Moonray: Mother’s Skin

Living the Line. Oct. 2023. 160p. ISBN 9781736860595. $35. SF
In a graphic novel that is the basis for a forthcoming video game, a pair of godlike beings engage in epic combat in the vacuum of space. A bloodlike substance called miium pours from their injuries; a single droplet plummets to the surface of the planet It-Ao and, over time, transforms into a warrior who eventually takes the name Adam. A floating crystal appears and explains that Adam has been sent to It-Ao on a mission to liberate a goddess being held captive by a murderous cult. They cross vast mountain ranges and war-torn valleys of ash; they find a sword that turns out to be a woman made from the same substance as Adam and marvel at magisterial structures called Soundfarms, where bioacoustics crops feed on amplified noise; they battle hideous monsters and explore Zanikam, a floating fortress, which is also a god and something like a collective identity for its inhabitants.
VERDICT While some science-fiction and fantasy fans might be frustrated by Graham’s (Rain Like Hammers) seemingly improvisational plotting and emphasis on worldbuilding over propulsive forward progress, fans of the more experimental fringes of either genre are likely to embrace this fascinatingly surreal, richly imagined cosmic odyssey.
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