

Okay, so I’m pretty sure that by now everyone at least is aware of Steampunk, with it’s completely awesome Victorian sci-fi aesthetic. But what I want to see is Solarpunk – a plausible near-future sci-fi genre, which I like to imagine as based on updated Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Edwardian aesthetics, combined with a green and renewable energy movement to create a world in which children grow up being taught about building electronic tech as well as food gardening and other skills, and people have come back around to appreciating artisans and craftspeople, from stonemasons and smithies, to dress makers and jewelers, and everyone in between. A balance of sustainable energy-powered tech, environmental cities, and wicked cool aesthetics.

Character art by Olivia:

Here are some buzz words~

Natural colors! Art Nouveau! Handcrafted wares! Tailors and dressmakers! Streetcars! Airships! Stained glass window solar panels!!! Education in tech and food growing! Less corporate capitalism, and more small businesses! Solar rooftops and roadways! Communal greenhouses on top of apartments! Electric cars with old-fashioned looks! No-cars-allowed walkways lined with independent shops! Renewable energy-powered Art Nouveau-styled tech life!

Can you imagine how pretty it would be to have stained glass windows everywhere that are actually solar panels? The tech is already headed in that direction! Or how about wide-brim hats, or parasols that are topped with discreet solar panel tech incorporated into the design, with ports you can stick your phone charger in to?

Read more on Olivia’s blog, under the Solarpunk tag.

(via Thiefree)

Shape of things to come


Uninspired by the bland, white, sterile aesthetic of most futuristic science-fiction technology and architecture, Olivia Louise conceived of a new genre similar to steampunk, but with electronic technology, and an Art Nouveau veneer: Solarpunk.


io9 spoke to Nick Bonner, founder of Koryo Tours who have been bringing travellers to North Korea since 1993. Bonner commissioned an architect to create a series of designs imagining how a future North Korea might accommodate a huge influx of tourists:

Many buildings in North Korea have what we in the West would call a retro-futuristic feel, so something that we have seen before, except this time we were pushing the eco side of it all.

The project was commissioned in-house – an experiment between Koryo Tours and the North Korean architects, and looking at the future of sustainable tourism. When we started taking the first tours to North Korea in 1993, only a small handful of people were visiting, but now we take over 2,000 a year (more than half of all the foreigners who visit). It still remains the least-visited country in the world, but also one of the most interesting experiences possible.

Shape of things to come

How an architect who has never left North Korea imagines the future

“You only need to walk around Pyongyang to see buildings that express originality within the limitations of what is allowed there, and what is actually achievable in terms of the available technology (for example, no glass-curtain walls, and most buildings still built with concrete and reinforcement bars).” — Nick Bonner, Koryo Tours


Magic Highway


Kevin Kidney has uploaded some amazing Magic Highway, U.S.A. images taken straight from publicity stills of the era.

(via Overhead Compartment)

Craft and creativity

Magic Highway

“On May 14, 1958 the Disneyland TV program ran an episode called “Magic Highway, U.S.A.” It examined the past, present and (paleo)future of transportation.” — Paleo-Future


IXS Enterprise

Of course, it’s called the IXS Enterprise. And the Star Trek connection doesn’t end there: Mike Okuda designed the ship’s insignia.

The IXS Enterprise is a theory fitting concept for a Faster Than Light ship. It’s designed for/with NASA scientist Dr. Harold White and used in his presentations as an extra.

Excellent renderings by Mark Rademaker who has put in excess of 1600 hours into the project.

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Shape of things to come

NASA’s design for a warp drive ship!

NASA physicist Dr. Harold White collaborated with CGI artist Mark Rademaker to create a new, more realistic design of what a faster-than-light ship ship might actually look like.


A respectful homage to Shirow Masamune’s manga and Mamoru Oshii’s seminal film “Ghost in the Shell”

For a film that was a comment on the uber-connected society of the future, Project 2501 ended up being itself an example of how this collaborative group of creatives are so connected ourselves. Many of us never met beyond the communications provided by the vast and infinite net, but still came together to make the ultimate tribute to “Ghost in the Shell”

gits2501.com (via DN)

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Project 2501: A homage to ‘Ghost in the Shell’

This is a modernised direction that still tries to stays true to the original creator’s vision. What started as a photo tribute directed by Ash Thorp and Tim Tadder (photography), soon became a worldwide collaboration of more than 20 artists from around the world, with each and every one coming together to help breathe life into the project.


May the fourth

Carrie Fisher

1983 Star Wars photoshoot for Rolling Stone

These photos were taken by photographer Aaron Rapoport at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California, USA.

(via This Is Not Porn)


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Princess Leia takes a dip

Not the usual fare for this blog, but I shall make an exception for 80’s Carrie Fisher.

Neal Stephenson in front of Amazon's Fiona building
Shape of things to come

The Kindle’s wink to Fiona

Robin Sloan:

If you own one of Amazon’s e-readers, there’s a good chance you’ve accessed the “Manage Your Kindle” page at some point.

fiona in the Amazon URL

Do you notice anything strange about that URL? What’s fiona? An acronym, perhaps. Functional… Internet-Oriented… Native… Application? File I/O Network Access?

No. It’s not a what but a who.

Fiona Hackworth is character in The Diamond Age, a science fiction novel written by Neal Stephenson, published in 1992 with a plot that hinges on the theft of a kind of super-book.

A super-book that is engrossing, interactive, networked; with pages that change before your eyes; that knows more or less everything.

A science-fictional object that served as the lodestone for Amazon’s efforts, in the early 2000s, to develop an e-reader.

On Amazon’s campus in Seattle, many buildings are named for company concepts and codename. Neal Stephenson visited one.

The Kindle wink is a piece written by a collective publishing on Medium as The Message.


The $5.7 Million Magazine Illustration – The New Yorker

Chris Foss

In October, “Ornamental Despair,” a 1994 painting by the British artist Glenn Brown, sold at auction in London for $5.7 million. The painting is almost an exact replica of a science-fiction illustration that Foss created for a men’s magazine in the nineteen-seventies, for which he was paid about three hundred and fifty pounds. Brown’s painting was based on a reprint of Foss’s original, featured in a 1990 book collection of the artist’s work.

“I knew he copied it from the book because the painting was cropped to fit the page. His version is clearly based on the cropped version,” Foss said.
The New Yorker

Craft and creativity

Chris Foss

“I was furious,” Foss told me. “I stormed into the gallery and shouted at the director, ‘Take these pictures off the wall; they don’t belong there.’ I wasn’t happy seeing copies of my work all over the place.”

The Foundation Trilogy
Use your words

The Foundation Trilogy

I love my Kindle, but this edition of The Foundation Trilogy from The Folio Society is tempting me.

Alex Wells is a young British illustrator. In this, his first commission for The Folio Society, he has skilfully evoked both the futuristic feel of the series as well as the period in which it was written.

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Gravity: A Space Oddity

Or: How the future became the past

The first thing that struck me about the trailer for Gravity was how beautiful and terrifying it was.

My second thought was how sad it was to see the space shuttle.

In 1968 Stanley Kubrick and some very talented designers imagined a realistic space plane for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Pan Am Orion Space Plane

In 1981 NASA made the dream a reality with the first space shuttle launch. 30 years later, in 2011, the shuttle made its last flight.

Space Shuttle

Now in 2013 the space shuttle appears in Gravity. Science fiction has become historical fiction.


Alex Jay examines the evolution of the Star Wars logo.

Credit for the Star Wars logo belongs to Suzy Rice. First there was her original design. Second, Joe Johnston revised her logo for the film. And third, there was her original logo with the revised “W”, which can be traced to Jim Novak, whose contribution, although minor, was significant.
Anatomy of a Logo: Star Wars

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The evolution of the Star Wars logo

Alex Jay examines the evolution of the Star Wars logo.

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Why Star Trek is great

Star Trek's Captains

Matthew Yglesias writing for Slate:

The standard line among Trek apologists is that the franchise is not just a lot of sci-fi nonsense but a meaningful exploration of what it means to be human. And among Trek’s kaleidoscope of Vulcans and androids and holograms and shapeshifters, this is a core concern. But Trek has a very particular take on what it means to be human. Part of what it means, the franchise teaches us, is participating in an ongoing progressive project of building a utopian society. Even though the bulk of Trek comes from the ’90s, the franchise launched in the mid-’60s, and the now-anachronistic spirit of midcentury optimism has remained at the heart of the franchise throughout. It’s a big part of what makes Trek great.


io9 has a detailed look at the new bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek Into Darkness.

I’m in total agreement with commenter MonkeyT:

So where are the actual dynamic words and numbers people communicate with? All the consoles are either video game controllers or playskool desks.
“How much antimatter do we have?” “Err… three out of four glowing buttons, sir.”
“How fast are we going?” “No red lights yet, sir. All blue.”
“Red-thingy moving toward the green-thingy. I think we’re the green-thingy…”

In the 2009 movie we barely got to see the bridge, and what we did see was a blur of fast editing, a camera that never settled down and that infamous lens flare. Into Darkness probably won’t need a detailed set that looks like it might be the center of operations for a functioning starship either, it just needs flash. Shame really.

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The bridge of the JJ Enterprise

A detailed look at the new bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek Into Darkness.


Pacific Rim wide poster

Zach Snider’s rebooted Man of Steel looks actually really interesting. Iron Man 3 should hopefully be a return to form, though the villan looks like he’s from the same mould as the second movie. The there’s Thor: The Dark World, which could go either way as I hear it’s going to have a very different look and feel to the first one, which I rather liked. I have suitably low expectations for Star Trek Into Darkness, which is to say I think I’ll really enjoy it but will still bemoan the fact that it isn’t real Star Trek.

2013 has already brought us Cloud Atlas, a flawed but entertaining and satisfyingly complex work. All signs point towards Ender’s Game being a quality adaptation too.

But for me 2013 looks like it could be a great year for the original SF action film. Of course, ‘original’ is a difficult word to apply to any Hollywood blockbuster, but below I’ve collected the posters and linked to the trailers for four non-franchise, non-remake, non-sequel, non-adaptation movies coming out later this year.

Get excited for Oblivion, After Earth, Pacific Rim & Elysium →

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Sci-fi summer spectacular 2013

2013 looks like it could be a great year for the original SF action film. Get excited for Oblivion, After Earth, Pacific Rim & Elysium.

Consider Phlebas
Use your words

A Few Notes on the Culture

The galaxy (our galaxy) in the Culture stories is a place long lived-in, and scattered with a variety of life-forms. In its vast and complicated history it has seen waves of empires, federations, colonisations, die-backs, wars, species-specific dark ages, renaissances, periods of mega-structure building and destruction, and whole ages of benign indifference and malign neglect. At the time of the Culture stories, there are perhaps a few dozen major space-faring civilisations, hundreds of minor ones, tens of thousands of species who might develop space-travel, and an uncountable number who have been there, done that, and have either gone into locatable but insular retreats to contemplate who-knows-what, or disappeared from the normal universe altogether to cultivate lives even less comprehensible.
A Few Notes on the Culture, by Iain M. Banks

Excerpt from a 1994 essay originally posted to rec.arts.sf.written by Ken LacLeod. I’ve read this many times. Thank you for creating this universe Mr. Banks.