Like some of the best stories I’ve read, I heard about O Human Star and author/illustrator Blue Delliquanti at WisCon. I bought the first volume in 2017, the second in 2019, and am eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the trilogy. An ongoing webcomic serial, these graphic novels tell the story of Alastair Sterling, the father of the robot revolution. Only, he missed the revolution he helped create by dying suddenly. Years later, his old business partner resurrects his consciousness in a robot body, and Alastair has to navigate old problems and new in his new-old body.
Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt
Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts
Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts
Besides Alastair and his former business partner, Brendan, another main character is Sulla. Sulla is Brendan’s original attempt to revive Alastair’s consciousness in a robot body. However, Sulla has grown and developed over the years, and eventually she began to identify as female.
Much of the comic’s diversity comes in the form of Sulla’s school friends and Brendan’s peers in the robotics world. From these two groups, the series easily passes the Bechdel-Wallace, and racial and LGBT representation tests.
Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts
The series isn’t finished (I’m waiting to buy the final volume rather than reading the webseries, but if you want it it’s here). There is a plot building toward the conclusion (danger! romance!), but I also really like the world building and the characters. First of all, the story is set in futuristic Minneapolis, where I live, so it’s fun to see someone envision not just the future but actual elements of my city in the future.
As Alastair leans about this new world, so do we in the audience. We also see Sulla’s teenage life and Brendan’s attempts to preserve his legacy and keep Alastair safe. There’s a lot happening in these quick reads! The second book definitely feels like a middle-of-a-trilogy book, with a lot of setup. I’m excited to see the conclusion.
Love comics? Check out The Private Life of Jane Maxwell by Jenn Gott. Read our review here.
Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts
Easily gets these points in a bunch of different ways. A gay love story is gently and realistically portrayed, both the romantic moments and the stigma that causes conflict.
For me the most interesting portrayal is that of Sulla. Her character deals with being both trans and a robot trying to fit in in a human world. Her story draws parallels between the two, weaving then between a story of first romance and trying to fit in (I loved that the nonbinary/LGBT nerd kids are the cool clique). This story of youth and self discovery is mirrored in her relationship with Alastair. As a sort of clone of Alastair with years of her own development, and raised by his ex-partner, Sulla’s almost like an estranged daughter, and the two have a lot they want to know about each other.
I hope I’ve piqued your interest because volume one and volume two are both on sale until December 15, along with Blue’s other work. Find it all here (scroll down to see the coupon code) and buy for yourself or the readers in your life.
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