From author Mike French and illustrator Karl Brown, An Android Awakes is a fascinating collection of short stories, set in a world where autonomous machines now create the arts.
Android Writer PD121928 is in dire straits. Employed by the Android Publishing Program, PD121928 only has 14 attempts left at creating a story that will be accepted by the company or he will be deactivated. With his wife taken away from him, PD121928 lives in solitude, resorting to his allowance of prostitutes and drugs to assist him.
Accompanied by Karl Brown’s intricate drawings, An Android Awakes is a wonderful little read. Each one of PD121928’s stories is documented throughout the book, and almost every single one feels like it could be extended into its very own novel. Several themes are tackled in each tale, from android detectives, to great explorers, and even frozen cats – Mike French’s book has it all.
There are some truly memorable storylines in An Android Awakes that will possibly haunt the reader for some time to come. It can be brutally violent and sexy, meshing together modern life with some surreal futuristic themes. Some submissions may even resonate with readers, particularly Inside Richard Steinberger, where brain implants have killed any passion for life.
Each story has some link to previous entries, and PD121928’s creative struggle is brilliantly written. It’s extremely easy to pick up as well, as every submission is limited to roughly 1,000 words. Fans of 2000 AD and dystopian sci-fi will be doing themselves a disservice if they don’t read An Android Awakes, as it really does hit all the right notes.
Karl Brown’s illustrations perfectly capture the narrative too, with a style that harks back to traditional 2000 AD. Taking his inspiration from heavy metal music, Brown’s artwork completely nails Mike French’s vision. He’s definitely an artist to look out for in the future.
Perhaps PD121928’s career as an Android Writer could be explored a little more, but that’s only due to a desire to see Mike French expand on his ingenious ideas even more. Hopefully in the future French will explore some of the submissions in greater detail, because it would be criminal to not utilise some of the amazing ideas presented throughout the book.
An Android Awakes is a delightful read which boasts a truly unique concept. It is not to be missed by fans of pure sci-fi escapism. It’s unlike anything else available right now as it’s undoubtedly one of the coolest and most fascinating reads out there.
AN ANDROID AWAKES / AUTHOR: MIKE FRENCH / ARTIST: KARL BROWN / PUBLISHER: ELSEWHEN PRESS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW