Fans remember 'Star Wars' artist Ralph McQuarrie
Early images of "Star Wars" stormtroopers and Imperial forces, as rendered by Ralph McQuarrie.
March 5th, 2012
12:45 PM ET

Fans remember 'Star Wars' artist Ralph McQuarrie

"Star Wars" fans were in mourning Saturday when it was announced that Ralph McQuarrie, the conceptual artist on the original "Star Wars" trilogy, died at the age of 82.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas put out a statement, saying, in part, "Ralph McQuarrie was the first person I hired to help me envision 'Star Wars.' His genial contribution, in the form of unequaled production paintings, propelled and inspired all of the cast and crew of the original 'Star Wars' trilogy."

McQuarrie continued to work on other favorite franchises and films for the geek community, designing iconic creatures and characters in the original "Battlestar Galactica," "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Fans, for whose discovery of McQuarrie's extraordinary art over the decades can often send one's imagination into orbit, had a lot to say about this loss over the weekend.

Filed under: Fandom
The world's first steampunk bedtime story
St. John Murphy Alexander and Steamduck on the cover of "Her Majesty's Explorer."
March 5th, 2012
12:21 PM ET

The world's first steampunk bedtime story

Author Emilie P. Bush isn’t shy about saying her latest book, “Her Majesty’s Explorer,” meant to get your little one's cogs and wheels turning, is the world’s first steampunk bedtime story. The illustrated children’s book, which released last Tuesday and jumped to No. 1 in Amazon’s “Hot New Releases,” follows the adventures of automaton St. John Murphy Alexander and his not-so-rubber ducky, Steamduck.

Already the author of two adult steampunk novels, Bush is also the mother of two young daughters – whom she calls her “built-in focus group.” When she went to a steampunk panel for young adult literature at Dragon*Con last year, all of the authors agreed on one thing: “What is missing in the steampunk genre is there are no picture books,” Bush remembers them saying. “I was already working on this and thinking, ‘finally, I have found a niche before somebody else!’ ”

Together, Bush and her illustrator, William Kevin Petty, have an original children’s book that caters to a specific subculture. But the charming concept wasn’t always easy. Petty is an Army officer and was stationed in Kuwait and Iraq during the process. He created some of his most whimsical illustrations for the book while witnessing horrors during his tour. FULL POST

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