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Foss’s groundbreaking and distinctive science fiction art revolutionized paperback covers in the 1970s and 80s.  Dramatically raising the bar for realism and invention, his trademark battle-weary spacecraft, dramatic alien landscapes and crumbling brutalist architecture irrevocably changed the aesthetic of science fiction art and cinema. Featuring work for books by Isaac Asi Foss’s groundbreaking and distinctive science fiction art revolutionized paperback covers in the 1970s and 80s.  Dramatically raising the bar for realism and invention, his trademark battle-weary spacecraft, dramatic alien landscapes and crumbling brutalist architecture irrevocably changed the aesthetic of science fiction art and cinema. Featuring work for books by Isaac Asimov, E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, A. E. Van Vogt and Philip K. Dick, and film design for Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick, this volume brings together many rare and classic images that have never been seen or reprinted before. The first comprehensive retrospective of Chris Foss’s SF career. “Chris Foss’ name has become pre-eminent among sf artists... He is in love with the monstrous, with angular momentum, with inertia-free projectiles and irresistable objects.” — Brian Aldiss “[Foss’] creations are real machines, not just an artist’s dreams. They combine the two elements so essential to science fiction: realism and a sense of wonder... A medieval goldsmith of future eons.” — Alejandro Jodorowsky 


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Foss’s groundbreaking and distinctive science fiction art revolutionized paperback covers in the 1970s and 80s.  Dramatically raising the bar for realism and invention, his trademark battle-weary spacecraft, dramatic alien landscapes and crumbling brutalist architecture irrevocably changed the aesthetic of science fiction art and cinema. Featuring work for books by Isaac Asi Foss’s groundbreaking and distinctive science fiction art revolutionized paperback covers in the 1970s and 80s.  Dramatically raising the bar for realism and invention, his trademark battle-weary spacecraft, dramatic alien landscapes and crumbling brutalist architecture irrevocably changed the aesthetic of science fiction art and cinema. Featuring work for books by Isaac Asimov, E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, A. E. Van Vogt and Philip K. Dick, and film design for Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick, this volume brings together many rare and classic images that have never been seen or reprinted before. The first comprehensive retrospective of Chris Foss’s SF career. “Chris Foss’ name has become pre-eminent among sf artists... He is in love with the monstrous, with angular momentum, with inertia-free projectiles and irresistable objects.” — Brian Aldiss “[Foss’] creations are real machines, not just an artist’s dreams. They combine the two elements so essential to science fiction: realism and a sense of wonder... A medieval goldsmith of future eons.” — Alejandro Jodorowsky 

30 review for Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss by Rian Hughes and Chris Foss Published by Titan Books, May 2011 The title page of this large format art book sums up the background to this book. There is, across the large double page, a row of over fifty books, their spines showing. These include books by Isaac Asimov, James Blish, EE ‘Doc’ Smith, AE van Vogt, Edmund Cooper, Jack Vance, JG Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Piers Anthony and books in the Perry Rhodan series. For much of the 1970’s and 1980’ Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss by Rian Hughes and Chris Foss Published by Titan Books, May 2011 The title page of this large format art book sums up the background to this book. There is, across the large double page, a row of over fifty books, their spines showing. These include books by Isaac Asimov, James Blish, EE ‘Doc’ Smith, AE van Vogt, Edmund Cooper, Jack Vance, JG Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Piers Anthony and books in the Perry Rhodan series. For much of the 1970’s and 1980’s Chris Foss was THE cover artist for SF in the UK. His paintings adorned most of Isaac Asimov’s paperback covers, including the iconic Foundation trilogy, Doc Smith’s Lensmen series, and James Blish’s Cities in Space series. He was an artist whose covers were a sign of a quality read, or at least they were to the teenage me, when I would buy a book on the strength of its Foss cover. Awesomely sized and detailed spaceships and buildings with people reduced to the size of mere dots, brightly painted in lines and stripes and with backgrounds not just of black, blue and grey, but vibrant greens, yellows and red, Chris’s work is a triumphant sign of technology. It’s not by accident that this book is called Hardware. Sadly, over time, finding a book with a collection of these iconic covers has been difficult. Since saving up my pocket money to buy 21st Century Foss in 1980, a slim 140-odd pages, there has not been a collection of Chris’s work. Something which I, and I’m sure many other fans, have bemoaned. This latest large format art book from Titan Books puts this right. Over its 240 pages, there are more than 500 paintings from Chris’s career, mostly in energetic colour. As well as the pictures, there are some details included to fill out the artist’s CV. The Introduction, by Rian Hughes, sums up much of what is great about Chris’s paintings. Then there is an interview with Chris by his daughter Imogene, which gives us a career summary and points to future work from Chris: he’s still working. There are also two Forewords – one by artist Moebius, writing about the artistic influence Chris has had on today’s artists, and one by Alejandro Jodorowsky, updating the Introduction he first wrote in 21st Century Foss. Not all of the material here is SF in nature: there are pictures from book covers Chris did for war books and other media events. This includes not only his book cover work but also his production sketches from Alien and Superman and the first ill-fated Dune film production in 1975. As is the nature of such collections, not all of the pictures are great - I never did appreciate his cover for JG Ballard’s Crash, for example – but most of them are still as visually stunning as when I first saw them: many of the Asimov covers, the Lensmen covers, many of which I still have on the Hobbit Towers bookshelves. If I had any quibbles, it would be that there are still pictures of Chris’ work not included, though that is perhaps to be expected: at one point Chris says he was producing two or three book covers a week! On a practical note, what would have been also useful would have been an index to the book, so that pictures, or the books they were used for, could be referenced easily. Although the pictures are individually titled and dated, there is no order to the book’s pictures – they are not chronological, nor collected by series. There are general groupings - pages that have spaceships together, battleships together, airplanes together, robots together and so on, but other than that the reader is left to discover each double page spread on its own merits, which may be its purpose. Nevertheless, as a fan, it is wonderful to see these paintings in one collection and so clearly printed. Many of the originals are now lost and so in some cases book covers have had to be scanned in for use, not that I could tell a difference. This is a collection that awes and entertains, and is a very useful primer to Chris’s body of work. The legacy of what is shown here is seen throughout today’s visual domains, having inspired and continuing to inspire book, film and game artists. For some, like me, it is a wonderful reminder of books gone by. As the digital revolution means that book covers become increasingly irrelevant, books such as these are important for archiving what has gone before. Over thirty years on, these images still ignite the imagination. Recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Ok I love this book- from the sheer size of it to the amount of art it covers - the book is over 200 pages long and there are usually 4 images to the page its a lot of work its showing off. And the amazing thing is that I recognise so much of it its a amazing. When I was just getting in to reading I was hitting science fiction the most - and as part of that I hit the end of the 70s and 80s trend of putting images on to the covers that held no relation to the story inside - for example Chris Foss Ok I love this book- from the sheer size of it to the amount of art it covers - the book is over 200 pages long and there are usually 4 images to the page its a lot of work its showing off. And the amazing thing is that I recognise so much of it its a amazing. When I was just getting in to reading I was hitting science fiction the most - and as part of that I hit the end of the 70s and 80s trend of putting images on to the covers that held no relation to the story inside - for example Chris Foss did the book cover for Isaac Asimov's Robots of Dawn - and yes there is a robot but the robot in question didn't feature is any of the book at all. But still the cover had a giant robot!!! And so the trend went on but hey I didnt mind was I was getting to see all the amazing creations of Chris Foss who it seemed did the cover of every title I either wanted, or owned or just kept on seeing. And now along comes this book with all those pieces of art in their original context and full of colour and its amazing - the book is like a catalogue of all those books that made me the reader I am today. So if you are a fan of impossible space ships then this is the book for you. And you may find the odd gem you didnt even know about hidden away in these pages (did you know he put forward design for the original Dune movie and Alien?)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Ryan

    If you ever wondered why modern science-fiction looks the way it does, from book covers to TV, comics and movies, the answer is here. Page after page of wonders conveys a sense of a master of his craft with a truly humbling talent not to say remarkable body of work. A real visual feast for fans of sci-fi art or illustration in general.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    The artwork is beautiful, but it's sometimes not entirely clear which captions belong to which piece of art and what the information in the caption is supposed to refer to. It's not that difficult to figure most of it out, but it didn't need to be a problem at all with a little better layout. It also would have been nice to have some more information about the works besides just title/author/publisher/year. Finally, some of the art is just too damn small to make out. Given the size of the book th The artwork is beautiful, but it's sometimes not entirely clear which captions belong to which piece of art and what the information in the caption is supposed to refer to. It's not that difficult to figure most of it out, but it didn't need to be a problem at all with a little better layout. It also would have been nice to have some more information about the works besides just title/author/publisher/year. Finally, some of the art is just too damn small to make out. Given the size of the book that's unforgivable, especially given that the only pieces containing text were among those chosen for the microscopic reproduction!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A really nice hardcover featuring a really nice range of art. Although the title calls out science fiction, it actually includes a lot more than that. I was most interested in seeing Foss's concept art for *Superman '78* and *Alien*, I only wish there'd been more of that. Foss has a very unique style and it's books like these that make me really sad the adaptation of Dune he was involved in never got off the ground. Seeing one of his giant, checkered, lived in space ships flying across the big scr A really nice hardcover featuring a really nice range of art. Although the title calls out science fiction, it actually includes a lot more than that. I was most interested in seeing Foss's concept art for *Superman '78* and *Alien*, I only wish there'd been more of that. Foss has a very unique style and it's books like these that make me really sad the adaptation of Dune he was involved in never got off the ground. Seeing one of his giant, checkered, lived in space ships flying across the big screen would be a sight to behold.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Simon Jones

    Limited edition of 500 copies issued in signed frosted plastic sleeve with signed print in envelope. (ISBN: 978-0-85768-560-5)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maciek Salyga

    Chris Foss - the grandmaster of sf concept art! What else is there to say? Highly recommended! Production values on this book are through the roof. Worth every penny!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This is the second copy of this book I've bought (the first got watered, long story) which has to say something. For me, it's as if Chris Foss has always been there, accompanying me through my childhood and onwards. His iconic images adorned the covers of so many of the SF books that I grew up with, and they always grabbed both my eye and my imagination. If pictures of spaceships and alien planets can ever be deemed to be realistic, his fitted the mould; if we ever venture beyond this world, I'll This is the second copy of this book I've bought (the first got watered, long story) which has to say something. For me, it's as if Chris Foss has always been there, accompanying me through my childhood and onwards. His iconic images adorned the covers of so many of the SF books that I grew up with, and they always grabbed both my eye and my imagination. If pictures of spaceships and alien planets can ever be deemed to be realistic, his fitted the mould; if we ever venture beyond this world, I'll be seriously disappointed if reality doesn't measure up to Foss' pictures. This book is a fantastic collection of his images, both a nostalgia trip and a visual delight in its own right. Moreover, it's a quality book from the hard covers through the 240 beautiful, heavy, glossy pages crammed with image after image after image, each one labelled with the book for which it was created and the date. There are, it's true, a few more words in a couple of articles at the front - and they're certainly interesting enough to merit the read - but that's not why anyone would buy this book. It always seems like a bit of a luxury to buy a book like this but, hey, we all need luxuries every now and again, don't we?

  9. 4 out of 5

    John

    As a kid, I loved the Terran Trade Authority series. The artwork was influenced heavily by Chris Foss (who was also hired by Alejandro Jodorowsky for his doomed Dune Film and one of his spiritual warriors). Foss has done cover work for many sci-fi masters like EE Doc Smith, PKD, Jack Vance, JG Ballard, Harlan Ellison, Asimov, Blish and van Goght (he also did the original drawings for the Joy of Sex) However, without a narrative, this book doesn't "blast off" for me. It's probably a failing of my As a kid, I loved the Terran Trade Authority series. The artwork was influenced heavily by Chris Foss (who was also hired by Alejandro Jodorowsky for his doomed Dune Film and one of his spiritual warriors). Foss has done cover work for many sci-fi masters like EE Doc Smith, PKD, Jack Vance, JG Ballard, Harlan Ellison, Asimov, Blish and van Goght (he also did the original drawings for the Joy of Sex) However, without a narrative, this book doesn't "blast off" for me. It's probably a failing of my imagination as I grew older, but as I read through--I got bored quickly.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A highly influential oeuvre, apparently. Lots of bulky yet streamlined spacecraft in bright colors, barren interstellar landscapes, and the occasional 'action scene' for a non-SF paperback. Enjoyable eye candy. A highly influential oeuvre, apparently. Lots of bulky yet streamlined spacecraft in bright colors, barren interstellar landscapes, and the occasional 'action scene' for a non-SF paperback. Enjoyable eye candy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andy Hiseman

  12. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Lambert Oliveira

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jared

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ben Deane

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christian Benito

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Pearman

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dbx

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deivis Slavinskas, Sci-Fi Photo

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Brabin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ben Banton

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Val

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shane

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ed Messina

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jamil

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bug

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dirk Hooper

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Eudaly

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