To alleviate some of my virus anxiety, I’ve been doing more 3D art. I find that focusing on a creative task like 3D art (or writing) takes me into a different place, and I can forget about the world situation for a bit. My friend Angus McIntyre recently sent me a link to some 3D models called “Utopia” from a company called KitBash3D. They offer the models for free so long as you post any work you create with them using the hashtag #BrightArtDarkTimes. In this scene, only the two towers are from the kit. The rest is my own work, with the exception of the beachfront, which is a touched-up photo. This one is called “Seaside City.”
Here’s an alternate version of the Mars Station 3D project I made. This one has some updated textures and some glare to give it that “space look.”
So how are you all fairing? I hope everyone is staying healthy (and indoors).
Let’s talk about the pangolin in the room: the coronavirus. It’s got everyone worried, including me. My wife and I live in New York City, which is the densest city in the country and the most ripe for exponential infection. The first reported NY death was at a hospital in our neighborhood. Scary times.
When I’m anxious I like to occupy my mind with tasks, and one of the best ways I’ve found for this is making 3D models. I’ve heard that one of the best remedies for fear is making art (I mean Shakespeare wrote King Lear while under quarantine), and while I doubt I’ll write King Lear, I have been doing a lot of 3D work in Blender.
The image below is an early version of a Mars space station I’m working on. I envision Mars Station as a transit point for astronauts before they venture down in a ship to the surface. Like the ISS, it’s modular, and new modules can be added and removed as necessary. All the models are my own design, but they are based off of real components.
I expect to do several more 3D renders over the next few weeks.
So what about you? What kinds of things are you doing to keep yourselves occupied during these stressful times?
One of my favorite writers is Carl Sagan. Not just for his praise of the scientific method or his way of making complicated science seem ordinary and accessible, but for his ability to inspire with words. He was a supremely talented writer, inspiring millions to wonder at the majesty of the cosmos and our place in it. I recently had the pleasure of reading Billions and Billions for the first time, the last book he wrote before he passed away from a rare form of cancer. Here is one excerpt that especially stood out to me:
“The Earth is an anomaly. In all the Solar System, it is, so far as we know, the only inhabited planet. We humans are one amongst millions of separate species who live in a world burgeoning, overflowing with life. And yet, most species that ever were are no more. After flourishing for 180 million years, the dinosaurs were extinguished. Every last one. There are none left. No species is guaranteed its tenure on this planet. And we’ve been here for only about a million years, we, the first species that has devised means for its self-destruction. We are rare and precious because we are alive, because we can think as well as we can. We are privileged to influence and perhaps control our future. I believe we have an obligation to fight for life on Earth–not just for ourselves, but for all those, humans and others, who came before us, and to whom we are beholden, and for all those who, if we are wise enough, will come after. There is no cause more urgent, no dedication more fitting than to protect the future of our species. Nearly all our problems are made by humans and can be solved by humans. No social convention, no political system, no economic hypothesis, no religious dogma is more important.”
Please enjoy these free ebooks! If you like what you read, please consider joining my Patreon.
For just $2 a month you get bi-weekly chapters to my novel Queen of Static, plus you’ll be the first to read new fiction from me. You’ll get early access to ebooks and excerpts of my fiction before it is widely published. I also regularly post about writing, and genre-related stuff that might be of interest to people who love speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror and all the sub- and sibling-genres). Sometimes I post digital and 3D art. If you’d like to support me in my artistic endeavors, you can join here!
I’m very excited to reveal the cover to Psi-Wars: Classified Cases of Psychic Phenomena, an anthology that contains my story “Very Surely Do I Not Dream.” Editor Josh Viola contacted me and asked me to write a story for the anthology. The guidelines said, “Psychic combat. Telekinetic warfare. Clairvoyant double agents and metaphysical terrorism. Think CARRIE meets AMERICAN SNIPER. SCANNERS meets ALIENS. AKIRA meets INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.”
In my story, there’s an arms race of misinformation and social media manipulation, and in that process Russian hackers create something called ZG, or Zerstörung des Geistes – Mind Ruination. Just one look is enough to cause madness and eventual death. The anthology drops this summer. I hope you’ll snag a copy!