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Monthly Archives: October 2009
Reusable Water Bottles at the Retropolis Transit Authority

Filed under Works in Progress

Aluminum Water Bottles from the Vintage FutureHey! Just in time for you to equip yourself for that trip across the plains of Barsoom or the deserts of Arrakis, I’ve added a collection of aluminum water bottles to my t-shirt shop, the Retropolis Transit Authority.

I never grokked that whole cultural upheaval that started us carrying plastic water bottles with us everywhere. You use them once, and then neo-Bronze Age farmers will be turning them up with their plows for thousands of years, wondering what the heck we were thinking. With good reason.

So I’m glad to see the addition of reusable, durable water bottles like these that’ll stop us from getting embarrassed when our descendants revive our frozen heads. And I’m happy to slap the slogans, memes and designs of my retro future all over them to tempt you into shoveling shekels my way, too.

[tags]retropolis transit authority, retro future, science fiction, sf, water bottles, stop using all that dratted plastic[/tags]

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Quantum Universe Bifurcation for your iPhone

Filed under Found on the Web

Universe Splitter App for your iPhoneNow you – yes, you! – can turn your iPhone into a Quantum Universe Splitter, enabling you to branch into alternate universes whenever you’re faced with a problem that has two possible solutions. Chocolate, or vanilla? World Peace, or World Domination? Fritters, or bagels?

Because as they tell us, every one of these choices splits off a branching alternate reality, right? So here you go. Just what Walter Bishop on Fringe wishes he’d invented, except that he, like your humble correspondent, seems like a landline kind of guy. This App does not run on a 1947 Stromberg-Carlson, or I’d have one myself.

As you may learn on its web site, the Universe Splitter App connects directly to a quantum random number generator in a Geneva laboratory – which helpfully tells you which of the two possible universes you are in and – therefore – decides which of the two courses you’re meant to take. Don’t take the other one, or it’ll be raining frog-flavored ice cream in Peru on Thursday. Flight 815 will crash again. And more. Just don’t go there, okay?

This helpful App is the brainchild of my old friend Eric Daniels, animator and Quantum Bifurcator. And it’s only $1.99, which on the bell curve of Quantum Mechanics devices is, you know, subatomic.

The latest illustration from Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual

Filed under Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual, Works in Progress

Thrilling Tales - Retropolis at Sunset

So here’s another illustration from my Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual project. It’s a good example of a bad thing I’ve been doing.

It’s been years since I’ve had to pump out work on a difficult schedule – well, except for smaller projects, anyway – and I keep running up against that eternal problem: the picture wants to be as good as possible, but it has to get done today. Or tomorrow, anyway.

So what I keep finding myself doing is fooling myself into believing that an illustration is good, or at least good enough, and that I should wrap it and move on to the next one. Then, after a day or a week, I know that I was wrong about that, and I end up doing it over again. Like I said, this one’s an example.

It’s usually the lighting that suffers the most, since especially in the more complex scenes just rendering out the slightly different previews can take awhile. As those minutes add up, my its-done-o-meter begins to malfunction.

On the other hand, I’ve got over thirty of these done now and there are only a few (remaining) that I think I’ll be reworking. So that’s progress, anyway. When I wrote the script for this story I created a number of story nodes that share the same illustrations – but I didn’t total those up as I went, so at this point I don’t even know how many illustrations I need to make. I could tally them up now – but what a waste of time! It’s less than 105, anyway – probably around 80. Which would make me over a third done.

Update: the Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual web site is now alive (alive, I tell you!) at thrilling-tales.webomator.com

The Curious Circumstance of the Rocket that Devolved in the Night

Filed under Found on the Web

TOR Books' Steampunk logoThe unshaven, rum-addled crew* over at TOR Books’ web site has declared that October shall be a month of Steampunk. And so shall it be, inasmuch as anything having to do with tor.com is concerned, anyway.

But that as interesting as that may be, it’s not what I enjoyed most today at their site.

In order to celebrate the Month of Steampunk they restyled their already retro rocket logo to suit – and then posted an article showing the concepts and describing their process of narrowing down from way too many neat ideas to the one neat idea they really needed. I had a great time wandering through that process even though "iterate" is a word I learned to dread in my long years as an indentured servant.

The art’s by Gregory Manchess; art direction by Irene Gallo.

So here‘s your chance to thrill at the fighter planes, the finnified rockets, and the various airships that they didn’t use. Neat! Or, you know, edifyingly uplifting!

*I mean that in the best possible way, you know.

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Down in the Basement. Where it Strains Against its Chains and Turns a Gigantic Wheel of Pain, for all Eternity. Muahahahahaha.