You’ve been imprisoned by a shadowy government project and your identity has been erased; the only question is why. Welcome Home.
In a dystopian society where severe laws are in place to regulate the media you’re allowed to view, anyone and anything can be erased. Most people get their information and entertainment from the Knowledgebase -- a computer network dubbed the “sum total of human knowledge.” But forces are at work to edit and shape the Knowledgebase as they see fit -- suppressing dissident thoughts and behaviors. Their clear target: a group of rebels who hide in plain sight and call themselves the Transhumans -- people who remote into androids illegally, and whose goal is to eventually transplant a human consciousness into an android.
In the middle of this stands 77, a prisoner who’s been asked to repair a broken android for his captors. Once he solves the mystery of this android, he may find the truth behind the Transhumans, the elusive Knowledgebase architects, and the erased.
The Erased presents a near-future parable for the media age, where the march toward merging with technology comes at a terrible price.
This was a chapter I left out of the book on the advice of my editor, Ian (@theangelremiel). Basically his advice was that this chapter was very well written but didn’t add anything to the story. Wise man. I mean, wow, it would’ve killed the momentum if I kept it where it was (somewhere around chapter 20). Anyway, it’s problematic in several ways — it contains a lengthy description of Alan Moore’s work on Marvelman (or Miracleman in the US) and the legal troubles that have surrounded that work. It’s told from the perspective of the Knowledgebase Architect character, who, like me, has an enormous affinity for the work of Moore. There’s also a quote in here from Miracleman #16 that I could not use in the story because, hey, nobody owns those rights, so there’s nobody to contact for clearing the quote (at least as I understand it… well, Marvel might own the rights now, I’m not sure). Also, the character’s admiration of Moore’s work was described in his earlier, introductory chapter (which featured the From Hell quotes cleared by Top Shelf). The point was to get to know the Architect, an ambiguous character whom we’re meant to think is the ultimate antagonist of the piece.
I’ve told you about Alan Moore’s comic book work, right? I have copies of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and From Hell on my shelf. I’ve managed to track down a paperback copy of his “DC Universe” stories. Swamp Thing, though I haven’t read it yet. Alan Moore’s important to me because the first thing I was going to strike from the Knowledgebase – from human history – was an already rare series of stories he’d written about a character named Marvelman, or Miracleman in his American series (an old comics company called Marvel Comics – who ran Spiderman and Hulk and Iron Man – they didn’t like the use of the word “marvel” in connection with characters they didn’t own).
This was Moore, building upon what had gone before. While he built on what had gone before, he was deconstructing the notion of the Superman.