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‘Open Earth’ by Sarah Mirk

‘Open Earth’ by Sarah Mirk

Author: Cathy Camper

January 24, 2019

I look forward to writing from Sarah Mirk. When she lived in Portland, I became a fan of her writing as a progressive journalist for the Mercury and Bitch Magazine, and appreciated her contributions to a local alternative history project called The Dill Pickle Club.

More recently, she did a comic illustrated by Alexandra Beguez which is an intriguing examination of the concept of hysteria for The Nib.

Open Earth is a science fiction graphic novel about a young Latinx woman named Rigo, who, unlike her parents, has lived her whole life on a space station orbiting a decimated Earth. The planet was destroyed by her parent’s generation, and while her parents are nostalgic for what their California home used to be, Rigo, like most teens, has little patience for the norms of her forgone home world.

Rigo has feelings for, and is having sex with her close friend Carlo. But when Carlo’s roommate moves out, Rigo is surprised to discover she feels a little jealous when she finds that their friend Franklin, who’s also involved with Carlo, has already asked to move into his living compartment.

Rigo has friendly weightless sex with her mechanic friend Hex (well, they are in outer space), while Franklin fools around with another sexy female teen friend, the newly arrived Atwood. But it all eventually boils down to the need for talk, and Rigo confronts Franklin, admitting she wants to move in with Carlo.

“I want to see if maybe he wants to be partners with me? Because I feel really special about him?” she explains, questioning, even as she asks, if she can do this without polyamory reverting into monogamy.

Atwood makes a good point about why it’s such a struggle: “We’re the first generation. We get to decide what to take and what to leave. We have to figure out what feels right to us, we have to navigate by finding joy.”

The real message of the book is to figure out relationships as you go, to talk it through, and to follow what the motto on the opening pages declares: “Honesty keeps us alive.”

Eva Cabrera’s art is bright and accessible, drawing readers into these smart, sexy, and diverse off-planet kids’ lives. The book’s an inviting introduction, and it would be fun to read more about what these folks do in the future. Recommended for readers in search of polyamorous exploration; those who enjoyed Hazel Newlevant’s Sugar Town will love this one too!


Open Earth
By Sarah Mirk
Illustrated by Eva Cabrera
Oni Press
Paperback, 9781620105016, 120 pp.
September 2018

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