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Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials: Great Aliens from Science Fiction Literature Paperback – January 11, 1987


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 2 edition (January 11, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0894803247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0894803246
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Any science fiction reader would enjoy receiving this as a gift." (Science Fiction Chronicle)

From the Back Cover

The extraterrestrials are here. One man has seen them.

In his classic guide, Wayne Douglas Barlow's brilliant portraits bring to life 50 aliens from science fiction literature: Larry Niven's Thrint and his Puppeteer, Arthur C. Clarke's Overlord, Frank Herbert's Steersman, Robert Silverberg's Sulidor and more. Humanoids, insectoids, reptillians-even protoplasmic, gaseous and crystalline life forms-are all faithfully and naturalistically depicted so that you can now visualize what could only before be imagined.

Plus a special section taken directly from the artist's personal sketchbook, featuring renderings, notes and locomotive studies.

"Barlowe awes me. It's a breathtaking job of extending the author's vision . . ."-from the foreword by Robert Silverberg

"The illustrated field guide to extraterrestrials that every lover of science fiction must have."-The Brothers Hildebrandt

"Any science fiction reader would enjoy receiving this as a gift.-Science Fiction Chronicle

"Remarkable . . . The artist's imagination proves fully equal to the reader's own mental picture of these varied denizens."-ALA Booklist

A Hugo Award Nominee


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I first read this book when I was 10, and it freaked me out.
driley@cyberramp.net
If your looking for a good read this is the book for you, it includes splendid illustrations and tells about each creacher in great detail.
Brett
This is one of the best Science Fiction art books I've ever read!!!
L. Troy Beals

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Troy Beals on August 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
The premise of this book is: The authors have taken various characters from various science fiction works and have visualy recreated them and write about some of their culture from what is in the books. This is one of the best Science Fiction art books I've ever read!!! and if you've read some of the books that these aliens are recreated from it's even better!!!! Colorful pictures, explanations, and even a couple of pages showing the comparative sizes of each of the aliens!!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia J. Mahaffey on June 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
_Wayne Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials_ is my 12 year old son/fantasy/scfi fanatic's favorite book. It is dog-eared from so much love, reading, studying and attention. This is no kid's book, though--these are the wunderkind's Wayne Barlowe's illustrations that have appeared in many famous scfi books. Each alien has a full bio-ethnographic description, bring each to life.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "qwayla" on March 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
I do want to say starting off that (1) I got this because, being a Sci-Fi fan into artsy books, this was a hole in my collection; (2) I have been a fan of Barlowe's art since I found a used-but-impeccable copy of EXPEDITION a few years back; and (3) overall, this book did not dissapoint.
The book seems (at least on the surface) to be a well-researched compendium of aliens renedered in paint fit to augment the fertile imaginations of readers everywhere. The aliens are mainly from books and short stories that I'm not familiar with (not surprising since this was published originally when I was aproximately 5 years old), but there is enough info about them included to make it not just pictures of things I don't know what they are.
I personally felt that the best part was the sketchbook drawings in the back. I would adore to see the Thype project finally completed. And I think that some of the sketches of the aliens are superior to the finished paintings, an opinion that I realize many readers may not share.
But my big beef with the book is based on the Guild Steersman. If you read the Dune books with any care you can figure out that steersmen are mutated humans. They are not at all in this book like they are portrayed in the novels and some of the facts here are quite wrong. That the steersmen are not aliens of an unknown planet but humans who are mutated by spice overexposure is used as a plot point in one of the Dune prequels and the fact is presumably taken either from Herbert's notes or the inferences from the original novels.
Now this in itself would not usually lead me to give a book a mediocre review.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on April 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
A book on great alien races from science fiction. Classic fiction to boot. Most of us know about the Overlords from 'Childhood's End', the Puppeteers from 'Ringworld', the Guild Steersman from 'Dune' and even the Old Ones from 'At the Mountains of Madness'. But do you remember the Thrint from 'World of Ptavvs', the Cinruss from 'Hospital Station', or the Cygnan from 'The Jupiter Theft'?
A great source of information on alien races with full color pictures, lots of data on history, culture and habitat BUT also a great source for finding classic stories you never heard of!
Do you know the Pnume, Salaman, Triped or Merseian? Well, get this book and found out who they are!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book with detailed pictures and descriptions of aliens light and dark,good and evil, cruel and kind, and large and small. It has vibrant illustrations that grab the eye, and descriptions that send the mind and imagination to worlds millions of light years away. You will not find these alien faces anywhere else but in this book. I would recommend it to any science fiction lover who can get their hands on it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials is a really good book if you need to jumpstart your imagination. It has drawings of the different species, as well as back ground information like habitat, reproduction, things like that. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy artwork, fantasy/science fiction in general, and also who has a crazy imagination already!
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Format: Hardcover
Like a couple of other reviewers here, I have had this book in my possession for well over thirty years now; starting with the early 1979 paper back edition and graduating to the 1987 hardback when I wore the first out. At the time it was published there really was not much competition in this field and I am unaware of any comprehensive "collections" of this ilk to that point. Despite its age, this is still a wonderful work and as much as I hate to use the word "must," in this case I am forced to do so in my recommendation to any serious student of the Science Fiction genre.

The author has taken over fifty works by well known authors, used some of their most important works and rendered his interpretation of the alien beings inhabiting these works. He has given us wonderfully executed visuals of the works of Heinlein (Have Spacesuit Will Travel), Tiptree (Up the Walls of the World), Silverberg (Downward to Earth), Asimov (The Gods Themselves), Piers Anthony (Kirlian Quest), Pohl (The Age of the Pussyfoot), A.E. van Vogt (The Voyage of the Space Beagle), Herbert (Dune Messiah), Frank Herbert, Harry Harrison, Jack Chalker and many, many, many others.

Each drawing rendered is accompanied by a text on the opposite page giving us such information as Physical Characteristics, habitat, Culture, Reproduction, History and the like. The author has set this work up much like a bird or animal field guide. Now I grant you, some of the text is rather tongue-in-cheek as has been pointed out by others here, but it is well done and an absolute delight to read.

When I read science fiction for fantasy, I always (like most of us do) have a visual picture in my head of the people inhabiting the world the author builds.
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