Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hallo "Spaceman"

When I first read the premise for Spaceman, all I could think of was Frederik Pohl.

Spaceman, a new comic book series from DC/Vertigo written byBrian Azzarello, deals with a character named Orson who is genetically modified to live on Mars. 

"I took things that I wanted to happen in the future, like all these dire climate change predictions," Azzarello said of his inspiration for the story. "They all come true, which leads to economic upheaval and political upheaval and social unrest and that kind of really, really rich milieu to work a story into. In the middle of the story is this character, his name is Orson."

NASA takes Orson and re-engineers his body to have denser bones, thicker skin, and larger muscles.  Tragically, NASA goes under and disbands and the journey to Mars never takes place, leaving Orson alone and abandoned as well as forever changed.
Oh the postmodern irony.

Many a science fiction writer likes to believe that they are “edgy.”  They see themselves as doing something in the way of Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, Orwell’s 1984, or Heinlen’s Stranger In a Strange Land.  Azzarello is no exception.  As he proudly proclaimed to Newsarama:

“This isn’t science fiction.  This is science hell.”  Ooo.  Catchy.

“If you like Blade Runner, you’ll like Spaceman.”  Well I do indeed like, no love, Blade Runner.  Having read several pieces of Azzarello’s earlier work, I must say that you, Mr. Azzarello, are no Philip K. Dick so I would hold off on the Blade Runner comparisons.  Heck, Frederik Pohl did this story decades ago with Man Plus, about…you guessed it…a man modified and augmented to live on Mars and the existentialist angst that ensues.  The comic book does seem to have at least a slightly different take on the concept with the spaceman never making it to Mars after all.  Props for that.

Not sure if that's enough to reel me in, though.  But the book is selling for only $1 a month and that just might be enough to get me to stop and check it out.

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