A textbook intended to give you nightmares?


I finally got around to reading my backed-up RSS feeds, and had the chance to peruse these, well, demented 1970s biology textbook illustrations uncovered by Crooked Timber. I mean, what? No - what??! Crooked Timber calls it a "Groovy Prog Rock Wannabe Biology Text." I don't know what to say, except that I went to Artomatic yesterday, which had something like a thousand artists, and this psychedelica is far trippier than anything I saw there. Whoa, man.

For the record, if I had, as a child, learned to associate biology with angry disembodied leopard heads flying towards me on Frisbees of fire, over roiling Hokusai waves, I would definitely have chosen a different career.

Update: more context on the textbook of terror here, thanks to @TheDarkEngine

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Woah...that is trippy. i don't know whether it would have put me off science though. As a kid, I'd probably have been quite excited at the thought of a subject that involved tigers, fire, volcanoes and giant robot-style sci-fi heads :)

zomg. Was this supposed to illustrate anything specific? Like meiosis or something? Or, god forbid, evolution?

If that was how my textbook was illustrated when I was a kid, you bet that would have been the only textbook I actually opened, and regularly so, thus ensuring even better that I would become a biologist.

LOL. I totally believe it Bora.

As to what this represents, the flickr post gives it the title "human possibilities". How vague can you get. Possible themes for substance-induced hallucinations, maybe?

That images is the title image for chapter 44, "Human Possibilities", which is basically the eugenics chapter (although I don't think the e-word appears anywhere). It discusses human genetic change, efforts at zero population growth, protecting humans from mutagens, and "the distant future" of humanity (i.e., selective breeding and genetic engineering).

I think they're cool. Trippy? I wouldn't know. I never did any "tripping". I don't associate certain kinds of art with the drug culture the way most people seem to. To me it's just interesting and colorful art.

Well, the drug culture of the 70s DID have a really unique "look" so it's almost impossible for me not to make that connection. :)