This weekends London Super Comic Con will see the launch of Jim Alexander’s Amongst the Stars released under the Planet Jimbot imprint.
This collected edition sees Jim explore some old-school sci-fi and harks back to the days of Ray Bradbury & Philip K. Dick with the raw inventiveness that makes the genre unique. It follows the an alien race called the Tchailung as they form a collective conscience connection with the inhabitants of Earth bringing with it a rollercoaster of ups and downs. The drag factor of the human psyche is almost too much for them to bear and as we flip between the vast emptiness of space, the otherworldly arenas of consciousness & the jarring harsh reality of real life for some select humans……it’s initially a challenge to keep pace with Jim’s tangled web of ideas.
The thing is, that’s how most solid sci-fi tales should be – challenging you to think outside the words on the pages and make your own mind up about the events laid out before us. The ideas are not new really but the approach and the freedom to connect the dots between pages is an extra element that adds interest to the book. The human elements have a slightly disjointed feel to them but the lives of a drunk and a disabled genius give the Tchailung just as much interest as it does the reader. The vast & somewhat overwhelming lives of our friendly universe aliens covers the majority of the book and somehow become far more recognizable.
Jim’s writing is matched by Mike Perkins as he captures the vastness of space and a collective consciousness alongside the limited existence of the human characters in the book…..ultimately giving us as many questions as answers in the process. The writing/art combo makes this a joy to read and one that I could recommend again and again – although I know it won’t appeal to everyone.
Included in this release is backup story Growing Pains which centres on Police Specialist McGuinness and her arrival at an incident at a local block of flats where a father & son become separated with gruesome results. A shorter story which almost feels bolted on to the main story and could well detract from the epic scale of the main event but Jim & Will Pickering work well together keep things trucking along.
A great addition to my “recommend” list for that main event alone and even though I think the extra story could be missed out – it does offer something else from the release and a change of pace. If I was you I would stop reading after you see “The End” from that first story…..you can always collect your thoughts & return to the extra story later.