Notes from the Burning Age deposits its readers sometime between Mad Max and The Broken Earth. The world that seems in the first chapter to be an unknown, fantastical place, is actually a snapshot of a future Earth, its landscape shifted by centuries of exploitation. Eventually, it seems the Earth fought back, defending itself by unleashing fearsome spiritual creatures called the kakui, who, depending on who you ask, burnt the world or saved it from the burning. Regardless, it was a hefty price that humanity paid in both life and lifestyle as those left learned how to survive in this new world, constructed by both reverence for the Earth and fear of her wrath.
By the time the story begins, most of this world that might look familiar to readers is a long-gone memory. It’s been just long enough for old borders to (somewhat) be redrawn, and for old languages to (somewhat) be forgotten. Instead, you’ll find yourself just removed enough from the Burning Age and the cataclysmic rise of the kakui that what was once fact has started to dissolve into myth, and that powerful and greedy individuals have slid into the space left by fading memory to take advantage of what was left behind, those powerful and dangerous tools that once ended the world.
Notes from the Burning Age is an exciting yet poetic window into a possible future. If you’re looking for escapism, this is not the book for you. But, if you’re looking for sci-fi that is rooted in the now and isn’t afraid to take issues in our reality and place them into a reality where they’re even more unavoidably political, then you will love this book.
Excerpted from the full review, available at Women Write About Comics. Review title quoted from “Out of the Wind” by Audre Lorde.