Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Aama, Vo. 2: The Invisible Throng by Frederik Peeters

We're continuing a space-opera series in comics form here: my understanding is that there are four books in this series, and that it has all been published, originally in French and also in English translation. (I could be wrong.) So, if true, this book sees us halfway through, and the ending would tend to reinforce that: things have gotten really serious by the last page, and so I'd expect them to get more serious (and worse) in the third book before somehow concluding in the end.

Maybe I should mention what this thing is, though? That could be useful.

The series is Aama, this second book is The Invisible Throng, and the author is French cartoonist Frederik Peeters. The first book was The Smell of Warm Dust, which I reviewed, quickly, in a monthly round-up last year.

There's still some flashing back this time out -- to flesh out our main character's past, and his retrograde relationship with technology -- but, for the bulk of the story we're solidly on the desert planet Ona(ji) with amnesiac Verloc Nim, his possibly mad-scientist brother Conrad, Conrad's servitor robot (in ape form), and the local group of scientists who came here to do their researches far away from anyone who might interfere. Yes, very Forbidden Planet, or like a thousand other similar stories -- there are clearly people here who have been meddling in realms where God told them not to, and it will not turn out well in the end for everyone.

For now, though, we're still not entirely sure what the Aama project was doing -- something about AI, something about organic growth -- and what exactly it did, though signs are what it did is "a lot" and "entirely out of anyone's control."

That project will be more and more important as the series heads towards a conclusion, I'm sure. But it's also about Verloc, who I hope will get more of his memory back, and about his brother, who has a connection to Aama that I'm still not sure about.

So far, Aama is a smart, adult SF story in comics form -- it does have some pulpy tropes, admittedly, but the characters are good and their relationships are realistically complex and true. I'm hoping to find the rest of it, and find out just what this Aama thing is, and if any of these characters will make it out the other side of their encounters with it.

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