Travel Documents 22: Buying Time

Buying Time

Casey J AKA Notos
Genre: dystopian, cyberpunk, comic

 Link To Read

The Dust Cover Copy

Buying Time is a sci-fi cyberpunk romance. Set in the future megalopolis of Hyperion City where all forms of entertainment, including our own personal social lives are regulated by a micro-transaction monetary system called Daily Leisure Credit.

When Vinnie Smalls, a lonesome welder working for the Hyperion City Core finds he has a crush on a fellow co-worker, he finds he must break away from his usual loner lifestyle and dive headfirst into the inner workings of the Daily Leisure Credit system. Our story deals with the ups and downs of his relationship in the midst of system that makes staying in contact with someone a financial battle.

The Deets

The Scene

Worldbuilding

The story revolves around Vinnie, his boyfriend Galvin, and their slow and rocky road to love in a very difficult world. In the sprawling future metropolis of Hyperion City, all forms of entertainment, including your  social life, are regulated by a micro-transaction monetary system called Daily Leisure Credit. Say hello, you get charged DLC. Give somebody a hug, it’s going to cost you. Want to have sex? You better have a good paycheck…which Vinnie doesn’t. Let’s just say it’s not an easy way to live or love…

The conceptual structure of Hyperion is one that strikes a deep cord with anybody born after 1970, with its expression of a faceless, heartless system that instills a kind of pragmatic apathy in those caught up in it. People don’t get up in arms in ‘Buying Time’, they just try to get by. Again and again, the interpersonal interactions of this characters underline this leitmotif, and yet you as the reader never feel as if you’re being beaten over the head with the point. In fact, the characters speak and interact so casually and honestly with their world that you’re led into accepting this world where the poor are denied even social contact and the mega-rich keep other people as expressions of their wealth as a form of normal.

And guess what? It actually moves. Notos has created a flash-hybrid comic that MOVES. The neon really sizzles. The rain really falls. And every single page is interactive! In a true step into the future, ‘Buying Time’ takes the webcomic format and the dystopian genre to a new level.

 

The Crowd

Characterization

I have to say that understated honesty is the greatest strength of the storytelling in this comic. Through these characters infatuation, first-date jitters, love, loss, friendship and stress are explored with some of the most earnest reality I’ve ever seen. You can really believe in Vinnie’s nervousness and his fears, really feel for Galvin’s losses. I’ve rarely met characters that I believed so much in. Notos has a flare for drawing you into a world and making you a part of it. In line with this creation and acceptance of new normal, the creator has also, without the reader really noticing, created an amazingly sex-positive world. It’s so sex positive that the sex present in the comic doesn’t even need to be remarked on. It’s treated as just another part of life and love, an organic part of a whole. The simple, natural way in which romantic relationships are portrayed really floored me as a reader. (though, heads up, NSFW because things will show and there are a lot of annoying prudes around our present world) and I loved every minute of it.

The Moves

Plot

This comic’s slick, stylish grasp of line, clean layers of shading and impeccable grasp of perspective, anatomy and expression draw you deep into its futuristic metropolitan depths, and before you know it you’re immersed in a world of darkness and neon, hope and oppression. The Flash elements manage to integrate with perfection into the artwork, bringing tiny details such as neon signs and faulty light bulbs to life while remaining in the background, staying endlessly enriching but never intrusive. The interactive nature of the comic, once you adjust to it, is a wonder of a tool, since it allows each page to tell an entire cinematic scene that would have been impossible to squeeze into such compact spaces otherwise. It’s a masterful use of scripting and space.

The Lingo

Writing style

Painfully real and completely relatable. This comic may be short, but it will stay in your heart a long time.

The Vibe

Overall Rating

This. Is. GOLD. A true must read for anyone interested in the craft of webcomics, the future of said craft, or just a really great story to read.