Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Arcadia, issue #4

Arcadia #4Arcadia #4 by Alex Paknadel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lee Garner takes drastic steps to convince the coder he’s imprisoned with to give up information that the Arcadian government wants in exchange for his & his wife’s freedom. Coral helps lead a rescue mission to save her parents & gets everyone back to the hacker camp. But, the damage is done–the Arcadian powers have root access to the simulation & Lee Pepper finds himself struggling in the analog world to navigate new tides of authority.

There’s something disheartening in being able to measure just how & when your interest in something drops off. For example, the use of current slang in a five-seconds-into-the-future sci-fi story is a personal pet peeve & each time it cropped up in the past 4 issues, I cared a little less about what happened next. But I was willing to let it go because I was still curious about the world. Then, this issue used both “mansplaining” & “Gamergate” within the space of a few pages & any interest I had dropped perilously close to zero. Yeah, millions upon millions of people died hideously & are only being kept “alive” by a perilously thin digital network, but we still care enough about culture-war-speak to use it in everyday conversation. I think there are other things to worry about.

Also, the reveal at the end of Arcadia’s foundational secret was also a non-starter. (Hint: The heart of the digital world is made up of one semi-delusion personality–just like Otherland. Seriously, just go read Otherland.) So, unfortunately, this will be the last issue I read, even though I’ll buy the 5th issue because the collected covers complete a mural & I do love the art. Too bad too, I really did take a shine to Lee Pepper & his scrappy band of survivors.

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