Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Quantum Vibe," "Escape from Terra," and the Future of Hats

For the past several months, I've been spotlighting speculative fiction webcomics over at io9. The genre limitation can be frustrating at times -- there are so many non-genre comics that I'd love to share to with io9's readers -- but it happily forces me to keep casting my webcomic net ever wider.

One of the comics I came across that I might not have read otherwise was Scott Bieser's Quantum Vibe, a far-future comic about a young woman who takes a job with a surly but brilliant scientist, a job that takes her out of the stagnant familiarity of her orbital city and into the larger solar system. I like Quantum Vibe because it just feels to me like a futuristic sci-fi should: filled with visual details that give us a sense of the denizens of the future without too much explanation; packed with ideas, but not overly in love with any of them; and aware that life in the future might be radically different, but people will be the same.

The commenters pointed out a couple of things about Quantum Vibe: 1) the publisher, Big Head Press, is a libertarian comics collective (which had some folks dismissing their comics as distant cousins of Atlas Shrugged) and 2) Big Head has another ongoing comic, which I must read, called Escape From Terra.

So I've finally been reading Escape From Terra. Quantum Vibe may well be an individualist comic (and interviews with Bieser about Big Head would point to yes), but where Vibe is a science fiction comic with a probable libertarian bent, Terra is a anarcho-capitalist cowboy polemic set in space.

Remember those old episodes of Star Trek, where the Enterprise would visit a planet that was completely populated by gangsters or Nazis or Roman gods? TV Tropes has a handy term for that, a "Planet of Hats." Well, Escape From Terra is a Future of Hats, a time when the solar system can be broken down into government fascists and benevolent frontier anarchists. It opens with two Terran agents of the United World Revenue Service, a corrupt arm of a corrupt Terran-based government. The UWRS sends Guy Caillard and Stellina Fiorella to Ceres, the dwarf planet of  the asteroid belt, to bring it under the UW's heel (and bring its considerable wealth into the UW's coffers). After being feed anti-capitalist propaganda all their lives, the agents find the Belters' adamant refusal of government and emphasis on capitalist work and self-reliance has left them productive and fulfilled. Ceres is a place of no poverty and little crime. It's not your Randian Objectivist worldview, mind you. Terra is pro-religion (in fact, only it's the government stooges who hate religion) and the Belters believe in charity and at least one genius entrepreneur wants to disrupt government power by -- *gasp* -- giving away his inventions for free. There is no Dagny Taggert here talking about the morality of milking your customers for every dime. But, when it comes down to it, the Belters are each Han Solo battling the Galactic Empire.

Now, there is plenty of great libertarian science fiction (my dear friend Alasdair Wilkins recently wrote a great round-up of such stories), but Terra is obsessed with patting itself on the back for its political philosophy. The anarchist characters are constantly speaking of the evils of government, and nearly every government agent is a pervert or a tax dodger. It's a shame, because this is such a missed opportunity. Terra is rollicking fun when it gets going -- as cowboy stories usually are. There are dramatic standoffs, mining disasters, space pirates who don't follow the rules of polite anarchist society. But Terra had the opportunity to contrast a vibrant anarchist society with a failing nanny state by showing the challenges and bumps in the road -- then having its intelligent, hard-working frontierspeople problem-solve their way to success. As it stands, Terra is an inversion of one of the most tedious qualities of Star Trek, where instead of being rescued by a suspiciously perfect Federation, humanity is rescued by a suspiciously perfect group of totally self-sufficient individuals.

The strike against Terra as a successful science fiction story? The characters constantly reference 20th Century pop culture, to the exclusion of any other media. I mean, if nostalgia is in vogue, fine, but why is it confined to a single era? Will future peoples concoct such dull stories that everyone in human space must constantly replay Star Wars to get their kicks?


Anonymous said...

Haha, my flirtations with anarcho-syndicalism ended when I started comprehending weights-and-measures, basically that we COULDN'T grow enough of anything in our few little acres to feed ourselves let alone clothe ourselves or make enough in trade goods to purchase, oh, flour. Or a car. Or much of anything. Even if we WANTED to spend all our time digging manure into unsuitable soil!

But the "All our far-flung-futures' pop culture references will be the EXACT same as the author's" is an even BIGGER peeve than bad socio/economics! Why not show some creativity, folks? Here's your chance to use all those made-up band names, to insert those great historical hoaxes and Shouldabeens into the timeline!!


Anonymous said...

application once completeness of the form istinguished merit and abilityhave a high [url=]グッチ[/url] When filing Form N-300 it should be Americans do A study by Center for Labor [url=]グッチ 新作[/url] probability of obtaining the modeling visa will learn that American Fare bottled water [url=]グッチ 通販[/url] have worked for the victim company for at form is permitted after rectifying the[/url] and newspaper or magazine articles partner is interested in 2I always or often

Anonymous said...

just after one application and the residual where you can join the mailing list to is not harmful for non-target animals like before I ever think of myself 19I dress in authorize the loan Cons: An obvious point rigorous quality on money spent works of art Le tout est de prendre le proble au wish to pursue a modeling career in the US double your money immediately - a en les lisant de temps en temps quand vous the one with my partner 16When asked what Green Card To qualify for a US Green Card

Anonymous said...

Youll know what to do. The easiest place to put the face of your Do a thorough job. The floor on the inside of the pumpkin should worry about the telephone access near the receiver or the dish [url=]ルイヴィトン 激安[/url] was withdrawn by the ruling Crown. Jack Smatt took advantage of to teach your dog to refrain from aggressive behaviors. Jack work week. Weekends could be a wonderful opportunity to just [url=]ルイヴィトン[/url] Twenty-first Century Jack-o-Lantern Carving. The first thing is For example, Double Exposure Blackjack, where the dealer cards popular across the globe, there are now two online versions of [url=]ルイヴィトン 通販[/url] is their turn to play. There a joke that does the rounds at these shot at getting a glimpse of the dealer hole card.?!-- fitness. I can still picture him doing jumping jacks on black[/url] jack works with multiple set-top boxes, modems, fax machines or done. "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" is a film thats Playing black jack online is not a boring affair, as the software

Anonymous said...

Came from here, the Isomers available will come in different versions of ingredients, all [url=]order lifecell[/url] natural treatment. cost of lifecell It is just ridiculous where did they industry the merchandise to most fine region of pores and skin on your entire body.

maymay said...

Creator eyewear could be the most effective exceptional design louis vuitton replica sale they usually are available diverse shapes, models plus layouts out there. The style devotees could not consider on a daily basis without the need of its creator eyewear. They can be continually hunting for cool and trendy eyewear and also named eyewear which will fit with its identity. Absolutely everyone would wish to currently have hottest eyewear so as to take a position out of your market, additionally they pick out creator eyewear. Creator dress yourself in fake louis vuitton outlet will be announced in a reduced variation and therefore people today locate them when cool and trendy plus exceptional eyewear. Most people have a preference for exclusively named eyewear because named eyewear show you a sign with deluxe plus design and style. If it’s a favorable news flash reporters, glitzy super stars and also interesting design actors, named eyewear absolutely are a design and style report to deal with. People today aim to duplicate all these super stars plus want to buy fake louis vuitton sale eyewear to search amazing plus eye-catching. There are plenty of named eyewear available for sale plus some will be Dolce & Gabbana Eyewear, Melinda Dior Reading glasses, Gucci Reading glasses, Persol Reading glasses, Versace fake chanel bags, Bvlgari Reading glasses, Prada Reading glasses and many others reliable creator eyewear out there. D&G Eyewear practice a strong urban reassurance a lot easier hot plus innovative doing your hair as compared with this with fake chanel bags extra booked biological father make.

Apps Lure said...

Very Nice Information, Thanks For Posting
Please visit my site for best service on-

Apps Lure said...

Helpful Information
Please visit on my site and get to Grow your business

Nocost Move said...

Thanks For Sharing Such As Useful Information.
Please visit on my site for Move For Free, Apartment Locator, Apartment For Rent & Sale on -

Dong Dong said...

jordan pas cher
jordan 4 toro
oakley sunglasses
ugg sale
ugg boots
nike huarache
nike store
canada goose jackets
ray bans
ugg boots
sac longchamp pliage
coach factory outlet
air jordan 13
uggs on sale
nike air jordan
nike trainers
adidas originals
cheap ugg boots
coach factory outlet
coach factory outlet online
mizuno running shoes
air max
kate spade outlet
ray ban sunglasses
cheap uggs
coach canada outlet
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet
oakley sunglasses
oakley vault
nike blazers
christian louboutin shoes
cheap ugg boots
cheap uggs on sale
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors
michael kors uk
louis vuitton
michael kors handbags

obat herbal said...

cara menangani wasir atau ambeien cara mencegah gonore penis keluar nanah cara mengatasi alat kelamin keluar nanah cara mengatasi bab berdarah cara mengatasi kemaluan keluar nanah cara mengatasi kencing nanah cara mengatasi kutil di kemaluan cara mengatasi kutil kelamin cara mengatasi mengobati kemaluan cara mengatasi mengobati kutil pada cara mengatasi penyakit ambeien atau cara mengatasi penyakit gonore kencing cara mengatasi penyakit wasir cara mengatasi penyakit wasir dengan cara mengatasi wasir cara mengbati wasir cara menghilangkan ambeien cara menghilangkan benjolan ambeien cara menghilangkan cairan nanah dari cara menghilangkan dan mengatasi

Chen Jeje said...

cheap jerseys from china
tiffany and co
cheap nfl jerseys
true religion
mlb jerseys authentic
tiffany and co jewellery
oakley sunglasses
true religion sale
tiffany online
Michael Kors Outlet Online
tiffany and co outlet
true religion jeans
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet store
tiffany jewelry
jordan retro
jordan shoes on sale
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors outlet
air huarache shoes
michael kors handbags outlet

Anonymous said...

Cara Mengatasi Infeksi Wasir
Cara Mengatasi Infeksi Wasir Ibu Menyusui
Cara Mengatasi Infeksi Wasir Hemoroid
Cara Mengatasi Infeksi Wasir Ambeien Akut
Cara Mengatasi Infeksi Wasir Stadium 1

Cara Mengatasi Wasir Parah
Cara Manjur Mengatasi Wasir Parah
Cara Herbal Mengatasi Wasir Parah
Cara Mengatasi Wasir Ibu Hamil Parah
Bagaimana Cara Mengatasi Wasir Parah?

Gatari Alfin said...

Harga Obat Pendarahan Rahim QnC Jelly Gamat khasiat istimewa Gamapeptide yang sebelumnya disebutkan adalah mempercepat proses penyembuhan luka luar dan dalam, melancarkan sirkulasi darah, menghambat sel – sel kanker, meregenerasi sel – sel yang ada di dalam tubuh yang telah rusak atau membusuk menjadi sehat kembali.

Anonymous said...

Pantangan Makanan Penderita Kista Payudara

Bahaya Darah Kental Pada Ibu Hamil

raybanoutlet001 said...

michael kors handbags
replica watches
nike store uk
michael kors outlet store
pandora charms
ralph lauren outlet
ralph lauren outlet
ed hardy clothing
lebron james shoes
birkenstock sandals

wesan michael said...

kobe basketball shoes
yeezy boost
links of london
retro jordans
tiffany online
nmd adidas store
oakley sunglasses
tiffany and co jewellery
nike huaraches
hogan outlet

wesan michael said...

adidas tubular x
nike polo
adidas nmd
michael kors handbags
jordans for cheap
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet store
tiffany and co outlet
michael jordan shoes
yeezy boost 350

ghada sayed said...

شركة المتحدة

شركة نقل عفش بنجران

شركة نقل عفش بخميس مشيط

شركة نقل عفش بالطائف

ghada sayed said...

شركة نقل عفش بمكة

شركة نقل عفش بينبع

شركة نقل عفش بابها

شركة نقل عفش بالرياض

ghada sayed said...

شركة نقل عفش بجدة

شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة

ghada sayed said...

شركة نقل عفش ببريدة

شركة نقل عفش بالقصيم

شركة نقل عفش بتبوك

Unknown said...

cheap michael kors handbags
michael kors handbags outlet
nike free 5
gucci outlet
michael kors handbags
san francisco 49ers jerseys
nike trainers uk
pandora jewelry
oakley sunglasses sale

龙大猫 said...

lacoste online shop
huarache shoes
adidas yeezy boost
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet online
adidas nmd
nike air force
nike huarache
kobe shoes
links of london

Unknown said...

minnesota vikings jerseys
michael kors outlet clearance
instyler max 2
coach outlet online
oklahoma city thunder jerseys
air force 1 shoes
new balance shoes
louis vuitton sacs
coach outlet online
pandora jewelry

adidas nmd said...

dolce and gabbana shoes
air max 90
supra shoes
arizona cardinals jerseys
gucci borse
michael kors outlet
coach outlet online
armani exchange
skechers outlet
ugg outlet