cover image A Radical Shift of Gravity

A Radical Shift of Gravity

Nick Tapalansky and Kate Glasheen. Top Shelf, $24.99 (226p) ISBN 978-1-60309-458-0

Set against the backdrop of a global apocalypse, Tapalansky (Cast No Shadow) and Glasheen’s ambitious narrative of loss and reconciliation doesn’t fully achieve the promise of its whimsical premise. In a world where the Earth’s gravity is suddenly reduced, mankind is unmoored from the planet. At first, this bouncy state is kind of fun; then gravity suddenly releases its hold further and the effects become devastating. The narrative follows a journalist, Noah, through his estrangement from his daughter, Elycia, as they disagree over what to do about Earth’s fluctuations in physics. Elycia aligns herself with a mysterious entrepreneur named Isolde Spedmore, who wants to save mankind by housing them on an off-world colony. Noah first takes Spedmore to be a corporate villain, but when he realizes she’s a savior, the foreshadowing has been so heavy that one wonders why he was so slow on the uptake. The worldbuilding includes theatrical, moody pans of acrobatic commuters and jumbled cityscapes, but also feels inconsistent, as when characters do a lot of walking, driving, and sitting—details that matter in a world where human locomotion has been upended. Glasheen’s watercolor art is sparse and dreamy, with pen lines over muted color washes, but also sometimes rushes by seeming unfinished. In the crowded market for envisioning the end of the world, this one feels like it needed a bit more time in development. (Apr.)