The Martian is a book written by Andy Weir.
It is also my graduation present from Ain, in lieu of flowers. A book, I thought, would not wilt after a couple of days. I spent the same number of days for flowers to wilt reading the whole book. It was very engaging.
Also, the book did not wilt. Yay.
The premise is simple, astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist - who looks like the guy who Tom Hanks had to rescue back in World War 2 - gets left behind on Mars in a freak accident while his fellow astronauts had to leave immediately because of a dust storm. What should have been a fatalistic "that's it no one knows I'm still alive and doesn't matter not enough food I'm dead anyway good bye everyone" 3- day short story becomes a full length novel for survival that extends for months and years as Watney uses his engineering and botanical skills to keep himself alive using material at hand, like spanners, nuts, bolts, potatoes, hydrogen gas, an RTG buried in the ground some kilometres away and the Mars Pathfinder probe a couple of hundred kilometres away.
Mark Watney is an interesting character. He is a man of the internet. Although he speaks English, he speaks it in the manner of a man who probably knows what 4chan is and are aware of ALL THE MEMES. This is a realistic build of an internet-wired 21st century character. I don't believe there has ever been such a character. No, not even Keanu Reeves in that mind-blowing, sensational cyberpunk movie that everyone knows him for... Johnny Mnemonic.
NASA is interesting. As a red tape bound organisation, there are quite the many problem solvers that put their career on the line to save Mark Watney. And more importantly, they are a multi-ethnic bunch of heroes that attempt to reflect the reality of a multi-ethnic nation and planet. I'm sure they'll find someone race-appropriate to play someone named "Kapoor" and "Park" in the movie.
Wait, the movie's out?
Anyway. Watney's life on Mars is like my life in Kuala Lumpur: One thing after another, where "thing" is usually some form of shit hitting some fan somewhere. He weathers all the problems well though, if you can count being blown up by a hydrogen explosion "well". He survives, probably because he looks like that guy from Elysium, and I'm not talking about Wikus.
Anyway. Anyway... this pain up my nasal cavity is bad and it's pushing into by jaw and eyeballs. And I don't think the meds are helping. So go read the book to see how Watney kills the Pathfinder probe. What did the probe ever do to you, huh? Damned amperage. How do they work?
So, I drew some cross-species hybridization as Star Trek aliens are wont to do. For example, Spock is a Human-Vulcan hybrid and K’Ehleyr is a Human-Klingon hybrid.
A Tholian-Vulcan hybrid! I only remembered the pointy eyebrows after I finished drawing.
A Horta-Cardassian hybrid. No space beneath the silicon-based body for a Gul Macet-style mutton chops. And think of the amount of hairspray needed to keep that 'do in shape.
A Tribble-Andorian hybrid. How is this even- I- Never mind. Everyone go home. Nothing to see here.
The cover of Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fifth Planet was the first in the series that I drew for Ebb and Folks back in 2011.
There was a request for an enhancement of the cover. Originally painted in water colours, I employed GIMP to give it a digital upgrade by smoothing out roughness and applying digital paints where required.
For a look at the original painting, click here.
After creating the cover of David Leyman's debut entry of his science fiction story Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fifth Planet, followed by the covers of two subsequent entries, Ruthermore Heidigens and the Voices and Ruthermore Heidigens and the Nights at the Round Table, now comes the cover I made for the upcoming fourth installment of the series in Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fires of Avalon! Check out the dragon. He seems nice.
Keep an eye out for its ebook release on Amazon at David Leyman's website here!
Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fires of Avalon
Last year I illustrated some pictures for Balneum Blue, an article for Star Frontiers RPG. And after more than a year it's finally released in the pages (and the cover) of Star Frontiersman magazine issue 25!
Here's the cover I did, of some gigantic floating aquatic jellyfish creatures called the hydrozoan.
The planet known as Balneum Blue has an intelligent native species called the Gnatha that live in biotech coral cities.
All the image above needs is a map of all the train stops.
Earlier this week there was a drive via online social networks for a sequel of 2012's film Dredd starring Karl Urban as Judge Dredd. Known as Day of Dredd, there were many posts and tweets about it across the internet. Even Psi Judge Anderson actress Olivia Thirlby herself made a thank you video for fans who helped with this drive.
Dredd was an enjoyable, very tight, very focused story with just the right balance of grittiness and the absurdness of the future social dynamics of Mega City One. Its violence is very explicit, assaulting viewers with the atrocities of the film's villains. It sets the tone for the grimness of the situation of having Dredd and the rookie Anderson trapped in a vast but somehow claustrophobic Peach Tower residential block by Ma-Ma, the local drug lord played by Lena Headey.
Of course the dire circumstances only serves to accentuate how cathartic the payback is to the criminals when Dredd regains the upper hand. It's no spoiler he would eventually get the upper hand. How he gets there is a roller coaster ride.
Would a Dredd 2 emerge from this effort? Let's hope so.
Here's my contribution to Day of Dredd on Twitter:
After illustrating the cover of David Leyman's first "Ruthermore Heidigens" science fiction novella, Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fifth Planet, here are two more cover artwork from two other stories in the series, Ruthermore Heidigens and the Voices and Ruthermore Heidigens and the Nights at the Round Table - the former of which I made over a year ago but forgot to post here since.
Ruthermore Heidigens and the Voices
Ruthermore Heidigens and the Nights at the Round Table
Here are a series of artwork for Salvage Ops card game by DWD Studios. Players play members from four space salvage corporations. Here are five of the gear in space derelicts that the players could grab for points during the game, and two of the hazard card artwork that might thwart your operations!
Purchase the game, which is now available at GameCrafters!
Jump Gate Generator
Doug GMed Cubicle 7's Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space RPG for Irfan and I for the first time and it was an enjoyable night. For Irfan this was the first time someone other than me was the gamemaster.
We played Fox and Olujimi just as they were stranded on the planet Klaris in the far future after hunting and failing to detain the big game hunter Breybrooke who was driven insane, corrupted by alien technology he had unearthed in Kenya in the year 1977.
The game began as the duo was dining with their impromptu host Hermis, a Klarisian who served them haphis, a floating and slowly-spinning ball of edible mass that replenished itself as it was being scooped by cutlery. Olujimi thought it would taste more like cheese but it did not. Fox just ate away in silence.
Stranded on Klaris
City guards knocked on Hermis' door, and the guard leaded, a woman named Hollis, insisted that the newcomers who helped fight off Breybrooke be brought before their leaders. The guards were heavily hooded and gazed only at the floor. Hollis took them through the Klarisian city with domed buildings, columns and floating light globes. Olujimi and Fox were brought to a tall chamber with alien sculptures that floated and appeared to slightly move. Obus, a hooded man wearing elaborate robes and a tall collar awaited them there.
I have been working on artwork for card prototypes for a card game entitled Salvage Ops by DWD Studios. The game allows players to take charge of four space salvage corporations. They play the cards to explore, encounter threats, retrieve salvagable gear (see my Google+ post here for samples of the gear) and win points.
The box art can be seen below.
I hope this game sees production soon!
Update (30th Aug 2013): The game is now available at GameCrafters!
In Eclipse Phase roleplaying game, I play the Neo-octopus Hokusai Tarnungshaut. Hokusai used to be in an uplifted octopus in an enhanced octomorph body.
After his death by postal bomb, he was loaded into a worker pod morph. Later, he farcasted into an arachnoid morph on Venus and died again there. Without knowing he died there once, Hokusai farcasted again to Venus, this time in a slitheroid morph. This is what he looks like now.
Using the fake Mesh ID Heinrich Ausfahrt Plissken, he is now part of the Fastball Express contingent (using the Gamera Security hypercorp front) investigating stuff among the aerostat cities of Venus.
While on Venus, Hokusai - after being a freelance troubleshooter in Fastball Express for many months - has decided to go back into the public eye as an artist, but this time with another fake online persona, and perhaps an art studio hypercorp. He feels like being safe from the Nine Lives cartel has made him slack off as an artist. All his uploads into the art social Mesh sites have been uninspiring in the interim. Will this catch the attention of Nine Lives? Will this inspire Hokusai as an artist?
In any case, it's time to buy some f-rep.
So I quickly painted the PPDC Jaeger Tacit Ronin, which was seen for about 0.4 seconds on screen in the movie Pacific Rim, Guillermo Del Toro's mecha vs kaiju movie which I immensely enjoyed by the way.
Check out the larger image of Tacit Ronin on my Tumblr.
Note: This short story is slightly edited from a 1500 word assignment for Professional Writing 1: Core Competency submitted on July 14. I thought it would be prudent not to throw around too many (or too funky) posthuman science fiction concepts in this story, just in case the tutor would be unable grok it.
Faith Jinnouchi drew her Ruger-Miroku Egocapture pistol from her overcoat pocket. She casted her Ego Enforcement Department ID across the local network to all the other patrons of the café. Her words rang like a bell across the café. “Somerville Olafsson. Your Ego ID has been confirmed to be false. You are under arrest for being an Altered Ego under New Amsterdam's EED Regulations Ten-Seventy.”
The Egocapture pistol's smartlink had confirmed this criminal act. So Faith fired at the distressed Olafsson. Transferring an Ego from one shell to another takes hours of scanning a neural scanning, slowly transferring exabytes of data from the old brain to the new. Criminals, however, were not given the luxury of time.
Here is another cover commissioned by Ebb and Folks. Five's The End is a novella by David Leyman that completes the trilogy that begins with Three's Company and continues with Four of a Kind (the second artwork in this post). The style of digital inks and colours (instead of a painterly look) of the cover for all three novellas is an editorial decision.
Irfan went to the National Science Centre.
Star Trek the Exhibition was being housed there for the time being. Shane managed to go to Star Wars Identities which looked better, but I takes what I gets.
They didn't beam us aboard, we had to walk up the steps and push the door open. Thankfully, this procedure did not need the use of a Heisenberg compensator.
I appear to have a new wallpaper for the Artist X 1.0 desktop.
It's that ship sent by Weyland Industries.
S.S. Lollipop or something.
Can't wait for the movie.
I'm not saying it's ALIEN, but it's ALIEN.
Ruthermore Heidigens and the Fifth Planet is the first of David Leyman's Ruthermore Heidigens science fiction novellas. It features the most powerful wizard in the known universe, simply because he's the only wizard in the universe. His powers are real, but are they really of a magical source?
Here's the cover for the book I painted recently in watercolour:
Meevo is the ebook novella by David Leyman. It is a suitably eerie horror-flavoured science-fiction tale involving an escaped prisoner, the prisoner's hunters and - as we see in the opening scenes - a mutant, in a post-apocalyptic future.
To view the full cover image, click on the thumbnail below.
Meevo is available for purchase on Amazon.com here.
Ebb n Folks's latest short story soon to be published on Amazon as a Kindle download is Three's Company. The publisher called for a lined artwork with clean colours on it. So here it is. "Three" in the story title is the catlike lady seen below. But why has she been with the protagonist all these decades?
Watch for it on Amazon.com soon.
Horizon is a short film written and directed by Emma Coats, set in the wilds of a post-apocalyptic near future. I've seen a rough cut of the film. It looks spectacular and is very ambitious project. Also, it has a zeppelin! I was invited to contibute a movie poster to be displayed in a gallery released with the DVD and here's what I came up with.
Watch this space for details of its upcoming release!
Click here to see more photos and posters for Horizon.
Click here to see a bigger version of my poster on DeviantArt.