A Brief Review of NoZone X: Forecast
Edited by Nicholas Blechman
by Brent Aldrich
In the long tradition of books making predictions for the future, comes Nozone X: Forecast, a collection of mostly doom and gloom scenarios by graphic artists, cartoonists, and illustrators. Given the task at hand: making cartoons (something funny) in light of current political, economic, and ecological predictions for the future, these cartoonists have mostly turned to harsh irony and criticism, and some even seem hopeless. In a collection such as this, one cynical cartoon after another can be hard to bear for two reasons: first is the increased awareness of the extent to which it is Americanized culture and consumption that is creating much global crisis. Second, though, is that these cartoonists present such an overwhelming scale, that many seem to resign to the fact that there is very little to be done to remedy any of these ‘prophecies’ of the future.
On occasion, there is a cartoonist or two presenting hope in the middle of despair, notably the group Post-Typography, and Atak, the two comics that close the book. Forecast depicts a grim vision of our current state of affairs, as well as our future. This forecast alone could be reason to despair; hopefully, though, in light of the hope we profess, a book such as this is another reminder of the work to be done, work most likely to be done on a small, daily scale and probably without a solitary massive technological fix. This is the vision presented at the close of the book, although it can be hard to find throughout much of the rest. Forecast is a way to laugh in light of despair, but it simultaneously presents more despair on the horizon.
Nicholas Blechman, ed.
NoZone X: Forecast.
Paperback. Princeton Architectural Press. 2008.
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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com