The “Alien” in Genre Fiction

As a writer, I tend to think that my fiction doesn’t quite fit neatly into any specific genre —  but my work is definitely “genre” fiction, because otherworldly elements play a huge part in my storylines. Now, as a reader, this is also the case with many of my favorite novels. I’m a big fan of books that straddle the line between genres, dancing back and forth between literary fiction and genre fiction.

But what is genre fiction, exactly?

Leopard Printed Slug Pale Highway Nicholas Conley

Generally, I think that the genre element of the tag “genre fiction” is referring to a distinct kind of “alien” presence existing in the narrative, this “alien” being something abnormal, something unusual, something outside of normal life.

Using genre fiction as the umbrella, we can then fit horror, science fiction, slipstream, fantasy, bizarro fiction, and so on all into the same grouping. While these genres are all very distinct from one another, they all have that “alien” factor in common, which literary fiction does not. Whether it is bloodthirsty monsters (horror), cyborgs (sci-fi) or a wardrobe that leads to a magical alternate dimension (fantasy), all of these fantastical things are simply well dressed narrative devices, doorways which allow the author to take the protagonists outside of their usual lives.

ufo

The only difference between literary fiction and genre fiction is the existence of the “alien” as a narrative device. The alien is the tool that the genre author uses, not for the sake of itself, but rather because the use of the alien can bring greater illumination to real life fears, woes, and insecurities.

There’s a strange sort of idea out there that genre fiction is somehow inherently lesser than literary fiction, which is rather foolhardy.  Any story can be great, no matter what genre it springs from: it just has to mean something.

A Tribute to George Orwell

Geor

Throughout my childhood – and definitely in my adulthood – I have been very happy to identify myself as a bookworm.  I read novels like they’re going out of style, often reading about two books a week.  Whether I’m sitting at the beach, hanging out at the doctor’s office or waiting in the car as I pick someone up from an appointment, I always have my current book on hand.  When one has a book, one never has any “empty space” in his or her day.

Okay, with all of that said, here’s an embarrassing revelation:

Back at the beginning of my teenage years – back when I was about, say, 14 years old – there was a brief period in my life where I wasn’t reading.  Looking back, this realization is rather shocking to me, but it is what it is.  Oh, I had plenty of excuses; I was too busy, I hadn’t found the right book, blah, blah, blah…but regardless of any justifications I might’ve had, the fact is that my lack of reading was severely depriving me of a very real, very deep personal joy, a joy that – until that point – had been a part of me since I was a little boy.  And this, right here, is why I have a deep love of George Orwell.  Why?

Because Orwell’s 1984 is the book that changed that.

Reading the book was a class assignment.  I was interested, but not enormously so; at first, I entertained the lazy notion that I’d skim through, just enough to properly answer the test questions.  I just didn’t have time to read the whole thing, you know ? I just didn’t have a…

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

…and just like that, I was hooked.

By the end of 1984‘s first chapter, I was swept away.  Grabbed by the throat.  Addicted.  I dove into the pages, intensely devouring them in a way I never had before, with any book.  I read through nearly half of the novel in a single day.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I was a reader again.

Naturally, as the years have gone by, I’ve come to appreciate 1984 on an even deeper level than I did on my first read.  The stark warning within its pages is a truly chilling statement on the weaknesses of humanity, and while there’s many fantastic dystopian novels out there, none of them are quite as horrifying…or as real.   Watching the news, one almost feels as if people are getting ideas from 1984.  A very scary proposition, indeed.

As a writer, George Orwell’s skills have always blown me away.  There’s a scene toward the end of Animal Farm, where the pigs—and we all know who/what those pigs are representative of, right?—suddenly learn to get on their hind legs, stand and walk upright, like human beings.  Under the pen of almost any other author, this scene would be laughable.  Goofy.  But Orwell sells it, somehow turning this  silly scene into something out of a nightmare.

In the end, though, I’ll admit that there’s one Orwell piece that has inspired me more than any other.   It isn’t a novel.  It isn’t a story.  It’s an essay, titled “Why I Write,” which every young or aspiring author should read.  It’s like an anthem for all writers, everywhere; as Orwell describes his own life story in detail, we writers can’t help but find ourselves in it, identifying with his struggle, remembering our own difficulties.  That essay can be found here:

George Orwell – Why I Write

The last paragraph, especially, is a thing of beauty.  No one has ever said it better than Orwell…and most likely, no one ever will.

-Nicholas Conley

Confronting the Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster

So, before we get to the main subject of this post, let’s do a quick update: my first experience at Necon this past weekend was amazing.  Immediately upon driving down to Rhode Island and entering the doors of the convention center, I was bombarded by a truly astounding amount of friendliness, lively conversation, interesting fiction and remarkable artwork. As far as fiction cons go, Necon truly is one of a kind.

I won’t go into too much detail right now, as another website has asked me to do a write-up about my Necon experience (probably later this week), so I’m going to save most of my thoughts and recollections for that. For now, though, let me just say that Necon truly is an exceptional gathering of creative minds, getting together and openly exchanging thoughts, ideas, ridiculous jokes–and, of course, plenty of coffee and booze.  I’m definitely planning on a return trip.

Photograph taken by Jason Harris.

Photograph from Necon 33, taken by Jason Harris.

Now, since we’re already on the topic of creative writers, writing, fiction and so on (which just goes to prove the unfortunate stereotype about us writers having this exhausting need to talk about that goddamn writing business all the time), let’s take a moment to discuss something that all writers are far too familiar with:

The writing process.

Okay, fellow writers, let’s get honest.  I’m going to make a horrible confession.  I hear a voice in my head.  A (usually) small voice, but a dark, morose, scathing one that pops up from time to time.  Tell me if this sounds familiar:

“Oh, oh, oh!  Hey, you so-called writer!  Let me tell you, dear fellow/madam, this story you’re currently working on, this story you’ve poured your blood, guts and other sensitive organs into…well, it sucks!  Forget all the great things people have told you about your talent, your story is a complete waste of time.  In fact, everything you’ve ever written sucks, and all those ‘amazing’ story ideas in your head…well, you’re simply not capable of writing them.  You might as well give up now.  Now that I, the voice of the truth, have spoken, it’s time to give up on writing and go ahead and get a new job as a desk clerk, a banker or something serious like that, ya old potatah!”

Ideally, one would imagine this voice sounding a great deal like Albert Finney in the classic 1970 version of Scrooge.

Ideally, one would imagine this voice sounding a great deal like Albert Finney’s version of Scrooge. 

I’m betting that we all know that voice, all too well—and not just the writers among us either, but also the artists, musicians and all other creative types.  That voice is the bane of all creative minds, the horrible curse of self-loathing that our muses have bestowed upon us; personally, for the sake of this article, I’m going to name that voice the Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster.

The Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster is something that almost all creative minds struggle with, and it’s likely the cause of many, many failed careers; it’s a terrifying demon that has stalled many aspiring writers, breaking them down with anxiety, self-consciousness and/or the dreaded “writer’s block,” to the point where these would-be-creators give up on their dreams.

One of Kurt Vonnegut's many self-portraits.

One of Kurt Vonnegut’s many self-portraits.

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

While people may identity the Creative Monster by a myriad of different names, some more irreverent than others, familiarity with this demon is unanimous.  The topic of how a creative mind can possibly “get rid of” this voice is something that many fellow writers have discussed with me, especially those aspiring beginners who are just now considering writing their first novel.  In regards to that question, my answer is this:

No, you’ll never be free of your inner self-cannibal. But, with a little willpower, you can make it quiet down and mind its own business.

If not Scrooge, it's entirely possible that  your Creative Monster might more closely resemble this guy.

If not Scrooge, it’s entirely possible that your Creative Monster might have a closer resemblance to this guy.

That’s right.  There is no miracle cure.  The dreaded autocannibal will always be there, and it will always try to torture you; you can’t get rid of it.  But if you push forward anyway – if you block out the Creative Monster and refuse to listen to its mocking cries—you do, through sheer force of will, learn methods to deal with it, and you can overcome its influence.

First of all, in order to neutralize the Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster’s power, we need to recognize that it’s not useful.  Now that we’ve identified that horrible voice in our head with a name, here’s the important thing to realize about that voice; even though our intuitive tendency is to believe that this voice is here to “help us,” or that it’s the “voice of reason” and that it exists only to make us better creators, that belief is in fact a complete misconception.  Yes, looking at one’s own work with a hard, critical eye is good, important and healthy…but in contrast, brutally decimating one’s own ego is NOT.  When we find ourselves doing the latter, it’s important that we recognize that this, right here, is the voice of the Creative Monster – and it’s even more important that we firmly recognize the fact that this monster never says anything worthwhile.  Nothing.  Nada.  In fact, its mocking voice really should be completely ignored, altogether.

This raises a dilemma, which we’ll now return to: isn’t self-criticism useful?  And how can we tell the difference between positive self-criticism and negative self-cannibalism? After all, if we, as writers (though again, this applies to any creative field) just thought everything we wrote was amazing and utterly flawless, we’d be delusional – and it’d make for some terrible terrible writing. We’d never improve our skills, never sharpen our tools, and never actually push ourselves to achieve the great writing we’re capable of.

Isn’t it important to see the flaws in one’s own work?   The answer is yes, but there’s an important difference here; positive self-criticism is constructive.  Unlike negative self-cannibalism, positive self-criticism builds towards improvement; it looks at the foundation of a work, takes what works, throws out the rest and then confidently seeks to improve what was there before.  Negative self-cannibalism, on the other hand, is deconstructive.  This self-cannibalism is like a person who simply blows up the entire building and then despairs over his or her supposed inability to ever create quality work.  Here, let me highlight the difference:

  • Negative self-cannibalism: “Okay, this isn’t working.  This piece has problems here, here…God, and here too! Damn it! I’ve totally failed at what I was trying to do.  It’s fucking terrible.  I need to give up, there’s no way I’ll ever be able to write this correctly.”
  • Positive self-criticism: “Okay, this piece isn’t working, it has too many problems, and I know I can do so, so much better.  I’m going to take another look at this, throw out the bad parts and further develop what DOES work. I need to refocus, reorient and keep trying until this piece really shines.”
That's the spirit!

That’s the spirit!

One of these voices is ambitious – but also quite honest.  It’s the voice of someone who’s not afraid to criticize his/her own work, but is determined to make it better.  In contrast, the other voice is ridiculously defeatist.  Both voices recognize the flaws in the writer’s work, but one of these is actually helping, and the other voice is simply a bully, kicking the writer when he/she is already down.

So really, the solution is as simple as this: as creators, we should ignore the Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster.  It has nothing worthwhile to say, and nothing it ever does will actually help us.  Its only purpose is to destroy the creator’s hopes and dreams; it has no interest in making us better creators. Instead, we should passionately believe in our dreams, and we should use that passion to reconstruct our flawed works until they become as perfect as humanly possible.

Yes, one should be aware enough to see the flaws in one’s work, but one should also be honest enough to see the good qualities, as well.

Be ambitious enough to push through those flaws, correct them and move on.  Believe in the message of your story – believe in your ability to tell that story – because if you don’t believe in it, no one else will.

DSCF4866

Now, the reason I’ve named the entity/voice/demon described in this blog, the reason I’ve referred to it by a silly moniker like the “Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster,” is because doing so allows me to externalize that voice.  It allows me to think of that voice as a separate entity from myself, instead of deceptively believing that it’s “the real me,” or the “voice of truth.”  By doing this – by seeing the self-cannibalistic voice as another person – it allows one to see how ridiculous and unlikable the Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster really is.  Really, when it comes down to it, the Creative Monster is a very small, solipsistic and irritating character; he’s certainly not someone I’d ever want to have a beer with.  I’m going to close here with a quote by Mark Twain – a quote that, once we’ve externalized the self-cannibalistic voice and decided to view it as a separate person, really gets to the heart of the matter:

marksam

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

-Mark Twain

And now, with that said, I’m going to finish this blog, drink another cup of steaming hot coffee and get to work on some damn writing.  And if the Self-Cannibalistic Creative Monster doesn’t like it, well…too bad.

-Nicholas Conley

Transhumanism in Deathlok: The Demolisher

deathlok_debut

Art by Lan Medina.

“Is he MAN?—or MACHINE—or MONSTER?”

Of the many Marvel superheroes that populate the comic book landscape, one of the most underrated is Deathlok, the original cyborg antihero.  Originally created in 1974 by Rich Buckler and Doug Moench, Deathlok is the alter ego of Captain Luther Manning, a loyal soldier who upon being killed in war games is resurrected as a hideous cyborg death machine.  Deathlok’s original stories – published in Astonishing Tales #25-#38—were  years ahead of their time, displaying startlingly intense character development and dark, psychological themes.

Despite Deathlok’s relative obscurity, it could be argued that his post-apocalyptic world has served as a major inspiration behind many classic works of film, literature and entertainment, including The Terminator, Escape from New York, Robocop, Neuromancer, They Live!, The Dark Knight Returns, Duke Nukem and even the Megadeth song Psychotron.  Deathlok’s stories were gritty, tense and often nonlinear; they confronted issues such as suicide, the barbarity of humanity and the increasing power technology has over our lives.

deathlok_astonishing

Art by Rich Buckler.

Unfortunately, the original Deathlok run has never truly received the recognition it deserves, a tragedy which may largely be attributed to the fact that Astonishing Tales, while it was being written, was always on the verge of cancellation.  The plot, while it starts out strong, sort of limps to the finish line with many issues unresolved; it wasn’t until J.M. DeMatties’ and Mike Zeck’s Deathlok Lives! came along in 1987 that Deathlok’s story was finally given a proper sendoff.  Also, the years have been hard on the some of the more dated elements of Buckler’s post-apocalyptic saga.  While the earlier issues still hold up in many ways, they don’t in others.

Basically, it comes down to this; even though the concept behind Deathlok is fantastic, some of the dramatic moments are absolutely brilliant and the character himself is one of the most original, most engaging heroes in Marvel history, the actual comic books themselves have now become a bit dated.

Enter 2010.

Charlie Huston and Lan Medina’s 2010 limited series, Deathlok: The Demolisher, is the breath of fresh air that the character has needed for a long time. It’s a throwback series that returns the killer cyborg to his roots, while simultaneously conveying a new message that is surprisingly…idealistic.

What?  How?  Deathlok…idealistic?!

Read on.

Art by Lan Medina.

Art by Lan Medina.

Deathlok: The Demolisher is like a widescreen,  blockbuster film in the form of a comic book.  It is a total reimagining of the Deathlok mythos from the ground up.  Unlike previous Deathlok reboots, however – most of which, such as the 1999 Joe Casey comic, basically discarded everything but the name Deathlok and the protagonist’s cyborg nature – Deathlok: The Demolisher is largely faithful to the core themes, characters and concepts that made the original stories so fascinating, while not being afraid to modernize things.  Deathlok: The Demolisher is to Astonishing Tales what the 2004 Battlestar Galactica reboot was to the 70s series.  It is a Batman Begins, a Casino Royale, a new story that clears out the cobwebs, goes back to the beginning and hits the reboot button.

Okay, so that’s all good and well.  But does Deathlok: The Demolisher live up to its potential?

deathlok_war

In the comic’s opening scenes, we are thrust into a somewhat different world than the one from Astonishing Tales—but one that is no less horrifying.  In this version of the future, Earth is now run by entertainment corporations.  Wars have become blood-soaked media spectacles, live TV reality show entertainment  for the masses.  We are soon introduced to two men, both of them soldiers for the Roxxon corporation: Captain Luther Manning, a family man, and his twisted counterpart – media darling Mike Travers, a showboating psychopath who’s happy to get his whole team killed if it gets him a closeup on TV.

Fairly quickly, both Luther and Mike – who were best friends in Astonishing Tales, but are depicted here as being bitter enemies – are killed in battle.  And this moment, right here, is where this series makes its most daring, risky change to the familiar mythology.

This Deathlok isn’t just one man.

He’s two.

Well…sort of.

deathlok_twomen

Dr. Harlan Ryker – nicknamed “Hellinger” – recovers the remains of both men for use in his Alphamec project, under the authority of Roxxon director Theresa Devereaux.  Hellinger seeks to create a robotic killing machine, invulnerable to almost all damage and even capable of using a special satellite uplink to vaporize entire cities at will; however, for Hellinger’s machine to work, he requires the superior computing power of the human brain.  To this end, he harvests the mind of Luther Manning – minus a damaged hypothalamus – and merges it with the cerebellum of Mike Travers.    Combined with state-of-the-art robotics, Hellinger creates the ultimate death machine, a super soldier that combines Manning’s cunning military expertise with Travers’ muscle memory and motor control.

Very soon, this “Deathlok” monstrosity is released upon the battlefield, instantly slaughtering thousands of enemy soldiers –and, happily enough for Roxxon, Deathlok becomes an instant media sensation.

deathlok_timessquare

I have to admit that, at first, I was highly wary of this story’s central conceit – and by that, I mean the idea that this version of Deathlok is an amalgamation of two men, instead of just Luther Manning.  Most of the early marketing emphasized Mike Travers, implying that Luther would be marginalized.   Thankfully, this is not the case.  As both men “awaken” inside the Deathlok cyborg’s brain, which is intriguingly depicted here as a medieval wasteland, the clear driving force behind the cyborg’s actions is Luther.  Not the whole Luther, though – keep in mind, there are a few bits missing.

Naturally, having this many voices fighting for space in the same head creates a predictably schizophrenic scenario.  This dynamic is familiar to Deathlok fans; we all fondly remember the often hilarious mental exchanges between Luther and ‘puter – the nickname Luther gives to the Deathlok cyborg’s impassive, symbiotic computer –  as well as the mysterious, grotesque “third personality” that sometimes emerges in the earliest issues.  Here, though, the familiar dynamic is turned on its head; instead of a running dialogue between man and machine, the internal conflict is now between Manning and Travers…and as we’ve established, Travers’ homicidal tendencies are certainly equal to any computer.

deathlok_panels

A peek inside Deathlok’s mind.

So, as we’ve established by this point, the overall storyline is fairly faithful to the original comic books, albeit with a few twists and turns.  But this version of Deathlok that Huston and Medina have created is not the same Deathlok from the 1970s, and this reimagined cyborg protagonist is here to convey a very different message to the contemporary reader.  This isn’t the same Luther Manning from Astonishing Tales, a desperate man who once famously attempted suicide, only to be stopped by the computer.  No, this is a very different Luther.

What do I mean by this?

Well, for starters, when Luther/Mike/Deathlok finally does override the homicidal computer’s programming and wakes up inside the death machine…our hero’s reaction to this disturbing predicament is surprising.  Whereas the 70s Luther and the 90s Michael Collins versions of Deathlok were both understandably horrified by their condition, this Deathlok doesn’t gasp in horror at the violent atrocities he’s been forced to commit – which makes sense, considering that this Deathlok was born into a sadistic, corrupt world that glorifies violence.  So when Deathlok becomes conscious, he doesn’t immediately throw a fit. He doesn’t become overwhelmed with self-loathing or anger.

Instead, he simply wakes up, calmly…and he immediately goes out in search of Luther Manning’s wife and son.

deathlok_calm

No, this isn’t the same Deathlok, and I’ll admit that I was at first disappointed not to have the “wake up” scene that is such a significant part of most versions of this story (especially in the excellent 90’s series by Dwayne McDuffie and Gregory Wright).  But having Deathlok react calmly to his condition is not a betrayal of the character’s essence; it’s just a new approach to an old idea.  This new Deathlok accepts his fate, instead of struggling to escape from it through suicide, a new body and so on.

One might even say that this Deathlok actually embraces his new existence.

Now, at this point the origin story continues in the expected direction.  Deathlok rebels from his masters at Roxxon, and in the process of seeking out his family (and running into such figures as Godwulf), the cyborg powerhouse manages to spark a world revolution.  This is familiar enough.  What’s different is that this Deathlok embraces his newfound role, fully accepting his position as the “savior machine.”  He isn’t a reluctant antihero; he’s the morally-driven leader of the revolution, a revolution of technologically-enhanced humans – transhumans, let’s say – against the morally-bankrupt flesh and blood humans that have poisoned society.

That’s right; for once, the computers are the heroes.  It’s a daring twist, and by incorporating this decidedly transhumanistic theme, Huston brings new meaning to an old character, a character who for nearly two decades has been crying out for a revamp.  To put it simply, Deathlok: The Demolisher, through its transhumanist ideals, has effectively redefined Deathlok for the 21st century.  While later writers have all tried to put their own spin on Deathlok, none of them have done so as successfully as Huston.

deathlok_explode

Now, this begs the question; why is such an update needed?  The 70s stories were decades ahead of their time.  Why can’t we just savor those stories, and keep that version of Deathlok forever?

Why?  Because if we want a lesser known superhero like Deathlok to last – if we want the demolisher’s tales to challenge new audiences, for years to come – then the characters needs to evolve with the times.  And for a character as philosophically-complex as Deathlok, this takes a hell of a lot more than a costume change or a new protagonist.  It takes a redefinition of purpose.

So, what is Deathlok’s purpose?  What is Deathlok about?

deathlok_90s

Art by Denys Cowan.

“We are all becoming more dependent on technology. One of these days it’s going to be inside of us. For example, we won’t need a cell phone; it’ll be built into our ear. Now is that a cool thing, or will it destroy us as human beings? Deathlok explores what those consequences may be.”

– Avi Arad

Deathlok’s story is an examination of our relationship with technology.  It’s about our fears that someday, advanced technology will siphon away our humanity.  It’s about the seemingly inevitable assimilation of us and our machines; when our bodies are composed of more metal than flesh, will we still be human?  Is our humanity defined by our flesh, as Nietzsche would have us believe, or can our consciousness exist outside of a mere corporeal form?

Someday, there may be no separation between us humans and our technology; that’s certainly what the transhumanists and post-humanists believe.  Someday, we might be cylons, or we may even dispose of our bodies altogether and become the strange, ethereal “humans” of Isaac Asimov’s The Last Question.  But right now, as we stand at the precipice of change,  as we prepare to become transhumans ourselves, we must ask ourselves – is this a good idea?

That question is what Deathlok is about.  It’s what Deathlok has always been about.  In the 70s, Deathlok pointed a sharp arrow at these fears of assimilation – and in doing so, Buckler’s stories painted a pretty bleak picture.  At the time, we feared computers.  Technology was a demon; it was the cause of pollution, the destroyer of the Earth and in the end, it seemed destined to destroy us.

deathlok_buckler

The 90s Deathlok stories, featuring Michael Collins, painted a somewhat different picture.  By the 90s, we were coming to understand technology.  We had personal computers in our homes.  We had game systems.  As technology slowly integrated itself into our everyday lives, we learned to work with it.  That’s why the pacifistic Michael Collins refuses to commit suicide, unlike the 1970s version of Luther, who infamously pulled the trigger on himself.  Instead, Michael quickly installs a “no-killing parameter” into the computer.  He still seeks out a cure for his condition, but despite his new body, he stubbornly refuses to lose sight of his moral values, his family or his deep belief that “you have to do what’s right, not what’s easiest.”  Michael keeps his humanity by simply integrating the machine into his old life.  It doesn’t quite fit, but he does a better job than the 1970s Luther.

Now, we have a new form of Luther Manning –or a Manning/Travers hybrid, I suppose – a Deathlok who, while still tortured by his separation from his family, actively embraces his role as the leader of a new kind of human being. Huston’s Deathlok doesn’t try to find a cure.  He doesn’t struggle to hold onto his humanity; he knows that he’s still human.  A better human.  Instead of being a twisted experiment gone wrong, this Deathlok transcends the disgusting society he comes from.  This Deathlok is the future, and he knows it.

…and in today’s world, what other attitude could be more appropriate for our times?  We live in a world where we’re perfectly happy to be plugged into a computer 24/7, whether it’s a PC, a cell phone or a tablet.   We don’t blink an eye at pacemakers or artificial hearts anymore.  Mechanical prosthetics are getting better everyday.  We use digital cell phone clocks instead of watches, Kindles instead of paperbacks, Gmail instead of snailmail, texting instead of talking.  We aren’t scared of technology anymore.   We have embraced it.  We have incorporated technology into our lives, personalities and relationships – we have even allowed computers to change the way we think.

Art by Denys Cowan.

Art by Denys Cowan, featuring “Mechadoom.”

So here, in the dawn of transhumanism, could there possibly be a hero more symbolic of our time than Deathlok?

That’s why Deathlok: The Demolisher is a success.  It’s intriguing revamp of an old tale.  It’s a dark, violent action thriller.  And, overall, it’s an excellent introduction to the character of Deathlok.  Give it a read, or if you already have, loan it out to that friend of yours who doesn’t know the difference between a Deathlok, a Deathstroke or a Deadpool.

Even more importantly…next time you get on your smartphone – think about it.  Consider the direction we, as a species, are moving in, for better or worse.  Deathlok’s transhumanist revolution isn’t too far off.  Keep an eye out.  Stay ahead of the curve, or fall behind – but whatever you do, stay informed.

We’ll see, soon enough.  Who knows what the future will bring.  I’ll tell you this much; I’m never having any work done by a doctor who calls himself “Hellinger.”

–  Nicholas Conley

deathlok_smoke