Omni had barely spoken before a Basic appeared beside them with several oversized books. They made their way to a reading table and Bobbi sat with them. He opened the first. Its title was "Contemporary Illustration and Design." He realized it was a kind of hardback magazine, a periodical for illustrators and artists.
He flipped through the pages. They contained features profiling various artists and full color prints of their work. A fairly typical piece began, "Veena Seven combines paint media with ion deposition to craft a fascinating throwback to pre-Impasse art-styles."
He was happy to find that the images themselves were reasonably comprehendible. There were odd, with new subjects and strange new media, but the basic themes were quite accessible to him. There were abstracts and realistic paintings. Apparently human conceptions of two-dimensional art were pretty much unchanged.
He selected another text. This one was titled, New Explorations In Representation. He turned the pages past landscapes and portraits. There was some beautiful photography in it, particularly of gardens. They do love their flowers, he thought.
He glanced through another and then another, and then a third. The last, though, was a little strange. It seemed smaller than the others. He checked the title. Robin Goodfellowe's Lordly Journal For Gentlemen and Ladies.
That was odd. He flipped it open and almost instantly came to something startling. On one sheet there was a large image in garish black and red, almost like a cartoon, that showed a strange and horrific being. It was like corpse, with a skull for a face, while on its head was a top hat, like the ones worn by late nineteenth and early twentieth century gentleman. It was riding on a huge white horse. Under one arm, it had a flaming jack-o'-lantern.
There was no artist given, but there was a caption that read, "Papamellius on Halloween."
He turned to Omni's avatar. "What is this?"
For just a split second, the projection flickered again. She's checking with Doctor Elena, he realized.
Then, it spoke, "We, ah, didn't realize that painting was in the materials we selected for you. But, anyway, it is a portrayal of a folkloric character. He is the Father-Of-Demons."
"He…yes, he is."
Bobbi regarded it for a few more seconds and then, discontinuity.
"Oh, of course," he said at last. "I know him well."
And he looked up to see Omni staring at him, this time in genuine surprise.