Altaplana, world of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters

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Compelled (The)

The Compelled is a sci-fi novella written by Adam Roberts and the first book-length science fiction publication that François Schuiten has illustrated. The digital publication was published by NeoText in August 2020.

NeoText has a completely innovative way of approaching the creative process,” Schuiten told The Hollywood Reporter. “At a time when the graphic novel industry is walking in circles, NeoText is forging a new path, building bridges between prose, comics, and cinematic storytelling. When I began my career, it was a seismic moment for comics, with the publication of magazines like Heavy Metal. I’m reminded of that historic moment now, as NeoText looks ahead to the future.1)


A mysterious change has occurred in humanity. Nobody knows how, why or exactly when this change came about, but disparate, seemingly unconnected people have become afflicted with the uncontrollable desire to take objects and move them to other places, where the objects gather and begin to form increasingly alien, monolithic structures that appear to have vast technological implications. Some of the objects are innocuous everyday things—like a butter knife taken still greasy from a breakfast table or a dented cap popped off a bottle of beer. Others are far more complex—like the turbine of an experimental jet engine or the core of a mysterious weapon left over from the darkest days of WWII.

Where is the Compulsion coming from? And—possibly more importantly—when the machines they’re building finally turn on, what are they going to do?

Haunting and evocative, The Compelled follows the stories of various different characters affected by Compulsion—an American congressman figuring out how to spin the news of his Compulsion, a woman Compelled to grab a cop’s gun and steal his car (and the cop who chases after her), a wealthy businessman funding the expensive retrieval of something for his Compelled lover—and just like the Compelled themselves, readers watch their seemingly disparate stories coalesce into something astounding.

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