by Jenn Manley Lee
Dicebox is different.
Now, a lot of people say that about a lot of things, but in this case, I swear to you I haven’t read anything I can say is like Dicebox. Sure, it’s definitely a Space Opera. It’s definitely a comic. But it reads like your life.
I picked up a print copy of Dicebox Book 1: Wander, about a year ago, and I must admit it was on a lark. It’s available online as well. And I have to recommend it; the book is a fat 314-page graphic novel and is quite high quality. The art is lovely, the text is readable and the story…well. The story is interesting in an unusual way.
Although the story’s setting is fascinating exercise in world-building, the plot revolves entirely around the characters and their relationships, their daily activities, and their hopes and fears in an almost claustrophobic way. It’s been called “slice-of-life” in a space opera setting, and I’d have to agree with that on one level, but at times it devolves into feeling like you’re sitting with a group of people who love to gossip about their mutual friends that you’ve never met. But if you can keep up with the social environment and the conversational storytelling style, you can and will get caught up in a very detailed world and the lives of Molly Robbins, a migrant factory worker, and her partner, Griffin Stoyka, who just can’t seem to outrun her past or her own penchant for drama.
The interpersonal world of Dicebox has room for all kinds of people, relationships, genders, races, cultures, and dynamics. In some ways the social complexity can overshadow the characters themselves, but there is so much to explore that re-reading is extremely rewarding. There is also a lot of sex and spaceships, which is also nice. There’s tongue-in-cheek (AHEM) humor, smartassery, narrow escapes, snide comments, and lots of snark, bawdy jokes, and the facial expressions alone make Dicebox worth it for me.
This comic entitled “A Concise Summary” by Erika Moen is a fairly accurate description of what you’ll be getting yourself into with Dicebox.
Dicebox official site
Jenn Manley Lee official site
Dicebox is superb.