An Android Awakes is the latest release by Mike French (writer) and Karl Brown (artist). This imaginative book is a cross between a graphic novel and a traditional novel, which will be launched at the Brighton Film & Comic Con 2015 in November. The story is set in a future where culture is shaped by machines of artificial intelligence. A concept seen in many other stories however, this follows Android Writer PD121928 as he looks to get a story published by the Android Publishing Program – the catch is that he only has a limited number of attempts to get a story accepted or he will be deactivated. This unique notion is what draws the reader in and leads the book to be a page turner.
The story starts with protagonist Android Writer PD121928’s novel The Eating of Citizen Kane being rejected, despite scoring 98 percent on the universal critical analysis because, he is one word over the thousand-word limit. This leaves him with just 14 more attempts from 42 to get a story accepted. You, as the reader, will experience his ‘writers block’ and continual failures until his last story decides his fate.
Mike French has pulled out the stops to be different in the way he has delivered a must read story. Written as an anthology, the Android’s stories are well written, humorous and different with a continuous link. The majority of the stories are very entertaining to the point where you are actually disappointed when the story ends and a new one has to begin.
There are some fantastic and funny short stories contained within An Android Awakes, such as; Submission 32: Aquatic Juxtaposition where an android call Finn had an angel fish in his eye, and come the end you just wish it was longer; Submission 35: 2306 with a human woman being interrogated by an android and contained a good back and forth conversation that lasted the whole story and gives a good few laughs; Submission 42: The Vulnerability of Desire following The Button Man following a robber who’s obsessed with buttons of all kinds.
These three stories alone could easily be turned into a book of their own with enough entertainment to make a great story, not just a great short-story. With such vast differences, with plot and characters, in the stories your interest is kept and it does not fail to keep you engrossed.
All of the short stories are cleverly linked and interweave in subtle ways with: mentions of mockingbirds, angel fish, a 1964 Ford Mustang and characters from previous stories being mentioned. Every story can stand alone as a completely separate story in itself meaning you can read the book one story at a time, or all in one sitting.
The writing is superb and this is matched by the talented artist Karl Brown. The pictures are a gorgeous addition to the stories and they help build up the world that they create. It can, at times, feel like a novel with the addition of pictures, but for the most part they really add something. This is not a criticism as you cannot take anything away from just how good they are. The black and white pictures fit the theme of the book and showcase his talent.
This is only one small negative point one could make and that is the longer stories towards the end of the book felt as if the stalled the flow. Stories following on from The Vulnerability of Desire, which was never submitted and instead rewritten several times, felt too long considering what you had read previously.
There’s really not much to not like about this book as it is thoroughly enjoyable. The uniqueness of it is outstanding and it deserves all hype and positive praise that comes its way. Mike French and Karl Brown have achieved something that is to be admired. If you are a fan of sci-fi books, Android stories and quality work, then this is a must.