Published on June 6th, 2016 | by Lauren McPhee0
Roche Limit: Monadic #3 – Review
The penultimate issue to Roche Limit: Monadic begins with the second death of Alex Ford. We can use this device to think about the nature of return, and relate it to the three volumes of Roche Limit, and perhaps come to a preliminary conclusion about what we might take away from this story as it reaches its end. Anomalous is what deviates from what is expected; the anomaly is abnormal, exceptional, and unpredictable. Clandestiny is that future that you did not expect for yourself; it is the consequences imposed on you by exceptional circumstances. Monadic is the self, the individual elementary substance which reflects the order of the world, and from which the material properties of the world can be derived. Combined with an infinite, cyclic concept of time, the monadic elements of the universe can only be combined in a finite number of ways according to the laws of the universe, so inevitably all existence, all combination of materials or events, will continue to recur, repeat and return time and time again. In Roche Limit, the eternal return is that which we most regret, most long for, or strive hardest to achieve.
In allowing ourselves to become obsessed by our greatest obsessions, regrets, or ideals, we can become uncritical of our own methods in trying to achieve our strongest desires. Langford envisioned humanity’s future among the stars; yet, he was a humanistic dreamer who let his heart and his passions drive him way off the road. In the appendices to Anomalous, it is written: “Dreams are only as good as the usefulness they provide.” By sacrificing the practical considerations of his dream, the Roche Limit colony became corrupted by the greed and fear of the backers who came in to salvage the wreckage of Langford’s mistakes, caused by pushing forward regardless of the costs or limitations of his ambitions. Similarly, Alex Ford created a drug that allows you to relive your happiest moments or most profound regrets, but as a voyeur, unable to change or effect the past; while living within the dream may be beautiful while it lasts, even comforting, it doesn’t change reality, which becomes stagnant. Addicts of Recall corrupt their own futures by refusing to let go of the past.
Sasha experiences the same thing on Dispater when she encounters visions of her dead husband and child. However, Sasha is somewhat able to resist the temptation of the illusion being offered to her. She recognises the dangers that the anomaly, the aliens and the Black Sun pose to Earth and vows to kill the monster of Clandestiny; this present need and danger trumps her desire to relive her life with her family. She finds an unexpected purpose from her mission to Dispater, to tackle the unimagined consequences of events that occurred 75 years prior to her arrival on the planet. Anomalous events produce an unforeseen and yet unavoidable future. However, to inhabit that future, rather than mourning the loss of the future that one envisions for themselves, either as an addict of Recall, or as an obsessive scientist driven to despair by the failure to manifest his dreams, is exponentially more practical.
In Monadic it is the self, the single unit, that must recognise the false replication of the world in order to re-establish reality, albeit a reality in which many of them are already dead. Those that survive will still have experienced loss, regret, or failure that surrender to the false world could potentially correct or alleviate. Yet, it is the self, the substance of the world, which the aliens from the anomaly seek to replicate for themselves. As if out of another dimension, the aliens of the Black Sun do not possess properties that are in accordance with the rules of our reality. By capturing the souls of humanity, the aliens can become fully established in reality and take over Earth.
But in this final return with Roche Limit: Monadic, we have to remember that all of this has gone before, all combinations of elements in the universe are repeated, and all existence and all energy will recur an infinite number of times across time and space. From humanity’s perception, and in our limited cognitive existence, time appears to be linear when, rather, it is cyclical. Some argue that in order to make peace with the eternal return, we must embrace amor fati, “love of fate”. In Roche Limit, this would mean accepting the anomalous, that is loss, failure, regret, and the unfulfilment of our hearts’ desires, and embracing the unimagined future in a cycle of repetition as old as time. Such an idea is, I think, as optimistic or as pessimistic as you want it to be. Identifying most closely with Langford, I would hope that, in pursuit of my dreams, what this means for me is I will not end so tragically when things don’t go completely according to plan, or the reality of my ambitions fail to live up to my expectations. For others it may mean something infinitely more painful but none the less unavoidable. Next month, we might just come to see what this means for the cast of the incredible and inspiring Roche Limit.