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ESCAPE FROM TERRA Volume 1 Paperback – July 7, 2010
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
The vision of outer space as a neo-American wild west has long fascinated sci-fi fans and writers, and this graphic novel continues the tradition, blending adventure stories of evil empires and assassins with a heavy dose of libertarian philosophy. This collection of two years' worth of the Web comic assembles the story of an anarchist asteroid society rebelling against a totalitarian Earth government that seeks to expropriate its wealth to maintain a collapsing welfare state. The colorful cast includes the French (natch) bureaucrat Guy and his voluptuous assistant, Fiorella, who both come to sympathize with the space colonists' plight. The stylish realism of Bieser and Oaks' artwork is a treat while the story wears its agenda on its sleeve. The scientific and political discussions of the second and third stories are particularly engaging, and anxiety about tax-hungry unsustainable governments is certainly a timely theme if one looks at Greece or the Tea Party movement. While the idealization of anarchy goes all the way to gun-toting freedom-loving colonists who decide to throw due process under the bus, this is still a throwback to science fiction with ideas.
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From the Back Cover
In the late 21st Century, humans are colonizing the Solar System, finding fabulous wealth and re-discovering freedom in the far-flung Asteroid Belt.But the United World government on Terra (Earth) envies the Belters' wealth and fears their freedom, and is determined to bring these "cowboys" under control, one way or another.
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By the time I ordered this book, I'd already devoured its contents on line, and I continue to keep up with the story each weekday as one of my very favorite comics. Well done!
Escape From Terra is a thought experiment in what our country might have been like if the Anti-Federalists had won the day and our Founders had decided that no government was better than depending on someone else for even the general welfare, common defense, and ensuring justice, and oceans still provided an effective barrier to travel. It is not for those whose minds which are made up and closed to exploring alternatives. (Easy to find comments from those minds, though.)
Challenging your assumptions can be unsettling, but this series is a great way to get started...
Does it show an anarchy successfully meeting challenges? Well, "everybody knows" an anarchy or voluntarist community "can't" work, so what would be the point of a story telling us what we already "know", that governments are "necessary"? And unless Sandfort's some kind of alien, the solutions presented are, in fact, doable by us humans. If one human can think it, so can others.
Does it have cartoonishly evil villains? If they were more nuanced, it could be argued that the solutions were not the success of the anarchy but rather were the failure of the villain to present a serious threat. Moreover, "Escape from Terra" isn't telling a story like, say, "A Streetcar Named Desire"; that is, Sandfort isn't exploring the convoluted depths of humanity. The characters in EfT, villains and heroes both, are every bit as literarily good as those in "Star Wars", another work not exploring human complexity but still a crackin' good story.
The "Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness" ranges from 1, science in name only like "Futurama", to 6 aka "real life". Heinlein's _The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress_ is rated a 5. "Escape from Terra" is also a 5. If you like your scifi serious about the science, EfT delivers. Sandfort's tech speculations seem both doable and tantalizingly just over the horizon -- "tanglenet" seems so close I could taste it, and would love to. He doesn't speculate about humans, however: he is one, and he writes what he knows. We could do this. The fact that one of our conspecifics -- Sandfort -- can imagine, does imagine, and has imagined how we could do this means that it is accessible to us all, already. Delicious.
I was sorry to see the strip go on (temporary, I hope) hiatus, and hope it finds a new home soon. I have both collections, and will purchase the third when it's released.
There are some titties in it though.