"In the future, everything will be terrifying."
January 30, 2013 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Dougal Dixon is a scientist, author, and illustrator. While he is most famous for his work on dinosaurs, his books After Man: A Zoology of the Future and Man After Man: An Anthropology Of The Future attempt to explore what might happen in the far future. The Posthuman Art Of Dougal Dixon.

Obscure Dougal Dixon stuff!, including a Japanese documentary.
posted by the man of twists and turns (25 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
These may be the same illustrations that traumatized me as a kid when visiting the Denver Natural History Museum as a child. I distinctly remember one humanoid being a sort of roundish-ball shape.
posted by Kitteh at 11:48 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

As a kid, I misunderstood what Conway's Life was about. I carefully drew in the best human I could and let it evolve to see what humans would look like in the future. It turns out we'll be made of blinkers and glider guns.

Dougal's drawings, while technically much better, biologically more plausible and far more entertaining are historically about as accurate.
posted by DU at 11:50 AM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

Yeah, he's having imaginative visual fun, but don't be misled into supposing that these are predictively valid. As a simple example, he's got the genetically-engineered foodbeast notion in there, an animal developed and bred to maximize the edible portions and be continually harvested. Creepy and intriguing but improbable; it'd be much more efficient to grow just the tissues you want in a nutrient base without all that overhead (and way fewer ethical concerns).
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:57 AM on January 30, 2013

You seriously just made my YEAR, the man of twists and turns. I wanted Man after Man so bad for XMAS when I was in third grade and was overjoyed to find it under the tree. I pored over that book as a child and carried it every where. Like most of my favorite books it disappeared one day and I never saw it again. I am so excited to start reading this! Thank you thank you thank you thank you

edit: I was entirely convinced that Smoot was a made up future name until meeting a Smoot in middle school. Smoot!
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:58 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I totally had both of those books after visiting the traveling exhibit at the Maryland Science Center as a youth. Sadly, I believe my parents gave them to the local library many years ago.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:03 PM on January 30, 2013

Bath salts. Not even once.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:07 PM on January 30, 2013

"Jimez Smoot"?
posted by The Whelk at 12:08 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cool post, but aren't links #2 and #3 just ripped-off scans of the printed books themselves posted on a Russian web site?
posted by General Tonic at 12:22 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was wondering about the IP status of the site too.
posted by cromagnon at 12:28 PM on January 30, 2013

So a Lovecraftian Transmetropolitan.

Pretty nifty stuff. I've never seen this before.

The horror though seems more comforting than (f'rinstance) stuff like Bradbury's “There Will Come Soft Rains.”
At least there's something.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:38 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I like how those guys end up looking like Groucho Marx.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 12:41 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I had - and cherished - After Man when I was a kid. I got to briefly flip through Man After Man but never had a chance to buy it before it went out of print.
posted by egypturnash at 12:54 PM on January 30, 2013

Metafilter: (and way fewer ethical concerns).
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:58 PM on January 30, 2013

Whoa! I have (somehow!) never seen these and they are AMAZING! Thanks!
posted by troublewithwolves at 1:29 PM on January 30, 2013

His The New Dinosaurs was one of my favorite books as a kid.
posted by brundlefly at 1:40 PM on January 30, 2013

Oh hey, Our Ship, Smoot has been to Congress also:

Smoot Smites Smut by Ogden Nash

Senator Smoot (Republican, Ut.)
Is planning a ban on smut.
Oh rooti-ti-toot for Smoot of Ut.
And his reverend occiput.
Smite, Smoot, smite for Ut.,
Grit your molars and do your dut.,
Gird up your l__ns,
Smite h_p and th_gh,
We'll all be Kansas
By and by.

When smut's to be smitten
Smoot will smite
For G-d, for country,
And Fahrenheit.

Senator Smoot is an institute
Not to be bribed with pelf;
He guards our homes from erotic tomes
By reading them all himself.

Smite, Smoot,
Be rugged and rough,
Smut if smitten
Is front-page stuff.
posted by emjaybee at 1:46 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

My (now adult) daughter lent my copy of After Man to her science teacher in year 7, and I never got it back! On the plus side, I've been keeping a Rabbuck in my garden for years, and I never need to mow.
posted by gdav at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2013

(and before I got distracted by the chance to quote Ogden Nash, I loved these books as a kid. Couldn't buy them, evangelical parents would have freaked, but looked through them at the bookstore many times. Thanks for the post, the man of twists and turns).
posted by emjaybee at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2013

The idea of land animals returning to the sea isn't really that farfetched.
posted by UrbanEye at 1:53 PM on January 30, 2013

See also Wayne Barlowe's beautiful Expedition in the sameish category of "weird, visionary biology art." Also the Codex Seraphinianus (one of my favoritest books in the WORLD!) and Harikikigaki to an extent. A fair amount of Alexis Rockman's work applies as well: American Icons, Wonderful World and Future Evolution in particular.

I may be slowly amassing a Lovecraftian library of esoteric, alien sciences.
posted by byanyothername at 3:03 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

I saw the Zoology of the Future exhibit while visiting my aunt in San Francisco in 1987, and I can instantly recall a lot of these creatures today. Amazing stuff - thanks for the reminder.
posted by mykescipark at 3:07 PM on January 30, 2013

"In the future, everything will be terrifying."

God, I hope so. Beats holy hell out of depressing and boring.
posted by lumpenprole at 6:57 PM on January 30, 2013

Smoots in American History
posted by saturday_morning at 1:57 AM on January 31, 2013

I used to carry around a dinosaur book everywhere I went as a kid. Big oversized thing; mostly what I remembered were the triceratops pictures, and a picture of a t-rex standing in something's guts. Sort-of thanks to askme I eventually found it! It was a Dougal Dixon book, and thus I link it here: cover, t-rex!
posted by curious nu at 4:57 PM on February 1, 2013

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