Webcomic / Afterlife Blues
is a webcomic
written by Jon Kilgannon and illustrated by Mark Sachs, the same team that brought us A Miracle of Science
Brody Isett, our less than intelligent narrator
, had been living out his life of petty crime and getting caught on at least four worlds, until he got caught up in a plot of intrigue, subterfuge, and Artificial Intelligence
. Liraz Andronescu, the Hero of Athens, needed a guide for her team to infiltrate New Abilene, the rogue planet still blockaded by the American space fleet. So she recruits Brody to come back to his homeworld, promising not to turn him over to the cops. But who is this person that they're trying to find, and more importantly, what kind of AI is he?
You can read it online here
. It's been on Series Hiatus
since February 2011.
Tropes in Afterlife Blues:
- The Alcoholic: Guess who!
- Anti-Hero: Brody, though he hasn't done much yet.
- Artificial Intelligence: Franklin, and many of the other characters, and maybe even a MacGuffin
- Batman Gambit: Our heroes track Brody down by luring him to commit a crime.
- Beneath the Earth: Urban version on New Abilene. While they do seem to be embargoed by the American Fleet, they actually build underground due to frequent asteroid impact.
- Berserk Button: "You're not human, are you?"
- Broken Hero: One gets the impression that the Hero of Athens lost more than her body in that battle. About 60% of her brain, too
- Coat Cape: Bethany usually wears her Badass Longcoat this way. In fact, a lot of the time she's holding it in place.
- Comm Links: Aaahk, in your nose!
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Planet Athens
- Fair Cop: Ranger Isabel Lyle
- Five-Man Band:
- Leader: Liraz Andronescu
- Lancer: Bethany Tapsell
- Smart Guy: Emory Dindiri
- Big Guy: Brody Isett
- Chick: Faith Buckeridge
- Sixth Ranger: Malik van Aartsen (their lawyer)
- FTL Travel: Averted. Emory starts on the whole "travel through alternate universes" explantion, but Brody isn't terribly interested in hearing about it. Later one of the authors gave a detailed explanation in a message to TV Tropes. Instead of using a different dimension as shortcut to reach their destinations like some other FTL drives, they travel to other dimensions where habitable planets are in reach of sublight drives to settle there.
- Gaslighting: The word was deliberately used to flavor the story, as noted in The Rant for the appropriate page.
- Hacker Cave: Melissa's place
- Historical-Domain Character: Benjamin Franklin in AI form.
- Immune to Bullets: There are advantages to being a cyborg, such as being able to completely ignore handgun rounds.
- Interactive Narrator: The story is framed by Brody recounting a story to a reporter in exchange for alcohol.
- Intrepid Reporter: Even called so in The Rant
- Invisibility: This is what the infiltration suit is for.
- Lady of War: Liraz
- Man in the Machine
- Meganekko: Bethany.
- The Metric System Is Here to Stay: "You didn't recognise the Hero of Athens when you were two meters away from her?"
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: 2. Among the hardest SF webcomics today, the authors have clearly Shown Their Work.
- The Multiverse: So if you can't make FTL drives, why not settle on nearby planets in Alternate Universes? Interplanetary travel still requires some sub-light travel time to reach the gates.
- Nanomachines: Medical, among other uses. Also, holy shit hugeass spider!
- Nighthawks Shot: here
- Railgun: Make sure you Read the Freaking Manual. It also appears to be Chekhov's Gun; I hope they remember to return it to him when the story's over.
- The Rant: A two-way rant between the writer and illustrator, as in A Miracle of Science.
- Senseless Violins: Referenced. Rather than conceal her gun in an instrument case, Bethany uses nano to conceal it as an instrument.
- Something Blues
- Space Romans: New Abilene has a distinctly Texan/Southern feeling to it, from the way people talk to the fact that their federal police dress like cowboys.
- Subspace Ansible: Real-time communication back to Earth, in another universe. (Unless Franklin is sending part of his program to talk with the crew?)
- Techno Babble: What everything sounds like to Brody. Our poor authors try to Show Their Work, but Brody just cuts them off every time.
- Too Dumb to Live: Brody, of course. Luckily, he has Franklin looking out for him.
- Transferable Memory: "Forgetting is optional."
- Unreliable Narrator: Established by page 4.
- Waistcoat of Style: Liraz's usual outfit includes one.
- Word Salad Title: If "Afterlife Blues" is a phrase that means something within the story, this hasn't become apparent yet.
- Liraz was more or less killed in Battle. She lost her entire body and 60% of her brain.