The long afternoon of Earth

The Sun is going nova and in the boughs of the huge banyan tree which covers one face of the globe, millions of years hence, the last remnants of humanity battle for survival with the carnivorous plants and the grotesque insect life.”

This is the jacket blurb of Brian Aldiss’ 1962 science fiction novel “Hothouse” and winner of the Hugo Award for the best science fiction novel of that year. In the USA this novel was published with the evocative title of “The long afternoon of Earth”, and I take the title of this series from that.

In 1983, I attempted an illustrated version of the novel using watercolors throughout, but the idea was rejected by most of the publishers that I submitted them to. I still however look back on that project as being my best watercolor illustrations that I ever did. The last 4 surviving paintings in this series now decorate my sitting room walls, and scans of those images are displayed in the first row of images.

While looking for a theme for my next series of artwork to follow on from the “Annals of Malena”, I started playing with XFrog, a curious bit of software by Greenworks that allows you to create 3-D procedural organic-looking shapes and it lent itself well to this purpose.

So I find myself returning almost 20 years later to the world of Brian Aldiss’ “Hothouse” to explore and capture the Long afternoon of Earth.

All extracts from manuscript © Brian Aldiss 1962

Worlds in the Making