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Sci-Fi Art: A Graphic History [Paperback]

Steve Holland , Alex Summersby , Steve White
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 2009
Science fiction has always been about visions as much as ideas, and this richly illustrated book surveys the landmarks of sci-fi arts last 150 years. Sci-Fi Art: A Graphic History traces the evolution of this popular art form from some of the earliest illustrations of the works of Jules Verne and HG Wells, through the classic cover art of the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 30s, to paperbacks in the 1960s and 70s, right up to contemporary film posters. There are chapters on sci-fi art in every medium including comic books from around the world, great movie and TV concept art, toys, RPGs, and video games. All the great artists are represented, from Chris Foss, Jim Burns and David Mattingly to Moebius, Albert Robida and Frank Kelly Freas. The history of this largely ignored genre of fine art is at last revealed in this fascinating overview.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Design; Original edition (Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061684899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061684890
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 21.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,465,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Sci-Fi Art: A Graphic History explores the history of art used in the popular science fiction genre more than 150 years ago -- the Jules Verne and H.G. Wells era. The book focuses on the development of illustration and use of art from the 1920s onwards.

The work featured in the book comes from media ranging from magazines, novels, comic books, movies, TV programs, games and even toys. Many artists are prominently featured with their illustrations. Just to name a few, there are Chris Foss, Jim Burns, and David Mattingly to Moebius, Albert Robida, and Frank Kelly Freas. Several popular series are also highlighted, like Flash Gordon, Star Trek, 2000 AD, etc.

I've limited exposure to science fiction art from the past and most of the images in the book look absolutely retro to me. Still, you can see the evolution of style through the years. There's a generous amount of pictures included, all are pretty well scanned, and comes with captions.

The section on sci-fi art in movies and computer games are much shorter. Given the amount of titles churn out by major entertainment companies, there should have been more writeup in this area.

The bad part about the book is the binding. It uses the perfect binding style you see in most paperbacks. In this case, the glue became so hard it was unable to stick to the cover. It also cracks if you open the book too much. Admittedly Amazon didn't wrap the books properly but the binding was bad to begin with.

Other than the issue with binding, this is book is nice resource into sci-fi art.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars US SCI-FI ART 8 May 2013
Very American centred book.

Fairly poor written. Names and dates are more important than influences from authors and external input.
- What about German (up to and during the war) and USSR (up to 1981), just to mention a few flukes.
Master piece Solaris from 1972 is not even mentioned.

Oh, wait, there is a section called British artists, Dr Who and initially some French artists are mentioned in regards to Jules Verne.

Documents pretty well what America has produced of sic-fi art, but my God. America is NOT the world!

FANTASTIC IMAGES, THOUGH. But don't believe to get much more input than American. To call it "SCI-FI ART a graphics history" is some what miss leading. Like buying a house and then get a trailer instead....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book all about covers. Or to put it another way, this is a collection of all the best bits of sci-fi literature.

The cover itself is very typical; an intriguing and attractive image that invites you to look inside and find out more. Sadly, it is also a cover that is coming unstuck from the book after only a few openings. That's a shame, but not a disaster.

Once inside you'll find pages and pages of covers, but that's actually a very good thing because, let's be honest, the covers are usually the most exciting thing about most sci-fi books. This collection gives you the chance to enjoy the awe inspiring potential conjured up by the images without having to endure the often lumpy prose and unfulfilled promise of a good initial idea. If, like me, you bought these books and comics mainly because of the covers then this collection allows you to indulge without the nagging guilt caused by never reading the words within.

The art gathered here is well reproduced and presented with an appropriately minimalist graphic style. Prominence is given to the images while keeping connection to the informative text clear and unobtrusive. Yes, it would be even better in a larger format, what art book wouldn't, but in the battle between cost and commercial viability I'd judge it a more than adequate compromise.

Divided into sections covering comics, magazines, movies, novels, etc, the book traces the development in styles and major players of each period and form; some artists get sections highlighting their contribution.

As a whole the book gives a very interesting and informative summary of not only the shape and scope of human imagination, but also the politics and preoccupations of the times.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better 14 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are some very good sci-fi art in the book but I would loved
To have seen more record album cover art. There are loads out there. Plus
I would have loved to have seen a lot more from famous sci-fi artist's too. I wanted more.
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