Growing up on a mining colony, Flint deals with all the problems a young girl will face over her life, including the constant feeling of longing for a world she has never known. But the question is, will she never really know it? Read Retrograde Orbit from Avery Hill Publishing to find out.
Writer/Artist: Kristyna Baczynski
Cover: Kristyna Baczynski
Publisher: Avery Hill Publishing
UK Release Date: September 21, 2018
US Release Date: November 21, 2018
Cover Price: $16.99
Previously from Kristyna Baczynski: Kristyna Baczynski is an illustrator, comic book artist, and designer who resides Leeds, United Kingdom. She has the Northern Design Award and has been nominated for multiple comic awards, including a nomination for Best Short in the 2016 Eisner Awards for her story “Hand Me Down”.
WHEN HOME IS NOT HOME
Years before Flint was born, the planet of Doma suffered a disaster which forced the inhabitants to leave their world for a safe place to call home. In a system of six planets, some landed on Tisa, a mining colony in the outer reaches. Flint’s grandmother was a child when she arrived on Tisa, and her mother was born on the planet, as was Flint, but the young girl’s heart has always been drawn to her lost world. She tries to add the beauties of Doma into her scientific presentation as a child only to be reminded those beauties are long gone. Her best friend Zed seems to be the only one who understands or simply overlooks, her odd longing.
Time passes. Flint is older, but still, the longing for Doma remains, as does her friend Zed. Her mother begins to prepare her for a job at the mines, certain that her daughter will follow in her footsteps, but Flint is not as sure. While she grows physically, she also begins to grow emotionally distant. Secrets, on both sides, are kept and discovered, causing repercussions that will affect her family and her future. Despite the love for her mother and grandmother, the shadow of Doma weighs on her mind. Is it all a futile dream she will one day outgrow, or will she live to see the planet she feels such a connection to? And when the time comes, will her family survive?
AN EMOTIONALLY TOUCHING TALE OF THE HEART
Kristyna Baczynski writes the tale of Flint and her lost world with the authority of someone who knows, and she may. While she grew up in Yorkshire, but her family was from Ukraine. The tale of Flint feels real, most likely, due to this. There is a musical quality to the story which flows and changes as Flint matures. When Flint longs to know Doma, you can practically hear a solitary violin in your mind, accentuating that longing. When she confronts her mother regarding discovered secrets, an angry symphony swells. When she fulfills her destiny, a pastoral tune sweeps across the scene. Baczynski’s writing, combined with her expressive artistic style, bring this soundtrack into your mind. The longing which Flint feels is the longing of anyone who is not where they believe they belong. It is a feeling of helplessness and discomfort, a feeling that is always just in the background, even in happy times.
Her writing flows so well because of her art. As the sole creator of the story, she has the ability to translate exactly what she feels the story needs directly to the page. The art is very stylized, but with a solidity. The world Flint inhabits has its own continuity which is re-enforced by the creator’s use of color and sequences. Each stage of Flint’s life is told in a sequence, which is in turn accentuated by a color scheme. Young Flint, feeling the longing for Doma even in grade school and adjusting to a new living situation as her parents separate, is given a soothing blue color scheme. The sequence with pre-teen Flint moves to a darker blue. Young adult Flint receives a blueish purple world, and a purer purple lends itself to the chapter where she makes a startling discovery. The book moves from the beginning with a light blue through gradients of color until the denouement which is delivered in tints of orange. The attention paid to the color scheme and its progression through Flint’s life becomes even more important once you realize it only breaks twice. There is a variant accent color on the first page and an additional set of variant colors on the last. This gives the feeling of bookending the story of Doma, but not of Flint. The thought which went into the design and flow of the book adds a layer of emotional recognition that further enhances the reader’s experience.
BOTTOM LINE: YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF BLINKING BACK TEARS OF UNDERSTANDING.
Retrograde Orbit is one of those books which sneaks up on you. I was not expecting the tale I received after reading the back cover blurb. As I sat down with the story and opened myself up to the world which Flint lived in, I came to identify with her feeling of “not my purpose.” It’s a feeling which nearly everyone may have experienced at one time of their life. It was good to find that feeling expressed so subtly through such a beautiful tale.
RETROGRADE ORBIT is not an explosive story. It is a slow, steady burn of emotion which takes you through a young woman’s life, subtly drawing you in until you find yourself practically living it with her. You don’t get every detail, but you get what is important. I look forward to more Kristyna Baczynski and her wonderful storytelling.