Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
2000AD Prog #1791 came out last week, and it’s a big one. As well as having the last-ever installment of the 15-year saga of “Nicolai Dante,” and containing the first Judge Dredd strip since the post-movie premiere buzz took off in earnest, it also features the finale of “1947” by writer Kek-W and artist Mike Dowling. Kek has originated many classic thrills (to use the official Tharg-sanctioned vernacular) for 2000AD, including “Kid Cyborg,” “Rose O’Rion” (my personal favorite), “Second City Blues” and, most recently (and to great critical acclaim), “Angel Zero,” with John M Burns. I spoke to Kek about the three-part thriller, which has reimagined Britain’s post-World War II years in a way that evokes, and invokes, plenty of iconic U.K. science fiction. The first part of the strip ended on a shocking reveal: In this the year of his centennial, the leader of the resistance to an invading race of fascistic aliens was real-life computer pioneer Alan Turing.
Robot 6: So, using Alan Turing as an action hero seems almost ironic bearing in mind the turns for the tragic his life took after World War II.
Kek-W: Well, Turing was treated appallingly by the authorities in the 1950s over his sexuality. It’s quite awful what they did to him, especially when you consider that his work in analytical cryptography may well have changed the course of WWII. He’s now, quite rightly, acknowledged as one of the pioneers of modern computer science; he coined the expression “Artificial Intelligence”, as well as devising a possible (self-named) test to recognize it. So, along with Philip K. Dick, he could arguably be considered to be one of the godfathers of cyberpunk — his work has had as big an impact on SF writing as it has on mathematics and computer technology. Towards the end of his life, he started looking at biological mathematics – really exotic stuff. There’s no guessing where he would have ended up if he hadn’t committed suicide.