Now Reading – December 17

Now Reading: Permutation City by Greg Egan

Just Finished: Remember Here When You Are There by Larry Marder

It’s no exaggeration that fans of the Beanworld have been waiting for Remember Here When You Are There for fifteen years. The last issue of the comic series was published in 1993, and the publisher went out of business in 1994. The creator of the series went on to other projects at that time. It wasn’t until I wandered into Larry Marder’s panel at Comic-Con that I learned that he planned to finally continue the story.

It’s a story of beans (as you might guess,) walking, talking beans who live on an island on the Thin Lake— the Beanworld. They’re watched over by their silent spiritual guardian, Gran’Ma’Pa. Sometimes resembling a tree, a brain, or a mushroom cloud, Gran’Ma’Pa is the source of life in the Beanworld. From time to time, Gran’Ma’Pa buds off a vocal Sprout-Butt, which signals the beans that it’s time for a Chow Raid against their neighbors, the Hoi-Polloi. The beans steal a substance called Chow, which the beans consume, but is used by the Hoi-Polloi as currency. At the end of the raid, the beans leave the Sprout-Butt behind as a peace offering. There, it is turned into a fresh batch of Chow.

It’s been said that “the Beanworld is not just a place, it’s a process.” As complicated as that all sounds, there’s more. The Beanworld is only a tiny subset of the Big-Big-Picture, itself undoubtedly a fiendishly complicated process of its own, its workings only glimpsed in passing. And as simple as the life of the beans appears, there are signs that something happened just before the story began, something terrible that upset the process of life in the Beanworld, and turned it into “quite the ecological disaster” as one wise character described it.

I look forward to the continuation of the Tales of the Beanworld. The original comic series and this new book comprise a “Springtime” cycle. It will be followed by Summer, Fall, and Winter cycles.

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