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Far Sector by N. K. Jemisin et al - Cyberpunk Graphic Novel Review

far sector graphic novel review jemisin cover woman over space


Far Sector is a cyberpunk-themed graphic novel from 2021 written by N. K. Jemisin and illustrated by Jamal Campbell. The three-hundred page book is gorgeously illustrated and has enough depth to the writing to delight both space opera fans and those who like reading about artificial intelligence and virtual reality. A few spoilers ensue in this review.


Society has had centuries of peace due to genetic alterations that cut every sentient species off from their emotions, allowing for completely rational thought while denying that each emotion contributes its own rationality to our perception. Everyone's thus perplexed when a murder occurs, so they hire a green lantern, Sojourner Mullein, to find the murderer. A complicated economic conspiracy unfolds where experiencing emotions has become commodified, supported by slave internet labor.

Sojourner has the power to manifest her imagination in a variety of ways ranging from flying to entering cyberspace as a sentient dancer on the datastreams. Unfortunately, she has no weakness except that she occasionally runs low on power, reducing the suspense substantially. The ring granting her powers isn't even removed when she's captured! Nevertheless, she's a reasonably complex character with a developed backstory that makes her wide range of emotional responses believable, even to a world that can't feel.

We thought of ourselves as heroes. But without justice, we were just hired thugs for the people in power.

far sector graphic novel glory hacking

Many species inhabit space in Far Sector from a sentient carnivorous plant to a bat-winged species. The @At are the most interesting, a group of artificially intelligent beings who do data mining in cyberspace. They experience time much faster than humans and can gain experience at various tasks with increased skill because of it. They have access to all databases and can take on corporal form when needed so that others can visualize them. They seek information and get paid in memes, which no one produces anymore since they have no feelings.

The @At can also override human beings, taking control of their actions, but if that human dies they feel what it's like to die themselves. This knowledge of death mutates them into a corrupted virus, symbolizing the contagion of existential woe that comes with realizing one's own mortality.
far sector sojourner mullein flying

The book does a good job bringing light to social issues impacting society here on Earth today. It cites Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he discussed the two types of peace that ensue in society: a false peace brought by silencing dissenters, and a true peace resulting from addressing the underlying issues. Like Hacktivist, the graphic novel does not shy from depicting violence as a sometimes necessary revolutionary tactic.
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The graphic novel is largely entertaining and is presented in a beautiful format. Sojourner is a strong enough character to carry it and it's great to have more minority representation in the genre. Although not directly cyberpunk, the social justice issues, artificial intelligences, and use of cognitive implant crashing drugs to manipulate emotions is largely in line with what fans expect. Check it out!