Wayne Douglas Barlowe's Expedition

Scott's picture

As a volume of speculative evolution from the artist of Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials, originally published in 1990, Expedition has few peers, even 30 years later. This is a seminal work of fiction, nevertheless. I don't think it's any exaggeration to say most artists who dabble in speculative evolution are aware of this book and what it has meant.

As a work of science fiction, it's one of the most exciting books I've owned—and I've owned my copy since at least 1991. This book has followed me around in the 30 years since, through every move, every relocation. 

The art is superb, represented in the form of naturalist studies and paintings as though the subject matters existed in the real world, as might be expected from an artist who has honed his craft on countless covers of science fiction and fantasy novels, as well as other significant art books and projects, from the 1970s onwards.

Owners of the original hardcover or paperback runs for Expedition may want to hang on to their copy, as there are a number of qualitative differences between the new version and the old versions. These are pretty minor nitpicks, but here goes:

The five-color process of the original is slightly brighter overall for the color pages, and not just because they're originally on glossy stock—the newer print is on matte stock and the fifth color is what we call a build of standard CMYK or 4-color, resulting in a loss of the original metallic sheen present in graphic elements on pages of the original. 

But if you're after the material itself, all of it is represented here, especially since some of the pages appear to have been scanned outright from the original and replicated directly from the first-run print. The quality is good however, and most won't notice any of the things I'm bringing up.

And with the exception of the Acknowledgements from the original, this really is a page-for-page copy of the 1990 print of Expedition. The fact that it can be had in hardcover can only be a good thing.

  1. Wayne Douglas Barlowe. Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials. Workman Publishing, 1987.
  2. Wayne Douglas Barlowe. Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV. Workman Publishing, 1990.
  3. Wayne Douglas Barlowe. Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV. Echo Point Books and Media, 2020.