Adults, teens; some nudity, violence, language
This book contains eight short pieces by Bilal. According to
the back cover, "Bilal transports the current Western CONTENT
system into a distant future of intergalactic travel, routine
contact with aliens, and ubiquitous robots." The stories
range from a two-pager about a man in a future confessional to
an eight-pager about how the human (specifically French) military
makes use of aliens who are near-supermen but completely pacific
in outlook. Common themes include incompetent civilian and military
leadership, humans with robotic parts and robots with human parts,
and the strange effects of unexplored planets.
I have read a lot of science fiction short stories in my life,
and the ones in this book are for the most part inferior. Some
end badly; others are not explained well enough to be satisfying.
Why, for example, does a space biker encounter endless copies
of himself on an unexplored planet? Nothing in the story suggests
the mechanism that started this copying. Some defy logic: if
the entire population of a town vanished, but a mysterious alien
organism remained, would you immediately decide that the organism
wasn't responsible? It appears that Bilal had some good ideas
but wasn't quite up to executing them as full stories. Another
problem is the fault of whoever recolored certain spots after
translation; the French words bleed through in several places.
On the other hand, the full-color art is detailed and attractive.
Bilal's lowlifes are especially grungy-looking, and some of his
aliens are wonderful creations, such as the naked blue humanoid
girl with the Mickey Mouse ears and the symbiotic slug on her
shoulder. And a few of the stories are pretty good.
Overall, I wouldn't rush out and buy this, but Bilal fans
will enjoy it, and it has a minor place in collections of SF