Graphic Novel Classic Library: 2001 Nights
by Yukinobu Hoshino
In three volumes containing 19 short stories Yukinobu Hoshino tells an epic tale of mankind’s glorious journey to the stars. Taking its title and themes from The Arabian Nights (short, interconnected story structure) and Kubrick & Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (pacing, grand scope and visual iconography) 2001 Nights is an incredible work of Science Fiction; of mankind finding its place in the universe.
Starting in the near-future and, with every story, exponentially developing both technology and imagination, 2001 Nights tells of humanity’s desire to dream and explore. Worlds are colonised and mankind, with faltering steps, transcends his Earthan roots.
Then comes Lucifer Rising, the masterpiece of the saga; Lucifer is a newly discovered huge antimatter planet, orbiting in retrograde far beyond Pluto. It’s secrets, investigated on scientific, philosophical and religious fronts provide not only a insight into mankind’s evolution but also an inexhaustible supply of antimatter energy that allows us to venture forth far into the unknown with new antimatter drives. And as we go forward, we take all of our best and worst traits into the new frontier, in stories of alien landscapes full of mystery and adventure, but always grounded in a sense of sadness, loss and isolation, as mankind finds itself further and further from its spiritual home.
Arthur C. Clarke’s blending of philosophy and spirituality with progress and space exploration inspires and flows through 2001 Nights. The hard science is detailed and believable but it’s also firmly grounded in the humanity of the men, women and children and their all too human responses as they make their way to the stars.
The realistic black and white imagery and the relatively slow pace, stripped of some of the dynamism of traditional Manga perfectly capture the grandeur and enormity of space and the isolation of humanity. 2001 Nights is truly epic Manga, The Right Stuff magnified one thousand fold, beautifully illustrated and delivering an inspirational tale of humanity’s wondrous, flawed nature.