The Stardwellers project was a dream given form...
January 29, 2014 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Sculptor Grant Louden took Colin Hay's beautiful illustration, which appeared on the cover of a reprint of James Blish's The Star Dwellers (or in the Terran Trade Authority's Spacewreck book) and recreated it in a detailed sculpture. He also posted making of shots during the process. He talks about his work here. Louden's work is fully licenced, unlike some previously discussed derivative works.
posted by Mezentian (21 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Those poor Kerbals!

This is awesome, and I"m very happy to see it's fully licensed! I hope this sort of thing happens a lot more, though if great sculptors start making versions of the sorts of thing that appear on 1970s Scifi Art, my wallet is going to be hurting. Especially HINT HINT if someone should create a sculpture of the ship from the cover of this or, really anything else ever drawn by John Berkey ...
posted by barnacles at 3:13 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

Awesome project. I know Grant Louden on Facebook, and he'll be delighted to see this on MetaFilter.
posted by Chairboy at 3:13 AM on January 29

Chairboy, please tell Grant Louden that his work on this sculpture is absolutely beautiful. I'm still working my way through the "during the process" link, and it's just awesome. He's done a brilliant job of translating that style of scifi art from 2D to 3D, and speaking as someone whose earliest exposure to scifi was via that style of art, I personally find his making-of notes entrancing!
posted by barnacles at 3:28 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Oh my God! Spacewreck! I read the hell out of that book when I was very young.. it was like an introduction to the arbitrary cruelty and limitless power to inflect sudden death of the universe, disguised as a fun sci-fi romp.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:51 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]

I rather like origami versions of spaceships as well. But this is good, though the image linked is too small to see the details.
posted by infini at 4:26 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

it was like an introduction to the arbitrary cruelty and limitless power to inflect sudden death of the universe, disguised as a fun sci-fi romp.
posted by infini at 4:27 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Clearly, these astronauts need a CAR JUMPER.

It's weirdly like seeing my teen years in 3D though. Well, OK, my teen years were in 3D (as I recall), but the book covers I spent so much time looking at weren't.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:48 AM on January 29

See also a Lego Spacewreck based on Fred Gambino's cover painting.
posted by pipeski at 4:59 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]

It's a funny book, infini - basically a series of vignettes set in a shared world and written, I think, around pre-existing art, much of it the covers of sci-fi novels. So, you got a picture like this, or a series of pictures, which were initially unrelated, woven into a narrative. The framing device was that it was a series of reports from the Terran Trade Authority on various mysteries and disasters in space exploration. So, looking back possibly a slightly cynical make-the-assets-sweat kind of an approach, but to a small child it was terrifying and compelling - there were apparently three other books in the series (and a spin-off series, one of which I have just remembered owning due to this fan page).

I remember one story about a Titanic-like space liner that experienced a heating systems failure, and the image of the crew huddling around personal heaters as the cold closed in which was super chilling.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:02 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

For me, as young girl, it was the story The Cold Equations, where physics was teh villain. Terrifying.
posted by infini at 5:11 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

It's for sale for £3300. I don't know anything about prices for sculpture and if that represents any return on his time or not, but I'll bet there's someone out there who grew up staring at that book cover and will smile to own the sculpture.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:37 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Especially HINT HINT if someone should create a sculpture of the ship from the cover of this

I knew exactly what book that was going to be before I clicked on the link.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:41 AM on January 29

Oh, how much have these shaped my aesthetics... the full-throttle spaceships roaring through the cosmos beneath some improbable astronomical object are splendid, but the derelict hulks embedded in a desolate landscape really hit the mark.

(Just discovered that the John Harris cover artwork for the Sinclair ZX81 and ZX Spectrum manuals can be had as A3 prints. Which they will be, oh yes.)
posted by Devonian at 6:15 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

Wild. I have Spacewreck in a box just upstairs, I loved that book so much.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:18 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]

Seconding Devonian. Foss, Hay, Burns, Elson et al were a huge influence on my artistic sensibilities at a formative age, as were the TTA books a little later on - I remember staring at the covers of the 1970s Panther re-issues of the Lensman series in the book rack of the local Post Office as a young child, and being absolutely blown away by their drama, movement and sheer other-worldliness. I think the ghosts of a lot of these images often hover not very far away from what I'm doing now. If anything, I think I've consciously embraced it all the more as I've got older.

BTW here's Grant Louden's Facebook page: 70's Spaceship Replicas
posted by Chairboy at 6:45 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

Looks absolutely nothing like the cover. hamburger

Really amazing. I love this kind of stuff.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:08 AM on January 29

There is also a Terran Trade Authority rpg. Because hey, running a game in that universe would be AWESOME.
posted by happyroach at 7:35 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]

...different Colin Hay from the Man At Work, yes?
posted by maryr at 7:57 AM on January 29

Wow, "The Star Dwellers" -- anybody else first read this when it was serialized in Boys Life in 1961?
posted by Rash at 8:09 AM on January 29

No, it's not the Colin from Men At Work.
It would be awesome if it was. I would hunt him down then next time they play at my local.

I had a dickens of a time trying to find links about the artists though.
posted by Mezentian at 2:47 PM on January 29

Coincidentally, Chris (Wing Commander) Roberts showed off Space Wreck in the latest fan Q&A video for his Star Citizen crowdfunded game... we may be entering some sort of chronosynclastic sci-fi infundibulum...
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:42 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]

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