Pluralistic: 21 Aug 2021

Today's links

  • Bubble: Fantastic graphic novel adaptation of the brilliant comedy/sf podcast.
  • This day in history: 2001, 2011, 2016, 2020
  • Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading

The cover for Bubble.

Bubble (permalink)

Bubble is a wildly improbable artifact – a graphic novel adaptation of a comedy/drama podcast that manages to turn podcasting into a visual medium.

Written by Jordan Morris and Sarah Morgan with art by Tony Cliff and colors by Natalie Riess, this Firstsecond book manages to recapture the comedy, the snark, the trenchant commentary and the drama of the original Maximim Fun podcast series.

Bubble is a comedy/sf story about a distant outpost on a hostile planet where human colonists live under armored domes that keep out the hostile, overpowered critters that live on the surface.

The bubble-dwellers have lives much like our own, dominated by social media, nostalgic sitcom binge-streaming and precarious gig work whose miseries are relieved by craft beer and trivia nights.

The corporation that owns the bubbles and ultimately controls the lives of the colonists is mostly benign, except when it is arbitrary and vengeful, and it certainly is innovative.

For example, when monsters start to make incursions into the bubble, management harnesses the power of market forces to fight them, launching Huntr, a gig-work app that connects freelance monster-hunters with residents who have monsters that need hunting.

Unlike a boring state-based public safety apparatus, these freelance Huntrs are incentivized to keep it all really entertaining, stalking the interlopers with cool parkour moves, shouting dope catchphrases, and then posing for dead-monster selfies afterwards.

But it turns out that gig work isn't actually that great, actually. And also, maybe living in a company town isn't all that great even if you can order a really good oak milk latte with an app with great UX .

Maybe, in fact, it's all kind of…sinister? Plus, a lot of the best Huntrs are also bush-babies – born and raised outside dome among people who live with monsters in the wilds – and there's something a little weird about the way the company is recruiting and scoring them.

The conspiracy that unspools – about mutant powers, a mystic crystal, and a deep secret about the founding of the colony – makes a great vehicle for a cast of fantastic, snarky, flawed characters and hilarious, dry and ironic dialog.

It feels like a perfect synthesis of the weaponized irony and meta-humor of the best of 90s culture and Millennial tired-of-this-bullshit rage. The acting in the original audio drama caught this perfectly (especially Tavi Gevinson's performance).

The transition to visual storytelling replacing that acting with superb character design and delicious facial expressions from Cliff's art. In either medium, this is a knockout.

This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago AP threatens copyright suit over one-sentence quotation;sid=2001/8/17/202249/240

#20yrsago The joys of dumpster diving

#10yrsago Google's Nym Wars must end

#10yrsago G+'s Real Names clusterfuck

#5yrsago Candid Republican operators admit that voter ID laws are about disenfranchisement

#5yrsago US Army committed $6.5 trillion in accounting fraud in one year

#1yrago Boeing fixes the 737 Max problem (by renaming the jet)

#1yrago College Covid app is a security dumpster-fire

Colophon (permalink)

Currently writing:

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. Friday's progress: 264 words (16350 words total)

  • A Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. PLANNING

  • A nonfiction book about excessive buyer-power in the arts, co-written with Rebecca Giblin, "The Shakedown." FINAL EDITS

  • A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause." FINISHED

  • A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues." FINISHED

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

Latest podcast: Managing Aggregate Demand
Upcoming appearances:

Recent appearances:

Latest book:

Upcoming books:

  • The Shakedown, with Rebecca Giblin, nonfiction/business/politics, Beacon Press 2022

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"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla