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Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris…
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Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss (edition 2011)

by Chris Foss (Illustrator), Rian Hughes (Designer)

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1092254,525 (4.46)1
Foss's groundbreaking and distinctive science fiction art revolutionized paperback covers in the 1970s and 80s. nbsp;Dramatically raising the bar for realism and invention, his trademark battle-weary spacecraft, dramatic alien landscapes and crumbling brutalist architecture irrevocably changed the aesthetic of science fiction art and cinema. Featuring work for books by Isaac Asimov, E. E. 'Doc' Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, A. E. Van Vogt and Philip K. Dick, and film design for Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick, this volume brings together many rare and classic images that have never been seen or reprinted before. The first comprehensive retrospective of Chris Foss's SF career. "Chris Foss' name has become pre-eminent among sf artists... He is in love with the monstrous, with angular momentum, with inertia-free projectiles and irresistable objects." -- Brian Aldiss "[Foss'] creations are real machines, not just an artist's dreams. They combine the two elements so essential to science fiction: realism and a sense of wonder... A medieval goldsmith of future eons." -- Alejandro Jodorowskynbsp;… (more)
Member:gwsutcliffe
Title:Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss
Authors:Chris Foss (Illustrator)
Other authors:Rian Hughes (Designer)
Info:Titan Books (2011), Edition: 1st, 240 pages
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Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss by Chris Foss

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This substantial book reproduces the bulk of the commercial work of the British paperback cover illustrator Chris Foss. Foss' work started appearing in the early 1970s and changed the face of science fiction paperback publishing, with his strange, colourful, sometimes asymmetric spaceships, carrying a profusion of aerials, probes, intakes, wasp stripes, claws and windows. Lots of windows...

The book opens with a biographical note from Foss' daughter, Imogene. This reveals Foss' roots firmly in the post-war Hornby/ Meccano generation; but also, he was born in 1946 on the Channel Island of Guernsey, which (together with neighbouring Jersey) were recovering from the German occupation of World War II and which left the islands littered with the structures of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. All these things - the model-making, with railways and Airfix kits a key part of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, and the influence of abandoned monolithic concrete structures - made a huge impression on Foss. Early on, he showed an aptitude for art, and all these influences came out in his paintings and drawings. He studied art at Cambridge and started submitting work, first to student magazines and then to commercial outlets. One of his early submissions was to Bob Guccione's Penthouse, and Guccione took Foss under his wing. His promotion of Foss led to him getting his first major commercial sale, to the Sunday Times Magazine, illustrating an article on extra-sensory perception. This brought him even wider recognition.

Not only did Foss get to illustrate many science fiction paperback covers, but he also covered war books (fiction and non-fiction) and thrillers. A different sort of commission saw him produce many illustrations for Alex Comfort's The Joy of Sex; and he came to the attention of film makers. Foss did conceptual design work on Superman, Alien, and Alessando Jodorowsky's abortive project to film Frank Herbert's Dune. Later, Stanley Kubrick would approach him for conceptual work on his film A.I., unrealised at Kubrick's death but taken up and completed by Steven Spielberg.

Foss' influence cannot be under-estimated. He changed the face of science fiction publishing; his visual language informed many film makers, and much of the look of Star Wars, the later incarnations of Star Trek and many more films and tv shows is inspired by Foss' work. His spaceships are lived-in, and well-used; although his creations are way beyond human scale, they are nonetheless very human creations.

Although I'd been reading science fiction in one form or another since the middle 1960s, it was seeing Chris Foss artwork on the covers of novels by E.E. 'Doc' Smith or Isaac Asimov that excited me. Foss is eleven years older than me, but we are of the same generation and have the same influences. I was delighted to see and meet him at the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention in London. He looks avuncular, but given that he was moving in some of the hottest media circles in "Swinging Sixties" London, his repertoire of stories was vast and raucous, rather like his paintings!

In recent years, some "fine artists" have copied his work, claiming their canvasses as "found objects within the media landscape". Imitation is supposedly the sincerest form of flattery, though the artists who have done the copying would normally turn their noses up at "commercial illustration". Well, there is more inventiveness in Foss' work than in a dozen "fine artists"; there had to be, because his clients wanted something eye-catching and different to promote their books and to get punters to pick those books up rather than some other publisher's. And they wanted it to a deadline. It worked; and Foss is beloved by very many people worldwide. This book is a fine tribute to a lifetime spent being inventive to order, a skill few possess. ( )
2 vote RobertDay | Feb 11, 2021 |
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Foss's groundbreaking and distinctive science fiction art revolutionized paperback covers in the 1970s and 80s. nbsp;Dramatically raising the bar for realism and invention, his trademark battle-weary spacecraft, dramatic alien landscapes and crumbling brutalist architecture irrevocably changed the aesthetic of science fiction art and cinema. Featuring work for books by Isaac Asimov, E. E. 'Doc' Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, A. E. Van Vogt and Philip K. Dick, and film design for Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick, this volume brings together many rare and classic images that have never been seen or reprinted before. The first comprehensive retrospective of Chris Foss's SF career. "Chris Foss' name has become pre-eminent among sf artists... He is in love with the monstrous, with angular momentum, with inertia-free projectiles and irresistable objects." -- Brian Aldiss "[Foss'] creations are real machines, not just an artist's dreams. They combine the two elements so essential to science fiction: realism and a sense of wonder... A medieval goldsmith of future eons." -- Alejandro Jodorowskynbsp;

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