Memories of Nostromo: Steve’s story


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Steve South (aka starrigger) is an accomplished digital artist whose enjoyment of Alien and research of the Nostromo has brought about his detailed CG models and animations of the ill-fated commercial towing vehicle. You can find Steve online at his YouTube site. He lives in the US.

 

 The Nostromo Diet

At the age of 13, I was regularly found in attendance at the local movie theater. Not the mega multiplex of today but a smaller version. Back then, the Westgate (in Beaverton, Oregon) only had three screens, and the theater I was in most often was huge! I’m sure it could seat over a thousand people.  But I didn’t care about that. My seat, the one I ran for each time I entered, was front and center.

 

 

The year was 1977 and I was being swept along by this phenomenon of a movie called Star Wars. (I didn’t know it at the time, but I was a part of history, since the longest first US run of 76 Weeks for Star Wars was at that theater.)

 

 

My desire for all things sci-fi had been ignited, I was in love. I quickly moved beyond Star Wars. I began buying issues of Starlog, and flipping through copies of Fangoria. My mom would never have let me bring one of those into the house! Watching anything Sci-fi I could get my hands on, some good or even great (like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, or Battlestar Galactica); most, though, were horrible: the likes of Starlost, Laser Blast, and Damnation Alley.

 

 

All that mattered to me though was that it had a sci-fi theme. I really wasn’t a fan of horror, but if it was science fiction, I was there. I started reading books, something I was averse to doing before sci-fi. One day I came across this illustration by a man named Ron Cobb. It captured my attention, captivated me. I stared at it, drank in the details.

 

 

To me, it gave the sci-fi subject matter it was illustrating a sense of reality and depth. As it turned out, this was an early rendition of a ship that came to be called the Nostromo. Again, I felt a renewed since of wonder. I had to have more! I began to search other magazines that even mentioned Alien. I wanted to find everything I could that would show me another glimpse of this wonderful vessel. I was hooked, I had to see this movie, I had to be a part of this world. The Nostromo in its various versions and renditions had this feeling of being a part of “now” and at the same time had a firm hold on the future.

A few years after Alien premiered, I worked as a maintenance man for a school district, we had some of the oldest, most beat up, but still running pickup trucks on the road. I can’t help but see the similarities between those old trucks and the Nostromo. Torn up seats, dented and rusty bodies, greasy engines and fuel cans, but all the separate run-down parts had their place, a purpose.

Today, I love to work with 3D computer models, mostly sci-fi in nature. I find that I have been greatly influenced by the designs of Alien, largely Cobb’s work.

 

 

Even after all these years I still hunt for that new image of the Nostromo, the one I haven’t seen before. Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to come across a new blog or website with one more image. And I’m happy finding another memory of a friend I had when I was a young man.

 

 

Editor’s note: see more of Steve’s work at his collection on SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse.


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