Imatge de l'autor

Wayne D. Barlowe

Autor/a de Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials

13+ obres 1,912 Membres 30 Ressenyes 3 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Crèdit de la imatge: Photograph courtesy of Wayne Douglas Barlowe

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Obres de Wayne D. Barlowe

Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials (1979) 861 exemplars, 9 ressenyes
God's Demon (2007) 299 exemplars, 10 ressenyes
Barlowe's Inferno (1998) 87 exemplars, 2 ressenyes
The Alien Life of Wayne Barlowe (1995) 77 exemplars, 1 ressenya
Brushfire: Illuminations from the Inferno (2001) 43 exemplars, 3 ressenyes
The Heart of Hell (2019) 19 exemplars
Psychopomp (2021) 3 exemplars

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I think a more accurate title for this book would have been Barlowe's Guide to Fifty Fantastic Heroes and Bizarre Beings in Fantasy. Too long? Okay, we can drop the "in fantasy" because it is kind of redundant. Seriously, I did not find this to be a guide to the genre of fantasy, but more of a who's who of popular characters from authors such as Peter S. Beagle, Robert Jordan, Clive Barker, and Stephen Donaldson. The illustrations of insects, monsters, dragons, beasts, unicorns, and the whatnot are truly beautiful. From fashion to faces, each creature comes alive in Barlowe's guide. I imagined Barlowe pouring over every descriptive element of each creature in order to get features, costumes, and weapons as accurate as possible. Even though the list of characters is short (there are only fifty), this must-read for fantasy readers of all ages.… (més)
 
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SeriousGrace | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Sep 22, 2023 |
I picked this one up at Macmillan's free book day back in 2013 and finally got around to reading it! On top of the fact that it looked and sounded interesting, it has a blurb from Guillermo del Toro--so yeah, that was one time when I actually read a blurb. Also, this is totally a case of judging a book by its cover, and with good reason.

The author is actually an artist, a film concept designer who did work on Hellboy and at least two Harry Potter movies--at it shows in the book. The cover, of course, is gorgeous and insanely detailed, not to mention incredibly helpful for visualizing Hell--which is, if I'm perfectly honest, a bit difficult to do. There are definitely places where the book reads more like an artist or director describing their vision for a movie than it does a typical book. This has its pluses and minuses: while it can slow the pace down and be a little distracting from the plot, Barlowe's extraordinary vision of Hell is a key selling point of the book. I've read so many books that it's hard for me to come across completely new ideas, but those did exist here in the descriptions of the demons' appearances, in the construction of the cities of Hell, and in the makeup of Hell's geography. This is a very Gaiman-esque Hell, not one full of fire and brimstone, but one that's disgusting and inhumane even as it's incredibly, personally human.

(I have one cool (I think) theory about Hell, never confirmed: that it's actually located on the absent Lucifer's body.)

This book was world-building at its finest, with engaging characters even if a bit frustrating. Why were all of the demons male? I must admit that I find it refreshing when otherworldly creatures are basically sex/genderless--and I was annoyed at the very contrived, unfortunately practically inevitable romance with Lilith. I would have been just as (if not more) invested in a relationship of equals founded entirely on respect. It would have been more tragically romantic, which I think would have better fit Barlowe's vision of Hell, not to mention more realistic (I'm pretty sure) for a woman with Lilith's sexual trauma. (I'm not listing that as a spoiler because this is a book written by a man and populated almost exclusively by men. Talk about Hell!)

My biggest beef with the book? Sargatanas' belief that starting a war against the Beelzebub, the reigning monarch of Hell, will redeem him in the eyes of the Creator. When has holy war ever been something admirable? Starting a war in order to better one's station--not including others--to a better state seems like the the most selfish act possible, and certainly not one that God would condone. But then, it's never totally clear if the god of this book reflects the Christian God. Probably not, given how unreligious the book is overall. (Quite a feat for a book based on one of the greatest works of Biblical fanfiction ever written!)

Yeah, there's more action than plot here...but if it was made into a movie based on Barlowe's designs--especially if directed by del Toro--I would totally go and see it.

Quote Roundup
Note: Since the awesome environmental descriptions were too long to quote, most of these relate to my annoyance about the means by which these demons are going to reclaim Heaven.

37: I'd just read a series of parodies of dude writers describing women, contrasted with almost equally painful actual descriptions of women written by men, when I reached this introduction to Lilith, who just happens to be casually masturbating while waiting for her servant to return. Never mind that she has a horrifying life filled with regular, Hellishly nightmarish rape, she's just going to lie there and please herself for the titillation of male readers. Ugh.

96: "Henceforth, in this new time, you and your Guard will have to add secret police to your list of many tasks. I must know of the shifting thoughts of those closest to my throne. As seemingly unimpeachable as my inner circle is, no one is safe from corruption."
Yup. Secret police. This sounds more like Nazi Germany than the way to Heaven.

107: The palace was so vast, so filled with administrative levels, that it came as no real surprise to him that they might be in an area that he had not traversed.
No. Freaking. Way. An undying demon with all the time in the world to kill, and endless curiosity, and he hasn't explored every inch of that place? No way. Also, I have no idea what kind of administration Sargatanas needs to manage Hell. It seems like a pretty straightforward place.

108-109: "We have fulfilled every one of Their claims against us, prove ourselves to be anything but the angels we once were, and denied ourselves any consideration for return. We must show that after all these grim millennia, after all the pain and punishment, we are capable of change. I am convinced that if our intentions and actions are clear--that our opposition to Beelzebub and his government is in earnest--They will take notice. And that is the first step to regaining our lost grace."
Yeah. I'm really not buying it. It sounds like he's just picking a fight to show off. What's the goal of this, if he's just going to leave it behind? To wreck half of Hell? How is that heavenly? I pretty much knew that Barlowe was going to have his characters win, but I was also really hoping there'd be some kind of shock at some point, when Sargatanas is told that he's not doing this for the right reasons, and he'd have to reevaluate his goals. Alas, this was not to be.

172: Sargatanas is giving a speech to rally the troops.
"What is it that keeps us here? ... Are we here because we are all truly evil or were some of us misled and misdirected, carried away on the scalding winds of rhetoric? ... Or is it, perhaps, our damaged pride that keeps us filled with shame and bound to this place?"**
*My gosh, he was basically a Trump supporter, except with Lucifer!
**I'm pretty sure it's pride making you think you're good enough to prove yourself worthy of going back to heaven. And pride is kind of a deadly sin and all...


238: This scene where Hani takes on Moloch was particularly cinematic, and nicely condensed so that it didn't get exhausting. I really do appreciate Hani. He seems more honestly self-reflective than Sargatanas, and I respect his blunt awareness of his own motives. I know he's in Hell for a reason...but it's kind of hard not to end up rooting for him.

256: Sargatanas does have a moment of clarity to reflect on the purpose/selfishness of his goals. But it's not a long reflection, and the result is pretty much the same coming out as it was coming in: we fight and kill for the right to regain Heaven. He compares his war to Lucifer's and even questions whether his motives are selfish--but those questions are never answered! Argh!

258: As a writer and a being capable of logic and a storytelling grump and a woman, I object to this page.

303: We're only 50 pages from the end of the book when we learn that Lilith has interests other than carving statues, being interested in souls, and having sex. Surely Barlowe could have spared a sentence here or there to tell us about her non-lover-related activities in Adamantinarx-upon-the-Acheron rather than shoehorning it all in here at the end. Can this poor woman have some non-male-related characterization, please? I just feel like there was so much potential for her to be a more interesting character than she ended up being, and it's really frustrating to me.

343: The reason for Sargatanas's fate is as full of holes as Swiss cheese. This book could have been a good bit more philosophical. i'd have sacrificed some between-battle prep for a little more depth to the discussions of good and evil.

349: We learn two pages from the end that Lilith had some sword fighting training. Why couldn't we have read about this? Why couldn't Lilith have fought, even if just alongside the souls?
Ugh!


Okay, so my responses to the quotes came out sounding like I didn't like the book much. But the fact is, I did. It's practically the definition of world-building, which is something that I highly value, and I did care about the characters even if they weren't as three-dimensional as they could have been. I guess I might say that there was never a "sublime" moment to lift this book out of the action-orientation. It felt a bit like a lot of today's action movies, which try to give a nod to deeper ideas but push through them to get back to the action. But then, that goes hand in hand with the kinds of films that Barlowe works on.

That said, check out his art--he's got a website and the work he did is absolutely stunning. He apparently illustrated a book based on Dante's Inferno, and I'd be interested to take a look at it sometime.
… (més)
 
Marcat
books-n-pickles | Hi ha 9 ressenyes més | Oct 29, 2021 |
Bought this for my 12 year old son! He got a real kick out of it! Hahaha.
 
Marcat
uncleflannery | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | May 16, 2020 |
Wayne Douglas Barlowe illustrates some amazing alien creatures from some choice (albeit 'his' choice) science fiction literature: reptilians such as James Blish's Lithian, James White's insectoids the Cinruss, the sphinx like Ishtarians created by Poul Anderson, or the Czill plant intelligence of Jack L. Chalker, and Frederik Pohl's tentacled Sirian. Speaking of tentacles, it is always nice to discover a new rendering of something from the Cthulhu mythos, and the Old Ones (responsible for the evolution of the Shoggoth - which lead to their eventual downfall) was a most welcome find.
This little book has become somewhat of an inspiration to sci-fi creators ever since it's publication, and shows such as Babylon 5 borrowed more than a few ideas from within these pages (as admitted in one of the DVD extras); not directly, but more as an example of how to imagine life-forms that were not simply 'humanoid men in a masks' - although a fair bit of this obviously does still exist in both.
There is also a nice fold-out comparative size chart in the middle of the book, and a 30 page folio of pencil drawings, at the back, taken directly from Wayne Douglas Barlowe's sketch book from 1979, which I found to be a lot more dynamic than his finished pieces which could often appear a little too posed.

I have created a helpful list by [Creature (book title) - author] which I hope will be well received by readers.

A
Sirian (The Age of the Pussyfoot) - Frederik Pohl
Rumi (The Alien Way) - Gordon R. Dickson
B
Black Cloud (The Black Cloud) - Fred Hoyle
C
Demu (Cage a Man) - F. M. Busby
Lithian (A Case of Conscience) - James Blish
Overloord (Childhood's End) - Arthur C. Clarke
Velantian (Children of the Lens) - E. E. "Doc" Smith
Master (The City of Gold and Lead) - John Christopher
Polarian (Cluster) - Piers Anthony
Cryer (Conscience Interplanetary) - Joseph Green
Abyormenite (Cycle of Fire) - Hal Clement
D
Dirdir (The Dirdir) - Jack Vance
Gowachin (The Dosadi Experiment) - Frank Herbert
Sulidor (Downward to the Earth) - Robert Silverberg
Guild Steersman (Dune Messiah) - Frank Herbert
E
Merseian (Ensign Flandry) - Poul Anderson
Uchjinian (Exiles at the Well of Sould) - Jack L. Chalker
F
Regul (The Faded Sun: Kesrith) - C. J. Cherryh
Ishtarian (Fire Time) - Poul Anderson
G
Soft One (The Gods Themselves) - Isaac Asimov
H
Vegan (Have Spacesuit Will Travel) - Robert A. Heinlein
Cinruss (Hospital Station Star Surgeon) - James White
I
Tran (Icerigger) - Alan Dean Foster
J
Cygnan (The Jupiter Theft) - Donald Moffitt
K
Slash (Kirlian Quest) - Piers Anthony
L
Old Galactic (Legacy) - James H. Schmitz
Medusan (The Legion of Space) - Jack Williamson
Cygnostik (A Little Knowledge) - Michael Bishop
M
Chulpex (Masters of the Maze) - Avram Davidson
Radiate (Memoirs of a Spacewoman) - Naomi Mitchison
Czill (Midnight at the Well of Soals) - Jack L. Chalker
Mesklinite (Mission of Gravity) - Hal Clement
Old One (At the Mountains of Madness) - H. P. Lovecraft
N
Puppeteer (Neutron Star) - Larry Niven
O
P
Demon (A Plague of Demons) - Keeith Laumer
Pnume (The Pnume) - Jack Vance
Master (The Pool of Fire) - John Christopher
Q
R
Dextran (The Right Hand of Dextra) - David J. Lake
Puppeteer (Ringworld) - Larry Niven
Triped (Rule Golden) - Damon Knight
S
Solaris (Solaris) - Stanislaw Lem
Dilbian (Spacial Delivery Spacepaw) - Gordon R. Dickson
Garnishee (Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers) - Harry Harrison
Mother (Strange Relations) - Philip José Farmer
T
U
Tyreean (Up the Walls of the World) - James Tiptree, Jr.
V
Ixtl (The Voyage of the Space Beagle) - A. E. van Vogt
Riim (The Voyage of the Space Beagle) - A. E. van Vogt
W
Master (The White Mountains) - John Christopher
The Thing ("Who Goes There?") - John W. Camobell aka Don A. Stuart
Salaman (Wildeblood's Empire) - Brian M. Stableford
Athshean (The World for World is Forest) - Ursula K. Le Guin
Thrint (World of Ptavvs) - Larry Niven
Ixchel (A Wrinkle in Time) - Madeleine L'Engle
X
Y
Z
… (més)
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Marcat
Sylak | Hi ha 8 ressenyes més | Nov 26, 2018 |

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Estadístiques

Obres
13
També de
52
Membres
1,912
Popularitat
#13,459
Valoració
3.8
Ressenyes
30
ISBN
29
Llengües
2
Preferit
3

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