kon tiki

A Meeting With Medusa

Something of a quicky, this one… Author Alastair Reynolds mentioned on his blog that he and Stephen Baxter have co-authored a follow-up to Arthur C Clarke’s “A Meeting With Medusa”.

ACC’s original “A Meeting With Medusa” is one of my all-time favourite stories; as I have discussed elsewhere on dA, I first read the story serialised in a magazine around 1973, accompanied by excellent quality artwork. The same magazine also printed (in other editions) “Summertime on Icarus” and “Into the Comet” - all with fabulous accompanying artwork. A year or so later, I had moved to Secondary school and the school library ran a book shop - I found there two collections of ACC’s short stories, which between them had all of these stories - I was hooked!

Kon Tiki Portrait-thumb

So, I enjoy both Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter’s work and the prospect of them continuing the original story inspired me to do a piece of art based squarely in the general plot. I have imagined a ‘Kon-Tiki 2’, a larger balloon than the 1-man vehicle of the original - though it has all the features of the original, including a pulsed laser for heating the envelope gases and a nuclear-powered engine for escaping Jupiter at the close of the mission.

The image you see here is a crop; the original has both the creatures that feature in Arthur’s story - the mile long dirigible jellyfish-like creature (Medusa of the title) and the 100m-wide manta Ray-like creatures that feed on them. If you look closely, you can still see a flight of Manta Ray’s in the background. I have exorcised the Medusa because, frankly, it is crap. I followed the original story closely, but mine just doesn’t look believable. I’m going to go back to it, and you may still see a wide-screen version complete with Medusa, but don’t hold your breath!

The Kon-Tiki 2 and Manta’s were modelled and rendered in C4D. The Kon-Tiki’s envelope is supposed to be like the original Montgolfier balloon, but with its little peplum replaced with photo-electric cells. I have modelled almost the entire interior, so I may do something with that too. I put in quite a lot of research on the colour of ambient light in the Jovian atmosphere, including this article jek2004.com/new_page_18.htm In the end, I gave in to what looked about right Happy

The background is a quick and nasty Photoshop job on a montage of clouds; you don’t have to look too hard to see how rough it is… Does the job though!