Space Dogs: Data Visualization Art at Chicon 8

European fan Phoenix (she/her) recently announced her first data visualization art project about the flights and fates of the Soviet space dogs. Inspired by space, science and science fiction, Phoenix also loves animals, especially dogs, and has provided a forever home to several rescue dogs. Her Soviet Space Dogs project combines these two loves and is being sold to raise money for dogs abandoned due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The sad story of Laika, the first animal to go into orbit, is known amongst space enthusiasts around the world, but Laika was just one of many dogs that played a vital role in the Soviet space program. Their story is told eloquently by Olesya Turkina, Senior Research Fellow at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, in her 2014 book Soviet Space Dogs. Phoenix’s dual language (English/Russian) digital artwork visualizes the data from the book and tells the story of the Soviet space dogs pictorially, from Dezik and Tsygan, the first dogs to leave the Earth, via Laika, the first animal to orbit the Earth; and Belka and Strelka, who were the first to survive orbit; to Ugolyok and Veterok, who survived the last and longest flight, spending 22 days in orbit.  

Prints and products featuring the Soviet Space Dogs visualization are being sold online via Redbubble, with all profits going to support Ukrainian charity Shelter Friend who are rescuing dogs which have been abandoned due to the current conflict. Copies of the book are available from the publisher, and currently include a 10% donation to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Direct donations to Shelter Friend can be made via PayPal to [email protected].

Borys Sydiuk from Kyiv said “Supporting Shelter Friend at this time is a wonderful thing to do, and Ukrainian Fans thank Phoenix for her beautiful work”.

A limited edition Soviet Space Dogs print will be on display in the art show at the upcoming Worldcon in Chicago, where signed prints will also be available in the print shop. Thanks to fannish generosity, the print production and art show costs have been covered, so all proceeds from sales at the convention will go to the charity in full.

[Based on a press release.]

How to interpret the graphics:

Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly Magazine vol. 2 Released

The second issue of Spectrum Fantastic Art Quarterly from Arnie and Cathy Fenner is available. “The introduction explains our tardiness,” notes Arnie. Copies are being sold through Bud Plant, Stuart Ng, Dreamhaven Books, and Forbidden Planet NYC.

The Bud’s Art Books description covers the highlights:

Jeffrey Catherine Jones is the featured artist in an all new 39-page examination. George Pratt, Todd Adams and model Carol Zaloom share their memories and we are treated to page after page of paintings and new details of Jones’ life and work.

Also: Fantastic art painter Ed Binkley is interviewed and featured on the cover. His work is stunning. 

Donato Giancola explains how inspiration shows up for him, with wonderful examples from Lord of the Rings paintings. Gregory Manchess shares insights and pointers. Sara Frazetta shares memories of her grandfather Frank Frazetta. Art Director Irene Gallo offers tips to illustrators in a 20-questions feature. Arnie writes poignant memoriams for James Bama, Neal Adams, Ken Kelly, George Perez, Tim Sale and Marshall Arisman—“six masterful members of our art community who left us in 2022.”

Arnie had a serious health issue which was the cause for this issue being delayed (it IS called Spectrum Quarterly). He touches on that in his typically insightful and thoughtful editorial, and reveals the next Spectrum Annual Volume 28 will be out in 2023 after a hiatus since Volume 27.

Carol Zaloom modeled for Jeffrey Jones herself but more importantly, she was a close friend with Joners’ most famous muse and model Sandi Zinaman (1952-2015). She figures in many paintings and this includes photos of her modeling for Jones. She was the inspiration for the voluptuous heroine of the Idyl series.

Akira Exhibition in Berlin

AKIRA: The Architecture of Neo Tokyo: Through September 4, 2022 at the Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing; Christinenstraße 18a, 10119 Berlin, Germany

Neo Tokyo. Super!  

The opening scenes of Akira tell the story of how Neo Tokyo has surfaced from the ashes, and in Akira we soon meet the characters that will play such importance. The music draws us into the city and the high speed motorbike action that sets viewers up for a science fictional epic. The film was hugely popular, on video in the early Nineties and since has gained a huge following and is recognized as an incredible piece of anime, leading the charge and explosion of manga and anime in Europe. 

Stefan Riekeles, head of Riekeles Gallery, in collaboration with the Museum for Architectural Drawing director Nadejda Bartels and co-curated by Hiroko Myokam of Eizo Workshop (Japan) present an incredible selection of imagery for fans of Akira to enjoy and appreciate. With fifty-nine pieces on display in two galleries over two floors, the exhibition is beautifully set out, with a logical layout that allows one to enjoy the art sequentially. The colors and strength of the art represents the background vividness of the film. For speakers of English, all descriptions are in German and English, while language is no real barrier to enjoying the art. 

The art is astounding, and while it looks well framed on walls, as one goes closer to consider the media and skill utilized, the art pops out. The dark scenes painted so skillfully that the neon and light works so well. While very static, the images are a delight to see and come in a variety of sizes. It was wonderful to see the layering of cells over background imagery and how scenes which were panned by the camera are drawn at the correct angle and length, the uniformity being that of brilliance, not size or format. The long view of Tokyo, Chantilly Corner where Tetsuo falls in the initial Bike Chase, the alleys and city are all breathless as the art variety demonstrates details and expansiveness. The removal of cells in most cases, the foreground, allows contemplation of the architecture and ingenuity of the art. Pencil concept drawings, layout drawings, imageboards, and of course the backgrounds all add up to give the viewer a very comprehensive and thoughtful view of Neo Tokyo. 

Akira, while so well known, is not a subject that is often seen in exhibitions. Riekeles was allowed exclusive access to Studio archives of the artists involved, and these works have not been exhibited before, and it is unclear if they will be again. The art being shown includes works by Akira‘s art director Toshiharu Mizutani and production artists Katsufumi Hariu, Norihiro Hiraki, Shinji Kimura, Satoshi Kuroda, Hiromasa Ogura, Hiroshi Ōno, Hajime Soga, Tsutomu Uchida and Takashi Watabe.

The Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing, is the perfect setting, an unusually beautiful building in a very nice Berlin neighborhood, where coffee shops with street seating are just around the corner. The building is modern and unique, with the ground floor entrance feeling like a library and lounge, spacious, open and welcoming, the staff are excited about fans of the film seeing the work, and keen to share the appreciation of architecture. Set over two floors with a lift between them, as well as the two galleries, there is a small viewing room and one can see clips and identify the use of some of the art. 

Riekeles has written a wonderful book which makes for fine accompaniment to the exhibition. Anime Architecture – Imagined Worlds and Endless Megacities by Stefan Riekeles was published by Thames & Hudson in 2020 and was available to view at the Museum. The Riekeles Gallery also has a number of posters and very high-quality prints for sale, limited in number, signed by the artists, on the Riekleles Gallery .  

The area nearby is well worth a visit for fans touring in Berlin. The Neo Tokyo bookshop has a huge stockliist of manga and Japanese Culture on Tor Strasse, and, Grober Unfug  and Modern Graphics are two comic book and manga shops a few minutes walk away. St. Georges bookshop specializes in English books and has a selection small of mostly second hand science fiction and fantasy. A short two-stop U-Bahn trip away is Black Dog comics, an incredible shop full of American and English European titles and Patrick the owner, is a huge SF film fan who is very engaging.

The Architecture of Neo Tokyo is well worth a visit if you are in Berlin and have an appreciation of Akira

[Based on a press release.]

ASFA’s New Chesley Award Design

The Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) today presented the new design for the Chesley Award — ASFA’s annual award celebrating the best works in science fiction and fantasy illustration, as voted on by artists and art fans.

The organization commissioned internationally-renowned artist Nekro to create the new design, with initial art direction from current President Sara Felix. “We were looking for a modern interpretation of the muse that propels all artists forward. We thought Nekro would be the perfect choice to craft an inspired take on the goddess Athena who symbolizes wisdom, war, and the arts. He delivered in spectacular fashion,” says Felix.

The final sculpt of Nekro’s work will become the branding identity of the award. The reveal of the final physical sculpt will be forthcoming as a 3-inch medallion, awarded to all Chesley winners starting this year.

The Chesley Awards were established in 1985 as ASFA’s peer award to recognize individual works and achievements during a given year. They were initially called the ASFA Awards, but were later renamed to honor the famed astronomical artist Chesley Bonestell after his death in 1986. The Awards are nominated and decided upon by members of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

ASFA Membership is available here. The Suggestion List for the Chesley Award is annually assembled by both ASFA members and non-members of the SFF art community. However, nominations and final votes are made by ASFA Members only.

The virtual 2021 Chesley Award Ceremony will be held February 6 at 3:00 p.m. Central.  It will be on Facebook and the website.

Follow Nekro online at  ArtStation – Nekro, on Twitter and Instagram.

Visit the ASFA website for more information on the Chesleys and ASFA’s mission of community and artist outreach. Follow ASFA on Twitter and Instagram.

[Based on a press release.]

SPSFC Cover Contest: Help Rate the Top 100

While the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition teams are judging the books, you can help judge the covers. Vote in the SPSFC Cover Contest Top 100 – People’s Choice Poll.

The teams scored the covers of the 30 books assigned to each of them and picked their top ten, for a total of 100 covers.

You will be asked to give each cover from 0 – 10 points.

Covers are displayed in batches of 10 and their order is randomized for each viewer.

The poll is open until September 9. When it’s finished, we’ll find out which SPSFC contestant’s cover people think is the best.

SPSFC art by Tithi LuadthongLogos designed by Scott (@book_invasion)

Le Guin Stamp Issued Today

The Ursula K. Le Guin commemorative Forever stamp was officially unveiled today during a ceremony at the Portland (OR) Art Museum.

“Ursula once said she wanted to see science fiction step over the old walls of convention and hit right into the next wall — and start to break it down, too,” said Joseph Corbett, U.S. Postal Service chief financial officer and executive vice president, who served as the stamp ceremony’s dedicating official. “She felt the ideas represented in her fiction could help people become more aware of other ways to do things, other ways to be and to help people wake up.”

SF author Brenda Clough attended the ceremony and wrote it up for Book View Cafe.

…  The ceremony was attended by Le Guin’s husband Charles, her son Theodore and his wife Nancy, and her granddaughter. Speakers included Linda Long, curator and archivist at the University of Oregon library, where all of Le Guin’s papers and letters are housed. Amy Wong, a book editor at the Portland Oregonian, spoke of Le Guin’s many letters to the newspaper, covering topics that ranged from protesting the cancellation of Star Trek to the nation’s democratic process. And granddaughter India Downs Le Guin spoke of living with her grandmother after graduate school….

You can watch highlights from the Ursula K. Le Guin Stamp Ceremony in this YouTube video.

The outdoor ceremony was held in the Evan H. Roberts Sculpture Mall of the Portland Art Museum.

The 33rd stamp in the Literary Arts series honors Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018), who “expanded the scope of literature through novels and short stories that increased critical and popular appreciation of science fiction and fantasy.” The stamp features a portrait of Le Guin based on a 2006 photograph. The background shows a scene from her landmark 1969 novel The Left Hand of Darkness, in which an envoy from Earth named Genly Ai escapes from a prison camp across the wintry planet of Gethen with Estraven, a disgraced Gethenian politician. 

The artist for the stamp is Donato Giancola, a three-time Hugo winner who also was named a Spectrum Awards Grandmaster in 2019.

Information about how to order first day covers is here.

Best Professional Artist Hugo: Eligible Works from 2020

By JJ: To assist Hugo nominators, this post provides information on the artists and designers of more than 800 works which appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy for the first time in 2020.

These credits have been accumulated over the course of the year from dust jackets, Acknowledgments sections and copyright pages in works, cover reveal blog posts, and other sources on the internet. This year, Filers Martin Pyne and Karen B. also collected this information, and though we had a lot of overlap, their extra entries have greatly increased the information we are able to provide you. My profound thanks go to Martin and Karen for all of their hard work.

You can see the full combined spreadsheet of Editor and Artist credits here (I will be continuing to update this as I get more information).

In this post I will display up to 8 images of artworks for each artist for whom I have identified 3 or more works which appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy for the first time in 2020. Clicking on the thumbnail will open a full-screen version of each work; where I could find a version of the work without titles, that is the image which is linked.

Please note carefully the eligibility criteria according to the WSFS Constitution:

Professional Artist

3.3.12: Best Professional Artist. An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year.

3.2.11: A Professional Publication is one which meets at least one of the following two criteria:
(1) it provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or,
(2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.

3.10.2: In the Best Professional Artist category, the acceptance should include citations of at least three (3) works first published in the eligible year.

Under the current rules, artwork for semiprozines and fanzines is not eligible in this category. You can check whether a publication is a prozine or a semiprozine in this directory (the semiprozine list is at the top of the page, and the prozine directory is at the bottom).

Please be sure to check the spreadsheet first; but then, if you are able to confirm credits missing 2020-original works and the names of their artists from Acknowledgments sections, copyright pages, or by contacting authors and/or artists, go ahead and add them in comments, and I will get them included in the spreadsheet, and if the artist is credited with at least 3 works, in this post. If you have questions or corrections, please add those also. Please note that works may or may not be added to the list at my discretion.


Artists, Authors, Editors and Publishers are welcome to post in comments here, or to send their lists to jjfile770 [at] gmail [dot] com.

(warning: this post is heavily image-intensive, and will probably not work well on mobile devices: flee now, or prepare to meet your doom extremely slow page download)

Only those bying stoute of heyrte and riche in bandwydthe shouldst click hither to proce’d…

Wendy Aldiss Launches Kickstarter for “My Father’s Things” Photobook

“Brian Aldiss was my Dad and I have produced a photographic book which is a selection of the images I made after he died. I photographed all of his possessions,” writes Wendy Aldiss. “I’m crowdfunding the printing of the book.” : “My Father’s Things – A beautifully designed photobook”.    

His shaving brush, his books, a handful of ties, his Hugo Awards … these are amongst the things my father left behind him when he died.

This book, beautifully designed and ready to print, contains a selection from the 9,000+ images I took of all my father’s things. There is a foreword by celebrated British novelist Christopher Priest and an essay by cultural sociologist Dr Margaret Gibson.

With more than 250 pages of full colour images, including 8 fold-outs, it is at once a depiction of one person’s property, a record of design across the decades and a meditation on the extraordinary nature of ordinary things.

Wendy Aldiss also quoted the encouraging words of people who have seen it:

On seeing the draft Philip Pullman said, “This is a book to pore over and marvel at, beautiful and funny and moving. I loved it”.

Elizabeth Edwards, Visual Anthropologist, says; “..the camera transfigures these ordinary traces, makes them appear luminous with interest, even exotic.”

Margaret Gibson says to me: “There are real generational and intergenerational resonances in your book that will speak to many people in many places around the world”. 

Neil Gaiman said: “Now we have a chance to see into his [Brian Aldiss] rich and varied life, through the lens of his daughter Wendy, whose inspired idea it was to photograph pretty well everything that was in his possession when he died”.

The appeal has raised $5,046 of its $8,862 goal on the first day.

Those who pledge £35 or more will receive a first edition of the book, and there are other incentives for larger donations.

By pledging money towards the funding goal you will receive a reward of your choice. Most of the rewards include the book itself (£35, or £40 for a signed copy), but you could additionally get a 2021 calendar featuring 13 additional images, a signed print from a selection of ten, or a copy of my limited edition artist’s book.

Each book includes a unique page marker previously a page marker from one of the books in my Dad’s library. Everyone who contributes will get a mention in the book’s separate Thank You letter. Books should arrive in time for Christmas.    

She asks in closing –

Remember, it’s all or nothing. If I don’t manage to raise the required funds by November 27th I don’t get any of the money for printing (and everyone who made a pledge will get their money back).

Brian Aldiss being serenaded with “Happy Birthday” at LonCon 3 in 2014. Photo by Francis Hamit. (Not part of book.)

Spectrum 28 Delayed

Cathy and Arnie Fenner

Cathy and Arnie Fenner have announced that although Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art #27 has just been released by Fleskes Publications and this is traditionally the time of year when the Call For Entries for Spectrum 28 would normally open for submissions, they are postponing the submission window until 2021.

They explained in a press release:

But as we all know, 2020 has not been a normal year for anyone…and we’re not out of it yet. As announced previously, after seven great years as editor and publisher John Fleskes decided to step away from Spectrum to pursue other projects and interests; as we began work on transitioning the competition and book back to our leadership, the pandemic simultaneously began to spread around the globe. Needless to say, since March of 2020 COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone emotionally—particularly to those that have lost family or friends to the virus—thrown a monkey wrench into logistics and planning, shuttered businesses, cost millions of jobs, and had an enormously negative financial impact on the world. And that of course all translates to a negative impact on the publishing and entertainment industries, on the arts community, on the readers and fans—on literally everyone who make Spectrum possible. Factor in social, civil, and political upheavals and it’s safe to say that everybody has struggled or been hurt or in some way experienced unhappiness in 2020 and it would be tone-deaf for us to pretend otherwise.

With all that in mind, we believe the responsible thing for us to do is to delay opening Spectrum 28 for submissions until after the first of the year. A revised website is in the works as well as updates to the social media platforms. Though we know everyone has come to expect the Call For Entries to roll around at the same time each year like clockwork, we’ve actually been talking with our Advisory Board for some weeks about changing the dates (among other things) as a way to better serve the arts community going forward: there will be more announcements forthcoming, including our Call For Entries poster artist and jury.

…To paraphrase Mark Twain, any reports of Spectrum’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Watch for the announcement and we’ll hope to see everyone’s work when Spectrum 28 opens for entries. If you have any questions or concerns, ask us: we’re not going anywhere.

New Logo for Pórtico, Spain’s SFF&H Association

Pórtico, Spain’s Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Association, has just launched its new visual image. They also shared the cover art for Visiones 2020, their annual collection of stories.

Blanca Rodríguez, President, and Isa J. González, Member of the Board unveiled the new logo through the association’s  YouTube channel The team in charge of the new identity – Laura Soriano, graphic designer, and L. J. Salart, publicist- also took part in the presentation. 

The change is aimed at boosting the historical name of the association, Pórtico, fallen into disuse in recent years. The objective is to instrumentalize a name that is catchy, easy to remember, as well as full of history, aligning it with a visual identity adapted to the times. A new logo resembling a portal has been created as a symbol of all literary genres grouped in the association: fantasy, science fiction and horror. 

From a technical point of view, this new identity lends itself to different digital and printing uses, not only for publications (the collections Visiones, Fabricantes de Sueños and Sólo para Socios), but also for events (HispaCon), and for the different awards granted by the association (Ignotus, Domingo Santos, Gabriel, and the recently created Matilde Horne). 

According to Blanca Rodríguez, President of Pórtico, “The new logo strengthens the association’s image, offering a unified, easy to remember and modern visual concept. It clearly transmits the idea of a collaborative community in the current world, one characterized by its great diversity. With this logo, we want all the literary genres embedded in our association to feel represented”.

Pórtico, the Spanish Association of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror, is a non-profit organization focused on the promotion of fantasy, science fiction and horror in Spain. For more information, visit  their website.

[Based on a press release.]