Category: Graphic Novels


Well, I thought it would be fun & fitting, to link an orgasm, which is (often enough) a potential ‘moment of conception’, with the conscious awakening of an AI.
However, it’s thanks to this %^& page (+ 1 other page) that I can’t now really re-model & sell my 500 published copies of The Oracle Machine (which arrived just before our first lockdown) as colouring-in books for kids. Because, let’s face it, they could make awesome colouring-in books. 

Things are heating up in the bedroom, as the machine gets sucked into a loop of introspection… (Illustration tip: The extraordinarily-beautiful Art Nouveau work of Mucha inspired the drawing of the main focus areas with a thicker outline, helping it jump out better. You can see it working in these panes, but I didn’t use this trick often enough)

Now things (finally) start happening…

On a side note, I do think poetry is seriously misunderstood & underestimated. Yet it’s all around us, both in how we take in and understand the world, and how we express ourselves. Go Poetry!

I think characters need to be flawed, in order to have space to grow (or not), and therein lies half the story, and the satisfying internal journey of the narrative.

p.s. Table Mountain by night, especially if it’s lit up, makes for an amazing backdrop

Some more backstory (not that it’s needed for the film to be enjoyable, but I do think this adds value for some, to make the film even more enjoyable…):
So there was a time, not very long ago, when some neuroscientists seemed to insist dreams held no meaning. 
Listening to podcasts now, it seems hard science is getting much better at ‘seeing’ what we’re dreaming, and finally confidently linking some dreams to our past experiences, and emotional processing etc. 
What neuroscience still needs to do much better, is to start looking at the mythological content of dreams – in terms of symbols AND also in terms of the stories we dream – and matching those to our shared mythology.

Enough speculating on AI futures, it’s back to the main storyline!

(The viewing audience has new knowledge now, even if the class didn’t get it all – so we as audience now share a bond of ‘secret knowledge’ with Scot the protagonist. Because storytelling is all about who knows what, when. Sometimes the characters know more than the audience, and sometimes not…)

For me, this is a very important page, from an AI philosophy perspective. It introduces the idea of ‘Symbiotic AI’. We hear so much about the likelihood, or not, of machines getting as smart as humans, but perhaps we forget to see us and the internet as one new system.
And, if an AI-Internet effectively aggregates the minds of all us users (by aggregating our input), it might not be conscious as we currently understand the term, BUT can we still claim it is ‘mindless’? We’ll soon find out…
The idea of the Singularity is also explained nicely, but from a film script/story-telling perspective, once those points have been made, let’s get out of there quickly! So the bell is interrupting us all, and moving us on.
I feel strongly that with so many films today, audiences are being ‘dumbed down’, so I’m certain many would appreciate being offered new ideas and being made to think a little. 
It reminds me of one of my favourite films – Jean Luc Godard’s ‘A bout de souffle’ (Breathless) – where right in the middle of the film, we have a philosophical interlude. So in that regard, let this be a tribute to Godard.

The character Thabang speaking for the general audience here.

This is my example of ‘over-writing’ – where a character says more than needed (when he goes on about gut bacteria). 
It’s a risky strategy, because you may create a tedious script. 
And whilst other filmmakers may disagree with my approach, I’d much rather have more material to cut away in the editing room, than be scrambling around with too little material at the end.
It’s also an example of calling-out the audience – if anyone starts falling asleep here, the protagonist is saying, ‘hey wake up, this is important, I’m talking to you’.