by Cheryl Miller
The book Alien
Landscapes seeks to bring to life 10 alien worlds from
popular science fiction series: Rama (Arthur C Clarke, Okie
Cities (James Blish), Mesklin (Hal Clement), Eros (Harry
Harrison), Arrakis (Frank Herbert), Ringworld (Larry Niven),
Trantor (Isaac Asimov), Hothouse (Brian Aldiss), End of the
World (H.G. Wells), and of course Pern (Anne McCaffrey!) There
are three illustrations per world, done by noted sff
illustrators of the day. The accompanying text for each world
explains its history & politics, climate, geography, flora &
fauna, and location in the galaxy.
Landscapes by Robert Holdstock and Malcolm Edwards (text
authors, not illustrators) was published as a hardcover in 1979
by Mayflower Books of New York -- though the book says it was
printed in Italy. ISBN 0-8317-0258-0 The Pern illustrations were
done by Roger & Linda Garland. There seems to be a later
paperback version that was published by Mayflower as well. Both
editions are oversized book
The three Pern
images open with a view of Benden Weyr during Ramoth and
Mnementh's first mating flight. The caption for the image
discusses Lessa empathetically sharing her queen's ecstasy, and
the "fury of the contest still show[ing] in the new
Weyr-leader's face as he waits to possess the Weyr-woman in the
As depicted, I
don't think that Weyr is structurally sound enough to live in.
The second image
illustrates a Threadfall battle.
Personally I find
this to be one of the ugliest Pern illustrations I've ever seen,
both for the scaly dragons with weirdly webbed wings (sorry, not
visible on the small version, email me for a larger one) and
humanoid eyes, and for the freaky depiction of Thread which
appears rather like a brain and spinal cord. I'm also not
impressed with the lack of formation of the wing of dragons in
the foreground, which is a recipe for burns and collisions
(though two properly organized wings occur in the background).
The third image
shows Ramoth and Lessa in the skies overlooking Ruatha, with the
Red Star overhead.
While I don't care
for the depiction of Ruatha as a castle built up from the
mountain rather than more being built within it -- or the
haphazardness of the cotholds (again, too small to see here,
email me), I do love the colors in this image, especially of the
mountain of the left-hand side which seem opalescent.
As of 3/1/2006,
numerous copies are currently available from online booksellers,
for prices ranging from $4-30 (US). For tips on locating copies of this or other
items, email Cheryl (address in page footer) or post a message
A Meeting of Minds.
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