The Mecha Genesis - 2019 retrospective
This year I launched volume 2 of The_Mecha_Genesis, which I feel will be probably the most dense with tech philosophy out of all 4 volumes. People at events frequently ask how long this has all taken me; The project has been ongoing for about 10 years. The first 5 years mainly included development of ideas, philosophies and research. the final concept it self was the synthesis of various other smaller projects I had been working on.
In 2014 I brought a lot of those ideas together during a project called the 100 days project where the challenge is to create 1 thing a day for 100 days. What prompted me to do the 100 days at the time was I had realized I had not drawn for some time. Drawing was something that I used to do a lot just for the joy of it, and all of a sudden it dawned on me it had be a few years since my last real go at it. So my challenge was to draw a character and write a minor story about them every day. The project then was titled “Faces of the Future”. I think I got to about 60 or so pages until the project started to become to big for its self and I began work on Crouching Tiger II which absorbed all my time.
Even though I did not complete the 100 days, the foundation was set in place for me to finally see where all these characters and technologies existed. The 100 days acted like an exercise prompt to help develop my ideas to the next phase, and thus The Mecha Genesis was born. You can still see original elements from that project in the final books.
If you ever feel stuck in your ideas and art, I highly recommend doing something like 100 days or an Inktober style project. When we leave school, there is no one there to challenge you anymore, to test you, to make you try something new you might not have first thought you were interested in. Once we leave school that responsibility falls on our selves. So you must challenge your self with the unknown to learn and progress as a person. If you are comfortable, it most likely means you are not learning anything new.
Fast forward 5 years later and the final polished versions are here (at least the first 2 books) Most of the work on each book happens in about 6 months before publishing. Once I have all the assets I want to feature in the book, a lot of the final work comes down to writing, layout, polishing and editing.
This volume in particular I found hard to write as it included ideas about very specific types of technology which I wanted to be grounded in real science, meaning I had to understand the science myself before writing about it. What I felt made it even more difficult was that the science is really advanced fringe stuff and most people don’t know about it, but it's the kind of stuff I love. Ideas such as quantum entanglement, quantum computing, what happens if we live in a populated universe, future evolution of the human species, evolution of AI into EI and how biology and technology will merge... just to name a few.
The real challenge was distilling these complex ideas into something that anyone can read and enjoy. A person who does not know anything about any of these ideas should be able to pick up the book and also enjoy the story to a point where they themselves understand the context, being into science fiction helps of course but what I leaned from Issac Asimov is that real science fiction is not about technology, but about how the technology affects society and the human journey. I have structured the whole idea of The Mecha Genesis from the perspective of the human experience asking how does the human race change and react when all these new technologies and ideas are introduced to it?
I did 4 events in 2019 - Chromacon, Retcon, Zine Fest and Overload. The book launch was at Chromacon and was a great success. Chromacon itself was an amazing event and the crowds were much bigger than all previous years. I had fans come back from volume one seeking out volume 2 which was cool to see.
Sometimes selling an original concept can feel difficult at times as many people coming to these events are looking for familiar things like fan art from existing films and games. However you do find those who also are looking for an original idea and a new world to dive into(and those who just love sci-fi). My primary focus is to share new ideas with people.
There is a certain fear attributed to technology and how it may replace humans or wipe us out altogether; Western Pop culture preys on this idea a lot, however this is not my philosophy. The Mecha Genesis overall is an optimistic story of humanity's future relationship with technology. That humanity must realize Silicon Intelligence is us and we are them, one cannot live without the other. We must work together to survive in the future, to become a multi-planetary species and explore the Omniverse.
A welcomed by product of doing these events was that they helped me quantify the whole story so as to explain it concisely and quickly. I now have my logline/pitch down to a fine art and even developed levels of explanation depending on how interested a patron is.
When I launched book one, my table display was kind of a one-off thing. It did not lend to setting up at multiple events.
So this time around doing multiple events I designed it to be more mobile. My display evolved over the 4 events this year and by the time Overload happened which was the last event, I had finally set up a cart and trolley system as carrying a whole crate of books is actually really heavy, on top all the other things you need. In between now and volume 3 I hope to maybe do some events In Wellington and other parts of NZ. My ultimate goal is to do Comic-Con in San-diego when I have all 4 book finished and of course, this is all just ground work for future animations, movies and more.
Work has already started on volume 3 and with all the feedback I got this year I’m pumped to work on it. Volume 3 will focus on Earth's off-world colonies and explore humanity's evolution beyond Earth. In particular it will look at the Vernu Ellco colonies. A successful corporation that seceded from Earth and began its own jurisdiction in space located between Mars and Saturn.
Thanks to all of you who have bought a book or print, or just stopped to talk about it. I hope you are enjoying it and know that volume 3 is on the way. And finally thanks to my fiancée - Elena, you bare the brunt of all my sci-fi tech dribble, my self doubt and artistic insecurities. You are my NorDrumman Tracker, bringing me back to Earth when I’m lost exploring the Galactic Genix Networks.
The Mecha Genesis will be back in 2020