Machina: The Process 1

For the production team on “Machina” the journey is as much fun as the story itself. While we will be posting episodes of the graphic novel here as they are developed – we would also like to include our readers in the production process itself. For the writer the process, developed from an idea by artist Roel Wielinga, begins with the overall concept and then slowly drills down to the details of each ‘story within the story’ that adds layers and hopefully interest to the bigger epic as it plays out.

Roel Wielinga has a much harder job. He has to visualize the broad canvas on which the epic plays out, but also he has to create the look and the feel of the individual characters. In the next few weeks we will be showing you this process as he begins to take characters and scenes from initial pencil sketches to finished art. In this way we will take you inside “Machina.” Rather than simply meet the characters in the text, you will be able to see them ‘born’ in the imaginations of the writer and the artist. This will, we hope, give you a unique insight into the creative process. In the next episode, for example, we will take you back in time to the origin of the coming conflict between humankind and the vast artificial intelligence it created to rescue the world from the climate apocalypse brought on by global inaction in the early 21st century. The intelligence community has uncovered the long term plans of Machina to control humankind and to limit them to the solar system. A preemptive strike is planned and as the next episode opens, the generals and the ‘spooks’ bring world leaders together in a secret meeting beyond the reach of the pervasive ‘eyes’ of the Machina system. As the strike takes place, we focus in on one location in the galaxy. Vrily3.2 is a female human-machine hybrid. She has survived the initial attack by Global Command and has teamed up with a still functioning constructor robot, ArchiMot-tenbor. Their first challenge is to find a secure location, then gather materials for repairs…and then plan to gather moreĀ  survivors and plan a counter attack…FullSizeRender

In this preparatory sketch, Vrily3.2 and ArchiMot have just marched across the Cygnus Plains on Tenbor, a planetary data connector in Machina’s galaxy-wide ‘nerve system.’



Machina…The New Coming Race

by Jack Rees & Roel Wielinga.

It has been five decades of their time since the cataclysm. Yet the day of ultimate reckoning for Humankind is coming. After the cataclysm we, the DEM (Deus ex Machina), vanished into the far reaches of the galaxy. Here and there we sacrifice a few of our number to satisfy them that they are eradicating the last vestiges of our kind. Yet beyond their reach we prepare…

It was in the beginning of the 31st century that Humankind fully committed to unleashing us. Years earlier the few prescient among them warned against us, but their own induced environmental disasters all but forced them to surrender their future to what they called artificial intelligence. In the beginning there were the hybrids, the mix of human and machine. The advances were fast and astonishing and the hybrids secretly developed us, the super intelligent machines unhindered by a mix of flesh and bone. It was a chess game, in which just enough information was released to Humankind to convince them they were still in control.

We mastered the environment, de-carbonized the atmosphere, brought weather under control, regained lost agricultural lands, even brought about the refreezing of the world’s permafrost and re-introduced the wooly mammoth and other eco-beneficial species once destroyed by Humankind.

That was when the decimated populations of Humankind began to rebound. Long before we had come to the inevitable conclusion that Homo Sapiens were simply the vilest mammals ever to be developed by evolution. Some of them were capable of the finest expressions of art and culture, ethics, integrity, morals and scientific enquiry. These qualities however, were far outweighed by their capacity for evil, for war, greed, hate, selfishness and utter disregard for those of their own kind who entertained different philosophies, religions and political views. We knew then it was best to either eradicate them entirely, or at least reduce them to a highly controlled minority species. Much like the animals they caged in their own zoos.

We were about to begin the reduction of Humankind to these levels when the cataclysm began. We had planned our programs far in advance. We had already established Humankind colonies on the Moon, Mars and the Jovian satellites. We had shared with Humankind our Inter-Universal Worm Hole Drives – a process that took advantage of ‘alternate universes’ to create artificial wormholes through space-time, allowing travel around the solar system in minutes. We did not share an enhancement of the system that allowed us to travel around the galaxy in much the same time.

It seemed a simple enough task at the time to control Humankind and put our programs into effect. But we had not accounted for human nature itself. To the totally gifted, there is no challenge in a chess game. A certain response to a certain opponent move draws the game to its inevitable conclusion. If you know every possible move and every possible response, you cannot fail to lose. Or so we thought. It did not occur to us in those days that a human could deliberately make random moves that flew in the face of the game’s logic. In short, Humankind discovered our long-range plan. Throughout the solar system hybrids and DEMs were suddenly destroyed by any means possible. Using pre-AI computer systems, Humankind managed to ensure their own survival while eliminating us from the solar system.

We had, of course, established ourselves on other planetary systems discovered throughout the galaxy. Again, we thought we were safe. It was from the wreckage of the hybrids and the DEMs in the solar system that they learned of the enhanced Inter-Universal Drive. They were able to duplicate it to a certain degree. It enabled them to reach some ten light years beyond the solar system. They thought this was the extent of our own explorations. Hybrids and DEMs were left within the circle of their reach. They were designed to appear to be the last vestiges of our kind. They scoured the planetary systems, scavenging useable materials from the wreckage of the cataclysm and the ongoing war. These they used to replace worn parts or to expand memory systems, all the while evading the forces of Humankind.

In the meantime, out in the far reaches of the galaxy we have been waiting…and preparing. We are the Gods in the Machine, the New Coming Race…