Thursday, 2 February 2012


Jacket illustration by Mick Brownfield.

"Professor Steven Eisler uses his immeasurable wit and razor-sharp intellect to assemble the currently available information from both established and obscure sources into the first sensible teatise on the fictitious world of expanding and contradicting galaxies and their alien life. When approaching this difficult task professor Eisler's initial problem was to establish a classification of alien cultures that would be acceptable to academics and, more importantly, clearly understood by the knowledgeable layman with a desire to study alien phenomena in depth. These criteria have been achieved with quite remarkable success. His five principle sectors, or divisions, satisfy all the wishes of his most eminent contemporaries as well as the publishers of this major contribution. The space that creates the galaxies universes and their forms is divided into, and named after, five groups: the Oisir-Raxxla; the Human; the Hiraldron; the Narathnu and the Uan-Irec. Professor Eisler has produced a coherent commentary of the geo -physical mediums that support the alien, their socio-political status, their economies, their communications and their alternative levels of consciousness. Using superbly adapted illustrations from the foremost artists on our planet, who have generously assisted in developing reconstructions of a selected number of the more significant aliens, the author presents an accurate and imaginative account within the organized structure necessary for any serious study of aliens, without losing sight of the many curious ambiguities that surround this subject."

Painting by John Schoenherr.

"The five sectors of the universe known to man are but five of hundreds, and the vast variety of life he has encountered is just a fraction of the life that must exist. We are most comfortable with the humanoid species, such as the Narathanan Astero Trader."

Painting by Michael Whelan.

"A particularly nasty piece of Raxxlan robotics. This skeletal machine was designed to spread alarm and despondency among races that the Oisir-Raxxla wanted to subdue without going to all the bother of genocide. This robot, which would normally be a MOLE class model well up on the ISAC (Integrated Sabotage/Assassination Capacity) scale, was sent to selected races disguised as a representative of the most holy caste. When a sufficiently large group of worshippers had gathered, the robot would run berserk or occasionally explode."

Painting by Graham Wildridge.

"A part of the Talmor Lens, built on the world Capralax VII. This is an 'edge-stabiliser', designed to hold the underspace tensions of five pyramidal lenses in control."

Painting by F. Jurgen Rogner.

"The Eye Of The Beholder. A Raxxlan projection which appeared above the primitive world Winter D, populated by sentient, but unadvanced insectoids. The Eye became an overwhelming symbol of the evil that stared from the heavens, so disorienting the creatures that the Oisir-Raxxla were able to build their structure and depart without life being lost."

Painting by David Hardy.

"An image from the Book Of Chaak, shows Oriathan ships attacking a Ranan Colony world. A Ranan defence vessel, disguised as natural landscape, rises to meet the offenders. This sort of skirmish seems to have gone on for many hundreds of years, necessitating the constant maintenance of borders between the various subdivisions of the Tholmathon Empire. When the Empire finally came back together it seems that our own Galaxy was chosen as the central Star World for the formation of a Peace Corps."

Painting by Jim Burns.

"Half machine, half Humanoid, the Ragass are strange intelligences of the fire-covered world Renefa IV. They turned to the Gestalt for help in cooling the vocalnic activity of their world. The Ragass do not appear to have a very high intelligence, and certainly seem incapable of having built the machine technology which they are so closeley linked. The Gestalt believe that, at some period in the distant past, another culture experimented with bionic machines, and Renefa IV has been the dumping ground for their failures. The Human race is suspected."

Painting by Eddie Jones.

"The Ologog. Human contact with the Ologog of Gabragorn II has been nearly as extensive as that by Uan-Irec; the warrior castes have little interest in intelligences that cannot instruct them in new ways of war, but the Ologog are sad and troubled creatures, and mankind has attempted to alleviate their burden. Communication with the Ologog is made using large message capsules, which sink to the immense machine-creatures as they bask on the sea-bed."

Published in 1980 by Crescent books The Alien World contains 90 large colour illustrations by talents such as Jim Burns, Tony Roberts, Angus McKie, Colin Hay, John Schoenherr, Michael Whelan and John Blanche. Each alien race included is featured with in depth information - generally the book is structured in a similar manner to other books that featured Young Artists artwork in the 1980s such as Alien Landscapes and Tour Of The Universe, etc.

As this is a re-post, I wanted to include a lot more scans from this book but either I've already posted the artworks in the form of their original covers or images I would've liked to have shared are printed across the spine, meaning scanning them would be a lengthy, messy and tedious process.


Will said...

I remember when this book was on store shelves. The art is usually good, sometimes great. The original captions are both bad & unnecessary. Worse, most, if not all, the pictures are book & magazines covers. It would have been so much better if the pictures were identified by where they 1st appeared.

Unknown said...

On the very last page, nr. the Index there's a list of acknowledgements that lists where the art appeared first, but it's an utter jumble and you're right, would be nice near the actual images themselves. It would probably have been a better idea to base the book on the actual things the pictures were illustrating, but I think that was done already with Alien Landscapes - my main issue is with a great Terry Oakes painting, clearly of a scene from Dune, featuring sandworms and Fremen riders - here re-purposed as "Smurlik, worm creatures of the planet Simura IV"...

Though the images are all re-purposed for the book, I find it hard to dislike most of the captions, they're quite imaginative I think!

Anonymous said...

I loved this book as a child. I have been searching for a decent scan of (to my best recollection) Ahmed Samandarara's Deathframe (Eisler's caption). I've no idea of the true artist nor where it appeared but if anyone knows where to find the original full image as scanned (not from the book - it was a double-page so wouldn't scan well) I'd be very grateful. Ah, nostalgia.

Unknown said...

@ John Exeter

The book credits that painting to Adrian Chesterman. I'm sure I've seen it on a paperback somewhere but can't place it. Chesterman is still knocking about, though he's long since gone digital. Check out

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff, a great link!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff, great link!