Science Fiction/Fantasy Art Book Review


Hardyware

(2001) David Hardy, Paper Tiger, 20.00, hdbk, 128pp, ISBN 1-85585-917-3

With text by Chris Morgan, and an introduction by Stephen Baxter, this is a retrospective of Hardy's half-century long career. I first encountered him in the late 1960's as what I then thought of as a "space artist". His gouache visions, like those of the incomparable Chesley Bonestell, were as vital in inspiring my young mind as were the SF books I read. By the next decade I had experienced Hardy's work in both The Universe (OUP, 1966) and Challenge of the Stars (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1972, with Patrick Moore) as well as on book and magazine covers, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, where I laughed at Bhen the benevolent BEM (that's "Bug Eyed Monster" for the youngsters - I hope I'm not being condescending; it's just that the term seems to have gone out of fashion, what with EBE's and such...). I continued to find Hardy all through the 80's, gracing AE van Vogt covers, and in the magazine Space Voyager, and the decade began and ended with two of my favourite Hardy books, Galactic Tours (Proteus, 1981, with Bob Shaw) and Visions of Space (Dragon's World, 1989/1990) my all time favourite. It was also during the 1980's that I first met David Hardy (not that he'd remember me!) at SF conventions, and a very nice chap he is too. When, rarely, his art appeared in conventions' art shows and auctions I would bid like crazy, but there always seemed to be someone around with a bigger bank balance (sigh). Hardyware has brought me up to date, so to speak, with work from the 90's right up to 2000. As a retrospective it is thorough and discerning and I have no hesitation in recommending it to everyone interested in the images of SF and of space - Hardy's pictures would not look out of place next to a volume of, say, Hubble telescope shots. This is a lovely book.

Tony Chester


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