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The global climate and wildlife as we know it has been completely wiped out, fossil fuels have run dry, and we live in a total corporate monopoly. But worst of all, Elizabeth and Carlos are bored! Alienation, Inés Estrada’s new graphic novel, introduces us to a powerfully exquisite and chilling near future that doesn’t seem too far-fetched, where virtual reality affects our diets, sex lives, and nightly dreams.
Drawn in hazy gray pencil and printed in blue ink, Alienation focuses on Elizabeth, an erotic dancer in cyberspace, and Carlos, just fired from the last human-staffed oil rig, as they attempt to keep their romance alive. The couple is anxious about dangerous cyber stalkers and malfunctioning brain implants (“Googleglands”), but they also can’t forget to go grocery shopping and fix their spotty internet service. When the realization hits them that their bodies are full of artificial organs and they live almost entirely online, they begin to question what being human actually means. Do our ancestral, or even animal, instincts eventually kick in, or are we transcending the limits of our bodies?