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A Deviant Mind, Vol. 1 (graphic novel)

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Pam Harrison

Standard Sized Trade Paperback
Full Color
Page Count: 132

Tara is taken into Imperial custody as a hunt begins to find out who she was and what is going on. When she takes it on herself to discover the truth, the more she learns, the worse it gets and she is soon on the run again. Tara begins to realize she may not be one of the good guys after all. A Deviant Mind: Exodus Vol. 1 comprises Books 1-5 of the popular Riyaki Saga based on the Independent Comic series: Tara, a telepath of no small ability, awakens in a regeneration tube with no recollection of who she is and where she comes from. The insidious truth behind Tara’s amnesia is, she has a secret that makes her worth hunting…and it’s more terrible than anyone could have ever imagined.

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  • Top Customer Reviews

    on January 15, 2016
    Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

    Pam Harrison keeps you guessing. At the outset, A Deviant Mind has all the trappings you expect from classic sci-fi: space ships, aliens, androids, guns, bounty hunters, even lightsabers and uniform jumpsuits obviously inspired by Star Trek: the Next Generation. The story opens in an action sequence as the main character, Tara, is in a desperate fighter chase, trying to escape… who? Five chapters in I’m still not entirely sure, and that’s okay. In that opening scene it’s revealed that her pursuers had reprogrammed Tara “for maintenance only.” Then before we learn any details about her antagonists, she slams the fighter into orbit and then into hyperspace, ignoring computer warnings about the hazards with the desperate proclamation, “I’d rather die!”

    After this tense opening sequence, the rest of the first chapter seems a bit sluggish. Tara is found near death, floating in space and brought to a medical facility where she finally regains consciousness after two months in a tank. Information comes in tiny bursts, like the fact that she’s a “wire head”, an informal name given to a number of humanoid people who’ve been showing up around this part of the galaxy with invasive high-tech wiring throughout their nervous system. Tara is unique among them however in that she is still alive when she’s found. As soon as she wakes up, we discover Tara is a telepath, but thanks to her amnesia we don’t hear the name “Tara” until near the end of the first chapter on page 17, when the medical droid AGNES informs us it’s an acronym that’s been etched into the circuitry on Tara’s forehead.

    I wouldn’t fault someone for expecting a comic series written by a Prism Queer Press Grant winner to be one big rainbow of continual declarations of their sexual orientation. Yet again, Pam keeps us guessing, so you might be either disappointed or pleasantly surprised that her story doesn’t often focus the camera in that direction. While items of queer pride and queer psychology are definitely a part of this story, most of that seems limited to establishing a relationship between Tara and the supporting character, Dr Adrian Rausch, in chapter two. Their will-they, won’t-they courtship is short-lived however as Tara, who started as a fugitive, breaks and runs again at the beginning of chapter three where the story’s pace speeds up dramatically. Throughout the remaining three chapters of Volume 1, the subject of relationships is only mentioned in passing to remind you about the aborted love affair between Tara and Adrian, one that both of them are hoping to continue, despite each having their own misgivings. The only exception is the revelation in chapter four that the series title “A Deviant Mind” is in fact using the word “deviant” to mean “homosexual”. So for a series that places sexual orientation right in the title, it’s mentioned remarkably little throughout the story in favor of high-tech hijackings, psychic powers, manhunts and other sci-fi staples we all love.

    The technical execution of this first volume is a little rough around the edges. Mostly, I found the shape and placement of the dialogue balloons problematic, taking me out of the story to figure out who’s actually speaking when the tail seems to point at the wrong character or off-camera, or when two or three balloons in the same panel probably should have been connected because they belong to the same character. And frequently the text intersects the line of the balloon, which is less of a problem and more of an aesthetic complaint. And she couldn’t seem to decide whether or not the word @$$ needed to be censored, which honestly just made me chuckle. But despite the technical imperfections, and my own personal bias (I’m not usually a fan of 3D-modelled comics), I think this book is a good start to an ongoing series.

    Overall, I think Pam Harrison has crafted a story with sympathetic characters and a great deal of mystery and intrigue. If you’re a fan of the sci-fi genre, I recommend it. And if you want a good taste before the bigger price-tag to own all of the print issues, I think this ebook compilation of the first five issues is a good deal.