Of all my different personae on the internet, this one is most appropriate for discussing H.R. Giger, and his impact. To say his artwork struck a deep, personal nerve with me is the grossest form of understatement. When I created my first blog, my Livejournal account, I called it “Portrait of a Biomechanoid as a Young Man.” And this one? The title speaks for itself.
I found his artwork and designs for the original Alien when I was very young. The sequel, Aliens, was just released so his work was in the forefront of every issue of Starlog. I saw pictures of the original ship from Alien, and read the novelizations by Alan Dean Foster. (Still have them today). At the time, just budding into my adolescence, I didn’t get the slippery, psychosexual aspects. Just understood beauty.
And I hated the fact they were relegated to being background creatures, to be shot up. One of my first attempts at writing anything was a quasi-comedic story about a young man accidentally drawn into galactic culture when he kills an interplanetary pot dealer. He finds the galaxy runs on biomechanoid labor and immediately begins helping my Giger aliens find a way to free themselves.
When Species came out, beautiful Sil was terribly underused and the “science” was laughable. Why did she have to be a monster, hunted down by the authorities? Why was Giger’s design work so, so wasted?
Prometheus is a discussion for another time, but in some ways it was a testament to H.R. Giger’s influence. In that film you saw his original design works from Alien, and even some cameos from Dune, mixed with newer design ideas and the work of young artists who grew up admiring Giger. I would have been amazingly happy just watching Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbinder explore a Giger-esque landscape. Traveling the universe in the spacecraft they stole was a dream of mine from way back, when I very first saw his artwork.
And then the artwork. If you only know Giger from the films, you only know half the story. If any good can come of his death, it’s the continued distribution and exploration of his work. So others can do what I did when I was young, looking down at my hand and flexing, imagining his biomechanical textures at work under the skin, wondering if I wasn’t a biological machine myself.
The Screaming Gate, of all my ongoing projects, is an epic love poem to Giger and Druillet. My fantastical dream of a collaboration between the two is gone, but in my mind I can see a world where the lords of Flesh and Bone make Giger’s visions come true, and set them loose on a universe drawn with Druillet’s pen.
A biomechanoid can dream, after all.