future fantastic The world-renowned artist’s enviable talent is beautifully displayed within the pages of this book
Die-hard sci-fi fans will no doubt be familiar with the name John Harris. He’s been creating stunning imagery in this genre since the mid-70s, and this lavish hardback features a carefully curated selection of that artwork.
Inside you’ll find everything from vast landscapes and towering cities to floating worlds and satellite-inspired imagery, with the focus mainly on John’s futuristic watercolour and acrylic paintings, as well as a number of impressive pencil sketches.
The book leads with a passionate introduction by American sci-fi author John Scalzi, followed by a word from the artist himself, who explains how he was introduced to the genre in the 60s, growing up with books by Arthur C Clarke, Alfred Bester and Isaac Asimov. Hugely inspired by these authors, “their preoccupations became mine,” John says, with “expansive perspectives, big spaces and bigger questions.” These elements are evident in his own work, capturing the universe on a breathtaking and magnificent scale.
John’s work has a surreal, sometimes abstract, quality to it, which is for the most part vibrant and rich in colour. Eye-catching and truly inspiring, it’s not hard to see how his unique illustrative style has graced the book covers of esteemed authors including Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt, Orson Scott Card and many more. Interestingly, John also found a fan in NASA, which invited the artist to attend the launch of a Space Shuttle and provide a painting to the evoke the event back in 1984. This led to the creation of a number of pieces, some of which the artist also shares within these pages.
It’s impossible to separate the book’s chapters in terms of quality, each being equally as brilliant as the next. However, we found the opening Floating Mass and Dust to Dust chapters particularly noteworthy, the latter highlighting just how diverse John’s artistic skills are. Mainly leaving the artwork to do the talking, the accompanying copy provides a nice touch, giving a small but interesting insight into the mind of this super-talented artist.
This is not your average, generic science fiction fan art book, filled with images of spaceships and robots (that said, if you’re partial to a spaceship or two, this certainly won’t disappoint). What’s featured in these pages is something altogether entirely different: gorgeous, dream-like imagery that’s rich in detail and perfectly executed.
As well as his colourful spacescapes there are plenty of the artist’s sketches and paintings.
The beautiful painterly style of John Harris can make the fantastical seem almost commonplace.