August 6, 2019
Virtual reality really is. Between the traditions being created by artists; Neuromancer (novel by William Gibson), Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson), the Matrix series (feature films by the Wachowski brothers), Avatar (James Cameron); and the *real* virtual realities like Second Life®, Sansar®, High Fidelity®; and even the melding of the two, like the two CSI:NY shows set in Second Life; virtual reality is here... real engagement... real economy... a real culture. So a new offering that contributes to this growing experience is highly anticipated.
Sadly, Bluefall is a disappointment. While the art work is a wonderful example of great graphic novel work... some of the full page prints are beautiful, the structure of the novel is non-existent. According to a blurb, it involves the murder of the largest virtual reality platform owner, controlling a vast economy (which in itself is very plausible!). But once we are introduced to the framework concept of the drama on the first two pages, followed by a confusing introduction to the protagonist on the next few, we are tossed into a mind-bending sequence of disconnected vignettes bearing little relation to each other.
Characters are introduced with no obvious connection to anything, and there is no clear identification as to which reality the action is happening in. I thought perhaps the author was channeling James Joyce (Ulysses)... maybe he was, but I didn't experience the ultimate catharsis.
Indeed, no catharsis at all, because without warning, not mentioned anywhere in any of the promotion, the last frame arrives with the message, "To Be Continued".
Sadly, this book went nowhere. I'll happily keep it on the shelf for the fine graphic art, but there's nothing here that contributes to the incredible depth of human experience to be found in virtual reality.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Jeff Bush