01/05/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Ilex. 192 page illustrated and indexed softcover. Price: £17.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-905814-39-8.
check out website: www.ilex-press.com
Have you noticed how few artbooks are being published at the moment? This end of our genre tends to have down as well as up-swings and we're getting a spell of the former at the moment so any artbook out there is precious to get.
'Sci-Fi Art' by Steve Holland and several other writers with their own specialities, Alex Summersby, Steve White, Toby Weidmann, Adrian Faulkner and Tim Murray, is another book assessing Science Fiction in its art form. There's usually a book of this sort out every decade and their lack of availability or rising prices should be an indication of their popularity. Interestingly, many of these and other books are noted here and if you haven't got, missed some books or want to get started then this book is an automatic asset to aid your collection and impress your friends sitting on the coffee table.
When I was young, I would read and admire the art in such books realising I wasn't that likely to see the product, usually books, where they were first exhibited. I must be showing my age cos I got to page 48 and spotted one from my own collection. From therein, I spotted even more and realised this book was showing a lot of my tastes in SF. Granted I didn't buy that edition of Samuel Delaney's 'The Einstein Intersection' first hand and I already owned a later copy, but it was one I couldn't resist. Good or provocative art sells books. With SF books, it is most certainly as asset, often to see if the story backs up the cover, even if it was produced the other way around.
Fantastic art spreads throughout a variety of media. Not only book and magazine covers but also concept art for films used by directors to convince producers of what they want to make to cinema posters encapsulating the content to comicbooks to computer games and toy designs. Pictures sell in a way words alone can't. Oddly, the last two sections were given the least coverage here but the acknowledgement here as a serious art-form is likely to remind people to look at the covers of what they buy more. Interestingly, the comicbook section centred on British than American material and a sharp reminder that our artists are people to be reckoned with. Certainly, SF is part of our lives even if many people still don't realise it.
Not only is there samples of a variety of artists but the text also provides a lot of background information as well. If I have to be critical of anything it's the occasional wandering of arrows of captions to multiple pictures although they do address the information so you're not too confused by them too much. In any artbook, this has always been a problem of getting the most mileage for art per page. Although not perfect, it's a lot better than others I've seen.
There are so many artists covered here that to mention only some would be to slight others but there's a fair bet that most of your favourites are included here with most getting a couple pages about their work and history.
This really is a lavish production that deserves your support and at a price most of you can afford and enjoy. Can I say any more than that? Get a first edition today.
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