The novel The Celestial Steam Locomotive
by Michael Coney takes place in the year 143,624 Cyclic, at a time so far in the future that great civilizations have come and gone in multiple iterations, and humanity has evolved into 5 different races.
Manuel is a Wild Human, a throwback to more primitive times. Primitive humans hunt and live in small tribes, and have with large chests and lungs that have adapted to the oxygen-depleted air. Manuel is 19, and lives in a hut that he has built by the sea.
The Girl is a Neotenite, who lived her entire life in a Dome.
"Almost 90,000 years ago, the Consumer Wars were over and Anticonsumerism had won. Shortage of fossil fuels and the high cost of travel resulted in increased use of self-contained recreational centers. At the same time there was a growing demand for visual rather than physical entertainment, accelerated by the decreased oxygen content of the earth's atmosphere as the ocean's oxygen-producing creatures dwindled. The first Domes were built in the last '56s, solar-powered ones in the '57's.
"During the Great Retreat and the following 9,000 years ice age, the Domes were probably responsible for the survival of humanity. But then there was the onset of neoteny, the failure of the breeding programs, and the consolidation of Dream Earth, where the neotenites lived out dream lives..."
Neoteny is a genetic disease that crept through the human race: human bodies got larger, but never matured. They became unable to function, living in huge lumbering blubbery baby bodies throughout their entire lives. They lived out dream-lives in Domes hooked up to a vast computer network: a virtual reality where they could create new bodies, and new worlds, for themselves: whatever they wished.
The Girl was awoken from the Dome by Zozula (not shown here), and the three of them go forth from the Dome to explore the world, and see if they can find anyone left who has the True Human Form.
This is one a series of graphite drawings that I am working on of scenes in this novel. Others include:
Graphite pencils (4H, HB, 2B) on standard sketchbook paper, with q-tips and tissue for smudging and smearing. I also did a lot of drawing with the eraser, to do highlights and white lines.
I deliberately wanted the style of this sketch to be rough and "artistic" as opposed to hyper-realistic. Also, due to a problem with the scanning, some darkness/contrast manipulation was necessary, and you can still see a shadow on the paper in the upper right corner.