Sunday, November 15, 2020

#StayAtHome: Tillie Walden's "On a Sunbeam" and "Cosmic Slumber Tarot"


The art above comes from Tillie Walden's SF epic graphic novel On a Sunbeam, which tells the story of a group of women and one genderfluid crewmember who travel the stars repairing abandoned space relics. Not relics as in spacecraft, but relics as in "old palaces" or other mysterious and long-abandoned structures hanging alone in the built environment of deep space. The starships we see are giant koi, and there are elements of space magic in the graphic novel. At 500+ pages, the story takes a while to "take in" and includes two storylines: the protagonist's school days, and her present life as part of a travelling architectural repair crew. Think about the design intent of the RPG Diaspora, remove all men from the picture (it totally passes the Bechdel test), and add space magic and you have some sense of the promise of this graphic novel. It also has one of the nerviest borrowings from classic SF: in particular, from Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day".

During the North Country Gaylaxian's discussion of the Walden book, we discovered that she has also created the Cosmic Slumber Tarot. This is a full-sized, full-color Tarot deck with two extra cards representing day and night. The art is very reminiscent of  the author's illustration  style in On a Sunbeam, in particular once we reach the vivid, mysterious and magical world known as The Staircase. The deck is charming and beautiful, and comes with a small hardcover guide to the deck. The cards and book come in a hard double box with a magnetic close. It is very reasonably priced at $25.

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