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Newsletter October 2023

A bit of history

I understand that this is 'World Space Week', and it's made me think. Space has been good to us. It was the very foundation of Young Artists, as the agency was known when I joined it. After years of producing science fiction covers, we are still involved with images of the future although instead of illustrating other people's ideas the artists are now more likely to produce their own.

Firstly, Jim Burns painted his spaceport for Mechanismo.

John Harris produced an early version of this painting which was initially used on a cover of a collection of stories by A E van Vogt.
And Ian Miller painted many book covers including this one for the cover of the Philip K Dick novel, A Maze of Death.
And there were Ian's space marines . . .
John Harris even went to Florida to watch the launch of a space shuttle.
And is this what the astronauts saw?
What was a future ruined world going to look like?
Now science fact thinks it can catch up with science fiction but I'm not so sure. Just look at this scene from Jim Burns' Mars Quartet.
Or Pelquin's Comet, for the book by Ian Whates.
Or this craft by John Harris. What's going on there?
As our planet is increasingly under threat, it's even more important for artists and writers to look further ahead and to dream. Perhaps there will be a city made of crystals.
Or organic buildings which reach up into the clouds.
Imaginative images are still the bedrock of what we do. We are grateful to all those people who commission or buy original paintings for their collections, and who buy the limited edition prints.

But back down to Earth . . .

We send our very best wishes to everyone at the IX Art show (Illuxcon) in Pennsylvania next week. We've had some wonderful times at that show but we aren't planning to go this year. Perhaps next time? (Thanks, Bryan.)

It was when I was at Illuxcon a year or two ago that I had a call from Neil Armstrong's agent to ask if Grahame Baker Smith would like to illustrate Neil's own children's book. And this was the result.

Neil Armstrong had written a charming story about a piece of moon rock. Told from the point of view of that rock, it described what had happened on Earth over the past four billion years. After many conversations with Neil's widow and the helpful people at the Cincinnati Museum Center's Museum of Natural History and Science, this led to this quite special book being published, and it now sits alongside that very piece of rock in the museum.

How's that for coming back down to Earth?