perpetual rat-race | 2019.08.17

Snowpiercer: The Escape by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette | Review

Jacques, Lob_Snowpiercer 1 The Escape

Publication: London : Titan Comics, 2014

Genre: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel, Dystopian Fiction

Pages: 110

Formats: Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Source: MCL

What are the characters escaping in this story, exactly? This graphic novel seems to suggest in its opening pages that its characters are escaping fate, or at least they’re attempting to in the name of perpetual human survival.

And any individual or collective failings blamed on fate aren’t really that individual’s or group’s fault, right? They can’t be! Or so the main character proclaims in the final desperate panels of this story. Besides, circumstances of fate are meant to be fought against, not blamed on anyone within the collective, right?

Lob and Rochette really drive this question home through the examples posed by the actions and decisions made by their characters in this story. As much as we’d like to mask our intentions, the heart of the “why” that drove us ever forward still lives on. Similar to how the characters in this story had to finally take stock of what drives the Snowpiercer’s perpetual engine ever forward, we would probably do well to also pay special attention to that catalyst—-the “why” of our decisions and subsequent reactions—-before any productive forward momentum can truly be attained.

And continual, perpetual motion is the primary goal . . . or is it? Remember, the train in this story isn’t really going, um, ANYWHERE! There’s absolutely no destination its passengers have to get to, because the name of the game is a pure, shark-like “Just Keep Swimming.” So round and round and ever goddamn round the characters in this story go, no rest in sight for the perpetually weary. If ever I wanted an artful example (they call these analogies, I suppose, in the lovely world of literature) of modern society’s endless economic rat-race, Lob and Rochette couldn’t have been clearer, I feel.

So, what are we escaping in this no-goals story? Perhaps guilt. Perhaps peace of mind, since there’s none to be had for those stuck in Snowpiercer’s metal tubes. Perhaps we’re escaping ownership of the consequences inherent in the circumstances that our individual and collective choices have surged on ahead of our ability to foresee. Will ridiculous mounds of ice and snow, or perhaps some other unavoidable death sentence for humanity be ultimately of our own making? Will we rise above the consequences of our own need for perpetual winning, the perpetual circling of our own drains to nowhere? How will we conquer our constant rejection of everyone else not in our class or of our self-perceived social stature in the midst of the endless night of humanity’s unquenchable longing for more?

I’m excited to read the sequels to this truly epic story that is a journey all its own through odds as apparently unbeatable as the human will to survive. Sometimes I wonder if the universe might have another plan, however . . . and I wonder if that might be alright.