Awesome Sci-Fi Art Roundup, #5

Copyright © Sorane Mathieu

I’m terribly sorry, blogosphere. I went and missed TWO FREAKING POSTS. No excuse. Blame the whiskey, blame a hectic week at work, blame plain old-fashioned forgetfulness. I’ve been doing some research about the best time to blog, though, and apparently it’s Saturday at 9 AM, so here I am. I think I’m going to replace my Friday posts with a Saturday one. I’m also preparing a monthly newsletter, too, so if you haven’t joined my email list yet, do it. DO IT NOW.


On to Sorane Mathieu, who (apart from having the coolest name this side of the Urals) is a Paris-based concept artist with Amplitude Studios. You can find his ArtStation profile here. I found him here, on a British site called (ha ha).

When sc-fi writers and sci-fi artists imagine the future, they often make the mistake of being purists. That is, they imagine the future as being entirely one way. Think about how many great science fiction movies and television shows you’ve seen that look like Tron: graceful, curved lines, lots of neon-colored strip lighting, squeaky-clean cities and apartments, flawless automation, advanced technology. Now think about the sci-fi shows and movies you’ve seen where it’s the opposite: the future is a filthy, grimy, grubby, dirty place, with all sorts of dust and garbage and slime everywhere. (Mad Max, Soldier, RoboCop, etc.)

Very few sci-fi artworks and movies ever blend the two. That is, some places (or some people) have squeaky-clean apartments and live in neon-lit high rises while others still scratch a living in 20th-, 19th-, or even 18th-century ways: wooden boats, slug-throwing guns, coal-burning stoves, garbage heaps. (Firefly does this, as does Star WarsSoylent Green and Paolo Bacigalupi’s excellent novel The Windup Girl.)

There are all sorts of excellent sci-fi artists who draw pictures of a sterile, squeaky-clean future or a dirty, desperate, dystopian one, but very few of them ever blend the two as seamlessly as Mathieu does. Take a look at the picture at the top of this post. This is, quite simply, mind-blowing sci-fi art: spaceships (one of them, based on the funnels and the stubby wings, looks suspiciously like a luxury cruise liner à la The Fifth Element) flying over a swampy delta where hand-punted riverboats covered with corrugated tin and old rubber tires ply the sluggish, murky waters. What could be a more evocative, more realistic image of the future than that?