Thursday, August 29, 2013

Artifice - A Gay Sci Fi Thriller Graphic Novel

Artifice by Alex Woolfson, art by Winona Nelson
Deacon is a prototype android soldier so advanced he is referred to as an "artificial person."  On his first extended mission, Deacon was ordered by his corporate masters to eliminate a team of scientists who knew too much - and he has failed spectacularly.

Not only did he let one of his targets live - 19 year-old human outcast Jeff Linnell - he attacked the team sent to retrieve him.  Now the Corporation wants answers and they bring in the brilliant robopsychologist Dr. Clarice Maven to get them, giving her the power to make sure Deacon never fails the Corporation ever again.

Deacon seems desperate to conceal the shocking events that took place on Da Vinci 4, but what chance does he have fighting an adversary who can control his every move?

While I don't, as a policy, review titles on this blog, I will occasionally recommend a book, and that's what I'm doing here.

I really loved ARTIFICE - it's the kind of story that would have meant everything to me as a teen reader, and even as an adult, this gay-positive sci fi graphic novel made me so happy.  I actually intended to just read the first page or so (since I didn't have a lot of time) and ended up reading it through to the end, everything else pushed aside.  Just like the best sci-fi and fantasy books did for me when I was a teen, reading with a flashlight under the covers until 3 or 4 in the morning, when my Dad would get up and I'd have to fast-pretend to be asleep!

The book is published by Alex's own AMW Comics, and was funded by an explosively successful Kickstarter project.  In 2011, Alex began releasing pages of ARTIFICE every week for free on his website - and in under a year the webcomic had over 5,000 unique visitors a day.

The story includes violence and some scenes of intimacy, but nothing that wouldn't be considered PG-13  if our culture were less homophobic.  Having said that, it's a smart adventure story drawn like a great sci-fi movie, and it was a lot of fun.


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