Artist confessions: in my original plan I was going to do this whole section of the chapter from page 347 onwards with all the characters fully kitted out in their emergency suits, helmets and all. But then I chickened out and decided they could just have their helmets at the ready (which in the case of the basic emergency suits, like the one Fusella is wearing, has a sort of soft-sided helmet attached, looking like a hoodie). Pages and pages of people in helmets with very little to distinguish between them would get dull pretty fast. The price of a visual medium, I guess!
Like many literary sci-fi and fantasy shows, Ad Astra is all about having a good time with your fellow attendees. The lack of the crushing crowds that can happen at shows like, say, Fan Expo means that I can actually enjoy some pleasant conversation with my fellow creators and sci-fi fans. However, because I go to these shows to sell my books I didn’t get to see much more of Ad Astra than the Dealer’s Room! Which looked a bit like this:
The red tablecloth of my table is just barely visible in the lower left. If you look carefully you can see a Mal cosplayer (no, not that Mal, the other Mal) also on the left side of the photo. My table, however, looked like this:
Hm, apparently I’m not at my table. Where did I run off to?
The Doctor failed to show up and give me a key, however. I guess my adventures through time and space will have to wait. Possibly until Fan Expo. That place is crawling with Doctors; surely one of them will give me a lift!
One last picture I want to share for the Doctor Who fans in the audience. I spotting the following just as I was leaving. I don’t know if it’s clear from the photo, but it was obviously made from one of those peculiar little wooden butlers holding a tray. I have no information about who made it, but if you had this at your house your parties would be guaranteed to be awesome:
… at least until it’s eyes turn red and it tries to kill all your guests. Erm.
The illustrations for the Clubs suit ended up being set in the 1920s, and thus we have Scavina in a flapper-inspired dress with what a couple decades ago might have been a scandalous hemline. Zan in his Henry V garb may have looked like he was playing dress-up, but I think Scavina looks rather elegant.
So the Spades are the 1960s, and the Diamonds are the Middle Ages. Around 1400-1500. Although it wasn’t in my original plan, I ended up drawing quite a bit of inspiration for the illustrations in this suit from Kenneth Branagh’s feature film interpretation of Henry V (love that movie!). I admit, I didn’t think too hard about the peculiar mental image of Zan as an English monarch able to inspire troops with a rousing speech (“We few… we happy few”), and then go on to emerge victorious from the Battle of Agincourt. You probably shouldn’t, either!