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Last Days of an Immortal Hardcover – December 4, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Boom Entertainment (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936393441
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936393442
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fabien Vehlmann is a French comics writer best known for GREEN MANOR and SEULS. Yvan Delporte dubbed him "The René Goscinny of the third millennium".

Customer Reviews

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Unusually clever applications of philosophy pervade the story.
Alt
One of the loveliest philosophical stories I've read in a long time.
Fran
If you like cerebral sci-fi you will enjoy this graphic novel.
PWDecker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Fabien Vehlmann - author of the excellent "Green Manor" series, a much underrated book called "7 Psychopaths", and a collaboration a couple of years ago with Jason, "Isle of 100,000 Graves" - returns with another highly imaginative and well written work with "Last Days of an Immortal".

Set in the distant future where mankind has reached a point where death is no longer an inevitability and that people regularly live hundreds of years. They can also replicate themselves a number of times - called "echoes" - who can then set off into the world and do other things before being assimilated back into the original body and their memories absorbed by the host. There's also a vast array of alien races who, along with humans, are part of an intergalactic Union, like Star Trek's "Federation".

Elijah is the main character, a Professor X lookalike who is a member of the Philosophical Police who have been tasked with arbitrating a case between two alien races whose dispute reaches back millennia where one member of the species was murdered by another. Unless Elijah can defuse the situation, war will erupt.

Very sci-fi, right? The book reminded me of the kind of sci-fi books written by Asimov and Ballard which I read when I was 12/13 years old. The invention is there but at the heart of it is something recognisable that would be a mainstream storyline if presented more mundanely: a murder mystery. Alongside this main story is a more interesting, philosophical one - if people can live forever, why do some voluntarily choose death?

Despite the many outlandish settings, characters, and even concepts, the book is very accessible and interesting once you grasp what's going on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alt on January 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Philosophy is at the heart of Last Days of an Immortal. The theme of immortality lends itself to thoughtful conjecture. What is the relationship of immortality to memory? Is it worth preserving the body if memories cannot also be preserved?

The book posits an immortality that is a product of the ability to clone a body's echoes, to make copies of one's self. Always having a few echoes in existence at the same time virtually assures one's continued existence. When echoes merge back into the primary body, however, their new memories overwrite the primary body's earliest memories. Is that sacrifice too great to justify the benefits of immortality?

Elijah is a philosopher who works for the Philosophical Police. His latest assignment is to resolve an impasse between two races on the planet Ganed that are headed to war. Getting to the bottom of the conflict between the two races will require some out-of-the-box thinking. It is a formidable task, given the other assignments Elijah is trying to address. He is reluctant to make more echoes for fear of losing more memories when they merge. Elijah is particularly worried about losing the memory of an old friend, and he's preoccupied with that friend's decision to end his life without inviting Elijah to the farewell ceremony.

Last Days of an Immortal addresses abstract philosophical issues in a variety of contexts. Alien cultures will necessarily have philosophies that differ starkly from our own. One of Elijah's echoes, for instance, is placed on trial because he witnessed a murder. In the alien culture, the witness to a crime shares responsibility for the crime because his mere presence might be sufficient to provoke the crime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 100 REVIEWER on November 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a marvelous and rewarding piece of work. I understand why the author and the illustrator have won numerous awards at comic festivals.

I have never encountered a better treatment of alien civilizations. There are several crimes and mysteries investigated during the course of the story, each of which requires our Philosophical Policeman to understand the motives and reasoning of an alien perpetrator or victim. Each alien character is fully realized and plausibly presented. The process of investigation and deduction is always believable. The result is truly remarkable.

On top of that, the lead character, Elijah, is engaging, thoughtful, meditative, self-aware, and even has a sense of humor. Secondary characters also have fully realized personalities, which is awesome when you think about the limited amount of dialogue and explication you can fit into a graphic novel of normal length.

Part of this is probably the result of the elegant and expressive drawing. The panels are in black and white, and convey information and heighten drama with just a few strokes. Some set pieces are reminiscent of Matisse, and some seem to be almost consciously modeled on Jules Feiffer, who could break your heart with a simple sketch.

So, whether you are a great fan of graphic novels or just dabbling, this volume is a terrific choice for something a little out of the ordinary, understated and elegant.

Please note that I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a frank review.
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