Six months from now, detailed schematics anonymously uploaded to the Internet will describe, with absolute precision, how to build a faster-than-light engine for $200 in easily-available parts. Space travel will be instantly—and chaotically—democratized. The entire cosmos is suddenly within reach of all humankind, without organization, authority, or limitation.
This comics anthology is about what happens next.
There were a couple of comic anthologies that I was really excited to read last year, but probably none more than FTL, Y’all!: Tales From the Age of the $200 Warp Drive, published after a smashing success on kickstarter by Iron Circus.
It took a while to get here, what’s with the holidays and the post strike and all, and I spent the last few weeks of 2018 watching it gather awards and reviews while biting my fingers in anticipation. And boy, was the wait worth it!
FTL Y’all is what science-fiction should be. It’s an anthology based on the premise that humans, given the means, will immediately rush to space and keep being human there, that is to say they’ll do dumb shit and heartwarming things in succession, or perhaps at once. FTL Y’all is about your grandad that vacations on a different planet every year with his weird new wife. It’s about getting anon hate but also anon love on your space blog. It’s about travelling a year and millions of light years just to see your dog again. It’s about getting flagged by space TSA while on your way to see your wife on Mars. It’s about people, completely normal people, in completely normal situations, but like, in space.
Of course, media doesn’t exist in a vacuum (see what I did there?), and FTL Y’all has many stories that reflect the current socio-political landscape or event comments on it. The premise, after all, is that people will rush to space once given the opportunity, and many artists in the anthology have taken the time to be more than a little tongue-in-cheek about it. Why wouldn’t people want to leave garbage countries, or garbage situations, and try their luck somewhere else? While some artists write about people deserting earth and it’s current climate change and politics with humor, others do it with more gravity, and I think that the last story in the anthology will stay with me for a long time, as it was more reminiscent of something out of Bones of the Coast than Beyond. (Two anthologies I heartily recommend, but with a vastly different vibe.)
All in all, FTL Y’all is a fine representation of the best that indie sci-fi comics can achieve, and while I have been stuffing myself with anthologies all year long (special shout-out to Enough Space for Everyone Else and Humans Wanted, two anthologies that also scratch the same « humans doing dumb shit in space but it’s strangely heart-warming » itch.)
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