Updated: Jul 14, 2018
See how I take a novel and create a companion piece of art.
Basing my creations on the words, places or themes (sometimes all three smashed together) the book presents.
It's a strange hobby to be sure but no stranger than these...
Disco Sour by Giuseppe Porcaro
Here is his striking book cover designed by the magician Mark Ecob.
Lets get under the cover...
Bastian Balthazar Bux is a space-lover, a smartphone addict and a leading member of The Federation®, the European network of civil society and local governments. In the aftermath of a continental civil-war, nation-states have collapsed, the European Union™ just prevents anarchy, and it’s mandatory to include branded trademarks in common language.
Sounds exiting right? So I ploughed in, quickly discovering something that caught my attention... a space badge.
Here' the extract...
The ESA® was interested in getting young people excited about exploring the galaxy. The Federation® was interested in getting young people to participate in politics after the civil war. A weird and random, but effective, match. Astronauts got involved and, after a flamboyant event in Brussels with a real hot air balloon taking off outside the European Parliament, the badge was sent up to the International Space Station® from Bajkonur in a cargo hold. With that, The League™ badge earned its place in history as one of those weird objects that people send into space.
Bastian Balthazar Bux
When I asked Giuseppe Porcaro about this he informed me it was real-arse badge on a real-arse space mission.
Rather than me messing it up I asked him to tell me about it, here he is, in a rather fabulous jumper.
"It was a cloudy morning on 24 October 2013, when I opened my work emails and a set of ten pictures taken on the International Space Station dropped in my in-box. They were exactly these same pictures that Bastian receives on his phone in one of the initial scenes of the book.
At the time I was working as Secretary General of the European Youth Forum, the platform of youth organisations in Europe, and we were setting up the League of Young Voters to engage youth to participate to the European elections in 2014. Putting the badge into space was part of our campaign launch.
It was something that happened almost casually, during a meeting with the European Space Agency we spoke about trying to make a live connection with the Space Station during the launch event, but it resulted technically difficult. And then I proposed, ‘what about making a photo of the badge in the ISS’, and it kind of worked. Apparently, the badge that we gave them had been through a special process of sterilisation, put it into vacuum before being packed and blasted in one of the Russian Progress cargo ships (Yes, it didn’t fly with Elon Musk’s Dragon).
The League Badge entered in history as one of these weird things that people sent into space such as the prop lightsaber from 1983's Return of the Jedi, which went up in October 2007 with Discovery shuttle-flight mission STS-120 in honour of the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars. It was escorted to a California airport by a person dressed as Chewbacca, flown to Houston, met there by more Star Wars–costumed folk, displayed for a bit at the Johnson Space Centre, flown to Cape Canaveral, blasted off into space and then returned back to earth. The Force was with it, clearly.
The ISS photo one also one of the first moments, retrospectively that continuously came back in my mind, building up the idea of writing a science fiction largely inspired by the surreal adventures I have lived during the years at the forum."
There you go... how amazing is that?
So once I discovered this fucking awesome space element I didn't need to look any further for inspiration for my Words into Art, it had Zero-G'd me hard. But incorporating the darker concepts for Disco Sour was tricky. The world Porarco has built with his novel is that everything is Trademarked, break-ups are contracted out to the lowest bidder, and that nothing is beyond an algorithm, not even democracy. How do you draw those hard-hitting wet-your-knicks in fear ideas? You zoom in. The trademarked stuck with me... what would the ultimate trademark be?
Doh, the Earth.
So bang! Have an Astronaut with the mission badge, plus the Earth.
His book Disco Sour is out now, nab yourself a thrilling read.