Category: ARTS

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Reyes Cárdenas and the Moons of Mars

Recently I checked out a copy of Altermundos, Latin@ Speculative Literature and Popular Culture from the library. It contains many fascinating and important essays on the history and current state o

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The mystique of Keleck

My first taste of any artwork associated with Keleck (aka Kelek), was at Boskone this year, where Andy Gelas brought my attention to two French paperback editions of Conan. These were Conan Le Guerrier, and Conan Le Cimmerian, in the Titres SF editions from the early 1980s. Needless to say, the eye-popping contrast in red and black, and the the purity of design in these covers hit me like a sucker-punch in a Philip Marlowe story.   Le Cimmerian has a pure movie-poster effect, with that smashing red background, and the bare skin of the figures has a smooth air-brushed look, while the tightly delineated designs on the metal are all perfectly highlighted. The first thing I noticed about Le Guerrier is the darkness of the figure, of the rich draperies, of the stairwell vanishing into shadow. The hair is certainly done the same way as Le Cimmerian: frizzy threads in direct highlight against the background. But in Le Guerrier, the eyes, the skin, the deliberate brushstrokes on the wall, and the marble steps; they have a very different aesthetic from the super-slick air-brushing of Le Cimmerian. What is going on here?

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The Elephant Man as Reality T.V.

A review of The Blind Men and the Elephant by Russell M. Griffin You would think that a novel investigating the inner life of a freak — indeed, the freak of freaks: Elephant Man — woul

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Placing Names: it is a thing!

Well, about three years and a field of poppies later, the combined efforts of a zillion scholars have arrived on my desk in a physical manifestation of printed paper, green bindings, and a snappy lit

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Green Chili Jones: Solved

So what is it with New Mexico green chilis? Is it something in the soil? Something in the dusty valleys scorched by the desert sun where even lizards fear to crawl and only the toughest, gnarliest lif

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Fallout from Quincy Adams: Readercon 2016

It’s strange to think about the fun-fest of Readercon — which it always turns out to be — as a hotbed of controversy where ripples of fallout will radiate outward for weeks and months after the event. On the other hand, science fiction fandom is a sort of canary in the coal mine of society at large. The feuds and alignments and banishments and rapprochements that swirl around fandom, punctuated by mass scrimmage events (also known as cons), are now inextricably linked to the culture wars raging around us. It wasn’t always this way. Long ago, in never never land, cons were communal freak-outs held by like-minded escapists as a sort of exhibitionist rebellion against the bleakness of mundane culture. A con was where your propellor beanie, flowing cape, Vulcan ears, and purple velvet bag-of-holding concealing a pint of scumble were perfectly normal, and you were surrounded by fellow fen celebrating the freedom to be weird.

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The Sleek and Memorable Art of A. J. Donnell

In another post (about blood moons and werewolves) I had occasion to examine the various cover paintings for Jack Williamson’s great novel, Darker Than You Think. In addition to Edd Cartier’s black

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Island Under the Earth

That inertia is the tendency of a body, when cold, to stay cold; and when hot, to stay hot — that during Star-flux when the thin white lines which cross and crisscross the skies of night tremb

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We need a monkey year...

It has been a contradictory and confusing year, 2015. At times it has been downright neurotic and malevolent, which I suppose is to be expected from a Year of the Goat! We seem to have gotten farther into the woods, into the darkness,

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Another Blood Moon, Another Howling

What a hullaballoo was kicked up for the recent blood moon. You’d think that a total eclipse occurring when the moon passes closest to Earth only happens, say … once every generation. Oh snap! B