Reading Pile: Homunculus GN
Do you like sadness tinged with happiness? Or happiness tinged with sadness? Explorations of consciousness and love? And all in a finely crafted and emotionally dense package? Then you should definitely give the newest printing of Joe Sparrow's Homunculus a look.
The book follows the set POV of Daisy, an AI given sentience by an engineer named Veronica. After a Robocop set of abrupt starts as Daisy is brought online, the story follows the pair as Veronica slowly teaches Daisy everything she can about the world.
Nicely spread between the educational bits and pieces are hints that the world itself is pretty sucky. This eventually escalates as expected, and we get to see a fun experiment in time progression through a static perspective. This is all brought to life through Sparrow's great use of colors that help to denote seasons and more.
The plot follows a purposefully predictable path, focusing on its emotional storytelling and the POV experiment. Stylistically it feels like a Twilight Zone-esque story through a Rebecca Sugar lens, mashing the heaviness of a sci-fi anthology tale with the earnestness of 2010s cartoons such as Gravity Falls or Over The Garden Wall. It's incredibly potent, gut-wrenching, and makes for a fantastically successfull exercise in concise storytelling with its 76 pages.
Generally I'm a bit picky about higher price points on smaller packages, but if a package is worth it it's worth it. You can order this direct from publisher ShortBox for about $14.50, but then you've got shipping to toss on as well so you may want to pick up a couple other books at the same time. I love ShortBox though and their projects are all high quality, both in the printing and the content. I would definitely recommend dropping the extra money on this to support an indy creator and small press publisher, and to own such an optimistically depressing tale.