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“She Has a Pet,” Hollow Earth

Recently I put a lot of energy into putting out the monstrously cool issue #10 of my webzine Flurb #10 . It’s off to a good start, we’ve already had ten thousand visits, so go take a look if you haven’t yet.


She Has a Pet, August, 2010, oil on canvas, 24″ by 18″. Click for larger version.

I did a little work on a new painting, I’m calling it “She Has A Pet.” This picture began as a landscape painting in a hot, dusty park near Cupertino, California. In the park, I was thinking about Hannibal crossing the Alps with his elephants, but I didn’t actually put in the elephant until I got back home. The landscape seemed like it needed something big to pep it up. And, as I added layer after later to the picture, I came up with a somewhat mysterious encounter between a woman leading the elephant, and a man she meets. The title is a bit of a joke, as in, “I met a nice woman, but she has a pet.” I was also thinking of someone who carries a lot of personal baggage. But ultimately, I’m getting at something more general, mythic, and imprecise. An encounter. As always, more info on my artwork is at my Paintings page.

This is what the landscape actually looked like. I was there with my painter friend Vernon Head, who’s mastered a much more realistic style than mine. You can see his picture in his Facebook album here, he titled it “Fremont Older Open Space (final)”.

The new issue of Locus is all about the history of steampunk science-fiction. I always feel like the SF scholars should mention my 1989 novel, The Hollow Earth in this connection, but usually they don’t. The book’s new edition is still in stock at Amazon. I wrote about more about the history my writing of this novel in an earlier post, “Writing the Hollow Earth.”

I was telling Vernon we should start doing outdoor paintings of buildings in town, like this storehouse at the local Rural Hardware store, but he’s not into it. I can see painting this scene, though, and tweaking it into a warehouse at an alien spaceport.

I finished writing my SF story with Paul Di Filippo last week, it’s called “Fjaerland,” and it deals with a somewhat Lovecraftian “eel man” who lives beneath the waters of a Norwegian fjord. It’s always fun to work with Paul. Our normal authorial voices are quite different, but when we get going together, we meld into a nice harmony that’s different from either one of us alone. And Paul’s very efficient about getting an SF story done—he’s written more of them than anyone I know.

I’m still making some plans towards a novel featuring computer pioneer Alan Turing and a race of alien beings called skugs. I’m leaning towards a three-act structure like I’ve used in so many of my novels. It’s the old Monomyth pattern: Departure, Initiation, Return. i) Alan meets the Skugs, ii) Alan goes to Skugland via a magic door, iii) Alan comes home and kicks butt.

2 Responses to ““She Has a Pet,” Hollow Earth”

  1. Fritz Bogott Says:

    I’m completely in favor of that painting. It’s especially gripping that the woman and the elephant seem to have walked together from the far horizon. You can’t truly know a woman until you’ve walked a mile with her elephant.

  2. Andrés Says:

    I invite you to visit my blog.

    cool your paintings on UFOs


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