Thursday, January 16, 2014

Transreality by Chris Lackey

Last Fall, I read about this Kickstarter campaign by the cartoonist Chris Lackey to fund his graphic novel about "a 21st Century man thrust into a post-singularity transhuman world." It had been funded back in 2012, and it was available to order. I love science fiction that wrestles with notions of a time of and after singularity (everything from Philip K. Dick to Charles Stross), so I sent off for a copy. I'm glad I did, because the resulting graphic novel, Transreality, hits all the high notes of this kind of SF: questioning what it means to be human, how we understand identity, self, free will, particularly in a day and age where these things are increasingly becoming something it is easy to opt out of. Also, pink gorillas, localized nano-swarms, and earning enough credit for a body.

James Watson suffers from Capgras Syndrome: he recognizes everyone around him, his family and friends, but they just seem off to him, not real, like everyone he loves has been replaced by an exact duplicate. Luckily, the tiny town of Keighley, England has enough folks suffering from it to form a support group.

Only, it's a very rare problem - maybe one in a million people have it. James and his fellow capgras support group members fall down the rabbit hole when they discover that the truth is much weirder, and they're totally unprepared for what the future brings...

On his Kickstarter website, Chris Lackey says one of the reasons he was interested in tackling this as a graphic novel is that there aren't a whole lot of comics dealing in this particular kind of SF out there. I disagree - there's lots of manga (particularly Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell comes to mind) as well as the work of writers like Warren Ellis. Nevertheless, Lackey's Transreality is a great addition to the genre.

It should be orderable through your local comics shops (see below), but you can also get it from his website. If you enjoy good SF, or any work that pushes you to think hard about the nature of what it means to be human in our world of increasingly digitized selves, I highly recommend it.

(Update: It turns out the book won't be available at comics shops until March-- they're doing pre-orders now. I also added the cover because Blogger didn't like my earlier attempt)

1 comment :

Kristopher said...

Chris Lackey (along with co-host Chad Fifer) also do great podcast focused on H.P. Lovecraft and other weird fiction authors.