cover image Last Days of an Immortal

Last Days of an Immortal

Fabien Vehlmann and Gwen de Bonneval. Archaia Entertainment, $24.95 (152p) ISBN 978-1-936393-44-2

Subtle, mature, and inventive, French team De Bonneval and Vehlmann deliver deliberate science fiction that evokes the classic books of the 1950s and 1960s, with a particular kinship to Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time series. On the future Earth, populated by humans who choose to be immortal through cloning bodies and mirroring minds, the Philosophical Police are charged with ensuring that all the alien races around the universe figure out how to get along and not kill each other over misunderstandings of local customs. The story centers on Elijah, who walks through his investigation of a death and ensuing political disputes with a sense of malaise that infects every aspect of his existence as he ponders the endless officiousness of immortality and contends with the diplomatic travails of hilarious, creepy, and imaginative aliens, such as a race of vibrations and a species consisting of one creature. De Bonneval’s art cleverly recalls Artzybasheff and other “googley” ’50s SF masters, while the story mirrors that era’s sly social satire, which investigated how technology affected our psychology and relationships and, in turn, where that brought culture. Vehlmann’s story expands on this heritage with a smart new twist. (Dec.)