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Robota Hardcover – August 1, 2003
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This is not an ordinary sf novel, nor a graphic novel, nor a conventional illustrated novel. Chiang, design director for the most recent Star Wars films, paints like a scion of N. C. Wyeth, Vincent Di Fate, Maxfield Parrish, and Arthur Rackham. Muscular heroes and monsters, dramatic angles and deep foci, glowing color, and wraithlike figures of malevolence are everywhere in his visual complements to a story that he invented and then asked Card, one of the best and most honored contemporary sf and fantasy authors, to write down. That story--of a world that alien robots, once allies of the planet's human natives, are striving to purge of all carbon-based life, only to be thwarted by a "reborn" human champion--resembles the Star Wars saga in being a myth of restoration, of getting an old dream (liberty and cooperation?) back on track. Also like Star Wars, it succeeds by being neat looking more than interesting. Ray Olson
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About the Author
Doug Chiang has received an Academy Award, two British Academy Awards, a Clio Award for his work in film and television, and the Prix du Rendu at the 2003 Imagina CG Film Festival for his Robota teaser. A veteran of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic, he served as design director for the Star Wars prequels. His paintings are exhibited nationally and in a variety of publications, including limited edition prints. He lives in Northern California. Read an interview with Doug Chiang!
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Well done. I have been following its creation from his concepts during the release of Star-wars Episode 1 and still find myself exploring his old website to look at the snowboards and browse his concepts and short motion capture films.
Simple story: I enjoyed every bit of it.
It is now sitting with my Myst Hardbound collection in a place of honor. :D
As far as the writing of the book is concerned, I am not familiar with Mr. Card's other writings, but I found his writing style to be often abrupt, almost as if trying to rush to tell the story. Some key aspects of the story were not given enough time to develop, sometimes spending little more than a paragraph to transition important parts of the story. Lastly, the end of the story is, well, very disappointing in my opinion (I forced myself to read the whole book).
If you are a fan of conceptual art in general or of Mr. Chiang's artwork, you might find some of the imagery appealing, but beyond that the book is not worth the list price of $35. If you are curious about the book, buy a used copy.