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Posts with tag science-fiction

Michael Whelan forges a vision of Deathwing

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If you're a fan of science fiction and fantasy, the name Michael Whelan is likely familiar to you. And even if the name isn't familiar, it's incredibly likely you've picked up a book with Whelan's art on the cover. Michael Whelan has been one of the world's premier fantasy and science fiction cover artists since 1980, with covers that grace the works of Isaac Asimov, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Anne McCaffrey and many more. In 2009, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle -- the first living artist to be included in a distinguished list of notable authors.

Whelan was approached for a commissioned piece by Blizzard's Art Director, Jeremy Cranford. The subject? Deathwing. This month's ImagineFX magazine includes a two-page spread of the full painting, but Whelan has also featured a behind-the-scenes glimpse showing the full process behind creating this beautiful work of art on his official website.

It's a fascinating look at what that process of creating a piece of art is actually like. There are a tremendous number of steps involved -- including, in this case, a detailed head study of Deathwing, shown above. The end result is a dramatic, bold, beautiful and very Whelan piece, but the post on Whelan's website includes all of the developmental pieces of art as well.

Head to Whelan's website for the full story behind this gorgeous piece of art and an illustration of the work it takes to go from idea to finished piece. And if you're interested in a truly unique holiday gift, the head study of Deathwing is available for purchase, too.


Filed under: News items, Arts and Crafts

Breakfast Topic: Do you like a little sci-fi in your fantasy?

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There were things about Burning Crusade that I really, really loved. Shattered planets in the sky, and ethereals running around ... it was not the same old fantasy thing. But as we talked to the community, certainly a lot of folks around the office were just like "I don't know man, I just wanna have gnolls and kobolds and run around in a pretty forest -- that's what fantasy is to me." -- Chris Metzen, BlizzCon 2011 Lore and Story Q&A
I have read a metric ton of books in my lifetime -- I've always been a reader. When I was in elementary school, I started out with the classics, books that were on various best of all time lists. When I got to middle school, that's when I really started to home in on sci-fi and fantasy books. There was always something incredibly intriguing about science fiction, and fantasy was just a fantastic romp into things that by all rights simply don't exist and never will.

But my favorite books were the ones that managed to seamlessly blend that fantasy feel with the futuristic feel of science fiction. It's not easy to take those two concepts and mesh them together, but I always loved finding an author who could pull it off. When Blizzard announced The Burning Crusade, I had no idea really what an expansion was -- when I learned it was a continuation of the story, I was delighted. When I discovered it was going to take place on another planet, I was intrigued. And the more I heard about The Burning Crusade, the more excited I was, because it seemed like this fantasy-grounded Warcraft universe I'd so fallen in love with was making that jump to the mesh of sci-fi and fantasy that I adore.

The Burning Crusade still ranks as my favorite expansion largely for that reason. I loved the gorgeously alien world and bizarre technology and how it clicked in with what Warcraft was all about. So I was a little disappointed at Chris Metzen's statement during the Lore and Story Q&A at BlizzCon last year, and I wondered just how many people have a defined version of what fantasy is? What science fiction is? How many love seeing the two collide like I do?

So I'm throwing the question out to you guys: Do you like a little sci-fi in your fantasy? Does the thought of axe-wielding barbarians fighting epic battles in space appeal? Or do you prefer your fantasy and science fiction separate, your Warcraft alien-free?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

15 Minutes of Fame: (Almost) 15 authors of fame

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

15 Minutes of Fame tries to feature as wide a variety of WoW players as possible. It's not only about being famous in the real world, or being a somebody in the WoW community, or playing WoW despite some remarkable circumstance. 15 Minutes covers all those things, yes ... But we also try to talk with players who are representative of the typical player experience -- ambassadors of the Folks Next Door, if you will.

But no matter how we try to balance things, we always seem to end up back at another interview with an author. Writers who game are a particular bunch. They always have a lot to say about the fantasy genre and the game lore and way the world of Azeroth is unfolding; it makes for a pretty interesting interview. So when we realized that we'd pretty much overshot the bottom of our dance card despite the line of authors winding past the punch bowl and out the door ... Well, we decided it was time to give everyone a full helping of nothing but WoW-playing writers. With our common enjoyment of WoW and the fantasy genre, we figure most readers will find something from these authors they'll want to curl up with on the couch.

Welcome, then, to 15 Minutes of Fame's list of (Almost) 15 WoW-Playing Authors of Fame.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Sci-fi and fantasy copyeditor Deanna Hoak

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Deanna Hoak and I have bonded over the Viscous Hammer. Yes, I realize that some of you will find it somewhat predictably amusing that WoW Insider's resident copyeditor should be geeking out over interviewing sci-fi/fantasy copyeditor and WoW player Deanna Hoak -- but there's more to this editor than a mere passion for punctuation. Hoak brings a virtually unique set of experience and sensitivities to the fantastical demands of the novels she edits. In the world of science fiction and fantasy, Hoak edits the big dogs: China Miéville, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, Alan Dean Foster, Cherie Priest, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, R.A. Salvatore ... In fact, Hoak's the only copyeditor ever nominated for a World Fantasy Award for her work.

So yeah, someone who appreciates all the wrongness of WoW's awkwardly named Viscous Hammer (and who knows how to spice up an email exchange with some pretty hot photos of China Miéville at a recent con -- but that's another story) ... To top it all off, along with her two children (her husband's the lone holdout of the family), Hoak's an avid WoW player. Join us after the break for a conversation on World of Warcraft from a SF/F insider's point of view, her recommended reading list for fellow WoW players, and more.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Fantasy author muses on WoW themes

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

The World of Warcraft is a season of life. You could approach it strictly as a video game - many do - but as soon as you push beyond the surface, you find yourself building relationships with fellow players, musing over storylines, sharing frustrations and triumphs in a way that punctuates time.

It's no stretch of the imagination, then (or is it, perhaps, entirely about stretching the imagination?) to consider the impact a game such as World of Warcraft might have on the fertile mind of a fantasy writer. So when we spied comments around the internet from Catherynne M. Valente (author of Palimpsest) pointing straight toward gaming, we suspected she'd had her hand in the WoW cookie jar – and we were right. While she's not currently playing WoW (having sworn off its siren call to devote her time to writing), she responded enthusiastically to our interest, producing an interview filled with gaming, WoW, fantasy, science fiction and the timeless themes that tie these worlds together.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Features, Lore, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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