The first part of a planned multi-story cycle, Leo's Aldebaran build on the familiar tropes of the "lost colony". Mysterious problems with FTL travel have isolated Earth's only colony world for more than a century. Reverting to a lower technological base, the colonists have thrived, living on the coastal fringes of the ocean planet's tiny continents, communities linked by airship and sailing ship. But things are changing. The world isn't as benign as they thought - and something is happening in the seas. Meanwhile, a totalitarian technocrat government is struggling to hold on to power.
Aldebaran follows the lives of an assorted group of rebels and malcontents, among them Kim, a girl from a village destroyed by something from the sea, and two strangers who can recover from nearly any injury. Leo gives us travelogue writ large. Strange creatures and intriguing ecosystems confront our varied cast as they struggle to find out just what is happening in the oceans, and to keep their mysterious friends away from the hands of the government. Meanwhile, re-contact is imminent...
Leo gives us a wide ranging story that focuses the complexities of an alien environment through human inquisitiveness and arrogance, while never losing sight of the beauty of the mysterious.
This is a work that could only have been BD. Initially published in 5 volumes, Aldebaran: L'intégrale brings the story together into a single volume. Aldebaran is part of a series that explores the early days of interstellar exploration, mixing well thought ecologies with an over-arching archaeological mystery. The second cycle, the five-volume Betelgeuse has just finished, with the third, Antares, due to begin in 2006. The publisher describes the overall series as follows:
Les deux cycles existants de la collection des Mondes d'Aldébaran constituent incontestablement l'une des plus captivantes séries de science-fiction de ces dernières années. L'auteur y raconte l'effort de l'Humanité dans ses premières tentatives pour coloniser des planètes lointaines. Kim, confrontée à bien des aventures et des défis, débute son périple sur la planète Aldébaran puis sur Bételgeuse. Elle croisera d'étranges créatures, affrontera les dangers de mondes inconnus et subira les dégâts provoques par la folie des hommes.Well worth reading if you enjoy ecological SF and well thought-out biologies, along with excellent art. This is BD at its best.
Also well worth reading if you're playing the SF RPG Blue Planet.