He starts by saying that it is tough to explain the plot of Fictional Alignment, not because the plot itself is tough but because there’s “just so much happening”. However he goes on to give a reasonable outline of the plot, followed by “Sounds completely mad, right? That’s because it is. It’s also incredibly hilarious.”.
Benjamin likes the fact that there is so much going on that it’s “impossible to become bored”. He likes the various science fiction references that are included, not gratuitously but “that fit the story”. For him the best character was Heisenberg (one of the androids), who “is awful and seemingly uncaring throughout most of the book”, but is “quite funny” and usually delivers the best lines; as a result, he adds, much of the chaos in the book is because of Heisenberg. As the story is playing with time travel and androids trying to be human in the past, using future technology that isn’t always fully explained (because it’s funnier that way), Benjamin says it can leave you scratching your head a little, but that’s “all part of the madness that you just need to embrace when reading it”.
Although it has a different premise and feeling from An Android Awakes, Benjamin says Fictional Alignment is a “worthy sequel” but “it does leave a question over where French can take the story from here”.
You can read Benjamin’s full review on Comic Book News UKhere.
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.
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 website Skuds’ Sister’s Brother, Skuds in Life has written a review of An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. Skuds starts by saying that, while reading the book, he kept thinking of a kaleidoscope because the various stories written by Android Writer PD121928 include characters and motifs that keep cropping up in different ways. He says that there are “enough ideas in the book to make several books”, which he says he felt when he read one of Mike French’s other books, which has the effect of keeping “the novelty coming” so that as well as “fresh events” you are “getting fresh character, scenarios and everything else every few pages” which he says can be exhausting but is never boring! He says that some of the characters will stay with you for a long time – he cites as examples the Button Man (“who has a real League of Gentlemen bizarre scariness to him”) and the superhero angels.
Pointing out that this is neither just a novel nor is it a typical graphic novel, he describes the illustrations as having a “similar feel to the old 2000 AD comic”. He concludes that you could “just read the words and ignore the pictures but you would be missing out” because although they don’t add to the plot they do “contribute greatly to the mood and tone of the book”.
the pictures…contribute greatly to the mood and tone of the book