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Breath-takingly good SF art,
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This review is from: Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss (Hardcover)
If you have read any good Science Fiction then the odds are that you have also seen a paperback cover illustrated by Chris Foss, and perhaps even studied the seemingly infinite depth of detail in the machines, buildings, ships, starscapes, alien terrain... His imagination is boundless and matched only by his skill and care lavished on the paintings and drawings. He is widely acknowledged to have set new standards in how to present an idea with perspective, scale, form and detail, and many have since copied his style and techniques, but Foss is still producing work and still setting the benchmark for excellence.
The print quality of the images in this (larger than A4) coffee-table book is excellent. The scans are sufficiently detailed that I borrowed reading glasses and a magnifying glass to see better some of the finer aspects in several of the pictures. Apparently some of them have been rescued and restored, but I was not able to find anything untoward, and they compare very favourably with the hundreds of old paperback covers fading away on my bookshelves.
This volume has only a few pages of text.
Rian Hughes outlines why and how he came to be able to collect together such a wide range of high quality scans of Foss's art, when most of the originals (being ephemeral and usually only intended for a publisher to photograph and discard) have been discarded or lost.
Foss's interview with Imogene Foss gives us a good insight into his background and life and why he is driven to produce the superb art.
Jean Giruad's Dune Recollections talks about his time working with Foss on Dune, with a revealing anecdote on how Foss's mind works.
Alejandro Jodorowsky also worked with Foss on Dune and so admired Foss's creativity that he wrote the introduction to 21st century Foss, which he reprises and updates here.
The rest of the book is crammed full with Foss's work, ranging from locomotives to spaceships from animals to people, from impossibly gigantic and battered machines to the delicate beauty of the female form, anything that a commercial artist might be asked to do, but all endowed with the unmistakeable style and flair of Chris Foss. Some of the images are only a few inches across, whereas others are double page (ie slightly bigger than A3) spreads. All are worthy of inclusion.
I have only one niggle, there is no index or contents list to help us find specific illustrations. Fortunately each image does have next to it the bare bones of title, author, publisher and date.
For me, an SF enthusiast, there are going to be many more happy hours browsing through this treasure trove of fantastic imagery.