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DF Interview: Matt Hawkins polishes Aphrodite Universe to the Nines
By Byron Brewer
Writer Matt Hawkins (Think Tank) pens a new Top Cow IX Utopia—built on a history of genocide and featuring haunting artwork by Stjepan Sejic—in IXth Generation, coming this January.
Set in the future, IXth Generation inhabits a world where there is no more natural death, no needs unfilled and everything you could ever want is yours… as long as you’re one of the ones chosen to live in this new Utopia and you’re willing to subjugate yourself to these new self-proclaimed gods with "IX"s emblazoned on them.
Dynamic Forces journeyed to the Top Cow dairy farm so Matt Hawkins could fill our pail with the following information.
Dynamic Forces: Matt, so this new sci-fi romp kind of brings the Aphrodite IX mythos face to face with the Artifacts side of the Top Cow Universe. Is that a fair assessment?
Matt Hawkins: Yes, that's definitely a fair assessment. In the storylines of both Aphrodite IX and Cyber Force the artifacts were there, but we kind of kept them out of sight. They were influencing the stories and we were setting it up that way. The Coin of Solomon is the most interesting artifact to me and I based a lot of what I did in Aphrodite IX on its power. It is essentially a "discovery" engine that gives people an added insight so they can make technological and scientific breakthroughs.
DF: Tell us about how the idea for this book came about.
Matt Hawkins: I was doing Aphrodite IX with Stjepan Sejic and we did two volumes of that. In the second volume, we introduced the other IXs with mythological names and it really opened the world up. I realized the third volume of Aphrodite IX would sort of be a sci-fi Game of Thrones-type storyline and we decided to redo it as an ensemble cast book. Aphrodite IX is still the lead, but we'll delve into the other characters stories as well.
DF: Tell us about the world this book inhabits.
Matt Hawkins: I'll steal the text page from my book which says:
The Aphrodite protocol was initiated in an attempt to save humanity from a predicted extinction level event.
Its mission was to engineer and evolve humans into new species that could survive via technological singularity or genetic enhancement to repopulate the Earth.
Aphrodite IX was prematurely activated and enmeshed in a conflict between two of these new species.
In the East, various tribes of genetically enhanced humans collectively called the GEN live in a city called GENESIS under a theocratic monarchy.
In the West, cybernetically-enhanced humans reside in the city of SPEROS in a totalitarian central party controlled state.
DF: What challenges will Aphrodite, Velocity and the other Nines face in this new world? Have their internal clashes ceased?
Matt Hawkins: This book actually starts 20 years after the end of the Aphrodite/Cyber Force storyline. So there is a host of new problems. The world has been segregated to the various fiefdoms and some of the more egotistical ones have built shrines to themselves. Ares being the worst!
DF: Who are ... the hordes of The Darkness and what threat do they hold for the Nines?
Matt Hawkins: That really is the question of this series. Is this The Darkness? Who or what is wielding it? Why is it here now?
DF: Beyond the obvious here, Matt, there is a lot to comment about here on society. Will there be any subtext analysis of "Do the ends always justify the means?"
Matt Hawkins: The subtext I have is that the ends often do NOT justify the means but that question is not easily answered. It's a common trope to discuss in philosophy class, but where do you draw the line? Do you kill Hitler's mother to prevent him from being born? Those are fun mind exercises. And then you can follow them through. What would have happened in the world and how would it be different if Hitler never existed?
DF: Why is Stjepan Sejic the right artist for this book? Did his unique and haunting manner of art influence the way the book was written?
Matt Hawkins: Sejic is one of my go to artists who is simply amazing. I've been working with him a lot over the past few years and he is a great artist and writer. He brings it all to the table. I love his facial expressions and his design sense.
DF: This tale is set in the future, but does it have any ramifications for the tales of today?
Matt Hawkins: All great sci-fi stories do! Not to say mine is great, I'll defer that to the readers but I have to try at least! (smiles) It's definitely a corollary for power run amok and the danger of believing one ideology all the way through to its culmination. I'm very proud of this book and think it will be the cherry on top of the work Sejic and I did on Aphrodite IX. I look at this as the unofficial third Aphrodite volume but it's definitely set up so you can read this without having read the previous ones ... but you should!
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Matt Hawkins for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. IXth Generation #1 hits stores January 7th, today!
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