Half Breeds by Sara Codair Reviewed by L.L. Madrid
Kicked out of private school, Allen has to brave a public high school where most of the kids don’t know supernatural creatures exist. He expects to be miserable, but he finds himself romantically pursued by two people: a shy, but fascinating boy named Jeremy and a spunky girl named Chloe. The demon in Allen wants to feed off Chloe, but the human part of him is falling for Jeremy. Which will win? -Description from NineStar Press
When I first picked up Sara Codair's novelette Half Breeds, I was expecting a paranormal tale. While there are demons and pixies aplenty, this is a very human story. The main character Allen is coming of age, and though his struggles are heightened by the paranormal, the reality is that he’s navigating tough subjects like prejudice, sexuality, and consent. Codair handles these issues with grace and humor. It's easy to empathize with Allen as he battles the raging hormones of both human and demon adolescence burning inside him.
Half Breeds is an engaging and fun read. I hope that Sara is planning on writing a follow up because I’m dying to know what happens next. I’d also love a prequel about the mysterious Aunty Karin and her pixies. Karin's background is hinted at in Half Breeds, butI must know more.
If you enjoy paranormal stories, YA, humor, romance, or would simply like to support a worthy writer (and Spec 66 contributor!), I urge you to check out Half Breeds.
Myopia issue one is a very engrossing read full of intrigue and fun.
Did I just refer to the government using deception, murder, and misdirection to control information and tech available to the general public as "engrossing" and "fun"? I sure did, at least when it comes to "Myopia", a graphic science fiction adventure written by Richard Dent.
The world of "Myopia" is set a couple hundred years in the future, where people can wear tech called a Formula Media Lens, an amalgam of contact lens and computer that interacts with the wearer; think an extremely complex Siri you can wear over your cornea. It's a technology very commonplace two centuries from now, and one the government has its questionable hand in.
Originally created to make life more convenient for the populace, it is now corrupted and used as a tool for the government to hide the devastation unleashed from the abusive mining at the earth's core, violating the Magnetic Energy Agreement. A theme like this is totally relatable to the current world, only more is at stake here, and on a much larger scale.
This first issue also introduces some interesting characters, particularly one James Chase, a brilliant man who has already accomplished much in his relatively young age. As he is depicted here, he has a real concern for society and its safety, though he is also mysterious enough to possibly have his own agenda to be revealed later. Oh, and he possesses the very last surviving falcon, which flies freely along with him wherever he goes.
There is also a young boy named Matthew Glen, son of another brilliant man named William. Matthew appears to have inherited much intelligence from his father, and also appears to have discovered some secrets of his own along the way. He looks to be a major player involved in whatever plans James Chase has in mind to be revealed in future issues.
The cities look advanced, clean and peaceful. But perhaps deceptively so. It is occupied by very interesting players, and a lot happens this inaugural issue. An important death occurs, of which the ramifications are just beginning to be felt by other characters. We have an expanding story here with advanced technology set against a society trying to embrace it while also maintaining their humanity. Throw in murder and mystery, and you have an idea of the compelling story existing within these pages.
This story is written by Richard Dent much like Jack Kirby drew his art: incredibly detailed and sophisticated, yet not cluttered or confusing at all. The story is very complex, yet it unfolds naturally and clearly, and I never once felt lost.
I love how a lot of backstory is filled in by displaying documents that give recent (to 2217) history and definitions of projects and organizations. And some background on James Chase is provided by displaying his resume, which avoids character exposition and disrupting the natural flow this issue has.
The art by Patrick Berkenkotter is beautiful, full of wonderfully detailed and crisp line that complements the story perfectly. It has a clean, uncluttered style, with a beautiful Moebius/steampunk vibe.
The colors by Mohan enhance the art perfectly without intruding one bit. This book has a perfect team working on it.
Myopia #1 is indeed a complex pattern of events, with intriguing players being set in place to reveal a full story of incredible scale. After reading this issue, I am left with a hunger to know more about this future world, these intriguing people, and just what is in store for them all!
Richard: It depends what day of the week it is and what time of day, but usually I'm occupying myself with something creative related. I'm either teaching writing, working on my own projects, or tinkering around with the piano. Since Myopia came out in November, I've been exhibiting a lot. I'll be in San Diego in July for Comic Con San Diego, Small Press, table M-11. I invite anyone to stop by. Should be a lot of fun.
Guy: What inspired "Myopia"?
Richard: I was having a hard time with a novel I was working on and decide to step back from it. I started rewatching some of my favorite science fiction films and thought to myself, you're a writer, and you love this genre, take a break from your more "serious" writing and have some fun. As far as the content of the series is concerned, it came about organically. I began building my world and the world began shaping on its own.
Guy: What are your thoughts regarding the amazing success of your Kickstarter campaign, including support from names including Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz, Margaret Atwood, Dean Koontz, and George R. R. Martin?
Richard: It was both an amazing and grueling process. I'm very thankful for all the accomplished writers who pitched in, and of course for my supporters for funding the first issue.
Guy: Is it possible that "Myopia" is a story which will be told in other forms as well? Is television and/or film an option as well?
Richard: Absolutely; in fact, whenever anyone asks me about this I refer them to my agent Paul Lucas at Janklow and Nesbit. He handles all the rights for the series.
Guy S. Ricketts
Guy S. Ricketts writes speculative fiction and short stories, and is also an artist and photographer. He lives in Detroit, Michigan and can be followed on Twitter @GuyRicketts.
Richard Dent is the creator of the graphic novel series Myopia from Dynamite Entertainment. He also writes fiction and poetry and has been published in many literary magazines such as Crazyhorse and The Drunken Boat. He teaches fiction at Cal State, Los Angeles, and screenwriting in the National University MFA program.