Five Irish Sci-Fi Stories You Ought To Read
I am big science fiction guy nowadays but I wasn’t always a big science fiction reader. Growing up my only exposure to science fiction was watching films that I was generally too young to be watching like Terminator, Alien and the odd Star Trek movie. I grew up in the country and before the birth of the internet so I wasn’t aware of any groups or conventions that may have exposed me to the likes of Philip K Dick (the closest I got to him was some, mostly poor film adaptations of his books). In fact my first meeting with science fiction came about in a very country way. My hometown had an annual fair where people had stalls with stuff for sale. One guy was always selling old copies of 2000AD so I got some random selections and parts of stories like John Smith’s Indigo Prime story “Killing Time”. I didn’t get the full story until years later but it was enough to warp my fragile little mind and hook. So what’s the purpose of this trip down memory lane? Well Octocon is this Friday. The event brings people together to discuss all things science fiction (it is something I wished I’d discovered years ago) and I was trying to think of a way to get people talking about science fiction in Irish comics ahead of it. The convention largely tailors to book readers but there is always a comic presence and I think the Irish scene fairs quite well when it comes to science fiction so I thought I’d give you five science fiction stories you should read.
STONE HEWN SKY
Created by Paddy Lynch
I think a lot of people missed this book because, when I bring it up, people always ask “Paddy Lynch did a sci-fi book?!” Well he did and it is the closest thing Irish comics has come to a Philip K Dick story. You can read some stuff Paddy had to say on the book here.
Created by Ken Mahon
I got this book as part of Cardboard Press Summer 2014 Subscription that also included Stone Hewn Sky. The story takes place in a future where a second moon has appeared and disrupted the weather patterns of the planet and, as I said in my review, as with all good sci-fi, the setting is just where the story happens. It is a done in one story but it left me wanting some more.
Art by Cormac Hughes (Red Sands) and Robert Carey (Red Sands: Testament)
Story by Ciaran Marcantonio and Robert Carey (Red Sands: Testament)
Colours by Triona Farrell (Red Sands) and Ruth Redmond (Red Sands: Testament)
Letters by Miaram Abuin
Cover Art by Stephen Mooney and Ruth Redmond
Interior Design & Layout by Wayne Talbot
If you follow Irish Comics, you know that Ciaran Marcantonio likes his sci-fi. In my opinion, his best work so far has to be Red Sands. (Neon Skies might overtake it for me as it seems to push a lot of my sci-fi buttons. I’ll let you know when I read it). It seemingly starts out as a bit of a Buffy / Mad Max pastiche but it quickly grows into its own thing as the creators expand the world and the characters’ backgrounds. You can check my review for a bit more detail.
Created by Leeann Hamilton
Leeann Hamilton came at me with not one but two books this year: A Tear In Jean and this book Hoda Machine. I opted for this one as the title story again reminded me of some Philip K Dick style stuff. (I’m sorry but Philip K Dick is my goto person for science fiction the way Leann Hamilton is my goto person for independent comics in Ireland). It is kind of an unfinished short story but, as I expressed to Leeann in person, I’d like to see more of it. The book also some funny lampooning of sci-fi. Again, I go to more detail in my review.
3000 DOLLAR SECOND
Art by Neil Ford
Story by Mike Lynch
Originally presented in Lightning Strike Issue 6, which also saw the debut of Red Sands, this is a great anthology story. It would not be out of place in the pages of 2000AD as it fits the Future Shock format perfectly. This is sci-fi 101. The story is set in a science fiction background but it is about the plight of the working man really. Add a bit of a twist and Mike Lynch gives me everything I want from a sci-fi short story. Neil Ford does a great job of capturing all this giving us a science fiction world with some real characters.
If we’ve missed out any sci-fi gems from Irish comics, let us know on social media and we will share your suggestions. I try to strike a balance on ICN so I was trying to find some small press books by female creators and the only ones that comes to mind were Leeann Hamilton’s. That could be my taste in sci-fi. PHILIP K DICK. Also, I was going to include Anna Fitzpatrick’s fabulous webcomic Between Worlds but it no longer appears to be online (if I am wrong about this, let me know as I would like to read it again).
Also, be sure to check out Octocon this weekend in the Camden Court Hotel. When you get panels from the likes of the often hilarious Michael Carroll, it is something you’re going to want to see. Just look at this: