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A Sunday Morning Review: Aldebaran: L’intégrale

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on October 9, 2005

Bandes dessinées do SF well. I’ve already raved about the wonderful ecological parable of Aquablue and touched on the mil-sf of Universal War 1.

The first part of a planned multi-story cycle, Leo’s Aldebaran build on the familiar tropes of the “lost colony”. Mysterious problems with FTL travel have isolated Earth’s only colony world for more than a century. Reverting to a lower technological base, the colonists have thrived, living on the coastal fringes of the ocean planet’s tiny continents, communities linked by airship and sailing ship. But things are changing. The world isn’t as benign as they thought – and something is happening in the seas. Meanwhile, a totalitarian technocrat government is struggling to hold on to power.

Aldebaran follows the lives of an assorted group of rebels and malcontents, among them Kim, a girl from a village destroyed by something from the sea, and two strangers who can recover from nearly any injury. Leo gives us travelogue writ large. Strange creatures and intriguing ecosystems confront our varied cast as they struggle to find out just what is happening in the oceans, and to keep their mysterious friends away from the hands of the government. Meanwhile, re-contact is imminent…

Leo gives us a wide ranging story that focuses the complexities of an alien environment through human inquisitiveness and arrogance, while never losing sight of the beauty of the mysterious.

This is a work that could only have been BD. Initially published in 5 volumes, Aldebaran: L’intégrale brings the story together into a single volume. Aldebaran is part of a series that explores the early days of interstellar exploration, mixing well thought ecologies with an over-arching archaeological mystery. The second cycle, the five-volume Betelgeuse has just finished, with the third, Antares, due to begin in 2006. The publisher describes the overall series as follows:

Les deux cycles existants de la collection des Mondes d’Aldébaran constituent incontestablement l’une des plus captivantes séries de science-fiction de ces dernières années. L’auteur y raconte l’effort de l’Humanité dans ses premières tentatives pour coloniser des planètes lointaines. Kim, confrontée à bien des aventures et des défis, débute son périple sur la planète Aldébaran puis sur Bételgeuse. Elle croisera d’étranges créatures, affrontera les dangers de mondes inconnus et subira les dégâts provoques par la folie des hommes.

Well worth reading if you enjoy ecological SF and well thought-out biologies, along with excellent art. This is BD at its best.

Also well worth reading if you’re playing the SF RPG Blue Planet.


8 Responses to 'A Sunday Morning Review: Aldebaran: L’intégrale'

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  1. andrewducker said,

    Any sign of any of these being translated into English?

  2. sbisson said,

    If only…

    …so it’s and Collins-Robert by the bed for me!

  3. almeda said,

    Is it only in French? The one I’m finding on Amazon (seems to be part of the same series, as it starts with Aldebaran, but then goes on to subtitle itself La Catastrophe) is.

    Alas to be monolingual, but I’ve tried’n’tried to learn other languages well and they just don’t stick, even after six years’ study. This series sounds like precisely what I like in books.

  4. andrewducker said,

    Dammit – I need babelfish built into my glasses!

  5. sbisson said,

    I’m afraid so.

    The volume you’ve found is the first part of the 5-volume series that’s collected into the “Integrale” I wrote about.

    BD tend to be published irregularly in hefty 72 or more page hardbacks, which are then collected into single volumes when a series is complete. Unfortunately this is way they tend not to be translated (which is a pisser, as the French do wonderful graphic novels).

  6. sbisson said,

    Me too…

  7. almeda said,

    Ooooooooooooh, it’s a comic book? Damn. Now I really mind.

  8. therealdrhyde said,

    Not to worry, seem to be out of stock anyway. Perhaps try Grant & Cutler on Great Marlborough St instead, I’m sure I’ve seen comic books in their large French section before.

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