Couplers #1: Prima Volta

Couplers #1: Prima Volta (2008)
by Realbuzz Studios | Thomas Nelson
128 Pages - Full Color [ Science Fiction / Teen Fiction ]

Story and Creation - Studio Sakai

Publisher summary: Like generations before them, cadets Adam and Dawn have always lived aboard the asteroid. Here the rules of growing up and relationships are . . . different. But Adam and Dawn's generation faces a challenge their ancestors never imagined: Robotic Alien Technology is attacking their world-with the intent to destroy everyone on board.

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 8 August 2008

As one of the first “secular” titles to come out of RealBuzz Studios, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from Couplers. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find a decent science fiction story that doesn’t beat the reader over the head with its themes. It’s also aimed toward tween girls, so… I wish the tween female scifi market well? There’s also one other thing I need to get out of the way: that is not the most aptly chosen title, given the other definitions of the word.

The pacing is about normal… which means that relatively little is actually done in the first slim volume. However, most readers probably won’t notice, between meeting a variety of characters and discovering the world that has been created. It’s a fairly interesting concept that is thankfully not explained via narration or painfully forced explanation. Rather, readers get to slowly understand the nature of the colony.

Our characters all play relatively straightforward roles (Adam is particularly one note) but this can be forgiven in the beginning stages of the plot. It is also nice to see a solid grounding for life on the surface of the colony. I found the idea of them living as close to sustainable as possible interesting, though it doesn’t explain why they use an archaic style of clothing. But perhaps this can also be forgiven due to the bizarre awesomeness that is tophat-dirigible man (not to mention Instructor D’Artegan).

Since this is calling itself a science fiction series, I’ll treat it as such. That means I have to object to the explanation behind the dresses in the initial flying scene (though the scene itself also makes precious little sense in the overall form). If the pretty fairy wings can lift a human body off the ground and propel it at significant speeds, the mass of clothing is insignificant compared to the weight differences that would exist in a class of adolescents.

I don’t see why that scene would be desirable in any case: presumably they’re not aiming for fanservice, given the conservative female audience. There is the slight possibility that the writers intentionally wanted to touch upon awkwardness about bodies at that stage, in which case they hit it at several points. In any case, it forces the art to utilize carefully selected camera angles. That is, I suppose, superior to the magical soap bubbles utilized later.

Perhaps most interestingly, the volume ends with “translation notes.” These are essentially straight-up philology, which I presume is a part of the author’s vision for a futuristic culture. While I could hope most readers would be interested in this kind of thing, I’m not that optimistic. However, I do approve of the tone of these in general, which suggests a series that carries itself more seriously than has often been the case with past Christian literature.

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