Cast Iron Chaos RecentChanges

LoginLogoutRegisterContact the WebmasterPayPal Me



Copyright (c) 2007 Mark Stanley.

DOGGY! Here's a comic that's loads of fun - it's family-friendly, it's furry, and it's almost entirely non-offensive. (That is, unless you don't like the occasional essay on technology and psychology.) Freefall is based on "hard" science fiction (no transformers or warps or stuff), and it has one of the slowest plots of any online comic…but what it lacks in action (and there's plenty of that), it makes up for in sheer fun.

The storyline revolves around Florence Ambrose, a hard-working and honest "Bowman's Wolf" who finds herself contracted to work for Sam Starfall…a no-good, two-timing alien con artist who still somehow manages to be lovable and friendly, even as we see him committing every (non-violent) crime in the book. Florence's efforts to repair the good ship Savage Chicken and get it underway, while keeping her sanity amid Sam's antics, make for one of the most enjoyable trips into the future you're likely to see.

And we can't forget Helix. ("Oh boy!" ) Lovable Helix the robot, whose sole purpose in life is to pick up heavy things, move them, and put them down. Don't ask why that means he believes in vampires.

And yet, underneath this light-hearted banter, there's actually a serious, long-running "hard" science fiction theme that's been popping up in the comic on a regular basis. In addition to the antics of Florence, Sam, and Helix, Freefall has also looked at artificial intelligence and the gradual evolution of robot sentience to a point where the robots in the story are secretly developing an independent society of their own. It's a science fiction concept that has been used quite frequently – but in most stories of this sort, a robot's sentience is essentially identical to a human's personality. Only in a few science fiction stories do robots actually develop behavior and thought patterns that are decidedly non-human in their logic. Freefall's storyline has been developing along those lines, which is one reason why I find it so fascinating. (For another look at non-human artificial intelligence, take a look at the movie A.I. - Artificial Intelligence.)

Strips come out every Monday Wednesday, and Friday; in addition there's also a delightfully silly message board that takes a light-hearted "critical" look at everything happening in the story. The message board can be more addictive than the strip itself.