Simon Roy’s sci-fi comic Habitat, reviewed.

An Epic Sci-Fi That Combines Steampunk, Body Horror, and Beautiful Design

An Epic Sci-Fi That Combines Steampunk, Body Horror, and Beautiful Design

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Reading between the lines.
Nov. 9 2016 2:36 PM

An Epic Sci-Fi That Combines Steampunk, Body Horror, and Beautiful Design

Simon Roy’s Habitat.

A panel from HABITAT.
Habitat.

Simon Roy

When they first created their home, it was a utopia. But four generations ago something went wrong. Everything broke. Now all that’s left is the carrion birds and a set of warring tribes struggling to survive while the world they live in slowly falls apart.

Dan Kois Dan Kois

Dan Kois edits and writes for Slate’s culture department. He is writing a book called How to Be a Family and co-writing, with Isaac Butler, an oral history of Angels in America.

America, four generations from now? Nope! It’s Simon Roy’s epic sci-fi story Habitat, a familiar dystopia turned surprising through the power of Roy’s detailed, imaginative world-building. Mesoamerican design meets steampunk hardware meets body horror in a comic that looks like nothing else I’ve seen in a long time. Roy draws elegant human bodies at rest and in battle and also embraces the intricate, near-crazy detail of both advanced technology and overgrown nature: every encroaching bamboo stalk, every key on a keyboard of unimaginable complexity.

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Roy’s story of a utopian spaceship gone feral was originally published in the terrific anthology series Island; this stand-alone collection follows a young security officer, Cho, as he discovers a secret about the habitat. A terrible accident sends Cho on the run, but it soon becomes clear his secret might be the only thing that can save the crumbling ship. Habitat is exciting, bloody, and fascinating; it’s genre fiction doing what it does best, reminding us that our human nature doesn’t change even when circumstances place us in dire situations. We’re very pleased to have the talented Simon Roy illustrating the November issue of the Slate Book Review.

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Habitat by Simon Roy. Image Comics.

Read the rest of the pieces in the Slate Book Review.