Wednesday, 7 March 2012

GALACTIC ENCOUNTERS: THE FANTASTIC PLANET - A WORLD OF MAGIC AND MYSTERY

Intercontinental Book Productions hardback, 1980. Cover painting by
Robin Hiddon.

"The survey and Preliminary Study Service probably demands a degree of courage and dedication far beyond any other branch of the Galactic Federation's forces. The men who explore the furthest frontiers of the Federation confront the unknown in the knowledge that they have only their own initiative to rely upon. 
Even a routine charting trip is fraught with danger, as the three-man crew of the Stellar Ranger discovered when their instruments recorded the presence of a planet that could not be seen. The Fantastic Planet is an account, reconstructed by the diary of Commander Lenain, of the crew's forced landing on the strange world of Mystery and the momentous events which swept them up in the shaping of its destiny. 
Steven Caldwell joined the galactic Federation Security Force in 2393 and quickly rose to the rank of Group 1 Battleforce Commander. During his 15 years of active service he travelled to all parts of the Federation, and was awarded the Andromeda Star for his part in the settlement of the Perimeter Worlds. 
He now runs his own company prospecting for the ore Zyrillium - the major propulsive for Interstellar Military Interceptors. 
The GALACTIC ENCOUNTERS series is produced by the Federal Data Bureau which was formed in 2168 as a division of the Galactic Information Service in order to provide a comprehensive service for space travellers. 
Although most of its publications are highly technical programmes for licensed spacecraft operators only, the series was developed to satisfy the the growing demand for information of a more general nature, and to serve as an introduction to the rich variety of life within the Galactic Federation."

Painting by Peter Elson.
"Suddenly aware that he was no longer alone, the crewman turned to find himself cut off from the Stellar Ranger."
Painting by James Fox.
"Imprisoned deep beneath the Torkral city, the captives began to despair in the suffocating darkness. Suddenly, the door burst open to reveal the legendary, half-winged figure of Rathryl and the flight to safety began."
Painting by Terry Oakes. Note: this is half of the image, the picture takes up
two pages and was printed across the centre of the book, and impossible to
scan without damaging the already fragile binding.
 "From all over the land, fighting men converged singly, in small bands or as whole companies to join the greatest army ever assembled in the history of the planet."
Painting by James Fox.
"Deep within the Torkral fortress lay the laboratories and research chambers where they carried out their dreadful experiments in their desperate search for immortality."
More sword and sorcery than science fiction, this one. As with all the Galactic Encounters books it features numerous paintings skewed or re-purposed to illustrate the book, the basic premise is that a survey ship lands on a planet that - to all outward appearances - has gone all Lin Carter (or R. E. Howard, or whatever). I only scanned the more interesting paintings, the others appear to be works after - or directly influenced - by Frank Frazetta's Conan illustrations or other heroic fantasy clichés.
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