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A Distant Soil, Volume 1: The Gathering

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2003

    Intrigue, Treachery, and Adventure

    There is this teenageish girl who throws tantrums; when that happens the effects are felt far and wide, impinging upon an interstellar group which feels that they own the monopoly on such things. So, they set out to locate and corral her. We soon learn that the tantrums have psionic overtones, with telepathy, teleportation, telekinesis and pyrotics thrown in for good measure. Not unexpectedly, these creatures have their own social and political organization embodying an extensive empire with its own cabals, treachery and intrigue. As the story opens, the girl has been granted an indoor picnic with here slightly older, but still teenaged, brother; a picnic which does not go at all as the keepers of the medical facility where they are confined expect. Violence ensues, and they find themselves out on the street as fugitives. During the ensuying chase many of the characters for the forthcoming drama make their appearances. That such a diverse assortment of personages, even including a white knight and his horse conjured from mythical Avalon, is presented,is not only bewildering but obviously needs a fair bit of explaining. Presumably characters are introduced into a drama for some purpose, which entails eventually explaining who they all are, where they came from, and an obligation to use them and their peculiar characteristics somewhere in the story. Evidently we are in for a long, long story with fairly byzantine plotting, which is why the first volume is merely entitled 'The Gathering.' Of course, a good part of this preparation involves establishing the extent and diversity of the empire lying behind the scenes. The physical and structural makeup of this world also has to be set forth: what machines do they use, what clothes do they wear (or not wear), what are their religious and moral custome, how do they manage with omnipresent telepathic eavesdropping, and so on? This is where a graphic novel has advantages over mere text and allows an illustrator to display their talents, although it places a burden on the reader to keep everyone and everything straight and to assimilate a feel for the places and environments in which they move.

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