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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rick Random, Space Detective. Steve Holland (Editor). Prion (2008)

This is a collection of ten stories featuring Rick Random, investigator for the Interplanetary Bureau of Investigations. These stories are great romantic science fiction where the future is full of far flung planets, intergalactic travel and intrigue and naturally murder most foul. The stories take the world of post war Britain and dress it up in futuristic clothes and buildings, add lashings of technology to create a hugely enjoyable mix. The adventures are full of action, the settings are varied and art is wonderful.
The limited number of panels per page and the extensive text takes a little getting used to, it slows down the momentum of the stories and there is frequently too much explanation provided. This is simply a feature of comics of the time and you adjust very quickly and take the stories at their own pace. The fewer and usually larger panels do give the art work a chance to shine and it does so. The visions of the future are wonderful, they are full of sleek space ships and robots. The details of the royal court on the Moon from the story Emperor of the Moon are simply astonishing. The level of detail is extraordinary, the panels are never crowded or busy.
The stories themselves are models of compression, there is a significant level of action and plot development crammed into each one. Rick Random is a little too clean cut a hero, he is consistently surrounded by very interesting villains and supporters who add great zest and flavour to the stories. Like a lot of science fiction the stories strongly reflect prevailing social attitudes which shine out clearly today and for the most part add to the charm of the stories. This is a great value collection of very enjoyable science fiction from a time when the future could be imagined with a sincerely romantic fervour.

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