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.