cover image Mood Swings

Mood Swings

Frankie Barnet. Astra House, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-6626-0259-7

Barnet follows up the graphic novel Kim: A Novel Idea with the bonkers story of a future without animals. Mammals and other creatures across the planet have been conducting organized as well as random acts of terror—raccoons destroyed a power plant, a chimpanzee ripped a kid’s face off, a pet rabbit tore out its owner’s eyes, and more. “It was like one day all the animals just got together and decided,” Barnet writes, implying the violence is in response to exploitation and ecological degradation by humans. Responding to the panic, American billionaire Roderick Maeve uses lethal sonic technology to kill all the animals on the planet. In this altered world, 22-year-old poet Jenlena spends a lot of time on Instagram, where pet cosplay is trending, and she gets a gig dressing up as a dog for people who miss their pets. After Jenlena ditches one of her clients, she has a chance meeting with Maeve, who’s currently building a time machine that would return people to a more harmonious past where animals exist. Barnet adds some lively dialectical discourse to the zany proceedings, as a pessimistic cult protests Maeve’s plan because it would “erase the blame” of ecological collapse. Despite the sobering material, this is a hoot. Agents: Audrey Crooks and Ellen Levine, Trident Media Group. (May)