Yes, he's joking. Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert is always joking, in a serious, important kind of way. But his strange new half-novel, half-comic-book, Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure is, for the Popular Science fan, light years beyond funny.
A good mix of intergalactic politics, ridiculously absurd technology and Colbert's unique brand of vanity, the Tek Jansen novel, available here, is best read in bits. But you might also want to try skimming the glossary for the definition of terms like autoslide or the Sterling Photochromic Memorachip. Whereas the book has an old-school, cobbled-together, geocities-era look, the comic is slick, well-drawn and professionally done. Tek, the Colbert-based hero, has a radioactive robotic monkey sidekick, loads of girlfriends and a giant energy void for an enemy. He's also naked for the last few pages of the first issue.—Gregory Mone