5

Asking a question for my father. He is seeking the title and/or author of a short story featuring a female alien artist whose home planet is plagued by constant predator/prey violence ("a sort of Darwinian nightmare," he said) that influences her art. She comes to Earth and becomes famous.

Published in Omni Magazine.

"It was well into Omni's print run... But it was probably in the late 80s early 90s."

He cannot remember if she died in the story or not, and he cannot remember if she painted with her own feces or not.

He cannot remember what type of artist she was. He cannot remember if any sort of technology was mentioned (transport or otherwise). He cannot remember any other characters in the story. He cannot remember any names or locations or planets other than Earth.

  • 1
    Roughly when did he read it? Early 80s, late 80's? – Valorum Oct 11 '16 at 15:06
  • I'm certain he can remember more. Ask him to work his way through the checklists here; meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… – Valorum Oct 11 '16 at 15:09
  • Worked our way through the lists. No more details coming to his mind. His response was, "No, sorry. I'm old." – LilVirginia Oct 11 '16 at 15:15
  • @ClaireWisker What kind of artist? Painter, singer, something science fictiony? – Organic Marble Oct 11 '16 at 15:57
  • 1
    I'm presently attempting to a survey of the fiction contained in Omni magazine from a digital collection (that is, brief summary or keywords associated with each story), to make it easier to find requests like this. Hopefully if nobody else answers immediately, I'll run into the story on the way and come back. – starpilotsix Oct 11 '16 at 16:02
3

"Blind Spot", a short story by Jaygee Carr, was first published in Omni, July 1981; a scan is available at www.williamflew.com. It's a few years earlier that "late 80s early 90s" but it fits the description. The editorial blurb from Omni:

She survived a savage world to become the most revered artist of her time

Some excerpts from the story:

She was ugly but she was a genius—a genius whose works were revered, almost worshiped, throughout the inhabited galaxy.

[. . . .]

This primitive from a culture so degenerate that, had it not been for luck and some determined missionaries, she would have spent here entire life in the wild, grubbing for roots, speaking in grunts, fighting with every other member of her species she met except, of course, during the rutting season.

Now—a genius. Unique. Honored and adored.

Her work is famed all over the galaxy. On a world called Getchergoat:

Everyone agreed that the one thing he mustn't miss was the Pan-Art Exhibition in the Septmillennial Memorial Audisseum. [. . .]

Have you anything here by the Sequoian troglodyte Inanna Kantanitanki?

"A man of taste," the ovoid purred. "Do you prefer Early, Mature, or Final Period?"

"All three," he said.

In the Early display, he was pleased to see a copy of Mayflight in the Morning, enlarged so that it sang baritone instead of soprano.

Back on her home planet:

The trunks of the giant trees were tens, some even hundreds, of meters in diameter, and girding their lower reaches were living buttresses, great knees of wood larger than most of the trees he was accustomed to. And in and around and on and under and through was all living forest, a veritable ocean solid with life, competing, eating, growing, dying, layer on layer, predator on predator. A normal rainforest (he had consulted the records he had brought) was actually scant of life on its floor, because the canopy above shut out too much light. But here, even without light, there was enough organic material raining down from the giants above to provide the basis for an ecology. And what an ecology! What a competitive, fetid, voracious ecology! And so complex!

[. . . .]

The floor was a pesthole, a hothouse and breeding ground for desperate appetites. Animal, plant—and trog.

Two strong cresters were at work, hacking with off-world metal machetes at the living mass. Hacked and headless corpses of small animals were trampled underfoot along with the severed plants. The cresters' progress was measured in meters. He could still see the doomed tree under its mound of stranglervine when a shapeless, many-legged horror dropped onto the shoulder of a crester walking not two paces in front of him. The victim dropped without as much as a gasp, but another guide reached over and touched the wetly glistening horror with a vine wrapped around her wrist, and, with a teeth-tearing keen, legs convulsing, the horror shriveled and fell off to be kicked away into the dimness. Its victim was loaded onto a sling and carried by his fellows.

The attacks were almost continuous. From above, behind, the side, the front. Things even slithered up out of the crushed-down matter they were walking on. Big things, little things, all bristling with every natural weapon he'd ever heard of, and a few he wouldn't have dreamed existed. Things crisped by lasers, hacked by machetes, destroyed by the symbiotic plants. Still, dying, they came on, claws grasping, tendrils reaching, teeth slavering, spitting acids, dribbling caustics, limbs flailing, tentacles reaching—reaching—reaching—

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.