Normally I just post plain old art posts on my DA account and on tumblr, but I figured I’d put this up here since the idea of Other Worlds, along the full range of the literal-figurative spectrum, tend to come up in this blog in terms of my work and my passions. This pic just started out with my doodling a castle in my moleskine (I doodled castles and towers a lot in high school and college–oh gosh, what would Freud say–but never really did anything polished/finished), so the perspective on the building is a bit off the cuff and probably not well done, but in the end I ended up taking inspiration from the sort of New Wave science fiction of some of LeGuin’s Hainish novels or McCaffrey’s Pern books where the setting is an alien planet, but the culture and story are pseudo-medieval, bordering on fantasy. I guess this is what you get when sci-fi writers fall in love with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The swords-in-space deal certainly shows up earlier as well (cf John Carter’s adventures on Mars), and in the wake of the New Wave medieval or “primitive” fantasy merged with science fiction in illustration with publications like Heavy Metal (and regular pulp comics have their share of this genre blending as well), so I suppose it is a relatively “normal” combination now (I mean, heck, I grew up on Star Wars, He-Man, and Thundercats…), but there is something about these sorts of stories that seems tied to that particular period to me.
Another reason Other Worlds have been on my mind lately is I’ve been running across a few space documentaries, including one or two covering all the new exo-planet discoveries from the Kepler spacecraft. Having read of the stellar neighborhood in LeGuin’s Hainish books, I’m more able to catch the vision of our own stellar neighborhood–and as I noted in a previous exo-planet post, it was reading Gene Wolfe’s (implausible, I am told) vision of two worlds closely orbiting each other in The Fifth Head of Cerberus that gave me the trigger I needed to look up at the moon and see a whole other world.
However cool all the exoplanet discoveries, they are still pretty inaccessible–but of course, we have some awesome worlds in our own “backyard.” It’s been a while since I’ve taken my telescope out, but I will always remember the first few times I saw the ice caps on Mars, the moons of Jupiter, and the barest trace of the rings of Saturn. I noticed that National Geographic has a documentary on the planets of our own solar system up on their Youtube channel, so I will include that below. Enjoy!