Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Exit to Earth

I did this illustration for a magazine cover in 1995. The magazine was VISUAL BASIC TECH, a mag for users of a program called, uh, "Visual Basic," the nature of which completely escapes me. However the mag, knowing its readership, also published science fiction. This illustration, called "Exit to Earth," was done for a story by Jerry Oltion. The story involved road rage and bad drivers in heavy traffic at an interstellar gateway to Earth. There was also some campy humor and wilderness adventure. I don't remember much, it was a long time ago. The little red sports spaceship in front, is driven by the hero and his girlfriend, and they are stuck behind a large, ungainly space RV filled with space rednecks. It was published in early 1995, perhaps February.

"Exit to Earth" is acrylic on illustration board, 11" x 15", January 1995. This picture was rescued from a wretched slide, thanks to the magic of Photoshop.


Mary said...

"Visual Basic" is a programming language, a newer variation on the old BASIC language which you might've played with if you used any kind of computer in the 80s, or a graphing calculator even today.

I think I'd like it if trade magazines for in general ran short stories and had fanciful covers like this. Then we could all read them at work and insist it was "for the articles."

Pyracantha said...

Mary, I have no idea about BASIC or programming. By the time personal computers came along, I was struggling with my art and had no time or interest in computers. They were also too intimidating for me to approach. I don't own a graphing calculator though they are fascinating. Back in my young days girls didn't do computers, even though I was introduced to a famous computer at MIT, the "Mac PDP 11." My life would have been very different if I had been male and had I been invited to work on this computer and others. I now feel a deep sense of regret that I will probably never learn to program anything.

Mary said...

Well, they're a little stupidly expensive, but if you're still trying to learn calculus and physics, you ought to get yourself a decent TI graphing calculator to play with. First, because the "graphing" part really makes it a lot easier to visualize what all of the functions you're working with look like at different scales, something I know is important to you. And they can really speed up some kinds of calculations.

And they are programmable, with a very simple programming language. (BASIC stand for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code).

Most of all, unlike the fancy math programs that run on real computers and can be intimidating to learn, it's just a calculator. It's a good learning tool, because its capabilities are limited.

Many high schools (including mine, back in 1994) require that students buy or borrow these for math classes starting with geometry. And they are the only calculators allowed on many standardized tests. So you would just be buying a tool that is used by almost all your fellow math and science students these days.

Mary said...

(I linked to that comic strip to illustrate my point that the Texas Instruments calculators are over-priced, but the comic makes more sense if you already know that these primitive machines with their black and white screens cost around $100 bucks even in this modern world of iPhones... Same as they cost in 1996!)