Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Graphic Novel Presentation, I and You, by Beverly Garside Not For Me...But...

In 1998 I had a vision. I could see back then that America had been infected with a dangerous virus. It was a cult, really, organized around the worship of Ayn Rand and her objectivist ideology. The cult was expressed in the anarchist take over of the Republican Party and its subsequent crusade to overthrow the U.S. Government. The Republicans wanted to establish  a nation where the rich and powerful were free to prey upon everyone else without any laws or institutions to interfere with their hunting. The conspiracy was in its infancy then. But I thought it out to its logical conclusion, and had a vision of what America might look like  in 2098. I expressed this vision in a novel called I and You.
I and You takes place in a Divided States of America, with the
majority socialist block  fragmented by an eight-state theocracy in the South, and a four-state free market republic in the West called "The Randian Republic of Atlantis" (RRA). It was inspired by the chapter in Rand's Atlas Shrugged in which the capitalists go on strike and form their own  society. The citizens of the RRA also pay homage to Ayn Rand's novel Anthem, in which the pronoun "I" is banned by law, by dismissing the pronoun "we" from their vocabulary and replacing it with the ideologically correct "I and You." Its heroine, Sara Storm, is a  firm believer in the objectivist ideals of selfishness, greed, and unbridled ego. Her ideology  and her republic, however, are not prepared to deal with the realities of human nature, the  tide of history, or the complications of falling in love with the wrong person.
America was not ready for "I and You" in 1998. By the late 2000s, however, I began to  notice a very disturbing phenomenon. The evening news was honing in on my story. The conspiracy born in the 90's matured into the Tea Party and started to threaten our government and our democracy in an organized fashion. Petitions for secession were sprouting up everywhere, and a propaganda network that rivaled the Soviet Union's had created a bubble where lies were more believable than facts and truth. The U.S. was living out the prequel to I and You.
At the same time, publishing underwent a revolution, and the graphic novel exploded out of  its Lucas Duimstra, I published it as a graphic novel in August 2013. traditional super-hero genre. I decided that the story was best suited to a graphic format.  So with the help of a very talented young artist in Michigan,
And now the Randian cult has taken the entire U.S. Government hostage, threatening to bring down the government and democracy itself if it doesn't get its way. I find the timing and confluence of these historical events with I and You alarming. I set out to write a novel, not to prophesy a real dystopian future for the United States.Hopefully, this is all just a remarkable coincidence. Could I just be paranoid? Or am I a reluctant prophet?

I and You
By Beverly Garside
Illustrated by Lucas Duimstra

I decided to be more open and honest about my opinion of this book... The presentation, in my opinion, did not do justice to the content. In fact, I learned more about the book by visiting the author's web site and viewing the available book trailers than I did by "reading" the novel. Forgive me, for apparently there is an audience out there who enjoys graphic novels... I found it tedious and immature. And therefore, I felt that, given the content, it was not doing what needed to be done to present the "vision" of the author in a serious fashion.

On the other hand, the illustrator has done an excellent presentation of the story and should be commended for his achievements in putting this story into graphic format. For me, the 8 1/2 size 200+ pages was unwieldy, cumbersome. It is disruptive to keep track of the story line and I found it time-consuming to have to decide where exactly to read the next section of narrative. For instance, the main character is telling the story that shows up in a small box--do you read that first or the character's speaking? I admit that this is my first graphic novel, other than one I got several years ago at a book show which was decidedly pornographic, and I gave up reading comics well over 50 years ago, so I'm acknowledging that this review might be much more of a personal bias than I normally allow myself for negative comments. For those who enjoy graphic presentations, Do check it out!

Recognize, however, that this may be a form of satire, but as the author expressed on her web site, could the story be more prophetic than fantasy? So, naturally, I thought it best to add a bit on the individual behind the author's vision...

Ayn Rand described the theme of the novel [Atlas Shrugged] as "the role of the mind in man's existence—and, as a corollary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest."[66] It advocates the core tenets of Rand's philosophy of Objectivism and expresses her concept of human achievement. The plot involves a dystopian United States in which the most creative industrialists, scientists, and artists go on strike and retreat to a mountainous hideaway where they build an independent free economy. The novel's hero and leader of the strike, John Galt, describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the minds of the individuals most contributing to the nation's wealth and achievement. With this fictional strike, Rand intended to illustrate that without the efforts of the rational and productive, the economy would collapse and society would fall apart...

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