cover image Project Nought

Project Nought

Chelsey Furedi. Clarion, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-3583-8169-3

A teen from 1996 New Zealand abruptly awakens in 2122 as the result of a megacorporation’s time-travel technology in Furedi’s suspenseful speculative graphic novel debut. Reserved Ren, who’s Indian-cued, and Phoebe, a platinum blond teen with cheerleader-like exuberance, are part of corporate conglomerate Chronotech’s Time Travel Exchange Program. The program purportedly transports teens from the past into the 22nd century, pairing them with a local high school student for five months as part of a firsthand history exchange. Ren is partnered with Mars, an energetic Chronotech devotee with blue-streaked orange hair, while Phoebe eschews her assigned student to flirt with Mars’s prickly friend Jia, who is nonbinary and East Asian–cued. But after Chronotech covered up the mysterious death of Jia’s previous time-travel partner, they’ve been skeptical of the program’s true purpose; together with Ren, Mars, and Phoebe, Jia endeavors to uncover the entity’s secrets. Even as tense, ongoing conflict unfolds, the teens’ developing romantic entanglements—paired with blocky, full-color art populated by distinct character models and innovative technologies—provide a joyful counterpoint. A solidly queer addition to the sci-fi canon that interrogates how the pursuit of science can sometimes overshadow a commitment to ethics. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jess Mileo, InkWell Management. (Feb.)