Beyond Science Fiction - Paintings by Michael Whelan

Created by Baby Tattoo

Help make and preserve art history with this unique showcase of visionary work by the most awarded sci-fi/fantasy artist of all time.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

The Digital Book!
over 3 years ago – Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 10:14:37 AM

This post is for backers only. Please visit and log in to read.

The Moment Before The Moment We've Been Waiting For
over 3 years ago – Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 10:32:44 PM

At the time of our previous project update, Michael was examining a second round of color proofs for images he felt needed fine-tuning. Most of the fixes reflected in those proofs were good, but a few pages still needed adjustment to reproduce them as dynamically as possible. Wanting to do our absolute best to realize Michael's vision, we made meticulous color shifts to those few substandard pages and ordered a third round of proofs.

Drumroll please...

The final color tweaks have been given a thumbs-up by Michael. The complete set of approved proofs is being forwarded to the factory for matching when the press run begins. We are literally ready to ask the factory to start the printing and binding process after nearly a year of delays.

Of course, the actual moment we've been waiting for is the moment when we can hold the physical book in our hands. But for now, consider this the moment before the moment we've been waiting for!

And here's something concrete you can count on. We'll be distributing the digital version of the book on February 11th... the one-year anniversary of the opening reception for Michael's "Beyond Science Fiction" museum exhibition.

This is going to be a beautiful book, and the wait is almost over... consider it a fact (not science fiction)!

over 3 years ago – Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 10:23:46 PM

This update was going to be titled "Planetary Alignment", but a bit of internet research revealed the word "syzygy" (related to straight-line configuration of celestial bodies). All of which is meant to say, "It's all coming together."

Before the holidays, Michael approved almost a full two-thirds of the first round of color proofs. In fact, "approved" is not a descriptive enough word to properly express his enthusiasm regarding the vibrant colors and vivid details in the reproduction of his masterworks. Michael felt that, even though the size of the individual pages in this new book is smaller than any of his previous volumes, the quality and density of the images creates an experience that is more like viewing his actual paintings than any other published collection.

Today, Michael received second-round proofs for the images that needed color correction. Hopefully, the adjustments that have been made will hit the bullseye. If no further finessing is necessary, the book will move into production almost immediately.

Michael also just received a fully embossed mockup of the case binding and paperback binding as they will appear on the "main cover" version of the book (there is not a mockup of the alternate cover version, but it will feature similar multi-layer embossing). The plussed artwork really looks amazing! I know this has all been ridiculously long in coming, but the artistic nuance of these dimensional covers is really gorgeous, and hopefully worth the wait!

Also included in the proof package was a set of blank "dummy" versions of the finished bindings, to gauge the finished quality of the books.

Fingers crossed... you should be receiving another update very soon to announce final production. Here's hoping for a straight-line path to the finish! 

over 3 years ago – Sat, Dec 09, 2017 at 10:53:42 PM

Good news... Michael has the proofs in front of him, and is meticulously examining them for color and clarity.

Michael Whelan Examining Color Proofs for Beyond Science Fiction
Michael Whelan Examining Color Proofs for Beyond Science Fiction

More good news... Michael's simple message accompanying the photo above is, "Proofs looking good!"

I think we are very close to printing a book, fellow travelers.

Weekly-esque Update 9 of 9 (aka The Final Weekly Update)
over 3 years ago – Sat, Dec 02, 2017 at 07:26:24 PM


I'm composing this final weekly progress update (the last in a series of intended regular Friday postings) in my own singular, personal voice rather than writing as "we" on behalf of Baby Tattoo Books. This particular update is authored solely, sincerely, and sentimentally by a 51 year old man who stumbled upon a book with a cool cover when he was a high school senior.

The year was 1984. As I walked past a B. Dalton bookstore in the "Valley Girl"/"Fast Times"-famous Sherman Oaks Galleria, I stopped in my tracks because the prominently displayed novel Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein caught my eye and wouldn't let go until I took a closer look. The cover painting by Michael Whelan captivated me with its beautiful visual alchemy. The image clearly mimicked great religious paintings by old-world masters and echoed richly illustrated magic posters of a bygone era, but the narrative details in the art were overtly contemporary and comically incongruous. The work was unquestionably created by a superbly skilled artist, and all of his technical prowess was amplified by being brought to bear on something satirical and ironic. That particular combination of seriousness and playfulness was a revelation to me. It got me excited about an amazing crossroads of hyper-real art and unreal subject matter... a place where precision craftsmanship meets unexpected ideas.

Cover Painting For "Job: A Comedy Of Justice" by Robert A. Heinlein
Cover Painting For "Job: A Comedy Of Justice" by Robert A. Heinlein

And that's how I discovered the worlds of Michael Whelan. And that's how I learned  that I loved strange, fun art. My mind raced headlong into a boundless universe of creative possibilities. Michael's work opened so many passages to new horizons - it showed me things I could never imagine, and in doing so, it inspired me to imagine more than I ever had before.

But here's the funny and fantastic thing... my 18 year old self never imagined that I would one day be a publisher of art books, or that I would have the profound honor of producing a showcase of Michael Whelan's work. On the verge of his new book (finally) becoming a reality, I find myself indescribably thankful (fittingly, I started writing this over a week ago on Thanksgiving day) for the sequence of events Michael's painting set in motion all those decades ago. And I am also deeply thankful to each of the 1,269 backers who helped us get to where we all are right now. I owe you all a report; here it is...

Michael is back from his international travels, and a full set of color proofs is on its way to him as I type this message. He should have them in hand early next week, and the only thing left to do will be to have him make sure the color reproduction on each image is up to his exacting standards. We're literally at the final phase. Color corrections will almost certainly be necessary ...maybe a only a few, maybe a massive amount... but those changes are literally the last barrier between the dream and the reality.

Expect the next update the moment Michael has those proofs in front of him. Soon. Very soon.


Bob Self (Fellow Fan of the Incomparable Michael Whelan)