artist : Chris Foss
Foss’s evocative science fiction book covers pioneered a much-imitated style featuring vast, colourful spaceships, machines and cities, often marked with mysterious symbols. Human figures are usually absent. These images are suggestive of science fiction in general rather than depictions of specific scenes from books, and therefore can be—and have been—used interchangeably on book covers. During the 1970s, Foss’s images of future technology had the same iconic “defining” quality that H. R. Giger’s would have in terms of depictions of alien or future life forms.
Books featuring Foss illustrations include the 1970s British paperback covers for Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, the Terran Trade Authority, several Edmund Cooper novels, and E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman series. Some of the art he did produce was specific to the stories and some examples of this are the covers he did for the Grafton publications of the Demon Princes novels by Jack Vance in the late 1980s, Star King, The Killing Machine, The Palace of Love, The Face and The Book of Dreams.
In 1975, Foss was hired by director Alejandro Jodorowsky for an intended film version of the science-fiction novel Dune by author Frank Herbert. He delivered several conceptual studies published in the book 21st Century Foss, ISBN 90-6332-571-1, containing a foreword by Jodorowsky. The project failed. In 1977 Foss worked for several month on studies for the movie Alien (not being used in the movie) and also did some designs of the planet Krypton for the movie Superman. Some of his crystal structures for the planet were realised in the movie, although they were used as ice-structures.
In 1977 Foss worked for several months on studies for the movie Alien (not being used in the movie).
During this period Chris Foss illustrated the sleeve of the album Clear Air Turbulence for the Ian Gillan Band.
Painter Glenn Brown appropriated individual space scene paintings by Foss and in the one case copying and altering it (Exercise One (for Ian Curtis), 1995) and in the other, leaving it entirely unchanged (Dark Angel (for Ian Curtis), 2002). The titles of these works reference the vocalist of the band Joy Division, who died by his own hand.