Across a Field of Starlight

RH Graphic. Feb. 2022. 352p. Tr $23.99. ISBN 9780593124147; pap. $16.99. ISBN 9780593124130.
Gr 6 Up–Young scientist Lu, a member of the pacifist Commune, discovers Fassen, a member of the Fireback Brigade who has been inadvertently left behind on a desolate planet following a military skirmish between the Brigade and the oppressive Empire. Although the Commune takes a neutral stance on military campaigns, Lu can’t help but assist Fassen in getting back to the safety of the Brigade, with an intergalactic communication tool in hand to keep the two in touch across the far reaches of space. When Lu and Fassen are brought back together following an act of rebellion, the pair bring the attention of the Empire with them, putting all they know and love at risk of destruction. Multiple classic science fiction tropes (space travel, self-aware AI, empires versus rebels) are pulled together in this epic, periodically overwhelming the tale of two queer friends destined to change the universe. Contributing to the overload is the extraordinary attention to detail, both foreground and background, with speech bubbles that are often lengthy, sometimes overlapping, and at times confusing. This is largely overshadowed by the portrayal of friendship and sense of loyalty between the main characters, and their desire to do what is morally best. Pages focusing on Fassen and the Firebacks are warmly colored, in terra cotta oranges and golden honey hues, while the colors around Lu are cool, soft shades of periwinkle purple paired with mossy green. In addition to queer representation from the main and secondary characters (they/them pronouns, transgender characters), BIPOC representation and a variety of body types are included.
VERDICT A worthy addition to collections where sci-fi titles such as On a Sunbeam, Spill Zone, and “Paper Girls" are sought out.

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