By Jason Karlson
The Image series Roche Limit reached its first trade collection recently, and on May 6th, the new arc "Clandestiny" kicks off. Michael Moreci returns as writer on Roche Limit: Clandestiny, and is joined by Kyle Charles and Vic Malhotra, on art with Kyle Charles also on covers. The new arc of the series 75 years after the event that burned down the Roche Limit colony, and features a crew of science personnel sent to investigate the incident.
Writer Michael Moreci joins us today to talk with Jason Karlson about Clandestiny and why it's getting increasingly difficult to find new ideas in space exploration and our science fiction media.
Michael Moreci: For sure, a lot. Blade Runner was something I went back to time and time again, for its style and substance. Phillip K. Dick. Stanley Kubrick. The movie Brick for its cadence and dialogue. Kurt Vonnegut. Total Recall. So many great things to draw on.
JK: Noir seems to be a prevailing genre or feel that is in a lot of your previous works, what attracts you to it?
MM: Well, I like to deal in moral ambiguity. Most of my books are wrestling with things I don't have the answer to, whether it be about the morals of war and occupation, human existence, or other ethical concerns. Noir, to me, exists in this space of uncertainty, of challenging problems that don't have answers that you can punch your way out of, villains that aren't that far away, morally, from heroes. Good and bad, sometimes, is all about perspective, after all, and noir is a genre I've always loved because of that.
MM: Very lucky! I've been able to collaborate with two great artists in Vic and Kyle, which has been great. Both are perfectly suited for the story they were tasked with telling and really brought their all to the book. And it has sharpened me as well, knowing how to play to each other their strengths.
JK: In the first volume of Roche Limit, Langford's attempts to further space travel and build the colony as a jumping off point for further exploration are met with mockery and derision. Is this how you feel many who focus their attentions upwards are viewed, when the majority are focused on more earthbound matters?
MM: I think it's my view of how people are, for the most part, concerned with stupid bullshit than actually getting anything done. We waste so much time bickering in our political sphere and accomplishing absolutely nothing, so just the idea of reaching for the stars is kind of a joke. I think the idea of big thinking, big ambitions for humanity, is such a fantasy because we can hardly keep our system running as is. It's cynical, I know, but the cooperation it would take for someone like Langford to achieve such a tremendous goal is, to me, impossible. Even if we had the technology, I don't think we have unity to see it through.
MM: For sure. Granted, NASA has been doing an amazing job rebranding themselves and selling their many cool advances and discoveries. That has been inspiring, truly. But I think our politics, again, has ground our sense of hope and wonder to powder. It feels like our ideology has shifted from pushing forward to maintaining a stasis. And this permeates to culture as well—how much of our entertainment/art is just a retread/repurpose/remake/rewhatever of the exact same thing that already exists? New ideas, new thoughts—these are rare commodities. Rarer still to have them endorsed in the mainstream.
MM: Maybe not intentionally, but I think the strand of "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down" is a real thing in the United States, and maybe the world (I can only speak for American culture, of course). I recently watched the superb AMC show Halt and Catch Fire, which touched on this idea of trying to achieve greatness and being met with punishment in a brilliant way. The point is that no one wants you to be good—just good enough. It's why most of our art is junk, why so much of our culture celebrates anti-intellectualism. No one can be an expert, no one can be better; and in our refusal to entertain this possibility, we also refuse all the knowledge, benefits, and advances that come with it. I mean, there are pockets of this country that still refuse to acknowledge climate change. And why? Because we don't trust experts, we've been conditioned to meet them with derision and suspicion, which is counter intuitive to progress.
JK: Previously I asked about the blending of genres that is apparent in Roche Limit, beyond volume 2 do you have any plans or ideas for what genres might be at the forefront in the third volume, when it eventually comes out?
MM: Volume three is clear as day in mind. It definitely carries a new tradition, more like a space opera in some ways. Still the existential concerns, for sure, but also—I think—a fitting conclusion to the story.
Roche Limit: Clandestiny #1 arrives in shops on May 6th, and is currently listed in Previews World with item code: MAR150507. It reaches FOC today, April 13th.
We know only two things for certain of Jason Karlson; that he was born on the wagon of a traveling show to Latverian parents, and that tales of his origins are wholely fictional. His writing style is pithy and insightful, with hints of oak and red berry, finished with earthy tones and somber notes. If he were to describe himself in a single word it would likely be self deprecating. He occasionally tweets over at @marfedfolf and rambles on at marfedblog.wordpress.com.