Art, from Ice to Fire

Some new artwork for you, scavenged from my last bout of ego-surfing, because I’m holding off on fiblets until I have something to actually announce; and because any comments I’d make on the ongoing immolation of tar-sands boomtown Fort McMurray by (increasingly less-unseasonable) forest fire activity would be so laden with irony as to be insensitive to the 88,000 who’ve had to flee.

So let’s stick with self-absorption for the mo.

First up, Dmitriy Vishnev’s absolutely glorious rendering of “The Things”, which is going onto the cover of Beyond the Rift‘s upcoming Russian edition:

BtR-DmitriyVishnevskiy

 

Followed by some Rifters fan art scraped from the web:

I don't know who "catchfiya" is, beyond an Australian artist, but man, I really like this: it's almost a stained-glass window of the Meltdown Madonna

I don’t know who “catchfiya” is, beyond an Australian artist, but man, I really like this: it’s almost a stained-glass window of the Meltdown Madonna

I know even less about Eric He, because I can't find any art site he might have set up (I screen-grabbed these off his twitter feed). Nice alien rendering of Lenie and her spirit-echinoderm.

I know even less about Eric He, because I can’t find any art site he might have set up (I screen-grabbed these next two off his twitter feed). Nice alien rendering of Lenie and her spirit-echinoderm.

Really original and evocative rifter aesthetic here. Obviously these guys have been down there for awhile. Love the mouth apparatus.

Really original and evocative rifter aesthetic here. Obviously these guys have been down there for awhile. Love the mouth apparatus.

(And of course, if either of these folks would rather that their stuff not be conscripted into service of the ‘crawl, I will take it down forthwith.)

Moving forward, through time: some Blindsight illos from a— shall we say a range of aesthetic perspectives.

I don't know whether these are real or not. They appear to be audiobook covers by Thomas Jaworsky, but if so no one's sent me any comp copies. Not that it matters. I like 'em anyway.

I don’t know whether these are real or not. They appear to be audiobook covers by Thomas Jaworsky, but if so no one’s sent me any comp copies.
Not that it matters. I like ’em anyway.

I don't even know where this came from. I don't know who did it. Whoever it was, we're probably both in some kind of copyright violation

I don’t even know where this came from. I don’t know who did it. Whoever it was, we’re probably both in some kind of copyright violation

I don’t even know where this came from. I don’t know who did it. Whoever it was, we’re probably both in some kind of copyright violation

And finally. Finally:

dan-ghiordanescu-watts2

Remember this guy? The guy who did all the awesome concept art for that ill-fated Sunflowers project?  Well, in between his recent travels around the world, Dan Ghiordanescu managed to squeeze out a couple new paintings— and I’m pretty much speechless at the preceding evocation of the following passage from “Giants”:

We fall towards ice. Ice falls towards fire. Both spill through the link and spread across the back of my skull in glorious terrifying first-person. Orders of magnitude aren’t empty abstractions in here: they’re life-size, you feel them in your gut. Surtr may be small to a textbook — at seven million kilometers across, it’s barely big enough to get into the giant’s club — but that doesn’t mean shit when you meet it face to face. That’s not a star out there: that’s the scorching edge of all creation, that’s heat-death incarnate. Its breath stinks of left-over lithium from the worlds it’s already devoured. And the dark blemish marching across its face isn’t just a planet. It’s a melting hellscape twice the size of Uranus, it’s frozen methane and liquid hydrogen and a core hot and heavy enough to bake diamonds. Already it’s coming apart before my eyes, any moons long since lost, the tattered remnants of a ring system shredding around it like a rotting halo. Storms boil across its face; aurorae flicker madly at both poles. A supercyclone pinwheels at the center of the dark side, fed by turbulent streamers fleeing from light into shadow. Its stares back at me like the eye of a blind god.

Holy fuck, did Dan ever nail it. Every time I look at these pictures the bitterness wells up anew, that Eriophora— for all its galaxy-spanning travels never made it as far as a video game. What glorious mission levels these could be.

Dan did another one, too, but I think I want to hold onto it for the time being. It’ll make a better fit with an upcoming fiblet.

Anyway.  All this stuff should be up in the gallery within the next day or so. I just wanted to post here fast, so I can get my exercises out of the way before the pones get home from school. They tend to mock me whenever they catch me trying to stay in shape.

Fuck.

Too late.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday May 04 2016at 12:05 pm , filed under art on ink . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

20 Responses to “Art, from Ice to Fire”

  1. @Peter Watts: Ghiordanescu totally nails it; that was uncanny description in your text and that’s an uncanny painting to go with it.

    As you are a runner, and generally seem attuned to fitness,the resident subadults can scoff only at peril of being pursued and chastised for their contumacy.

    Re: “the Count”… well, you have to admit that your “envisioning” is not all that cuddly, nor would we likely want it to be. I must say that I am rather surprised that the Snickers Bar company hasn’t approached you for rights for one of those “you’re not you when you’re hungry” commercials. Then again, sometimes that sort of thing occasionally backfires. :)

  2. @Peter Watts
    Nice additions to the galley

    Added sunflowers to my to read list

    And now for something completely different:
    – your toughts on this?:
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/blake-ross/aphantasia-how-it-feels-to-be-blind-in-your-mind/10156834777480504/

    And now for something completely different:
    – I was wondering, is there a book / list / compendium you would recomend of the recorded interesting neurodiversity conditions that you have come across in your research? (blindsight, aphantasia, Cotard delusion, Anton–Babinski syndrome, chinese rooms, philosophic zombies, etcetra?)

    And now for something completely different:
    – (For somebody who isnt a native english speaker:) what does “pone” mean?

  3. “increasingly less-unseasonal”? I have a hard time unpacking some of your writing, but this one I think just means northern Alberta is getting more fires during fire season.

  4. Chuck: I guess he means early May is now more of a forest fire season than it used to be, thanks to global warming. Alternatively, that the calendar is passing and we are getting closer to fire season, but that seems a bit unnecessary to mention.

  5. Dr.No,

    While you wait for an answer, you may enjoy looking through a list of citations for Blindsight and Echopraxia.

    Those can be obtained by reading through http://www.rifters.com/real/shorts/PeterWatts_Blindsight_Endnotes.pdf

    And for Echopraxia there is a zotero library I imported, https://www.zotero.org/smiguez/items/collectionKey/H6MP54CM

    Having a zotero group dedicated to Peter Watts citations would be cool, but I do not have the time to organize it. I’m not good enough at being Tom Sawyer to convince other people to.

  6. Speaking of which, here are other cool things I’d like to see:

    * a Peter Watts markov bot based on text extracted from his blog posts (and fiction too?)
    * a version controlled archive of fiction from the backlog. I don’t know if this would be good to have on github or whatnot, I started with making a local git repo and then tarred it up to post on archive.org https://archive.org/details/peterwatts.tar which is an inadequate first iteration.
    * Even better would be individual items in a special collection. compare the browsing experience of my items tagged with pydataberlin2014 versus the collection of The EuroPython Society.

    naturally I am too unorganized and lazy to do these.

    Ps. if anyone has trouble getting access to cited papers, maybe check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci-Hub

  7. Dr.No: – your toughts on this?

    Yeah, someone passed me this link a few days back; I just got around to reading it this morning.

    My thoughts, at this early stage, are Wow. Which pretty much sums up my initial reaction to 90% of the brain-related stuff I come across these days anyway.

    A lot of folks regard “qualia” as a defining feature of consciousness. Victims of Aphantasia don’t seem to experience qualia unless they’re actually processing the relevant input in the moment. So I wonder: if you slap these guys in some kind of sensory-isolation environment, would that render them awake but non-conscious?

    Could be a blog in there. Too bad I’ve already spoiled the punchline.

    – I was wondering, is there a book / list / compendium you would recomend of the recorded interesting neurodiversity conditions that you have come across in your research? (blindsight, aphantasia, Cotard delusion, Anton–Babinski syndrome, chinese rooms, philosophic zombies, etcetra?)

    Sheila’s right: check the bibliographies for Blindsight and Echopraxia.

    (For somebody who isnt a native english speaker:) what does “pone” mean?

    Hey, it’s not your English: “pone” isn’t actually an official word. It’s short for “pony”, which is how I describe my step-daughters, since they were birthed by Caitlin Sweet a.k.a. BUG (which, in turn, stands for “Beloved Unicorn Girl”).

    Chuck Pergiel: “increasingly less-unseasonal”?

    Yeah, that was clunky. The thing is, these events keep getting described as “anomalous” or “unseasonable”, despite the fact that their frequency is increasing to such an extent that you could reasonably describe them as the new normal. Generally, the whole “unseasonable” moniker is preferred by those who’d rather not talk about the role climate change plays in these ever-more-frequent disasters.

    So, yeah. Increasingly less unseasonable. Except I just realized that I misspelled “unseasonable”. That may have been part of the problem right there.

    Fixed.

  8. The clouds part…

    Peter Watts:

    (For somebody who isnt a native english speaker:) what does “pone” mean?

    Hey, it’s not your English: “pone” isn’t actually an official word. It’s short for “pony”, which is how I describe my step-daughters, since they were birthed by Caitlin Sweet a.k.a. BUG (which, in turn, stands for “Beloved Unicorn Girl”).

    I’ve been wondering what “Silence of the pones” referred to…

  9. Actually, that was “The Silences of Pone”. Which works on two levels, because a) one of Caitlin’s novels is called “The Silences of Home”, and b) Pones are very rarely Silent.

  10. […] Watts posts some evocative […]

  11. Peter Watts,

    Re: Aphantasia

    I’m tempted to try and see if we (here in my town) can get together to run the memory experiments suggested by The Neurocritic here. They might not be too hard to pull off.

    http://neurocritic.blogspot.com/2016/05/imagine-these-experiments-in-aphantasia.html

  12. I would love to a read a full length novel based in the Sunflowers universe. Is there any particular reason you have decided to forego that avenue for the world you so unfairly have teased to us so far? Honestly I don’t care what format it takes I just want more of it.

  13. Hi Peter, the mockups of the game look really cool. What kind of gameplay did you envision for it?

    I wouldn’t mind playing THAT game make-believe in my head :)

  14. Dr.No,

    I use goodreads and sometimes categorize my books. I went ahead and made a subcategory of cognitive science, brains, neuroscience etc stuff.

    https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/9795889-sheila?shelf=cogsci-recommend

    It doesn’t seem to be showing them in order of ranking, but it does show numbers. The list is vaguely sorted to get neuroscience books in the upper half, and case studies of neurological conditions in the bottom half. I haven’t kept up with case studies in a while so those are stale.

    I haven’t finished the Andy Clark book, but a long time ago I read a paper he did with Annette Karmilof-Smith called The Cognizer’s Innards (if memory serves) which was very enjoyable. I’m interested in the concept of embodied cognition hence zeroed in on his book when I found it.

    I would love to get more recommendations for books like these.

    I also love to read about animal cognition and animal behavior but didn’t include them in the list for you.

  15. El Tren:
    I would love to a read a full length novel based in the Sunflowers universe.Is there any particular reason you have decided to forego that avenue for the world you so unfairly have teased to us so far?Honestly I don’t care what format it takes I just want more of it.

    I have not actually made that decision. I continue to plug away at stories set in that universe, and — while each does stand on its own— together they’ll form a kind of narrative uber-arc that tells a vaster more epic story. (I may even have some news on that front in the near future.)

    It’s the gaming dimension— rather, the lack of one— that frustrates me.

    Oge Nnadi: What kind of gameplay did you envision for it?

    A proper answer to that would be a whole blog post in itself. An improper answer would be “more than one”.

    But to give you at least a vague sense, the idea first came to me when I was working with Relic on the Homeworld-2-that-never-was project.

  16. Happen to be rereading Echopraxia now and it struck me that people would aphantasia would probably be immune to Valerie’s “Judo” trick (“Imagine Christ-on-a-Cross” “… okay, I’m deeply considering the concept of Jesus and the crucifixition… now what?”)

    I mean, it’s not like a team of aphantasiacs will be our saviors when vampires can still think rings around them, and are stronger and faster physically but it was fun to consider.

  17. Now there’s an idea.

    And given the ubiquity of neurotweaking in that universe, you probably be able to induce short-term aphantasia by popping a pill or something.

    I must think on this.

  18. Has some nice mythological resonance too, shades of blinding yourself before facing the Medusa, wax-filled ears before the siren. I wonder if it might also protect, in some ways, from the brain-hack programming she does to put that in place… if at least some of that is dependent on evoking certain mental images, or her actions replaying, vividly, in memory

  19. You realize I’m pasting all these thoughts into my Omniscience Scrivener File.

    You’ll show up in the acknowledgments, if the damn thing ever gets published.

  20. Of course, then the real question is whether vampires tend towards aphantasia and perhaps what such a pill (or a reverse) might do to them. The first instinct would be yes, they do, as they’re a step between us in self-awareness… but we also know that past and present are just separate processing threads, relived rather than remembered and virtually identical from their perspective, which could imply a very highly developed (but very different) mental imaging system. For all we know self-awareness gets in the WAY of mental imaging (after all, what usually breaks up a mental image for me is outside thoughts like thinking about how accurate what I’m imagining is). And maybe it’s a little easier to be a sociopath if the reality where you killed a person is indistinguishable from the imaginary possibility you briefly explore where you let them live.

    Sorry, I’ll stop now, it’s just fun to speculate. :)

    Edit: Just saw the previous comment. Woohoo, my life is thus almost complete! And if you ever happen to need a name of a foolish person who attempts to outsmart a vampire in this way, I’m available. It’s probably a far more interesting way to die than I’ll get in real life! 😉