Sunday, November 20, 2016

Nod Away

Nod Away is a complicated book, a cerebral science fiction story with strong characters, a well-defined universe, and lots of intriguing plot threads. There are two parallel narratives. The first focuses on Dr. Melody McCabe, a scientist newly arrived to the International Space Station Integrity to work on a project where a wormhole will be opened up.

In this future time, many people are connected to a new type of social network, nicknamed Streaming, via a surgically implanted patch. It is interesting to see how the world here is an extrapolation of ours, where media and technology have a huge impact on how people interact and are socialized. Dr. McCabe is an outlier of sorts, as she is biologically incompatible with the Streaming technology and so is not connected. Much of this book sheds insight into how she becomes acclimated to life in space, and it is an awkward and bumpy experience, to say the least.
The second storyline seems related to the first, though I am not clear on how yet. It follows a solitary figure traversing a barren, rocky landscape on some seemingly uninhabited planet.
The book ends on a huge turn of events that left me bewildered but also eager for more. At first, I did not know that this was the first book in a series, and I went back and poured over it to try to make sense of everything. I found it exciting to explore the intricacies of this book, and I have formulated a bunch of theories about how things might relate. But I will just have to hang tight to see where things go, because this book is the first of a proposed seven, and Cotter is at work at a Nod Away Volume 2. I am excited to where everything is going and how it will connect in the future.

Nod Away is the creation of Joshua W. Cotter, author of the prior series/graphic novel Skyscrapers of the Midwest. He also created Driven By Lemons, a book containing an interesting mix of comics, sketches, and prose. He spoke about his work on Nod Away in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about the book comment on its strong character work and attention to detail in both story and art. The fine folks at Comics Alternative wrote, "Part of the beauty of Nod Away us that it paints a narrative picture best observed from a broader context, while at the same time the fine detail of Cotter’s art compels us to investigate its many intricacies." Zach Hollwedel summed it up as "A lingering, at times dense, page-turner of a science-fiction achievement." John Seven commented that "with each unexpected moment, the actions of the characters, because he has given such care to them, remain true and consistent, becoming the anchor in the wild ride."

Nod Away was published by Fantagraphics, and they have a preview and more available here.

Nod Away features some sexual scenes, violence, and occasional profanity, and it is suggested for readers mature enough to handle those things.

No comments:

Post a Comment