Urban Fantasy

It's not every day that you meet a four-armed demon in an alleyway. Fortunately.


Richard Kadrey's novel "Butcher Bird" is probably still my favorite of his books. To my mind, it's more complex and satisfying than "Metrophage" (the book that made me a fan of his work), and more vivid than his successful Sandman Slim series.

Early on in the novel - I'm giving nothing away here - his protagonist is ambushed in an alley by a many-armed demon, and saved only by the unexpected intervention of a blind swordswoman. With the Four Arms product for Genesis offering an easy way to create multi-armed creatures, I decided to try recreating the scene.

There are all kinds of things wrong with the result. For a start, the Bitru Demon that attacks Spyder in the novel has six arms, like the Black Bhairab, not merely four. Its head is described as insect-like, which I couldn't quite manage, despite my best efforts with the Creature Creator. The combat is made to sound rather more one-sided. Kadrey doesn't go into details, but it sounds as if Shrike simply sneaks up and hews the monster's head off while its attention is elsewhere. There's no open-armed leaping going on.

Then there's Shrike herself. It isn't clear to me exactly how she should look, but I'm pretty sure this isn't how either I or the author pictured her. About her clothing, I know only that she wears heavy boots, a shirt, and a coat. There's no word on whether she wears pants or a skirt, but the coat - missing in this image - is important. Her hair should probably be longer, her appearance altogether more ... interesting.

So rather than being an illustration of a scene from the novel, consider this just a generic urban fantasy image, with one of the standard katana-wielding UF heroines taking on some generic monster in a back alley. Just your usual girl meets four-armed demon, girl chops off demon's head kind of story, in other words. "Butcher Bird" is still full of scenes that beg to be rendered, but this probably isn't one of them.

The monster is made from a handful of Genesis packages, illustrating that the Genesis technology is great for creating mix-and-match monsters. He might not be a Bitru Demon, but he's plenty monstrous. Some minor postwork was needed to correct an issue with image maps on the Four Arms figure. Shrike is also a Genesis figure, although rather more conventional in appearance.

The image was rendered in Lux Render, with mesh lights adjusted to create a yellowish tint to the scene. I also made an alternate version that uses Stonemason's Back Alley model to make the urban context explicit, but decided in the end that I preferred this more stylized version.


30 Apr 2012


DAZ|Studio 4
Reality 2.1.1
LuxRender 0.9