Google Glass, push notifications, Nike Fit; everywhere you look technology is constantly in our faces and only taking over attention spans more and more as the years go on. It’s only natural to imagine these advancements becoming more advanced and taking over our lives completely.
Gamification, the “use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems” comes to mind as such a take over which makes even mundane things like flossing our teeth into a contest that we can score, track and compare to others to ensure we’re living our lives correctly. Then comes a book like Wynter, a science fiction tale set in a future where we are told what our every action means, how many times these actions took place in the last 30 seconds and ultimately how all this data shows we’re not special. I cracked open New Worlds Comics’ Wynter to see if it could realize a very real and frightening world and wondered, is it good?
Wynter #1 (New Worlds Comics)
I’ve been a sucker for science fiction ever since Blade Runner captured my attention 20 years ago. To say this comic captured just as much attention as Blade Runner is not an understatement. This book is visually stimulating, with unconventional ways of visually telling a story in the comic book format and brings a very futuristic world that’s very easy to see as a possibility for us much like
This comic explores a world where a computer can tell us how many people have our hair, our look, and even our DNA. People are constantly reminded what the stimuli in the world means to them, from how many people share the same DNA to how many of the same DNA were divorced by age 35. This constant reminder seems to keep people in their place, making them feel small, which is exasperated in a galactic community of planets made up of trillions of humans. Its the function of this technology that keeps us in our place though, not the sheer amount of people, which tethers the reader to this science fiction future. That keeps things grounded and comprehensible to our own timeline because it’s not insurmountable to see technology going in this direction.
Check out the unconventional layout.
So it has our attention as far as a comprehensive world, but what about the characters? It’s safe to say, especially with as much narrative that is in this comic, that we feel like we’re right in the lap of the protagonist. We’re consistently inside the head of our hero reading her thoughts, but also seeing the constant barrage of reminders of how she’s ordinary and unimportant. At times it’s hard to even see where her thoughts diverge from the computer, which puts a heavy weight on the character and the reader alike. As she’s being reminded time and time again how unspecial she is we’re right there with her.
I could see this being a real thing.
The art by Aron Elekes is something special. It has a painted quality that makes each page seem like a work of art. The faces, scenes and situations all seem that much more vivid and real thanks to his work. I’m also enraptured with how he tells the story as the layouts bleed into each other nicely. It gives the read a dreamlike quality that’s interesting and introspective. Much of the book is very dark, but that helps imbue the sense of terror that lies in the background. It’s a disgusting sort of future, where our identity is nothing more than a collection of data amongst the millions, which is only strengthened by this art.
You are not special.
Is It Good?
Oh my god yes. If you call yourself a science fiction fan this shouldn’t be required reading but necessary for you to exist. It captures a world very much possible and it does it by keeping your attention and making it all very vivid and real. Pick this book up and become the most interesting guy at the party with a very intelligent and fascinating read.