Saturday, April 8, 2017

Robota, by Doug Chiang and Orson Scott Card

Doug Chiang has worked on some great movies as an artist and production designer, most notably some of the Star Wars movies.  His book Robota features his original art, paired with a story by Orson Scott Card.  The art ranges from stunning and beautiful to interesting.  Among the larger-format concept paintings, he included pen-and-ink sketches and concept art.

None of the art in Robota is from Chiang's Star Wars work.  The similarities in style are unmistakable; at times you might think, "Did I see that in The Phantom Menace?"  The story takes place on the planet Robota, which was developed by a robot race before conflict with the humans led society into disarray.  Now the robots hunt humans and animals, and enhanced, sentient animals work with the humans.

Card's story is decent, but is really second-rate, compared to his major works and compared to the first-rate illustrations.  My recommendation is to soak in the art, but don't worry about the story.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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