Encounter with an Anithesis

I, Robot was the very beginning of my career proper. Packager Byron Preiss, a longtime finder-exploiter-nurturer of new talent, caught one of my cold mailings when I was still a lathe operator. In 1992 they signed me to a dream job for a classic illustration freak: sixteen interior full-page paintings to accompany the narrative of Harlan Ellison's epic screenplay version of Isaac Asimov's loosely-connected anthology. This was a screenplay in a book; a novel with camera zooms and pans spelled out; a horse of a unique color. Through the project I was introduced to Harlan Ellison himself -- of whom, in my cultural shelter, I had never heard. Receiving me in his home, a spiced-coffee-suffused oasis of intrigue he calls Ellison Wonderland, he kept dropping conversational references to this or that nugget in his staggering oeuvre of work, then exchanging concerned, disbelieving glances with wife Susan as it became apparent that this rube in the dungarees and lug-soles had never read a word he'd written. That he nonetheless extended to me the respect of artistic colleague in a co-operative sally will remain an everlasting source of amazement to me. And I must say, the subsequent release of somesorta movie also titled I, Robot starring somesorta major motion picture person, only makes more cherished in memory every single gleam and grit of working on this, still the only, "greatest science fiction movie never made." Emphasis mine.

My next breakthrough after I, Robot, was Dune.