As long-time readers know, I consider it both a pleasure and a responsibility to support crowdfunding efforts. It’s always a pleasure to receive a hard-copy or PDF of a book that I very much wanted to see come to fruition that might, in the past, have never had a chance to be born. When I saw the Kickstarter for Beyond, a queer sci-fi/fantasy comics anthology, well obviously, I knew I was going to support it.
Right off the bat, the strength of Beyond is that being gay, coming out or falling in love with a being of the same sex is not the plot of many of the stories. Same-sex relationships are dealt with as matter of course, or a matter of interest, but not a matter of crisis for a number of the stories. So the anthology follows the old adage “assume the technology, then write the story,” for both technology and sexuality. That that remains refreshing just indicates that we have not quite yet gotten past queer-ness as a narrative…and to be honest, I don’t know if we ever will. “Other” always has appeal and causes discomfort. So far, at least, we have not yet managed a generation that doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel in that regard.
Another positive was the diversity of character, story, place and time, sexuality, gender and even human/non-human relationships. For a queer sci-fi comic, I had pretty high expectations of diversity, but I’ve been disappointed before, so it was critical to me that Beyond went, well, beyond the minimum.
I am very pleased to say that Beyond is available though Gumroad as a hardcopy preorder and a digital PDF. Kudos to the creators for having a post-crowdfunding effort distribution stream.
Overall – 8
Beyond is a thoughtful look at graphical story-telling in sci-fi settings, with conscious awareness of the need for representation, and a good wallow in tropes of the genre. A fun read and a worthy one. Exactly what crowdfunding is best for.