An Android Awakes by Mike French (author) and Karl Brown (artist) (book review)

December 18, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘An Android Awakes’ is a blend of graphic and traditional novels, with full pages of both text and artwork interspersed throughout the book. I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels in general because I usually find there isn’t enough story to get me immersed in the world, so I was looking forward to see how I got on with this.

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Set in the far future, where most jobs are carried out by androids, ‘An Android Awakes’ follows the android writer PD121928 as he tries to get a submission accepted for publication. He’s been forcibly separated from his wife in order to follow this pre-determined career path and can’t seem to make himself write what he knows they want to hear. Unfortunately, he’s only got 42 submissions to secure a contract. After that, he’ll be deactivated and he’s already had the first 28 rejected. Surely, one of the last 14 attempts must succeed…

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The story was really engrossing and I found myself rooting for PD121928, hoping that the next story he submitted would secure him that contract. I enjoyed his stories, so surely the android publishing house would, too! I actually found the story quite sad as the book went on and PD121928 seemed to get more despondent with every rejection letter. It was great to find that even though the main character is an android, he was extremely easy to relate to and in fact was more human than many actually human characters I’ve encountered before.

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The artwork, too, was, for the most part, very good and with sufficient detail that you could spend a bit of time with each image looking for things you’d missed. I enjoyed the distinct style of Karl Brown’s drawings, particularly his humanoid figures, although I confess that on a couple of occasions I didn’t think that the images related well to the text on adjacent pages. I was also a little disappointed to find that all the illustrations were in black and white. I’d been expecting at least a few colour panels as there are coloured examples on the book’s website. A dash of colour here and there would really have helped some of the busier pictures where it was tricky to separate background and foreground. However, these are minor quibbles and may stem from me being someone who doesn’t regularly engage with this type of artwork.

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I would certainly recommend this book and think it provides 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. ‘An Android Awakes’ had me totally hooked and I became rather fond of PD121928 over the course of both the main story and the stories he wrote within the book. There was some amazing imagery in the writing that was complemented by some great artwork and it was wonderful to have such a great balance between text and illustration. I hope we see more from this team in the future.

Vinca Russell

December 2015

(pub: Elsewhen Press. 192 page paperback. Price: £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-90816-863-4)

check out website: http://elsewhen.alnpetepress.co.uk/

Category: Books, Scifi

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