Memories of Nostromo: Steve’s story


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.


[Ed. note: Originally published on: Oct 28, 2017 @ 08:00]


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