Posts Tagged ‘Sci-fi’


Some of my recent reading

In January I signed up to the Reading Challenge on Jera’s Jamboree (details here). Shaz was encouraging us to step outside our comfort zone and read books we might not have considered before.

I decided to read something from EVERY category listed and you can see how I am getting on by looking at my blog page here.

Occasionally I intend to do a review. I started with Chris Beckett’s sci-fi Eden trilogy, which you can read about here. This time I am making notes on three classics I have read recently. They are from different genres and “of their time” but each brings vividly to life a society far removed from our own. (more…)

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Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden trilogy – the UK book covers – Dark Eden (pub 2012), Mother of Eden (2015) and Daughter of Eden (October 2016)

Sometimes I encounter SUCH a good book that I feel I must tell everyone to read it! This does not happen very often these days but I have just finished reading Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden trilogy on my Kindle, while riding on the bus to and from work. I couldn’t get enough of the world Beckett has created and polished off all three books in just over a month. (more…)

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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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Frank Kelly Freas: The Art of Science Fiction (Donning 1977) - the little green man was originally painted for an Astounding Science Fiction cover to illustrate Fredric Brown's Martians Go Home


Frank Kelly Freas, 1922-2005

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 sci-fi illustrator is from way back – Frank Kelly Freas (pronounced “freeze”), born in Hornell, New York, on August 27, 1922, died on January 2, 2005. He was sometimes known as “the Dean of Science Fiction Artists”.

I bought Frank Kelly Freas: The Art of Science Fiction (Donning 1977) at a bargain book shop for £1.95, which was not a lot of money for such a brilliant book.

Freas’ professional artistic life began (more…)

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