O Human Star volume One


By Blue Delliquanti (Blue Delliquanti)
ISBN: 978-0-9909956-0-9 (TPB)

Sexuality and identity appear to be inextricably conjoined. We’re not quite there yet in the disappointingly real world, but fiction and fantasy have extensively explored the potential ramifications and repercussions of the topic, and none more so or as stylishly as self-identified non-binary creator Blue Delliquanti (Meal; Smut Peddler; The Sleep of Reason & Beyond) in compelling voyage of personal discovery O Human Star.

The epic tale launched as a weekly webcomic on January 25th 2012 and ran until 27th August 2020, with the first collection (compiling chapters 1-3 in paperback and digital formats) released in book and digital formats in 2015.

The plot premise is potently simple and delivered through a complex network of enticingly engaging characters, beginning as mystery with ‘His Own Image’ wherein inventor Alastair Sterling dies alone and wakes up 16 years later. In the future, robotic lifeforms are simply part of the world, “Synthetic Beings” who comprise everything from simple manufacturing tools to fully autonomous independent individuals.

Apparently, Sterling’s discoveries changed everything and now his personality has been installed in a fully-artificial replica of his failed body. The creatures who greet him on awakening seem benevolent, and inform that his return has been commissioned by the estate of his former protégé, assistant beneficiary and lover Brendan Pinsky.

Bizarrely, after a fraught reunion with the angry, confused middle-aged guardian and administrator of his legacy, Alastair realises he’s been lied to. Of course, Brendan has tried to revive Sterling in the past, but without success. The who, how and why of the unasked-for true return is a complete – and very suspicious – mystery…

Part of the reason for Brendan’s reticence becomes apparent when a precocious young female synthetic flies into the compound and, with a storm of inexpressible emotions, Alastair realises Sulla is a teenaged girl version of himself…

She didn’t start out that way, though. Originally, the body was a gradually, methodically constructed boy child, but three years previously she chose to become female…

With no place to go, Alastair settles in and attempts to come to terms with an incredible new world, new lives and disappointment and confusion beyond belief…

Chapter Two ‘In the Morning of the Magicians’ finds the aggrieved resurrected man still bewildered as Sulla – desperately seeking his approval – appoints herself his guide and protector. This causes ructions with notional father Brendan who has spent his years trying to restore Alastair, while turning their company – Sterling Inc. – into one of the most powerful organisations on Earth. He also cannot navigate the situation as a flashback draws him back to the day when a shy young MIT graduate first met maverick inventor Alastair Sterling and sparks first flew…

Ostensibly trapped in the big house with his memories and constant unbelievable new experiences, Sterling relives his relationship with Brendan and seeks shards of himself in Sulla until eventually everyone agrees it’s time for him to explore the world his ideas built in concluding chapter ‘Mansions of the Soul’

When corporate duties call Brendan away, Alastair is left with Sulla who treats his growing future shock with rowdy enthusiasm as they tour the city. Dumbfounded, Sterling thinks back to the moment of his greatest breakthroughs, but still cannot decide if that was opening his protective emotional shell and accepting young Brendan as a lover or finding ways to liberate robotic consciousness.

A possible clue then presents itself when he uncharacteristically convinces Sulla to go and join a group of similarly aged human kids and talk to one who has particularly caught her attention…

After an eventful day all around, human and synthetics head home to the safety of the mansion compound, each profoundly changed by their recent interactions and all terrified that further revelations cannot help but spark further transformations…

Powerfully but subtly gripping, and rendered in a mesmerising, manga-influenced style, O Human Star is fundamentally a love story that explores notions of identity, perception, inclusion, gender and the drive to belong via the comfortably familiar cultural neutral zones of science fiction standards and landscapes. It also powerfully pulverises the concept of what “normal” means: using emotional conflict and the apparent quest for factual knowledge to unearth the spiritual data that makes humanity universal.

The series concluded last year and has been collected in three volumes which – just like this one – also offer story extras; behind-the-scenes notes; commentary and design sketches.

Absolutely one of the best graphic novels you’ll ever read, so don’t let this star pass you by.
© 2015 Blue Delliquanti. All rights reserved.