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Monthly Archives: July 2009
Truly Awesome Retro Future Sculptures by Gary Haas

Filed under Hodgepodge

sci fi sculpture by gary haas

I’ve just unpacked a wonderful acrylic sculpture by Gary Haas – it is not the one you see pictured here, but it’s very similar – and it’s an amazing and beautiful piece of work. More pictures of this one are at his Deviant Art page, and the sculpture pictured here is currently for sale at Etsy.

Gary carves these from solid blocks of acrylic using tools that I’m trying to picture in my mind. I know that they’re rotary tools (which describes a heck of a lot of powered tools, when you think about it) but in order to do the undercuts it seems as though a cutting bit would have to deploy whirling flanges of death after it was already inserted. Which, you know, is really cool. In fact I’ll continue to believe in retractable whirling flanges of death even after I find out I’m totally wrong.

Because some things just ought to exist. And to get back on topic, this sculpture is one of ’em.

Gary seems to think I’m inspirational, and I sure won’t argue with him ("Whirling flanges of Death!") Either way I’m awfully glad to have this in my office. My advice: you should have one too.

Update: he’s just posted a photo of mine at Deviant art. It’s here.

In Which I Explore the Phenomenon of Women in Tubes

Filed under Works in Progress

Retro Sci Fi art posters & prints

Retropolis offers a wide variety of accommodations to the tourist or traveler: from five star suites in the floating Galacticon hotel, through the more utilitarian, blastproof rooms made available to the conventioneers of The Society of Demented Research Technicians – and finally, to these modern and streamlined sleeping tubes at hotels like downtown’s "Tubular Belle’s".

Sleek and affordable, these tubes bathe the guest in a sonic shower that cleans both sleeper and clothing. Visitors awake refreshed and ready for a new tomorrow – helped along by the hot, strong coffee that tops off the hotel’s complimentary breakfast.

Retro-Futuristic Posters & Prints

This all happened because of a series of blog posts at the Posthuman Blues blog …there, for example.

Though I’d never spent a lot of time thinking about Women In Tubes – and really, I haven’t, at least not since the seventies – once I did think about them, I realized that they’re all over the covers of pulp science fiction magazines from the Golden Age of, well, pulp science fiction magazines.

And I started to feel like less of a man because I’d never put women in tubes into my own pictures. I mean, obviously, it’s fundamental, right?

But it’s not enough to just stick a women in a tube. Not even if it were the seventies. What the heck are they doing in there? How did they get into a freaking tube, in the first place? It can’t be like that ship in a bottle thing: that would be disgusting. How do they get out? And, as always, who stands to benefit from keeping all these women in tubes?

So I’ve tried to answer these questions, and while in the act, I made the tubes coeducational. Because that’s how I roll.

The title’s from a song of 1933, by Olive Levine & Beany Miller. Because that’s also how I roll.

Available on posters, archival prints, and postcards.

Tee Junction declares that I’ve designed 3.5% of the best Steampunk-Inspired T-Shirts

Filed under Hodgepodge

mad scientist tee shirts
Tee Junction has posted its list of the 50 Best Steampunk-Inspired T-Shirts, of which there are actually 56, and of which 3.5% are from my Retropolis Transit Authority shop. Even though, as I’ve mentioned before, this ain’t Steampunk.

But heck, it’s an honor just to be nominated. Now how did he miss those "Airship Ballast" shirts?

[tags]t-shirts, mad scientist, steampunk, 50 best steampunk tees, retro future[/tags]

Artist Adele Lorienne S. puts my book of knotwork borders to good use

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Elvish by `Saimain on deviantART

Artist Adele Lorienne S. (Saimain at Deviant Art) has posted this wonderful drawing in which she used my book of knotwork borders in exactly the way that I’d hoped people would.

She chose one of the art nouveau flavored designs, for obvious reasons: if Mucha had been an Irishman, we might have seen more like this!

I’m just so pleased to see this. It’s exactly what I hoped for when I was working on the book.

Go Hero’s Buck Rogers action figures: now defending your desk against the perils of space

Filed under Found on the Web

Go Hero's Buck Rogers Action Figure After a series of delays, Go Hero’s ultra-detailed 1:6 scale Buck Rogers action figure is finally rocketing out of his warehouse.

Hop over there to gander at the features – everything from a detachable, glass space helmet to an internal audio device that plays old Buck Rogers radio shows (or whatever you upload to it via USB). Neat!

His gun is (of course!) a replica of Buck’s iconic Atomic Ray Pistol… and Go Hero is also selling a 10″ version of that famous ray gun. In fact it’s not an exact replica, since it Replica Buck Rogers ray guncombines features of the original toy Atomic ray gun with the postwar Disintegrator Pistol. Comes complete with pops and sparks.

And still coming down the retro-futuristic pike is Go Hero’s 1:6 scale Flash Gordon, a Go Hero's Flash Gordon Action Figuresimilarly detailed 1930’s version of the character based on Buster Crabbe in the famous movie serials.

All in all, a pretty wonderful line of retro space heroes and replicas, all ready and eager to defend your desk from evil emperors and the Awful Green Things From Space.

Rick Remender’s FEAR Agent in development at Universal

Filed under Found on the Web

FEAR Agent

Rick Remender’s FEAR Agent – the comic book tales of Heath Huston, hard-drinking alien exterminator in a retro future – is being developed for the screen at Universal. I’ve liked the series, and not only for its occasional homage to Wally Wood (or to Jeff Brewer’s Cool Rockets, for that matter).

Right out of the gate the stories had me going when Heath, in the middle of a pitched battle with aliens, was trying to figure out if they were intelligent enough that he’d get prosecuted for killing them. It’s a difficult future this guy has to contend with.

The series started at Image Comics and then made a slightly unusual sidestep over to Dark Horse. I wondered at the time whether this might have something to do with Dark Horse’s media contacts, and maybe I was right to wonder.

It’s early days, but this film – if it makes it through the gauntlet – could be loads of cliffhanging, drunken fun with Heath and his intelligent spaceship roaming the galaxy and getting into trouble. The news appears at the Risky Biz blog, and my thanks go to to Sci Fi Wire for pointing me that way.

In which I am cited (but not for speeding)

Filed under Hodgepodge

Light Speed Tee Shirts

In a surprising instance of somewhat academic thoroughness, Discover magazine has cited my “Speed Limit” tee shirts in what is (otherwise?) a pretty impressive article about near lightspeed travel using pulse drives – whether the altogether possible nuclear version, or the “hey, maybe in a hundred years” antimatter version.

I’m pleased to be a part of it. Even though I quail a little at the thought of using nuclear bombs for propulsion I have to admit that there’s something sort of appealing about chucking those puppies out the back of a spaceship and hanging on. “Fire in the hole!”

[tags]speed of light, t shirt, relativity, 186000 miles per second, retropolis, pulse drive, interstellar travel, spaceship, space ship, who needs a catalytic converter anyway[/tags]

In Progress: An Ominous Hallway of… Tubes

Filed under Computer Graphics, Works in Progress

Retro Future Tube Scene

So this whole “women in tubes” thing was preying on my mind, and apparently my mind wasn’t careful enough down by the waterhole… judging by this in-progress scene.

What I’m liking in here (though you can’t really see why, yet) is that it’s a setting that’s guaranteed to seem ominous and sinister, but it won’t be. In fact it’ll be sort of cozy, in an unlikely way. And so, much more Retropolitan in character.

Just a pretty rough layout so far, though I have been experimenting with the lighting because that’s going to be pretty important to the picture. It’s a slow rendering already even though I’m not including the more distant tubes that’ll stretch down the hallway, which will just get composited in at the end. Many lights. Many reflections. Much glass.

I’ve already chosen a title, which is the name of a 1936 song by Milton Pascal and Edgar Fairchild.

“Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee” in Retropolis

Filed under Works in Progress

Retro Future Diner Art

Late nights at the Astro Cafe, in the retro future world of Retropolis: ah, the memories! This diner offers anything a spaceman, spacewoman, or robot might want after a night’s revelry, or after a night of dodging space pirates, which is not the same thing. Park your rocket, cadet, and have yourself a steaming hot cup of joe.

As usual, this was done with a combination of 3DS Max and Photoshop. It’s the second of what may be three pictures set in my diner of the Future That Never Was.

This one, like the first, has a title from Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee”. Because my future is just like that.

Still: no women in tubes. Part of me feels wistful about how that might have improved things.

Available as a poster, an archival print, and a postcard.

Posthuman Blues Blog Serves up “Women in Tubes”

Filed under Found on the Web

Pulp Sci Fi Women in TubesPosthuman Blues has been posting a series of what I never dreamed is an indispensable theme in golden age science fiction pulps: women in tubes!

I wish that Mac’s posts were tagged so that I could link to the whole series, but if you browse through the posts you can find them. Who knew that this was a subconscious imperative that retro science fiction simply must express?

And as you might imagine, I’ve searched my own work for tube women and I have to confess that I come up short. I feel completely inadequate, in fact. I have a feeling that I’m just going to have to do something about that before long*. I mean, sure, I’ve put toasters in globes… but no girls in tubes? What the heck was I thinking?

And I wish that I were as clever as the commenter who called them “Tubular Belles”, too.

*Update: Yep, I couldn’t resist.

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