Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Companions for Clever Old Souls

Companion Karen by Karen Gadient, 2014

Just in time for our anniversary, here’s the companion ‘me’ to my darling husband’s Doctor (Who) portrait.

Although I don’t have regeneration as an excuse, I created a younger alternate self with slightly different features (hey, David got an upgrade and I wanted one too). I gave her my unevenly-cut hair, though; I’m always snipping the ends myself instead of going to the salon and I suspect I’d keep that quirk if I were busy with all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

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Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Graphic Design, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

Portraits of Clever Old Souls

Doctor David by Karen Gadient, 2014

When I first ‘met’ my husband, he was an El Aurian on a Star Trek RPG. Even being Betazoid in the game, I had a hard time figuring him out. He can be delightfully enigmatic. Back then, I did portraits of our characters. I can’t find them to show you, but it’s one of those things I did and do.

Now, a decade and a half later, David and I no longer play RPGS, but we’ve been watching Doctor Who together. He occasionally jokes about having once been a Time Lord and says he gave up all that for me.

Which is damn charming. And nearly believable. He’s always been so sharp and intense and yet silly and generous and wonderful and more adjectives than I can list. Old soul, as they say.

And so, since our wedding anniversary is approaching, I decided to make a comic-style portrait of him as the Doctor. Different, a bit—regeneration will do that to you—but still with the intensity and of course: epic facial hair (David and his mustache surely go back many lifetimes). And a scarf. Because I prefer Doctors with scarves.

I just realized El Aurians are sort of a Trek version of Time Lords. Slightly. Okay, not so much. Well, at least they’re long-lived. Not sure if I can imagine Guinan in a TARDIS. Picard would have been a fun companion. Nah. Data. Maybe.

Suppose I’ll have to draw myself up as his companion next?

Happy Anniversary, David!

I last did this style of illustration for the Fly Into Fire posters for Candlemark & Gleam. I had a lot of fun with this portrait, so I may make others in a similar style. If I do, I’ll list them for print. For now, this one stays on our walls.

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Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Games, Graphic Design, Love, Portrait, Poster, Science Fiction, Time

Jump In: NaNoWriMo and Imagination

Zuzamele in Blossoms by Karen Gadient

Artwork: “Zuzamele in Blossoms” | Zuzamele, the first daughter of the Exalted Sovereign of Mahanizeh, disappears after leaving her eighth groom alive on the first year of their joining—an anniversary that traditionally allows royal grooms to relinquish their lives gratefully in the Rite of Delivery. Mahanizeh officials quickly announce her capture and imprisonment in Avizhdolin, but rumors flourish of her escape to Ruhizeya aboard a celestial freighter.

Oh hey—did you know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming? Yep, less than a month. As I have in previous years, I’ll be participating. Are you?

Zuzamele may not be the story I’ll be writing in November, but it could be. You see, that’s the awesome thing about NaNoWriMo: you can use anything your mind thinks up and run from a single paragraph (I wrote the above details on a whim after I created the artwork) well into an epic tale.

Jump in. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun and make a mess. Scatter ink everywhere and watch the magic trip into life. I make new friends every year during NaNoWriMo (my user name is Keyrover). Hope to see you there.

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Fantasy, Friendship, Imagination, NaNoWriMo, Portrait, Science Fiction, Sketchbook, Writing

Phoenix Lights

Our Phoenix Lights, 2/18/13

Last night, we happened to go outside just as a series of strange lights passed over our house. When we first saw them, they were in a staggered zig-zag pattern. By the time I’d managed to get my dying cell phone to snap a picture, the lights had spread out to what you see above.

Neighbors were standing here and there to watch the sky too. At first I thought it was a huge group of helicopters, but my husband pointed out the lack of noise, plus the things were a very bright yellowish color.

Never saw anything like it.

After a while, I got creeped out and we hopped in the car to head off on our grocery-shopping errands. We made jokes about alien invasion and how weird Arizona can be. This state is a weird-magnet.

Eventually, the lights disappeared. Helicopters circled the area. We figured we’d see something on the news later. Nope. Not a thing. Can’t find anything about it online, other than old reports of the Phoenix Lights.

So, I’m blogging about it. Have you ever seen lights like this? Or anything else that made you consider the odds of UFOs checking out your neighborhood?

What do you think they are?

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Filed under Arizona, Journal, Life, Photography, Science Fiction, Space, The Unknown

Coin Tosses and Novel Choices

Chute Image with Ladder

I promised my husband I’d figure this one out by weekend’s end.

I have two novels that have a chance of seeing the light of published day this year.

Both are science fiction. One is alternate-universe stuff, with lots of comedic touches and a very television-show like feel. The other is more Asimov-ish, but also easy reading, because I come from a background where I started writing scripts long before I ever tried novels.

For a debut novel, I’m overanalyzing which should go first. Concept, marketing, just the general “wow factor”… the less comedic one looks in line for the most success (well, maybe). However, there’s one problem bugging me:

First half of the book feels like a YA novel, as the main character is a teenager. Only I don’t think it’s YA. The second half of the book (and any series books to follow) show the main character as an adult. The book has adult themes.

Anyone reading the first two chapters would never guess that the book evolves straight out of the teen years and right into a sharp reality of a new world.

I can’t change the fact that the main character starts out young and doesn’t stay that way. It’s important to the tale. YET…

He may become an adult, but under his skin, he’s still a teenager.

Tricky to categorize, right?

Truth is, I’m not sure where the edges of YA and adult fiction are these days. Is it still YA if the character is in his 20s and older as the story goes on?

I doubt it. But… geez, it starts out in that category. So. *head-desk*

I’m stalling on this project because I can’t define my audience. I don’t want to set readers up to think they’re getting a YA novel and then leaving bad reviews because they end up with a grown man in a violent world after half a book.

My husband flipped a coin for me on these novels. The coin fell on the floor the first time—unofficial results chose the alternate-universe-semi-comedy. The official coin toss chose the maybe-not-YA-sci-fi.

Which one really won? I still don’t know.

Maybe we need a fresh coin toss.


Anton Chigurh: Just call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Well, we need to know what we’re calling it for here.
Anton Chigurh: You need to call it. I can’t call it for you. It wouldn’t be fair.
Gas Station Proprietor: I didn’t put nothin’ up.
Anton Chigurh: Yes, you did. You’ve been putting it up your whole life you just didn’t know it. You know what date is on this coin?
Gas Station Proprietor: No.
Anton Chigurh: 1958. It’s been traveling twenty-two years to get here. And now it’s here. And it’s either heads or tails. And you have to say. Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Look, I need to know what I stand to win.
Anton Chigurh: Everything.
Gas Station Proprietor: How’s that?
Anton Chigurh: You stand to win everything. Call it.
Gas Station Proprietor: Alright. Heads then.
[Chigurh removes his hand, revealing the coin is indeed heads]
Anton Chigurh: Well done. Don’t put it in your pocket, sir. Don’t put it in your pocket. It’s your lucky quarter.

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Filed under Decisions, Fate, Life, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing

Dreaming the End of the World

End of Earth, artwork

Plenty of people are writing holiday posts, but I’m gonna talk about the upcoming armageddon. No, I’m not talking about the movie with Bruce Willis; I’m talking about December 21st. You know, when life as we know it is going to end.

I don’t really believe the world will end before I get to the see the latest Tarantino movie. Because that would be a downer. Although, at least I wouldn’t miss The Hobbit. Well, the first movie, anyway.

Nasa doesn’t think the world will end either.

So, screw intellectual discussion. Instead, I’ll tell you a story.

Recently I had a dream where the power went out and the zombies came in. I blame it on watching The Walking Dead and Revolution in the same evening. In my dream, we were home here in Arizona, and our house was surrounded by Republican zombies—the most stubborn kind of zombies, but the most common here in the Grand Canyon State. Worse yet, I was under the distinct impression that they did not want us for our brains (or our vote) but for the plentiful supply of coffee in our pantry.

No way, no how.

The zombie situation turned out okay, since my husband and I have seen Zombieland enough times to have practiced our cardio and perfect our double tap. So we slaughtered them and buried them in the garden next to our roses. Like they said in Book of Eli: it’s good for the soil.

This wasn’t the end of the dream. Our neighborhood had gone all Mad Max and built a thunderdome near the community pool, which of course we had to check out. But just as things got rolling with neighbors about to fight the HOA, there was a screaming streak across the sky and a flash over the skyline. Phoenix was in flames. We waited for it to rise from the ashes. Nope, it just burned.

Cue long section of boring-part-of-the-dream where we roasted marshmallows and sang “Que Sera, Sera.”

Finally the dream shifted to being a combination of Night of Comet and 2012. Zombies were gone, but the yuppies were raiding the malls. While all this was going on, California must have been drowning: Tool’s Ænima in reality. Soon, the Pacific ocean washed over Yuma and was on our front doorstep.

We’d finally gotten an ocean view. Woohoo.

I’ll see you down in Arizona bay.

You’d think that’d be it. It wasn’t. The aliens arrived. However, it wasn’t like Independence Day, even if their spaceship was a huge manhole cover. Although… once I saw what it really was, I would have preferred something with tentacles: we were joined by the cast of Jersey Shore. Truly the apocalypse had arrived.

Oh, here go hell come!

On top of that, Snooki was clearly a zombie. Or maybe just drunk again.

Wait for it…

Then Daryl Dixon appeared and shot each of them in the face with a crossbow. After which, we all enjoyed some bourbon and played horseshoes until J.J. Abrams showed up with one of those power pendants and a script for the Fringe finale. We finished the bourbon and read ourselves to sleep.

What? You expected a complicated ending? I told you I blamed the dream on watching too much television. See, kids? Too much television is baaaaad for you. Either gives you weird dreams or insomnia. Stick to books.

Just in case the world ends, though: always remember the rules.

Happy holidays!

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Filed under Dream Stories, Entertainment, Journal, Life, Science Fiction, The Unknown, Writing

The Value of NaNoWriMo

Character Artwork: Version Two - for NaNoWriMo 2012, Karen Gadient

I didn’t win the Powerball. Pretty sure you didn’t either. Bummer, right?

However… last night, I “won” NaNoWriMo for the second time. This novel(la) was more of a struggle than the one I did last year—due to less laughs and more doom—but I reached 51,071 words and crafted a decent ending.

My main character (yep, that’s him in this post’s image) went through a lot of changes as he fought his way through the story. He began as a teenager and ended up a grown man, much faster than he’d expected. And, although he may live for another hundred years, he still still has a lot of galaxy to save. I’ll return to him for a rewrite/edit and maybe a sequel.

Still, I’m glad to finally put NaNoWriMo aside and begin editing the novel I finished just before NaNoWriMo began. Those characters never got out of my head throughout all of November, and it was like having two people in the room with you, talking while you were trying to work!

“You really writing that? It’s creepy. Come back to us. We’ve got flying cars!”

NaNoWriMo Banner

This year, I saw a lot more banter online regarding the value of NaNoWriMo. Plenty of hate along with the love. Valid points on both sides.

I agree that not everyone “has a story in them” or is meant to be “a writer”. I agree that too many people submit/self-publish their “masterpiece” without proper revision, editing, and general professionalism.

Doe NaNoWriMo encourage this?

No. There will always be people who are naive, disillusioned, misinformed, or think that rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve been one of those writers. It was only through years of reading and failing and getting smacked on the head by professionals that I realized I wasn’t pouring magic from my fingers. Same goes with my art and design work.

As Alanis Morissette once said: you live, you learn. I’ll never stop learning. Or failing, I’m sure! I’m human. But I’ll keep doing what I do because I love doing it.

Sure, the online bookstores are full of junk. But there are gems too. Some of those gems even began in NaNoWriMo. Only those writers re-wrote, edited, got beta readers, and enlisted the help of professionals for the final product.

My favorite example, of course, is my best friend Natania Barron and her fantastic book Pilgrim of the Sky, which began in NaNoWriMo (although it went through plenty of changes before publication). I’m proud to get the blame for planting a wine-soaked seed for another book in those worlds, featuring one of my favorite characters, Joss Raddick. Mmm-hm.

Natania speaks of writing and NaNoWriMo, and shares some of her story.

Participate in NaNoWriMo. Have crazy fun with it. Get the short draft done. Then prepare to spend a lot of time fixing that draft before forcing it on others, if that’s your plan. Be proud you got the thing out of your head and onto the paper.

As my friend Katie cheered to me all this month: YAY YOU!

NaNoWriMo encourages people to give something a try—and to give themselves a chance to create something awesome. In a frenzy, without censorship. It’s so freeing. It’s a wonderful mess. It’s dreaming awake. For me, it’s embracing my inner child and remembering what it was like to hop in a sack race. It’s pure fun, even if no one ever reads it, and even if you don’t “win”.

That’s why I’ll keep doing it, year after year.

My favorite pep talk from NaNoWriMo this year, by Nick Hornby.

Congrats to all of you who did NaNoWriMo this year. And congrats to all of you who dare to create, no matter what you bring to life or what month it is.

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Filed under Creativity, Friendship, Imagination, Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

karengadient:

One more reblog, because I can’t help myself. Today is the release day and I’m really proud of my work on the cover. I enjoyed reading this book and was honored to design for it. Plus this review is gives you so much to love!

Originally posted on snobbery:

Remember when I reviewed Katya’s World and complained that there wasn’t stuff like this when I was growing up?  Add David Colby’s Debris Dreams to the list of “WTF, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?” books.

How to describe it?  Part Ender’s Game, part Firefly – not the hardest of sf, but no pandering to young readers either.  This was one of my Read-a-Thon books, so I kind of zoomed through it, but I knew I would going in.  I’ve only been waiting for this book to come out since I first heard about it back before they even had a cover.

AND WHAT A COVER IT IS!  No seriously, this cover pretty much perfectly encapsulates what you’ll find inside the book.  A quick pulpy YA read that doesn’t want to talk down to its audience.

Our protagonist is gay, but that’s kind of not a big deal…

View original 285 more words

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karengadient:

Ooh hey… it’s a giveaway to get a free ebook from Candlemark & Gleam! Your odds are good and the rules are easy, so give it a go.

What song(s) do you think will be considered a classic in 50 years?

Originally posted on snobbery:

Image via Karen Gadient

Okay, remember yesterday how I said I had something fun related to Debris Dreams for you guys?  I was originally thinking I’d work with David on a playlist for you, but instead we’ve managed to intercept some messages between Dru (our main character) and Sarah (her girlfriend back on Earth).

Sarah’s dad is a salvage worker dismantling Delta City (also known as New Detroit) for spare parts (heh), so Sarah’s been subjected to a lot of “classic” rock and other stuff from the late 20th/early 21st century.

From:  CayerBear22

To:  DruOfNight

Subject:  !!!

Message:  I present to you some of the cultural artifacts my dad has found!

Attachments:  1, 2, 3

*

From:  DruOfNight

To:  CayerBear22

Subject:  Re:  !!!

Message:  He found a Korean pop song, a psychedelic rock anthem and an autotuned vocal number in a forgotten basement?

View original 265 more words

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Debris Dreams: Print Cover

Finally sharing the full cover for Debris Dreams, which will be out this month. Written by David Colby and published by Candlemark & Gleam. Book cover design and illustration by yours truly. The print cover shows you the wraparound design that was not shown in the front cover reveal on SF Signal.

Please consider supporting the Kickstarter and you can get lots of goodies!

And yes, this the same author with the awesome book trailer!

Click the image to see a larger version.

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Debris Dreams: Kickstarter Book Trailer

Debris Dreams Cover Art Cropped by Karen Gadient, Dru in Space, David Colby

I write, but for a living I’m a graphic designer and illustrator. Recently, I finished the book cover for this amazing sci-fi tale called Debris Dreams, which will be released this month from Candlemark & Gleam. This morning, I discovered that the author, David Colby, had created a book trailer.

The trailer started out with what I’d expect: space and Earth. But soon, it went right to David’s house and things got crazy. Like PONIES crazy. Made me laugh. I friggin’ loved it. I toasted my coffee mug to it. The guy has some guts to shoot his trailer in his own house, with his own mother, and perhaps even his own tortured neighbors. Take a few moments and check it out!

Debris Dreams Kickstarter Video
(NOW WITH MORE LASERS… and maybe even a PONY)!

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Cover Reveal: Debris Dreams

Debris Dreams by David Colby - SF Signal
And here we have it: the cover reveal for Debris Dreams by David Colby, published by Candlemark & Gleam. I did the cover design and illustration. Old-school sci-fi style. Although you can’t see the wrap-around on this version, the framework is a heads-up display that continues along the spine and creates the copy area for the back as well. Fantastic story. Can’t wait until everyone can read it. Visit SF Signal for the synopsis and ways to get a free copy of the book!

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Books and Covers

Debris Dreams - Earth and Moon cropped image.

Despite not having my art portfolio back online—that will be another post—I’m choosing to talk about book covers as I stay with my alphabetical postings.

I’m fortunate to be the cover designer of a fantastic book called Debris Dreams by David Colby, published by Candlemark & Gleam.

Debris Dreams is a realistic space-opera/military Young Adult novel about a multiracial lesbian teen living on a space station who gets drafted into a war between Lunar citizens and spacers/Earthers. She’s stranded in space, forced to join the marines, and quickly has to learn military discipline, how to kill, how to lead, and how to disobey orders when they’re about to, oh, kill everyone in horrible ways. All the while, dealing with the fact that, because of a terrorist act that started the war, she will not be able to go to Earth for at least twenty years—and therefore, may not actually see her Earther girlfriend ever. It’s thoughtful, scientifically sound, and heartbreakingly romantic.

For more: check out the site and read the sample chapter (the cover design isn’t up there yet). Download the faction logos—also designed by yours truly.

There, a little self-promotion. *nods* I’m not one to usually do that.
But, seriously… it’s a great book. Release date is November 2012.

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Filed under Art, Art Portfolio, Books, Freelance, Ideas, Science, Science Fiction, Space

Thoughts from the Other Side

Reflection into another world.

I figured an alphabetical post series would be a great way to inspire more blogging, even during times when I’m super busy—which has been the case lately.

As I begin, I realize I can choose the obvious things… that I’m American (after all, it’s the 4th of July), or that I’m an artist. I could narrow that down, talking about living in Arizona or describing my favorite abstract art.

But I’d rather blog about the things I obsess about—the weird things.

I begin with the letter A, which turns out to be a fun one:

Alternate universes/worlds.

Won’t lie. I believe in them. Well, some of the time. Depends on the science news I’m reading, the television program I’m watching, or the book I’m getting lost in. It’s a fascination I’ve had since childhood—the idea that there are other planes of existence, either right along our timeline, completely removed from it, eerily similar to our reality, or as foreign as another galaxy. You tell me your tale is about alternate reality and I’ll dive right in.

I have three novels-in-progress in Scrivener right now. Two in first draft and one only a few chapters in. They all have some form of alternate universe. My artwork, when it’s not commissioned, is often drawn from worlds similar to our own but seen through strange veils.

I’m not alone in imagining alternate places. One of my dearest friends, Natania Barron, wrote a fantastic book called Pilgrim of the Sky, which contains not just two, but eight worlds. Across these worlds are facets of the gods themselves. Our own mythology could be very much real but wrapped up elsewhere, difficult to see, but possibly within reach if your heart calls to it.

One of my favorite television programs, Fringe, has shown us a parallel universe with differences in the timeline that puts Nixon on the silver dollar and drivers in double-decker cars (although we’ve only seen those as toys, never on the streets of Manhatan—spelled differently on the other side). Here, the alternate worlds are threatening to collide.

Some popular shows have featured alternate worlds and characters season after season. Doctor Who and Star Trek have a reputation for it. Even comedies like Community have had success with the concept. Mirror—especially evil—personalities make for a great plot tool.

You can’t forget alternate places like Narnia, and where Alice goes through the looking glass. Even the Wizard of Oz was a classic alternate universe tale. Dream world? Maybe. But it was Dorothy’s mundane world that remained in black and white. Personally, I’d have stayed in Oz, even with the flying monkeys.

What if? It’s the question we love to ask.

But is there—in some other alternate now—another we asking the very same thing? Would you really want to know? I think I would.

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Filed under Creativity, Fantasy, History, Imagination, Life, Multiverse, Mythology, Science, Science Fiction, The Unknown, Time, Writing

Fly Into Fire

Fly Into Fire—Susan Jane Bigelow’s fantastic sequel to Broken—was released today. The story is a perfect blend of science fiction and superhero worlds. Lots of risk and adventure, friendship and love… all with a cast of characters you’d want to meet in person if you could.

And lucky me!—I’ve had the honor of spending more time with three of the characters, illustrating their portraits [below] for a series of ‘wanted’ posters that were offered as a pre-order bonus.

Both books are published by innovative publisher Candlemark & Gleam. You can get your copies at their website, as well as from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Fly Into Fire Character Portraits

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