Science-fiction meets science fact in After the Gold Rush, which you can contribue to here. We talk to the creator of the series, Miles Greb, to find out more.
AP2HYC: What are your goals with the series?
Greb: The first of course is to tell a compelling story. I had a grander design in mind when I was inspired to start the comic, but in doing so, our characters were born. You start to feel protective of them, and don’t want anything, not even you, to spoil them.
But aside from that, it’s really two parts. The first is that I have grown weary of the gloom. There are so many stories today about our downfall. Some are well written and have good warnings, but when they become the norm, they become dangerous. Remember what happened to Artax in The Never Ending Story?
I wanted to write a story about how damn awesome science is! How we can build, and learn, and become a better people. That’s not to say After the Gold Rush is just a pep squad of a comic; but there is futurism in it.
Another goal was to help even out the rather flat presentation of skeptics and atheists in pop culture. Skeptics are shown doubting wild claims, only for the wild claim to be true. Of course it’s always a ghost-dragon-zombie-alien that ends up making the skeptic pay for their doubt, normally with their life. They are shown as foolish deniers, who are closed-minded and uninterested in evidence; so pretty much the exact opposite of the whole point of the movement and discipline.
AP2HYC: Why has this world forsaken science?
Greb: You are the first person to ask me that. I wondered why no one else has. However, I can’t reward your good question. I want it to be an unknown starting off. Sorry!
AP2HYC: How would you describe the series’ approach to science and religion?
Greb: Science is the best mythology we know of, or are likely to know of, for understanding the cosmos. It demands evidence, repeatability, falsifiability, and is self-correcting. You are as likely to gain renown in science by demonstrating a flaw in known theories, as you are by creating a new one.
Religion however, makes claims about the universe, and defends them with tradition, not evidence. Of course religions can create rich cultural artifacts and traditions – those can have value. But as a mythology of understanding the cosmos, they offer little or nothing.
This is however not to say that religious people don’t offer anything. I want to make it clear that that is utterly not my point. Religion teaches people to settle with not understanding the universe, and so I wish to stir up that contentment.
People are complex machines. We all have flaws and virtues. But, and I want to make this clear, After the Gold Rush is not a story about bashing Theists. In fact, our most intelligent character is a Theist.
AP2HYC: You mention that the protagonist was born on Titan?
Greb: Correct. Scout was the first person ever born on Saturn’s most well-known satellite. This was during the first manned expedition there – the Beagle II mission. There isn’t a settlement there or anything. We were not that far along. Space travel is still very difficult, even with the advancements we have made.
Scout has never seen or been to Earth. She knows of it of course, the same way people who have never been to London know some things about London. She has a device that updates with large data signals from Earth, and it flash saves Yottabyte’s of data. So she has seen videos, pictures, etc. of Earth and its culture, but she is an outsider.
AP2HYC: How does she fit into the story?
Greb: After the Gold Rush is her story, if it’s anyone’s. Issue #1 tells of her returning to her ancestral home of Earth. As the story develops you will see the interaction of a person born into a culture without superstition, religion, or pseudoscience struggle to adapt to a culture born out of the love of stories.
We have a whole cast of people she meets on the way, but like I said early, I want to keep some of the mystery alive, so the details on many of them I must omit. However, I have shown Isaacs’ concept art for The Axman and Gutenberg. They will both be major players in our plot. There will also be a wolf-dog!
AP2HYC: What exactly is the Gold Rush in the title referring to?
Greb: Our highpoint: the golden age of human colonization, knowledge, and fairness.
AP2HYC: Can you talk about the art style?
Greb: I wish I could send this question over to our artist Isaac, but he is very busy making awesome looking stuff. I came up the general ascetic, but many of the selections were Isaac‘s. I knew what Scout should look like, but every time Isaac drew her, it informed my vision. You can see her first concept art below:
I always wanted a bit of that retro sci-fi look. But since this book has heavy science themes, I needed to make sure I could explain how everything is supposed to work. So it’s a blend of retro futurism styles and practical predictable future tech.
AP2HYC: You say that you’re planning 25 issues, is that five story arcs?
Greb: That’s correct. I do have a little more story I could fit in there if we are doing well enough, but the core narrative is 25 issues. I have them all outlined all ready.
AP2HYC: Do you plan to continue the series afterwards?
Greb: After issue 25, no. I hope people will enjoy the series and want more, but the ending is written and it’s the right place to stop. Even if somehow we sell tons of copies and people clamour for more, I wouldn’t write an issue #26.
You can show your love for After the Gold Rush via its Kickstarter here!