Descender vol. 1: Tin stars, by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen

Descender vol.1: Tin stars Book Cover Descender vol.1: Tin stars
Jeff Lemire (art by Dustin Nguyen)
Science fiction, graphic novel
Image comics
Sep 22 2015
e-book / paperback (I had both available)

My cohabitant/CompanionBot and I share a lot of preferences.  Last weekend we chose and bought exactly the same no-nonsense winter shoes, albeit in different sizes.  We have committed some kind of faux pas, I'm sure, by wearing our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirts at the same time, in public.   When we moved in together, we had about 75% overlapping book shelf content. (I didn't match his Star Wars novel collections, he didn't have my Discworld - that was the bulk of the differences, anyway.)

We've lived together for five years, and while we're mostly in tune with one another, sometimes we just forget to keep each other informed of exactly how much in tune we are.  So we'll end up with a new double of something, because we both purchased the thing, like, oh, say,  a graphic novel with gorgeous cover art, blurbed as science fiction with robots in space. Like  Descender volume 1: Tin stars.

That was a meandering introduction to a review,  I know, but what I meant to say is that both of us had a weird and creepy love at first sight-thing going on with this graphic novel.  It would be a little awkward if it had turned out to be a disappointment, of course, but it didn't.  This is the polar opposite of disappointment.

I have no idea how long I'll have to wait for the next volume, but any amount of time is too long. I want more!  Now! Immediately!

Some reviewers of this graphic novel have complained about similarities to movies like AI and Prometheus.  Which is kind of funny,  because the first thing I yelled at someone (poor someone) about Descender was:  "It's cool in all the ways AI wasn't!".

...So no, I did not find this derivative.  Some stories will share some elements, is all.  The way cheese shares some qualities with chocolate, but one is not a derivative of the other, and chocolate cheesecake is something else altogether.

Descender takes us right into action, and it takes a few pages to sort out the timeframe and scope.  When we meet Tim-21,  a robot of the Tim-series, built as companions for human children,  we know enough to instantly worry - generously aided by the depiction of his terribly human child's face.

He's been asleep - turned off - for many years.  There appears to be no one else alive on the remote mining planet.  Except the constantly barking robot dog, Bandit.

But he won't be alone for long.  While he slept, companion robots went decidedly out of fashion. Out of fashion and into the melting pits, in fact.  Someone's very, very eager to find him.

The good robot story is always a debate on what it means to be a person. This is no exception, and it goes about it in a tiny PKD-tribute sort of way:  Tim-21 thought robots could not dream.

I thoroughtly recommend Descender.   For me, this was enough to make me put in library requests for every other Jeff Lemire title available.  Explosive fangirl reaction, in other words.   You should read it too, unless you're of the opinion that no one other than Asimov could ever get robots right  (in which case I shall be happy to supply you with a reading list spanning recent decades).

Read it! I'm... I'm going to re-read it. At least once.

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