Spin State (Spin Trilogy, #1)

By Chris Moriarty

Rating: 3 stars

Catherine Li is a UN peacekeeper who jumps between worlds, doing whatever is asked of her, and forgetting a little more of herself each time, as the quantum teleportation strips a little more of her memories while she struggles to hide her own dark past. Following an information retrieval exercise that went wrong, Li finds herself back on her homeworld, being tasked with investigating the death of the most famous physicist in human space, a woman who is Li’s genetically identical clone, and whose death is looking more and more like murder.

This is a solidly interesting space opera. It throws in quantum physics, artificial intelligence, post-human relationships and more into the pot, stirs in a murder mystery, and just enough background world-building to keep you interested.

I did find it oddly unsatisfying though. I don’t know if it was the oddly mundane resolution to the murder, the grim politics that kept Li down and the AIs that live alongside humanity on a leash or something else. The potentially awesome revelation at the end didn’t have the edge that I felt it should as well. It just felt quite muted for something that should have been world-shattering.

So lots of good ideas, but it didn’t quite gel for me.

Book details

ISBN: 9780553586244
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Year of publication: 2003

Saga, Vol. 2

By Brian K. Vaughan

Rating: 5 stars

Volume 2 of this series continues the story of Hazel, told in the first person from some point in her future life, as she, her star-crossed parents and her ghostly babysitter escape the planet where Hazel had been born, and where they were being hunted by both sides in the war they’re trying to escape from, only to run into something much worse: in-laws.

I’m still adoring this story, with its smart dialogue, great characters and marvellous background of a galaxy-spanning war. Alana and Marko are very relatable to as they struggle to do what’s right for each other and their newborn daughter; Marko’s parents, his father in particular, are just worried about their son, especially that he might have fallen in with the ‘wrong crowd’ and for a merciless bounty hunter, The Will really has a soft side.

From everyone’s point of view, they’re just trying to do the right thing, it’s just that some of these things involve killing people, while others involve fleeing for their lives. I love the complexity that means that you can’t just hate the people chasing our protagonists, but you see their point of view.

The mental imagery keeps coming too, with Fiona Staples’ art easily keeping up with what must be a really weird script to read (seriously, a three-eyed giant with a penis brushing the ground?). It’s all beautifully insane, but somehow internally consistent. Roll on the next volume.

Book details

ISBN: 9781607066927
Publisher: Image Comics
Year of publication: 2013

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