Home > fiction, graphic novel > Green Skies: Eric Uhlich and Andrew Oberg

Green Skies: Eric Uhlich and Andrew Oberg

May 12, 2011

Rampant climate change. Unchecked and self-serving authorities. Clinging to imported traditions. Thriving but hostile indigenous tribes. Racism. Starvation. Murder. It is Western Settlement, Greenland, late fifteenth century, and the Norse colony there is plagued by all these problems and many more. Green Skies tell their tale through the eyes of a young farmer named Bjorn Thorsson, a man whose efforts to eke out a living are mirrored countless times across his community. Season after season, from midnight sun to polar night, their hardships mount until the settlement’s very survival is in question. Will the Norse be able to limp their way through another harsh winter? Or will the Inuit finally push them over the brink? Will Bjorn be able to find peace in his eerily modern medieval world? Or will he succumb to the despair that haunts his neighbours and afflicts his nation? Green Skies is the story of the struggle we all face to survive in a changing world — physically, certainly, but much more so psychologically.

The back cover copy of Green Skies changes subject at random, and is thick with clichés. It tells me very little about the book and its claims to greater things ring hollow when considered alongside the lacklustre text inside.

I tried my hardest with this book but found it terribly slow reading. The pace drags; the illustrations (which are really rather important for a graphic novel) are competent at best and never veer towards excitement. The story lacks tension and rhythm; the characters merge into an homogenous, bearded whole; and my only concern as I read on was how the polar bear they captured could survive for so long in a cage little bigger than itself, with no food or water to sustain it.

I read fifty-seven out of two hundred and ten printed pages and, had I found this book in the slush pile, I’d have stopped reading much sooner. I’m afraid it’s a dreary read with little to recommend it.

  1. May 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Too bad! Interesting subject material.

  2. May 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    The cover reminded me a little of the Tintin books – except those usually have more happening than the characters trudging through snow. On the cover of “Tintin in Tibet”, the characters are standing in the snow, but they’re also staring at the huge footprints of the Yeti. That would make me want to read the book.

  3. Jane Smith
    May 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I thought of Tintin when I saw the cover too! If only the book had been as good.

  4. May 17, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Ooh, ouch! Not just “needs work” but “needs a whole rewrite with some energy” – Fingers crossed that someday soon you find a self-pubbed book that’s well written…

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