Last year I did a long post on various amazing artists that is doing work in the nerdgasmic field of Xenobiology. The mysterious ways and looks of weird and truly alien aliens. The post was a big success with visits and comments from some of the amazing artists I wrote about even. I have since then got even more into the whole thing with the biggest difference now being that I’ve also started reading a lot of books (finished like 8 books now in under a month now :S).
So in this post, apart from various artists, I’ll also write about book authors that has created some interesting weird aliens. I’ll try to keep it as visual as I can though with atleast artist renditions of the aliens from books.
Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this second post of awesome xenobiology stuff.
National Geographic Channel: Extraterrestrial
This was first aired as Alien Worlds on Channel 4 in the UK but seems to be officially named under the above title. It’s a two part fictional documentary about the alien life on two very different planets called Aurelia and Blue Moon. The CGI isn’t fantastic but good enough and there’s some really interesting alien animals made up here.
The Science of Aliens
Apart from the two episodes about Aurelia and Blue Moon the planets were also part of some kind of science/art installation called The Science of Aliens at the London Science Museum in 2005. And has since gone on tour around the world (I missed this completely of course). I can’t find any information on if it’s still up somewhere. You can find links to the official site of the installation and of the two artists behind the Aurelia and Blue Moon interactive display below.
Discovery Channel: Natural History of an Alien
This was probably the first fictional tv-documentary about alien life ever made. It was aired all the way back in 1998 which might be noticably from the dated CGI. It’s a 45 min special on a whole bunch of different xenobiology projects and a couple of science fiction books with believable aliens. There’s no DVD out of this but fortunately there’s a Youtube channel from a guy who used to record every science show he could on VHS and has since decided to convert them all and upload them online.
The entire special can be found on the youtube link below and it ends with a small segment on a world called Greenworld which I will get to now.
Dougal Dixon has been doing speculative evolution projects for decades. Everything from the evolutionary future of dinosaurs and contemporary animals to the evolutionary and genetically manipulated human future. All of these could loosely be included in a post about xenobiology but it just so happens Mr. Dixon has also been working on a whole illustrated book on the life of an alien planet too.
The good news is that the book was released back in january, the bad news is that it was only released in Japan. He’s been trying to find some western publisher but there’s been nothing announced yet. Let’s hope someone gets its eye on this as it looks pretty amazing. The little I’ve seen from Dougal Dixon he seems to have a bit of a macabre and dark humour in everything. The picture below here is of an animal called a Strida and you can see a bit of how some humans tame one in the background there.
Larry Niven is the the author of the sci-fi classic the Ringworld which is set in his future history universe called Known Space. He’s written countless books and short stories set in this world spanning almost 1000 years of human history. It’s really lovely chaotic stuff packed with weird aliens and worlds. It’s become a bit of his thing creating weird beliavable aliens.
The strangest most detailed aliens are probably the Pierson’s Puppetteers. Named thus because of their two heads that kind of look like some kind of sock-puppet with one eye. They’re three legged with their brains placed in their back. Their intelligence stems from the fact that they’re herbivores which makes them extremely paranoid. Cowardice is a virtue in Puppetteer society. It also makes them one of the most advanced and dangerous species in the universe as their own safety is their main concern.
Here’s a rendition of a Puppetteer drawn by none other than xenobiology godfather Wayne Barlowe. (they use their mouths as hands)
Following Larry Niven in the art of creating weird believable aliens we have David Brin. His uplift universe is absolutely packed with crazy weird aliens. In the Uplift universe it is generally regarded by all species in the universe that all intelligence life in the universe has been genetically created by another intelligent species, every species has been uplifted by another. Into this million year old galactic society enters the humans who has been living isolated and alone for thousands of years and managing to enter the stars without outside alien help.
Luckily for us we had ourselves uplifted Dolphins and Chimpanzees to intelligence just before first contact. This gave us a strange high status in the universe and stopped aliens from trying to invade and “adopt” us. Anyway, the uplift books are pretty amazing with fascinating ideas of both intelligent alien societies and intelligent dolphins and chimp society.
Apart from six books there’s also an illustrated guide of pretty much all the aliens thought up by David Brin and drawn by artist kevin Lenagh. It’s pretty much an entire picture book of weird aliens. The photo below here however is from the cover of one of the books and was drawn by Jim Burns. The white alien there is the female of a species called Urs and the little urr there is the male of the species. The females are the dominant ones and status is shown on how many small slightly less intelligent males they have in their pouch.
Simon Roy is the name of an extremely talented young comic writer/artist who has so far only released one shorter comic book called Jan’s Atomic Heart (which was awesome). After seeing District 9 he started doing re-designs of the aliens in that movie making them even less human. I guess he liked his re-design so much because he as now finished a short comic called Good Bussiness with those aliens. He has also since then started drawing various other weird aliens which I really hope ends up in some comic in the future.
He has this amazing natural kind of mundane feel but with stories set in worlds of aliens and robots and stuff. I love it. You can find Good Bussiness in the january 2011 edition of the Heavy Metal magazine.
Evan Black is the creator of the planet Nereus. He’s drawn a crapload of various kinds of aliens for this world which I almost missed entirely. You have to click through sub-category after sub-category to get to the actual drawings of the aliens and if you’re like me and just kind of skim through a site when you first find it you might miss out on the cool stuff on his Nereus site. Anyway, as I said he’s created an impressive amount of aliens for his world and it’s a bit of a hidden gem if you find them.
Here’s one of my favourite alien designers. Dan Emmerson has created a world called Fentil which is filled with some really gorgeous aliens drawn in a really attractive clean style. I don’t know what else to say I just really like his designs and aliens. Like this one here. It’s really alien and almost buglike, but it also so cute fluffy and cuddly. Like some big panda moth spider or something.
Instead of doing some big intricate biosphere Lee Giles has created a wide arrange of truly weird and strange intelligent aliens. There’s some crazy beings here that all triggers your imagination on how their respective societies might look like. Really great fun stuff.
Yuri Gladnev has only drawn a couple of aliens but the ones he’s done are some really fun and interesting creations. Like the Greyclaw here which is a predator from the grasslands of Noees.
Karim Braik is an artist from the Czech Republic with a devianart gallery filled with dragons and alien landscapes. It’s a really nice change to get some full drawings with alien nature backgrounds along with your weird alien animals. And his use of colors is amazing.
And that’s it for now.
If you’ve enjoyed the stuff here make sure to check out this blog here: http://planetfuraha.blogspot.com/. It’s by the creator of planet Furaha which I mentioned on my last xenobiology post. His blog is a truly amazing read if you’re into evolution and how to make realistic aliens. I’ve tried to keep this post free from re-posting stuff he’s written about there but all the Greenworld stuff I got from his blog.