Posts Tagged ‘Sci-fi’


Cardiff Central railway station mosaics, in Welsh and English

On most days I pass these two small green and gold mosaics on a concrete wall alongside Cardiff Central Railway Station. I feel sure that most people don’t notice them, as they are in such a grotty, neglected corner. But they catch my eye.

The railway station is (more…)

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Forward to the past - interstellar communication visualised by David A Hardy in 1972

This is a sudden posting, prompted merely by reading that Saturn is in opposition throughout the next few weeks, making it at its brightest to the naked eye.

So it’s a good time to recall the small telescope I owned in my childhood and to retrieve from my shelves a book called Challenge of the Stars (published by Mitchell Beazley in 1972 – although mine was a cheaper edition from Book Club Associates).


Challenge of the Stars by Patrick Moore and David A Hardy (1972)

The book is by Patrick Moore and illustrated by David A Hardy, whose images deserve some plaudits, I reckon, as I now realise they are the pictures I still have in my mind’s eye when I visualise the planets of our solar system. More about Hardy later…

Those were the days when a great Planetary Grand Tour of the outer solar system was still on the cards, in a decade when the gas giants were in a conveniently close alignment and could be used as gravitational slingshots to help a probe on its way after taking close-up pictures.

Patrick Moore enthused (more…)

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Can you tell what it is yet?

Does this remind you of anything? I spotted it at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire the other day.

The picture shows the sawn-off stump of a Polylepis australis in mid winter. And here’s the rest of the tree, rather the worse for wear after very harsh frost and snow – although it is probably adapted for the cold since it comes from the endangered mountain forests of the South American Andes…


Polylepis australis

Maybe you don’t see it yourself, but my first thought was Wall-E!


Wall-E, cute robot from the Disney/Pixar film of the same name...

I will soon be posting more pictures from the National Botanic Garden of Wales, but I felt this one deserved its own mention…

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It’s that time to draw a line under 2010 and announce my top posts for the past year (figures kindly crunched for me by WordPress).

Although Twitter set me off blogging, it’s search engines that have made the following posts my biggest hits in 2010…



1. English words from Celtic roots…

An interesting winner, this one – and it’s all because I used a picture of penguins. The word penguin comes from either the Welsh or Breton Pen-Gwyn (meaning “head-white”). Penguins seem to be very popular in Google searches – maybe I should do a post about them…

Meanwhile I posted several other items on the language:

Latin for today
English words from Scandinavian roots
English words from Indian roots


A hare from Masquerade by Kit Williams

2. From mad March hare to golden hare…

This one combines nature and a little bit of the story of Kit Williams’ famous treasure hunt book, Masquerade.

There’s more treasure here
Remembering The Treasures of Tutankhamun

and a lot more nature here

– including my Wildlife Through the Year nature diaries


Fancy fonts from Letraset

3. Design icons: Letraset

Design and nostalgia combined to make this a popular post. The same elements appeared in
Every poster tells a story

There’s more art and design here
and more nostalgia here


Carousel horse by Judy Watt

4. Carousel horses – an illusion of freedom

This was a wonderful excuse to collect together some beautiful images of carousel horses, unicorns and even zebras…

Another collection of art went with my post
Looking on the bright side of umbrellas


Atlantis by Frank Frazetta

5. Great SFF illustrators: Frank Frazetta

This was my tribute to Frank Frazetta, who died on May 10, 2010.

Other Science Fiction/Fantasy illustrators I featured in 2010 are:

Frank Kelly Freas

Patrick Woodroffe

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Doppelganger by Perodog on Deviant Art...

The word Doppelgänger used to mean so much more! Nowadays if someone is merely the spitting image of someone else, they are called Doppelgängers. Spitting image? I’ll come to that later…

Some newspapers still have a “separated at birth” feature, in which readers suggest (more…)

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Mythopoeikon by Patrick Woodroffe (Dragon’s World 1976)

In the 1970s I started to collect books on the art of science fiction and fantasy. I am now using my blog to review some of the beautiful imagery and tell the stories of these craftsmen from the days before computer-designed art – in the (more…)

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From my bookshelf - The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta (Pan 1975)


Frank Frazetta – a self-portrait from 1962

Over the years I have collected a few books on the art of science fiction and fantasy and as they are probably now out of print, I feel I need to share some of this lovely imagery from the days before computer-designed art.

My first featured illustrator was sci-fi great Frank Kelly Freas. My second great illustrator, whose realm was fantasy, is Frank Frazetta. The timing of this post is made more poignant by the fact that he died a week ago and I have only just found out.

Frank Frazzetta (he later removed one Z) was born in Brooklyn on February 9, 1928. He died on May 10, 2010, aged 82.

I bought the book The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta (Pan 1975) for £2.95, which does not now seem a lot of money. In fact it is still available, used, on Amazon from £8 to £30 – and it STILL doesn’t seem like a lot of cash. The foreword is by Betty Ballantyne and it is from this I take most of my biographical information…

Frazetta was selling his art to family by the age of three and by the age of eight he was so (more…)

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