Publisher: Light Speed Press Writer: Carla Speed McNeil Artist: Carla Speed McNeil Cover Price: $2.95 Frequency: Bi-monthly Audience: Mature Readers Issues Available: 5
WARNING! Do Not Miss This Book!
Finder is a sleeper hit waiting to happen - a genuine treasure of a story which will be attracting new readers for months to come - don't let yourself be caught unawares. Keep all the issues in stock!
"They were hunters, and trackers, and more. They lived secret lives. Most people didn't know who had or hadn't been accepted into their secret society.
"Their skills were honed to artistry. To catch the slightest glimpse of one against his intent was rare indeed, and brought great censure from his brethren.
"Some lived as ordinary people. Others undertook great missions, travelling vast distances alone and unknown. It was the way of the Finder to help his people by standing apart from them, seeing them as only an outsider can.
"But for those who needed to ask for help directly, there were ways to speak to the Finders. Those customs still linger, although the reasons are also mainly forgotten.
"And customs change. For a while, Finders even wore the signal pattern openly, secure in the knowledge that only other Finders knew what it meant.
"Every year, I find someone to tattoo it back on for me."
The year is sometime in the future, probably. The place? Somewhere in the Egyptian desert, perhaps. An isolated domed city sits patiently, housing happy people living daily lives. Peoples from other worlds visit regularly, while the townspeople go on about their lives, walking bazaars and dancing in clubs, happy as most folk are as they go through the motions of living.
Jaeger Ayers is different. He knows that, and so does the military. But after studying him for a while, trying to figure out why he seems to heal unbelievably quickly, the army's discharged him to let him get on with his life.
Such as it is.
Jaeger is a Finder. A driven man with a compulsion to live away from the cities which are the only civilized refuge in the growing deserts of the world. A man with secret knowledge of long-hidden paths - paths to hidden places, paths to safe refuge, paths to deeper truths.
He wears the symbol of his office openly, choosing his journeys where he will. But he has become entwined in the life of a woman, Emma, and her three daughters - the former wife of Brigham, Jaeger's military commander, who fled her husband rather than remain in a freehold out in the desert.
Emma took her daughters and escaped back to the city, and Brigham has been looking for them ever since. But Emma is not entirely what she seems, either - she dreams she is really in some other world. And her daughters are unusual in many ways: devious, precocious, occasionally frightening in their determination.
So when Brigham shows up in town looking for his wife and children, what can a Finder do?
Finder is a powerful, individual, original tale with chillingly baroque concepts like the Painwright Museum, a museum home to all forms of pain; a desert city with an artificial dome that is falling apart, though no one knows how it was built or why it is deteriorating; a mystic rune reader who keeps shop in an old bookstore; and a self-guided walking tour of a city so futuristic that many citizens never touch the ground in their entire lives.
Throwing in new concepts and ideas in every issue, Carla still spins a single cohesive tale of Jaeger's lonely isolation and his entanglement in the lives of Emma, Brigham, and their children - while still showing us a frighteningly complex, yet still subtly beautiful scene of a future. Her scripting is sparse and tight, occasionally lyrical (as in the extended quote pulled for the opening of the review), her characters full and rich, her story mysterious and gripping. One of the best science fiction books done today, period.
Finder is a blend of many magical and futuristic themes, appealing to a wide cross-section of the comics audience. Like in Disney's "Aladdin", Jaeger is something of a "street rat", living outside of civilization's rules in a stratified society, yet honest and good of heart. Meanwhile, the future Carla has painted reminds me of the bewildering yet somehow innately human technology of "Blade Runner" mixed with the isolated desert wasteland of "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome".
Readers of Wandering Star will especially like Finder, and with Teri Wood now on hiatus they're looking for something else to read. Also try it on with readers of Hellblazer and Invisibles who enjoy the "strangeness right beneath the veneer of normal life" aspect of those books. Readers of Thieves & Kings may like the "young man against society" angle, while fans of THB will get into the "fascinatingly different future" and the mystery surrounding Emma and her daughters.
One brief warning: this book is not for children - mature themes and even occasional nudity appear.
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