Karen Haber Reviews Starport by George R.R. Martin, Adaptation and Art by Raya Golden

Starport, George R.R. Martin, adaptation and art by Raya Golden (Bantam 978-1-101-966504-7, $28.00, unpaginated, hc) March 2019. Cover by Raya Golden.

This time the intergalac­tic depot is in Chicago in George R.R. Martin’s Star­port, a hardcover graphic novel adapted by Hugo Award-nominated artist Raya Golden from an unproduced 1994 TV script by Martin. The result is a slick, expressive, at­tractive volume filled with delightful characters and funny bits of business.

The backstory: ten years ago, an interstellar group of 314 aliens sent emissaries to Earth to invite humans to join the club. Of course, this required that a spaceport be built, and of course the location selected for it was Chicago. (See above, Nnedi Okorafor’s LaGuardia, for a different choice of location.) Pile on top of this a hot interstellar species romance, a hive-mind alien group, an annoying/endearing bat monkey that purrs, a studious alien emissary spouting hopelessly outdated American slang, and lots of hilarious human/alien interactions, and you’ve got an episodic ride in 12 chapters, with lots of speed and style. The baseline plot involves the varied members of the Chicago Police Depart­ment tangling with the intergalactic community and its officials when an undercover officer em­bedded in an anti-alien terrorist group sniffs out a plan to assassinate an alien ambassador. Amusing personality quirks, and the updated timeliness of the plot make it easy to care about these characters and their stories.

The hardcover with dustjacket and the excellent production values – glossy paper, excellent color – add to the impact of this book. Raya Golden’s previous graphic novel, Meathouse Man, an adaptation of a Martin short story, was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Novel in 2014. Her considerable skill in portraying elo­quent body language and facial expressions in both humanoids and aliens is put to excellent use here. The entire book is filled with vibrant fizz and fun. A sequel would be fun, too.

This review and more like it in the February 2020 issue of Locus.

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