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Utopiates Perfect Paperback – August 21, 2012
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Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Comics is a stormy, dangerous coastline, shallow and sharp, but UTOPIATES stands like a lighthouse guiding you to the safe harbor where smart, intense comics still exist... - --Phil Hester (Fringe, Swamp Thing)
It's great a when a new talent can emerge and breathe new life into a genre. Cyber-punk is probably my favorite flavor of science fiction, for these are stories not about aliens or space travel, or the what-ifs beyond time and space, but are stories just one step ahead of our current technology (and in some cases our science has caught up with our fiction). Utopiates is part Strange Days, part A Scanner Darkly , with a touch of The Matrix's sensibilities thrown in for good measure.
In Utopiates we are faced with the possibility of engineered pharmaceuticals, and the lengths to which people will go to acquire the feelings and experiences that life did not offer us. Issue #1 is an excellent introduction into the Dystopian world that Finney and Rocha have created for us, but hang on for issues #2 & #3, because that's when the ride starts to really get good! Noirish, gritty and tragic, Utopiates is like rediscovering something you never knew. - --Previews Magazine, Staff Pick
Admittedly inspired by the works of Gibson, Dick, and Welsh, Utopiates mixes the swirling abyss of addiction with the cyberpunk leanings of drug-obsessed futurist writers. The first-person narration is classic cybernoir, and the digital black and white art lends this dark story a unique flair. Creators Josh Finney and Kat Rocha are to be commended for diving into familiar waters and coming up with something new. It s well worth your time to check out - --Newsarama.com
About the Author
Author, illustrator, old school cyberpunk, Josh Finney creator of the sci-fi war epic, TITANIUM RAIN, and the biotech noir tale, UTOPIATES. He has had several short stories published and is in the process of completing my first prose novel. Josh is also known his work on Batman Giant-Sized #1 title and concept art for Star Trek: Enterprise.
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I was once a fan of cyberpunk stories, but it seems that every effort made over the last 20 years to revitalize the genre ends badly. Trying to transfer over to a comic book format just makes poor writing stand out more. The art style used in this book does nothing to help, as it is dreary, repulsive, repetitive, and lacking in imagination.
Utopiates is a series of stories, all focusing (in some way) of 'trying to find self' - and of the high costs involved, in either finding oneself, or losing self. It's smart, full of references and quotes and little world-building phrases that make the world feel just as real as the Voight-Kampf test in Blade Runner, but it is not Blade Runner. The femme fatale really is a fatal fog on the edges of these stories, constantly there but not always recognized, and always a danger.
For those who love Snow Crash, or love different comics full of heart (there are PTSD representations, violence, different sexualities, different looks... but there's a heart to this, even with the edges) PLEASE do yourself the pleasure of getting this. Or ask your local store to carry it.
The four chapters follow 3 addicted users of utopiates all beholden to the same dealer. Their dealer, the cross between The Matrix's Morphius and Trinity with an asymmetrical haircut seen on the cover, hides behinds her epithets ["Spooky Bitch" and "The Prophet"] and her bible-quote laden orations. Utopiates are designer genetic drugs that hijack one's consciousness with that of another.
The first user is alone in the world. He's addicted to the "Family" strain that imbues a sense of belonging. The second addict has been dropped from his service as a soldier-for-hire with a government contract agency, Intersec, that has taken on the global war on terror. Intersec uses soldier strains of utopiates in lieu of actual training. The third addict is an ex-Amish lesbian, her whole story hasn't fully emerged. All three are willing to kill for the Spooky Bitch and ultimately their next utopiates fix . . .
I received my copy of this novel directly from 01 Publishing through bookreviewdirectory.wordpress.com.
"Utopiates" harkens back to film noir in it's lighting of the characters against an almost entirely black field. As a reader you become the detective investigating, interviewing suspicious characters and drawn in by a mysterious beauty. Even if the comic seems to use the language of film noir it is not one of those crass "graphic novels" put together to woo a movie deal. No, this is a comic book first and foremost by creators with an obvious love of the medium.
There are several nods toward "alternative" subculture depicted by some the hairstyles and band t-shirts which give a certain anti-authoritarian flavor to the story. However, further along in the book this is turned on it's head as we follow a characters who are perhaps complicit with the oppressors. This sharp departure and dichotomy serves to expand the world and breathe life into the characters. "Utopiates" is a satisfying and fresh cyberpunk story that is a gorgeous and compelling read.
The four interconnected stories contained in this short volume are densely layered. It seeks to provoke questions instead of giving answers. Kat & Josh examine the necessity for war against the dream of peace, and the prevalence of a corporatocracy within a meritocracy. If Philip K. Dick and Robert A. Heinlein ever did jam pieces, this is the kind of work they would produce.
Great work you guys!
Most recent customer reviews
Cyberpunk is back.
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