Archives of Covers

Any cover art.

A cover that I produced for Archaeology, Anthropology and Interstellar Communication, a book edited by scientist Douglas A. Vakoch and published by NASA.

About the art, from the dust jacket of the book:

“Created by Paul Duffield, the cover art for this book uses design to link the contemporary Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) with insights from the disciplines of anthropology and archaeology. Sensitive telescopes may someday detect signals from extraterrestrials, encrypted in a simple binary code of ones and zeros. This digitization of knowledge epitomizes the technological nature of interstellar exchange. In Duffield’s illustration, streams of data connect urban centers in Earth’s Southern Hemisphere with the civilizations of other worlds.

But could we understand the content of such messages? The Egyptian hieroglyphics traced on the planet’s surface conjure images of an interstellar Rosetta Stone that would enable independently evolved civilizations to communicate across the vast spaces between the stars. The Rongorongo script encircling the Northern Hemisphere reminds us that even on Earth, where numerous indecipherable records have been left by our own species, we still struggle to comprehend the meaning of lost languages. This hovering script also portends the profound impact that the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence would have on all human cultures.

Centering the image of Earth on Africa recalls the anthropological fieldwork done there on the origins of humankind, while the strong classical letterforms of the font chosen for the title evoke the monuments of bygone societies. The interstellar signaling from “below” the planet catches us off guard, seeming to levitate Earth and reminding us that such fundamental notions as up and down—along with many other human concepts—may lose their moorings in a broader cosmic context.”

A cover illustration produced for Douglas Vakoch’s Civilisations Beyond Earth.

About the book:
Archaeologists and astronomers explore the likelihood that extraterrestrial intelligence exists, using scientific insights to estimate such elusive factors as the longevity of technological societies. Sociologists present the latest findings of novel surveys, tapping into the public’s attitudes about life beyond Earth to show how religion and education influence beliefs about extraterrestrials. Scholars from such diverse disciplines as mathematics, chemistry, journalism, and religious studies offer innovative solutions for bridging the cultural gap between human and extraterrestrial civilisations, while recognising the tremendous challenges of communicating at interstellar distances. At a time when new planets are being discovered around other stars at an unprecedented rate, this collection provides a much-needed guide to the human impact of discovering we are not alone in the universe.