“Genuine science-fiction art performs a social function for a tight-knit, ninety-year-old community. It exists to enable its viewers to achieve and maintain their highly valued otherworldly state of let’s pretend. Sci-fi art is a form of realist genre painting, like aviation art, like natural-history painting. Its cousins are comics and game design and set design, disciplines that prefer certain conventions to be respected: Comics fans require the canon, gamers like to enter the game world and play, theatergoers need set design as the backdrop of performance. Art that is too heavily freighted breaks the suspension of disbelief and leaves the sci-fi fan with the awkward realization that Martians have better taste than he does. [Omni publisher Bob] Guccione‘s effort to class-up sci-fi art was like trying to break-dance in a Vegas tuxedo, but he never saw the solecism there. Although he had a few veteran sci-fi illustrators within his mag—Michael Whelan, Frank Fazetta, Tim White, and glitzy-robot maestro Hajime Sorayama—it’s clear that these accomplished sci-fi professionals caught Guccione’s roving eye almost by accident.”
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