I'm giving a virtual presentation on sci-fi art history this Tuesday!

I'm giving a virtual presentation on sci-fi art history this Tuesday!

I'm giving a virtual presentation for a local bookstore, Third Place Books, in just a few days - Tuesday, August 8, at  at 12 pm EST / 3 pm PST. The link to register for the Zoom is here, and you should all join!

It'll be just an hour of me talking fast while showing you a bunch of cool sci-fi art and explaining all the elements that led up to the 70s sci-fi art era, the biggest artists who defined it, and the legacy that it has left ever since.

It's actually going to go more into the pre-70s history than I did in my art book itself, and it has a ton of new art that's not in my book. Plus you'll have the rare chance to see and hear what I'm like as a person, but you'll have to decide for yourself if that's a pro or a con.

Anyway, sign up here if you think you might be able to make it!


Book Promotion Corner

In other book promotion news, here are all the reviews I've spotted about my book. All positive so far, which is nice.

“Journalist Rowe’s captivating debut spotlights bizarre and breathtaking science fiction cover art from the 1970s and ’80s—a “golden age” for the form fueled by increased numbers of titles and a shift from 1960s abstraction to representational art.” ~Publishers Weekly
“Rowe plays a most amiable tour guide, peppering his brief artists bios and analyses of their styles with good-natured wisecrackery.” ~Psychobabble
“Adam Rowe’s book is like a superior sequel to Visions of the Future, with miniature biographies for many of the artists, plus a look at the recurrent themes he’s explored on his 70s Sci-fi Art Tumblr. There’s a lot in here I hadn’t seen before.” ~feuilleton
“This book has everything,” enthuses author Fred Scharmen. “Floating vertical skyscrapers. Skull planets. Giant worms. Boris Vallejo. Interstellar rivers. Jeffrey Catherine Jones. Cryosleep. There’s a whole entry for Space Cats!” ~downthetubes.net

There's more to come – I have two Q&As about the process of making my book, which should both be hitting the internet pretty soon.


My most popular Tumblr post for the last month was this image, with the caption "Remembering the best quote tweet I ever got."

The actual art is a Moebius drawing (India ink, gouache & watercolour) for Francis Carsac’s Les Robinsons du Cosmos (1970).


More Star Wars Influences

My art book covers a handful of the different sci-fi and fantasy artists that the Star Wars franchise drew inspiration from (or ripped off, depending on who you ask). But I honestly was just scratching the surface: I think it's fair to say that George Lucas was among this era's first superfans.

Presumably everyone who worked on Star Wars in 1977 was, if this image is any indication. This is Steve Gawley, working on the Death Star Thermal Exhaust Port miniature for Star Wars in 1977.

Thanks to @DesigningFilm on Twitter for this.

Overlooking the creative endeavor is a Frank Frazetta piece, the June 1967 cover for Creepy #15.

Interestingly, I included this cover in my art book due in part to a completely different story that I thought illustrated how quickly and instinctively Frazetta worked: He completed this cover on a piece of plywood from his in-renevations home when he ran out of canvas right before the deadline to turn in a Creepy cover.

Also, when looking up that story for this newsletter, I found a factual error in my book: The copy on page 178 says this is a 1964 cover when it is in fact a 1967 one, as the caption on page 179 accurately says.

Not sure how that happened! I'm starting a personal list for book errors like this, so get in touch if any jump out at you. I hope to address them all if I get a second printing. Until then, I'm trying to convince myself that this is a universal experience in book publishing!


Art Inspiration

Robert McCall, ‘Island Shrine,’ 1982

This Robert McCall illustration's island and shrine may have been based of off this one very real location, a lighthouse built in 1863 on the eastern end of Mallorca's Formentor peninsula, in Spain.


Classic Sci-Fi Movies Are Kind of Preachy

Unfortunately many examples of ’70s science fiction don’t hold up today as entertaining stories. TV writer Andrea Kail finds movies such as Silent Running and Beneath the Planet of the Apes to be slow-paced and preachy. “I don’t think any of these really hit the sweet spot between ‘here’s a message’ and ‘here’s a good movie telling us that,'” she says. “You can make a message movie and it can be interesting. These do not do that.”


Long-term readers of my newsletter know that I can never keep the topics in this thing entirely restricted to retro science fiction art, so I like to recommend a few extra things in these roundup emails. This time, I have a fun weekly newsletter, once itself just recommends things: Web Curios

I can't even remember where I found this email, but I've been reading every issue for months. Here's two fascinating internet things I found out about in the last issue:

  • Exp TV – this site plays an absolutely incredible collection of obscure TV clips and music videos. I just watched two cartoon mice sing "Raindrops Falling on my Head" in Japanese. The perfect channel to project onto the wall of your post-irony bohemian loft 24/7.
  • Unspun Heroes – a miniscule record label for nothing but reissuing underrated classic on vinyl.


Next week: An Extended Edition installment that centers on Wojtek Siudmak.