Following his recent review (which you can read here) of An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown, Marty Mulrooney invited Mike in for an entertaining interview on his Alternative Magazine Online blog. Apart from talking about the inspiration behind An Android Awakes, they discuss the creative process, how Mike and Karl worked together to produce An Android Awakes, how Android PD121928’s experience of publishers reflects Mike’s (!), why science fiction is popular, and Mike’s next project.
You can read the interview on Alternative Magazine Onlinehere.
Adi Mursec has just reviewed An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown on the Super Robot Mayhem website. He starts by saying it’s “a classic sci-fi which will mature with age” adding that “it is like nothing I’ve seen before”. He says that even though the story is about “an android writing to stay alive you really feel for him” and that the reader can relate to Android PD121928 and want his submissions to be accepted. Adi says that each of the Android’s submissions make good stories in their own right covering “some very interesting science fiction concepts”. He also liked the detailed artwork which he felt complements the story really well, describing it as a “neo-noir style” which he says “reminds me a bit of Allan Linder’s Prisoner of the Mind which I really loved”. He says that Mike and Karl “are both masters of their arts and bring this story to life” and he is looking forward to reading more from Mike and seeing more of Karl’s illustrations. He concludes by recommending An Android Awakes to “anyone even slightly interested in sci-fi” and wants to know when it will be made into a movie 😉
Mike and Karl are both masters of their arts and bring this story to life
On SFcrowsnestVinca Russell has just reviewed An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. Starting by saying “I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels in general” because there often isn’t enough story, it was good to read that An Android Awakes proved to be an exception. Vinca admits “I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book” adding “The story was really engrossing and I found myself rooting for PD121928”. Despite the fact that “the main character is an android, he was extremely easy to relate to”. Vinca enjoyed “the distinct style” of Karl’s artwork too, “particularly his humanoid figures”. In conclusion Vinca recommends An Android Awakes, suggesting it is a “nice crossover for people like me who enjoy the style of graphic novels but want more from the text content to draw them in”, with a great balance between text and illustration having “some amazing imagery in the writing” that is “complemented by some great artwork”.
You can read Vinca’s full review on SFcrowsnest here.
On the Upcoming4.me website, An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown has just been reviewed. As in many other reviews, it starts with the observation that An Android Awakes may remind you of 2000AD. After describing it as a “beautifully designed paperback” the reviewer points out that it “is no ordinary book” but rather “an innovative hybrid that blurs the lines between a novel, or even a short story collection, and a graphic novel” adding that it’s a “quite clever concept which works remarkably well”.
Outlining the storyline and describing the way that Android Writer PD121928 submits stories to be published (only to have them rejected), the reviewer observes that the stories introduce us to “a truly fascinating piece of world building” but also help to provide background to the Android’s life in a way that provides “illuminating reading in itself”. Throughout, the “high quality of both storytelling and illustrations” is maintained. The conclusion of the review is that An Android Awakes is “an excellent science fiction story” that is “well recommended”.
You can read the whole review on Upcoming4.me here.
Following his interview with Mike at the end of last month (see here), Harry Shepherd (online editor of Exeposé, the University of Exeter student newspaper) has reviewed An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. Harry starts by saying that An Android Awakes is “one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read”, which is a good start! He goes straight on to say that it is constantly “unsettling you as a reader and preventing you from settling into a comfortable rhythm” but it is a book not to be missed, which although not perfect is “experimental in all the right ways”.
Outlining the story premise and Android Writer PD121928’s struggle to be published, Harry observes that “what’s problematic for Android turns out to be enthralling for us as the reader”. The structure of the book, with the underlying story arc and the inclusion of PD121928’s submissions as short stories means that the reader has “new worlds and characters to get acquainted with which can be an odd, jarring sensation at times”. He adds that the stories aren’t all the same ‘type’ as the Android Writer flits “between action-adventure, romance and even Gothic” to try to get his submission accepted, but the stories are “interconnected subtly, providing extensive scope for you to re-read the book and pick up on the references that didn’t make sense the first time round”. The way that Karl’s illustrations are combined with the prose varies from story to story in a way that is “experimental and never settles into a knowable pattern”, making the book neither a typical illustrated novel nor a typical graphical novel.
Harry admits he would love to find out more about the world that the Android inhabits and hopes that Mike and Karl will come back to this world in the future and flesh it out a bit more. He concludes by saying that An Android Awakes is “delightfully peculiar” and “rewards you the more you delve deep into its existential questions and formal experiments”, adding that the Android’s stories are wide in their “generic variety and ambitious in their scope” and as a result “An Android Awakes will grip you in the same way it will bewilder you”. I’m pretty sure he means that in a good way 😉
You can read the whole of Harry’s review on the Exeposé website here.
Outlining the overall storyline and structure of the book, Carl likens Mike French’s approach to Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. He says some of the stories are “sad, some are epic, some are small and silly. Some are set in a cyberpunk-inflected dystopian future far removed from our own while others could take place tomorrow…” The way that the Android, in each rejected submission reiterates and reinvents concepts, characters and names is “what has to be one of the most unique world-building exercises I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading”. The stories are far from conventional, he says, “with the strangest stories so out there that Vonnegut’s ubiquitous sci-fi author Kilgore Trout would have rejected them for being too weird”. He commends Karl Brown’s artwork that evokes “an early 2000AD and exemplify the book’s eclectic and erratic nature” and only “further add to An Android Awakes eccentricity”. He adds that the small snippets of the Android’s world “were enough to keep me transfixed”.
He concludes by saying that some readers may be baffled, but those who “enjoy it won’t just enjoy it but love it and hold it dear.” He says “I bloody loved it” and recommends that any genre fan who is frustrated at ‘safe’ and conventional books should make time for Mike French’s work, adding “I guarantee you won’t have read anything else quite like it”.
On The Compulsive Reader website, Magdalena Ball has recently written a review of An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. She starts by identifying the influences and references that this “futuristic dystopia” conjures up for her – which she says include Bladerunner, Metropolis, The Matrix, as well as 1984, H2G2, A Clockwork Orange and Perdido Street Station. This is, she says, “science taken to its extreme, and it’s both terrifying and oddly evocative. It is, at times, also quite funny.”
She compliments Karl’s artwork which “add strong visual appeal” and are “sufficiently horrible, in a visually beautiful way, to increase the cognitive dissonance of the book”. Mike’s “rather clever meta-fictional plotline” provides “an interesting protagonist” in the “Scheherazade-like Android Writer P121928” who is struggling to be published rather than deactivated. Magdalena says the Android’s stories are “cleverly interwoven” in a way that is “both satisfying to the reader and oddly conspiratorial”. She then lists some of the “delights” of these stories with their “sheer inventiveness” and adds that there are “so many delightful connections between these stories and they’re so rich and complex that I feel the book could be re-read several times”.
She says the book is “smart, at times hysterically funny, and actually quite evocative in its science” and concludes by saying it is “an entertaining, sexy, terrifying, and beautiful novel, full of bleakness and fun” and readers will enjoy “the rich and powerful language, the complex plot lines, and the wacky and inventive landscape that both French and Brown have created in this superb graphical novel”.
You can read Magdalena’s full review on The Compulsive Reader here.
On Murder Mayhem & More, Rowena Hoseason has reviewed An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. She starts by describing this “substantial softback” as neither a normal text novel nor comic-book style graphic novel but “a blend of both, where Karl Brown’s crisp images are presented alongside Mike French’s sometimes surreal narrative”. With the overall story including the submissions of the Android desperate to be published, she says it can be read as an anthology of short stories or a full-length tale; it is, she says “neither fish nor fowl. Yet it is in places quite brilliant.”
She describes how “Mike French’s imagination runs riot with love, sex and death; science, space and time travel; religion, relationships and the reality of being an independent writer struggling to secure a book contract.”
She says that the underlying story of a writer struggling against rejection could have become old very quickly but happily Mike “doesn’t push the point beyond (my) patience, and instead uses it as a springboard for a series of wickedly humorous and entertaining interludes.”
As well as complimenting Mike’s story, she like Karl’s beautiful artwork, especially that they don’t compete with the text or attempt a mere illustration of the events in each episode. Instead, she says, “the striking line drawings convey the essence of the action and emotion without limiting the reader’s scope to individually interpret the text”. She recommends reading the book in print rather than as an ebook so you can appreciate the images at full size, and says “Some of the double-page spreads are simply stunning”.
She concludes that An Android Awakes is graphic sci-fi for a mature audience.
On the SFBookReviews website, Allen Stroud has written a thoughtful and interesting review of An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. It would be difficult to do justice to his review without quoting at great length – which wouldn’t be fair to SFBook, so I suggest you follow the link at the end of this post to read it for yourself.
But, in summary, he describes the book as an “innovative throwback”, presenting a picture story as in days gone-by to a modern graphic novel audience, noting that the illustrations do not have narrative content as in a graphic novel or comic book. He found the premise of the story in the text “fascinating”, and suggests that the links between the submissions reflecting the Android’s experience as a struggling writer, result in a world in the reader’s imagination where these discreet tales all “fit together consistently” which, he says, “tells us something about ourselves as readers” and how our consumption of stories can create “instinctive habits”.
He writes that the “illustrations have a crisp and busy quality to them, providing images and faces to the scenes described”. He describes the Android’s tales as a “fascinating collection of intertextuality and remediation”. He concludes that An Android Awakens is “a thoughtful creation which will inspire thought in its readership”.
In a great review of the “fascinating” An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown on the Starburst magazine website, Matt Wells writes that it is a “wonderful little read” with some “truly memorable storylines”.
He says that the android’s “creative struggle is brilliantly written” and Karl’s illustrations “perfectly capture the narrative” with a style that “harks back to traditional 2000 AD”, adding that Karl is definitely an artist to look out for in the future. He says that “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”. Matt concludes by saying that An Android Awakes is a “delightful read which boasts a truly unique concept” and is “not to be missed by fans of pure sci-fi escapism”.
Read Matt’s full review on the Starburst magazine website here.