Writer, artist, and creator of FutureDude.com, Jeffrey Morris has developed something I believe to be truly unique in the graphic novel and science fiction industry.  Instead of exhibiting a world sometimes unreachable in our dreams of future space exploration, Mr. Morris has teamed up with not only top-notch illustrators and writers, but, also scientists and engineers to create a plausible and possible frontier for us to explore within the pages of his new, Daedalus, series.  A goal of his is to make a future that children in today’s world can look forward to and aspire to be involved in, turning sci-fi on its head to reveal that our dreams are within our grasps.  With the projects that NASA and even independent contractors are involved in currently, the timing for us to enjoy the work that FutureDude Comics is producing is perfect.

The first novel, Venus: Daedalus One, is available now through Tumblehome Learning where they

describe the story as:

Set in the mid-21st Century, Venus follows the adventures of the first human adventure to our sister world. The team embarks on a mission to witness—what planetary geologists call—a global resurfacing event. Scientists have theorized that Venus’ relatively smooth surface and lack of plate tectonics indicate that every hundred million years or so, the entire crust of the planet melts in order to release internal heat. It then cools, hardens, and the cycle starts over again.

The project features completely plausible science and information obtained directly from the Magellan team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the recent Venus Express mission from the European Space Agency.

I observe the possibilities of the storyline to have much more ramification than this simple overview the publisher presents, however.  While this blurb accurately relates the exploration aspect of the graphic, it doesn’t address the other issue that Morris, and his co-writer Ira Livingston IV, imbedded into the novel, that being the idea of future human and A.I. interaction.  The human components of the story must rely on the sentients that they created, and vice versa to achieve their goals in hostile environments. Morris describes the issue like this:

…scientists have brought along a number of exospheres — cybernetic organisms with artificial intelligence. In our story, the exospheres are so evolved that they are lobbying for status as ‘legally and functionally sentient’. You can imagine the tension that this produces between humans who see the exos as ‘things’ or at best servants. The adventure unfolds in intense and surprising ways, and has been praised for its handling of an AI civil rights struggle.

While this plotline is not a new one, I find the limits of it have yet to be reached.  Hopefully, The Daedalus Saga, is able to open new areas of discourse.  Having the applause of renowned authors like, David Brin, as well as astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, I’m sure the project will find success.

Production is currently being undertaken for the second graphic novel, Mars: Daedalus Two, and is asking for our help via, Kickstarter.  I encourage you to click on the links I set up to direct you to the site they have set up for the project.  There is a great interview with Morris included where talks about his background and influences as well as a humorous mention of the Ridley Scott film, Prometheus, and how it influenced him in the writing for Mars.  The twenty year comic veteran, Chaz Truog, the illustrator for the novels, also has a short video contained mentioning the process of the series and citing his great enthusiasm for the work.

Anyway, check out the Kickstarter page.  Even if you don’t decide to help fund the project, and receive the great prizes they award you with when you do, it is a great insight on how Morris and his contributors are approaching the genre with fresh scientific mindsets.  I want to leave you with a video from the PBS series, Cosmos, which I pulled from FutureDude.com’s website.   In it, Carl Sagan explores our neighbor planet, Venus, which from what I gathered from Morris’ site, influenced him greatly as a young man and brought him focus in bringing Venus: Daedalus One into being. After watching this you may just spend the next few hours watching clips from the series.

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