On his website Now Read This!, comics writer (and past chairman of the Comics Creators Guild) Win Wiacek has reviewed Fictional Alignment by Mike French, the sequel to An Android Awakes. You may remember that Win was very complimentary about An Android Awakes (a “captivating and fascinating tome”), and he is no less enthused about Fictional Alignment. He describes the new book as a “mind-bending Scientific Romance” which offers a “challenging odyssey through the theocracy of thought and depicts a trenchant guerrilla war between What Is, What Might and What Should be…”. He suggests it will appeal to devotees of Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch among others. High praise! Thanks Win.
Mike French was recently interviewed for the Alternative Magazine Online by Marty Mulrooney. Although it was predominantly to talk about Mike’s new book, Fictional Alignment the sequel to An Android Awakes, they covered a few other topics too (like house extensions, birthdays, and Blade Runner 2049). All in all an entertaining and informative interview, with a sneaky teaser at the end.
Oh, and “Oddball, enjoyable and original” was Marty’s description of Fictional Alignment not Mike. But there again…
Read the interview at the Alternative Magazine Online website here.
When Sapphira writes the first human-written fiction in a century, zealot androids vow to eradicate all fiction. They fail – her book is a best seller – so they send a team back in time to realign the historical record with her fictional stories.
DARTFORD, KENT – 12 January 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of a new book by Mike French. Fictional Alignment is a sequel to the ground-breaking An Android Awakes, a collaboration between Mike French and artist Karl Brown which was published at the end of 2015 by Elsewhen Press. In that book, Android Writer PD121928 is attempting to have a novel published, but is only allowed 42 failed submissions before he will be terminated. Despairing, as he waits to hear whether his final attempt has been accepted, he commits suicide; but it is accepted, so his successor, PD121929, passes himself off as the author. In Fictional Alignment we discover that, because fewer than a hundred copies of that novel were sold, PD121929 was himself terminated. The human Sapphira, who had been in love with PD121928, wrote a bestselling novel Humans (An Arrangement of Minor Defects) based on the stories he told her on the night they first met. It was marketed by the Altostratus publishing house as the first work of fiction by a human for over a hundred years. As a result, a handful of zealot androids massacred the senate and formed a new regime fuelled with a passion to eradicate the evil of fiction from android society. But however much they try, they are unable to remove the impact of Sapphira’s novel. If fiction cannot be made to align with reality, then reality must be made to align with fiction. So, in a desperate move, they kidnap Sapphira and force her to work with an oddball team that travels back in time to enact the events of the stories in her book – thus ensuring that they are historical records rather than fiction. This is the ultimate implementation of fake news.
This message has been approved by The Bureau for Fictional Alignment
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”.
In an interesting interview on Exeposé, the University of Exeter’s student newspaper website, online editor Harry Shepherd talked to Mike French when An Android Awakeswas released. They chatted about readers’ attention spans, the problems for writers trying to get published and the way too many people in the publishing world are caught up with defining the art rather than getting on with producing it. Of course, the publication of An Android Awakes and the underlying story, result in the inevitable comparisons between today’s publishers and the Android Publishing Program that Android Writer PD121928 has to satisfy if he’s not to be deactivated. It’s an interview not to be missed by any aspiring writer!
You can read Harry’s interview of Mike on Exeposé here.