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Curveball, Jeremy Sorese, 420 pgs, Nobrow,, $28.50

How bright would your bedroom light be if it was powered by romantic tension?

It’s the future! Civilization is fueled by an occasionally volatile but entirely renewable resource simply called “energy”. Young Mx. Avery is frustrated with their job, but more frustrated with a certain sailor named Christof who might be showing up but maybe not who cares god where is he?

Just as the ever-present energy of this world is liable to overload and blow up one’s consumer electronics, Avery’s emotional cumber overflows into the lives of their friends, causing property damage of the soul. “I’ve learned that some people just cannot handle falling in love,” remarks an old woman after seeing literal sparks fly between two budding lovers, sparks that go on to power, say, someone’s nearby car.

This is essentially a tangled collection of love stories that would risk dullness if left at that. However, Sorese’s deep-breathing art and electric palette ties every personal moment together into something with overall purpose. Even the book itself, its edges gilt neon, pulsates with a garish but friendly glow like an object you might find in the world of the story itself.

But all is not well in that world. A war that threatens mass destruction is barely discussed. This could speak to the all-consuming nature of romantic ills, endemic to the human condition no matter what. But it strikes me instead as an omission of politics and social consciousness as important parts of daily life. Odd, considering the effort and activism it would take to turn our world into the pansexual and genderfluid reality that Avery enjoys. (Christopher Lawson)

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