Beta Testing the Apocalypse
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Beta Testing the Apocalypse


It would be easy to call Tom Kaczynski the J.G. Ballard of comics. Like Ballard, Kaczynski s comics riff on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.Yet while Kaczynski shares many of Ballard s obsessions, he processes them in unique ways. His visual storytelling adds an architectural dimension that the written word alone lacks.

Kaczynski takes abstract ideas capitalism, communism, or utopianism and makes them tangible. He depicts and meditates on the immense political and technological structures and spaces we inhabit that subtly affect and define the limits of who we are and the freedom we as Americans presume to enjoy. Society and the individual, in perpetual tension. Once you've read Kaczynski s comics, it should come as no surprise to learn that he studied architecture before embarking on a career as a cartoonist.

Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably The New, a brand new story created expressly for this book. It s Kaczynski s longest story to date. The New is set in an un-named third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.

Title:Beta Testing the Apocalypse
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:136 pages

    Beta Testing the Apocalypse Reviews

  • Forrest
    Mar 31, 2015

    If Kafka had been born 100 years later and studied architecture, and become a cartoonist, this is what he might have produced. Tom Kaczynski immerses the reader in 21st century angst brought on by gen...

  • Robert
    Nov 05, 2012

    Existential angst collides with dystopian scenarios in this rewarding, imaginative story cycle, largely concerning humankind’s uneasy relationships with technology and consumerism, and how quickly o...

  • Stewart Tame
    Nov 07, 2015

    It's always a thrill to encounter a book this good. I'd never heard of Kaczynski before. Most of these seem to be reprints from Mome, a magazine I've heard good things about, but not read. The title w...

  • James
    Apr 27, 2013

    This books scratches an itch I didn't know I had. And it does it so well that I did that thing I've written of here in the past: as soon as I finished it, I started it again.It is a collection of shor...

  • J Edward Tremlett
    Feb 10, 2013

    "it reminded me of J.G. Ballard, as illustrated by..."In search of an adequate tagline, the reviewer sits and is defined by the blank, white space in the text box. Fingers flex as the brain flaps thro...

  • Harris
    Apr 20, 2013

    One of the most affecting graphic novels I've read recently, "Beta Testing the Apocalypse” is a collection of stand alone stories by Tom Kaczynski that are linked by common threads and themes of mod...

  • Sam
    Mar 28, 2015

    Picked this up on a complete whim whilst spending a joyful Saturday stalking the shelves of the local library and I am so glad I did. This volume travels across ten short stories encompassing the futi...

  • Joe Collier
    May 25, 2013

    This one really resonated with me. I got rid of my car a few years ago, but I've had periods of commuting that correspond unfortunately too well with Kaczynski's vision. I'm a cynic who loves graphic ...

  • Jeff
    Apr 06, 2013

    It's obvious, but not trite, to compare the comics of Tom Kaczynski to the fiction of J.G. Ballard. Both share an obsession with human adjustment to a world transformed by science and technology, and ...

  • Ash
    May 19, 2013

    highly recommended during a heatwave when you're already kind of paranoid and on edge. ...

About Tom Kaczynski

Tom Kaczynski

Tom Kaczynski learned to read English by looking at American capitalist comics in communist Poland. He moved to The US in 1987 and eventually was nominated for an Ignatz Award. Kaczynski is the founder of the independent publishing house, Uncivilized Books. His comics have appeared in Best American Nonrequired Reading, MOME, and many other publications thought the years. He currently lives and wor