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Last Days of an Immortal Hardcover – 1 Mar 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Archaia Entertainment (1 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936393441
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936393442
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 19 x 25.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,314,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER on 4 Dec 2012
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Philsophy in a future age 5 Jan 2013
By Alt - Published on Amazon.com
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. That makes sort of a convoluted sense, and it's consistent with the principle that an observer always affects the phenomenon being observed, even though it's drastically different from a human's ordinary concept of moral responsibility. Unusually clever applications of philosophy pervade the story.

Last Days of an Immortal deserves to be read and reread, the better to appreciate the subtle thinking that went into its creation. In addition to the writing, I admire the simplicity of the artwork. Its minimalist approach perfectly conveys the futuristic setting. I also appreciate the tasteful rendering of the sex scenes, but parents should know that this is definitely intended for an adult audience.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Subtle, Complex, Elegant 27 Nov 2012
By Pop Bop - Published on Amazon.com
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.
Philosophical and Alien 25 May 2014
By Avatar of Azathoth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a lover of the weird and the fantastique, then this book is a delightful treat. Drawn in the simple style of many adult comix the story explores immortality and its implications leading up to the final decision of the last immortal.
So Profound 29 Mar 2014
By Blazer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This comic may be hard to understand on the first reading, but it's so profound, I recommend it to everyone I know. The storyline makes you think of your own perception of the world and how it differs from others, how sexuality is changing and fluid, and how sometimes the craziest answer is the right one. If you like books that make you think, get this one.
Deep and beautiful 25 Nov 2013
By Fran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the loveliest philosophical stories I've read in a long time. The fact that it's in manga form is an added bonus.
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