Pones and Bones: A Trip to Anti-Narnia.

I'll name the artist here as soon as I find out who they are.

Cover by Philippe Jozelon.

We open with trailers for Coming Attractions: to the immediate right you can see the French cover for Echopraxie, from Fleuve.  I like it. Whoever the artist is, they’re channeling a bit of a Giger vibe.

Immediately below, on the other hand, is the cover for Head of Zeus’s UK edition (they’re the guys who put out the Firefall omnibus; the stand-alone Echopraxia  appears slotted for a May release).  I think I may like this cover even more than Firefall (and I liked that a lot)— it has a kinda literary feel to it, plus it’s the first time I’ve seen the word “fucking” quoted as part of a front-cover blurb (even if they did asterisk out a couple of letters).

But what I especially like is the contrast between these two covers: the cool palette vs. the hot one, the light vs. shadow. I kinda wish they could be front and back covers of the same edition…

I'm pretty sure I do know who this artist is, but I think they prefer to remain anonymous.

Cover by Jessie Price.

***

And Now—Our Main Attraction. (Please turn off your cell phones.)

***

Up in the frigid wastes of Scarberia— not too far from the Magic Bungalow, as it turns out— there’s an unremarkable door  set into an unremarkable brick wall in an unremarkable industrial park.  It’s nothing you’d look at twice, if you didn’t know that it was a portal to a whole other world.  Think of it as the back of the wardrobe, from those Narnia books.

Assuming, of course, that the Narnia books had been written by HP Lovecraft.

One of the cool things about having fans is that you never know what any one of them might turn out to be.  You answer an email from some anonymous reader and they turn out to be half an industrial rock duo with NASA connections, or an astronomer whose brain you can pick when you find yourself on thin ice.  I have a whole subdirectory of such wondrous fans, ripe for exploitation.

A few of them have turned out to be economists; I’ll be exploiting them a fair bit over the next few months. But only one of these economists has a partner who makes disembodied bodies for a living.  The company she works for is called MindWarp, and you’ve seen their handiwork in everything from “12 Monkeys” to “Pacific Rim”.  Not to mention “Hannibal”, for which they do pretty much all the rubber work these days.

Thanks to Joe Fenner (the Economist) and Jenn Pattinson (the Rubber Woman), I got a chance to take my whole family to antiNarnia for a visit last week.  Some of what we saw has yet to appear in public. I wish I could show it to you— some of it moves— but the unaired stuff is embargoed.

If you watch any kind of genre at all, though, you may recognize a fair bit of what follows. (All pics can be embiggened by clicking.)

I believe this was from the episode where the crazed violinist use a bow to play the guys vocal cords.

I believe this was from the episode where the crazed violinist use a bow to play the guy’s vocal cords.

Not sure which instrument this guy was played on. Maybe the kettle drums.

Not sure which instrument this guy was played on. Maybe the kettle drums.

One of these people is an economist. One of them builds corpses. One of them will be spending a lot of time in therapy.

One of these people is an economist. One of them builds corpses. One will be spending a lot of time in therapy.

If any of you are still watching "12 Monkeys", this is where the virus came from. (It looked sexier in the tank.)

If any of you are still watching “12 Monkeys”, this is where the virus came from. (The crayons? This pic was taken in MindWarp’s on-site daycare center.)

The brain in Mesopone's hands is FX.  The tribble on Micropone's head is not.

The brain in Mesopone’s hands is a bit of FX. The tribble on Micropone’s head is not.

The truly creepy thing is, these things don't just look real; they feel real, too.

The truly creepy thing is, these things don’t just look real; they feel that way, too.

A bit of whimsy to lighten the mood. Also a sampling of the production Mindwarp has had a hand in (just out-out-of-frame: every Saw movie ever made). "Pacific Rim" surprised me; I thought that was all CG. "Black Robe" surprised me too; that was mostly missionaries and Iroquois. (Although I guess there were some pretty explicit torture scenes in there...)

A bit of whimsy to lighten the mood. Also a sampling of the productions to which MindWarp has contributed (just out-out-of-frame: every Saw movie ever made). “Pacific Rim” surprised me; I thought that was all CG. “Black Robe” surprised me more; that was just missionaries and Iroquois. (Although I guess there were some pretty explicit torture scenes in there…)

Tell me this wouldn't be the coollest chick-flick crossover ever.

Tell me this wouldn’t be the coolest chick-flick crossover ever.

I'm not entirely sure.

I’m not entirely sure.

Mesopone, aka "The Meez", holding a tragic reminder of the Human cost of the Polish Alcohol-Industrial Complex.

Mesopone, aka “The Meez”, holding a tragic reminder of the Human cost of the Polish Alcohol-Industrial Complex.

This is not a movie prop. The proprietor built it for the sole purpose of dropping down on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters during Hallowe'en.

This is not a movie prop. It was built for the sole purpose of dropping down on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters during Hallowe’en.

Who doesn't wish they had a basement storage room like this?

Who doesn’t wish they had a basement storage room like this?

Lesser FX houses would just build a solid mannequin, slice it up, and paint the slices.  Not these guys. These guys built the body from the inside out— viscera, skeleton, musculature— and then carved it up.  I don't know if mere pictures can convey the icky verisimilitude of the result.

Lesser FX houses would just build a solid mannequin, slice it up, and paint the slices. Not these guys. These guys built the body from the inside out— viscera, skeleton, body fat, connective fascia, musculature— and then carved it up. I don’t know if mere pictures can convey the icky verisimilitude of the result.

The tragic cost of teen pregnancy...

The tragic cost of teen pregnancy.

Dream therapist.

Dream therapist.

Poantempole.

Poantempole.

 

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Monday March 23 2015at 11:03 am , filed under ink on art, misc, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

16 Responses to “Pones and Bones: A Trip to Anti-Narnia.”

  1. ZOMG,the people you know, Dr Watts. Alternatively phrased, wow I wish I had friends like these. 😉

    In other news, now it is possible to at long last make a film version of Theodore Sturgeon’s “Occam’s Scalpel” with fan support. And much about a mystery post or two, to FB, is now explained.

  2. Goddamit!
    That ought to come with a more serious warning label.

  3. Awesome in oh so many ways.

  4. These guys built the body from the inside out— viscera, skeleton, body fat, connective fascia, musculature— and then carved it up

    Man it’d be easier to just be a psychopathic killer

  5. The corpse totem pole (Poantempole…?) reminds me of the cover art of Blindsight’s Hebrew translation.

  6. I’m having flashbacks to med school dissection lab. Rubber woman must have a decent knowledge of human anatomy, because the sectioned models look remarkably realistic.

  7. the Twilight font used on the Zeus UK cover…

  8. DanielK:
    the Twilight font used on the Zeus UK cover…

    See this kind of thing a lot. Catches the eye.

    Kind of like restaurants calling appetizers “apps” in ads catches the ear of the e-device-dependent Borgs we have become. Buffalo wing resistance is futile.

  9. See that second photo? That’s what get when you mix testosterone and a Double Big Mac.

  10. They think that I’m a dog but I’m the THIIIIIINNNGGGGGGG

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8faq5amdK30

  11. A bit later, it dawns on me that some of the ahem meatier information in the post, has not to do with the freakishly awesome cool rubber stuff, but the fact that Our Gracious Host is reportedly involved in deep discussions with a variety of economists.

    Economics is already known as “the Dismal Science”.

    I wonder what they’ll call it when Peter Watts gets done with it.

    I’m kind of looking forward to it, about like I look forward to the Heat Death of the Universe.

  12. Contemporary economics is more like a giant ponzi scheme.

    money = issued as debt at interest = always more debt than money = all profit causes correponding debt/poverty somewhere else in the system = more loans needed to stay above debt = more debt = bankrupcy/default = fewer and fewer owning everything = constant commodity production and human births in an effort to try, with futility, to escape debt = evironmental collapse = planet heats exponentially = the rich start wishing for population cullings.

    Capitalism thinks its a perpetual motion machine, when its actually zero sum at any fixed point in time, or worse.

  13. Surdeaph,

    Have to agree with you. I wish I’d had access to material this realistic and detailed when I was teaching human anatomy.

  14. Daniel,

    Thank you. I didn’t know that I needed this, but I did. I don’t even like musicals, and this one goes a step further and subverts the real thing (and my favourite classic)! Much like the eponymous thing, come to think of it. Love it.

  15. Wow. Saw a lot of those lovely parts on “Hannibal” and can still remember the dramas the parts caused. Excellent work by Mindwarp.

    Next we need to convince them to build:

    1) a scrambler
    2) Jukka Sarasti
    3) Lenie emerging from a dark ocean

    Damn…

  16. Corey: Capitalism thinks its a perpetual motion machine, when its actually zero sum at any fixed point in time, or worse.

    Oh puhleez.

    There is no “infintely sustainable” system (universe itself does not appear to be infinitely sustainable, and when universe itself keels over, where does that leave us, huh?)

    Given that the notion of “value” as percieved by humans is neither entirely rational nor even entirely consistent, there’s no reason to believe that clever debt-games and goods with vastly mismatched prime and retail costs would not be able to keep (post :) )modern capitalism spinning right until the time our sun becomes a red giant (thus obliterating all human -isms and all earthly ecosystems in one fell swoop). The latter event, by the way, is pretty inevitable unless we figure out a workable way to refuel a star (and at that point, we probably won’t be needing this old-fart solar system anyway!)

    Also, all currently known alternative social arrangements that can be considered “serious contenders” against capitalism (“serious contenders” being defined as “demonstrating comparable scientific and military prowess”) are so viciously industrialist that, were they to become dominant, they’d tear the biosphere so many “new ones” you’d have to rename it into “swiss cheese”.

    And there woldn’t even be a “greenpeace” to cry foul about it (well, technically there still could be a “greenpeace” in Marxist Utopia, but they’d be crying foul from inside the bowels of a uranium mine in some horrible gulag)

    Modern left seriously needs some fucking perspective.