Monday, June 26, 2017

Gathering in the Crystal Chamber

In neo-medieval fantasy fiction there is almost always a big scene taking place in an aristocratic or royal council chamber. This is where the leaders of the many Houses, Clans, and factions gather to get some business done. It invites the illustrator to depict lavish architecture, heraldic banners, and a costumed crowd. This version of the Council Chamber scene is from a collection of Darkover fan art that I did in my early days as the unofficial artist of Zimmer Bradleyworld. Usually after too many disagreements a deadly fight breaks out in the chamber but I don't remember whether that happened here. I didn't intend on showing a specific event anyway. I miss Darkover, you hardly see it at all these days or perhaps I am just not looking.

Original artwork was brown ink on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 11", fall 1981. Klik for a larger view.


Texchanchan said...

Things come and go. I look for copies of my old SF books at Half Price and they are hardly ever there, and wrapped in plastic when they are, as antiques. Boy, does that make me feel old. I remember the excitement of getting them when they came out in paperback--like Larry Niven's Ringworld stories or Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama," that has the best last line of any book I ever read. Finding a fabulous new author like James Hogan. I remember when paperbacks went up to $1.25 and I was miffed because they had been 95¢ ever since I started buying them. Now it seems that the shelves are largely taken up with military or fantasy series. Every so often you find something new and splendid like the Ancillary trilogy.

George Miler said...

True, even the DAW Darkover editions are nowhere to be found. Those were in the 95¢; the Ace Doubles Wollheim previously managed were creeping up that way. I have some "vintage" Aces that cost 45¢!

I liked Niven a lot because his aliens were really aliens, not humans from central casting or Face Off. Now that I think of it, humans were really aliens too, colonists from closer to the center of the galaxy called the Pak. As with all his creations, this was cleverly done, the symptoms of old age transformed into the armor of the Pak individuals: toothless mouths do look like they're trying to come together to form a beak; arthritis makes joints swell which the fully-developed fighter required to increase leverage; changes in the nails figured into this too. And the wrinkled skin was just worked-leather armor if the virus from the tree-of-life got its chance to work its magic. To invent all of that must have been an amazing brain storm.