Making slow progress on my piece for Light Grey Art Lab's STATION ZERO show -- but progress nonetheless!
Picnic on Paradise, as it turns out, is more of a wilderness survival story and character portrait than a pulpy sci-fi novel. I was actually surprised at how generally non-absurd it was -- I guess I was expecting something campy and dated that would be easy to make fun of. Instead, it was a stark, gritty, character-driven story firmly grounded in realism, with no frills, gimmicks, or laughable retro-futurist technology. The sci-fi elements are either understated or peripheral.
Maybe I was a little disappointed at first. I kind of had my heart set on drawing a green alien babe in a fishbowl helmet holding a little ray gun that looks like some kind of vintage kitchen appliance. But now that I've read the whole thing, I actually feel lucky to have received a book that I can respect rather than ridicule.
The story centers on, and is entirely driven by, a complex heroine named Alyx. A time-travel accident has flung her from her native ancient Greece into the distant future, where her natural survival skills make her extremely valuable. She is employed by the "Trans-Temporal Agency" to assist a group of ill-prepared tourists navigate escape a resort planet that has become the battleground of a commercial war.
Basically, imagine Xena in the future, trying her damnedest to protect people about as self-sufficient as the future-humans from WALL-E.
I had a hard time deciding what to draw for my cover redesign. All I knew for certain was I had to feature Alyx, who is amazing and badass. I ended up picking a scene that is never actually shown in the book, only referred to obliquely: the moment of Alyx's transference to the future.
Here's a little sneak peek at my sketch so far!