#TheTwin is social science fiction about a twin planet of Earth discovered in a parallel universe. Both worlds have a great deal in common, but there are also differences. For one, the people on Twin are sort of left-brained, much more technical than artistic. However, a foursome of explorers brought Earthly virtues with them and passed them on to their Twin progeny.
A freelance reporter writes a fictional story about a tropical island named Bohemia and sends it to Twin. There, a talented Earthling descendant illustrates the story comics-style, making it wildly popular with the natives who’d never seen anything like that before.
Comics artists on Earth have computer aids at their disposal, but to fit the narrative, we had to find someone who could do the work without such tools. We identified a half a dozen hand-drawing talents, four of whom agreed to contest their interpretations. They all received the first chapter of the story with an order for a full-page illustration.
The first chapter describes the arrival on Bohemia of an Envoy to Nations. She and a couple of bodyguards are greeted by the leader of the islanders, and the next morning, after a communal breakfast, the Envoy makes a presentation to the gathered crowd. The trio departs, leaving the people wondering what’s going on.
The first illustration came from a Brazilian artist Matheus. We were impressed with the clean lines capturing the essence of the main protagonists’ encounter, and truly thought we had a winner.
Next came Wisdrawin from Spain. This artist illustrated the morning scene with the breakfast table set in the back and highlighted the contrast between the island’s innocence and the intruding world power. We did like the concept and the detailed work, but our preference still stayed with Matheus.
Our minds changed quickly when in a few days, we got the playful – almost poetic – entry from Tenkomiro out of Zimbabwe. The artist was keen to illustrate the entire story, and we could not agree more – this looked like our winner. But, out of respect for the fourth artist, we hadn’t yet awarded the contract and waited.
The last entry came from India. The most remarkable aspect of Avi’s work was how he made his characters alive with emotions, as he drew them on a scratchpad just like ‘the talented Earthling descendant’ would. And so Avi got to illustrate the rest of the book.
But this is not where the story ends, as we expect Avi’s characters to reveal more about themselves, the contrast between life on Earth and its twin in the parallel universe, and answer reader’s questions at this forum.