Page 45 Review by Stephen
Mining a similar vein to Taniguchis A DISTANT NEIGHBOURHOOD (two volumes) and Alex Robinsons TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN, but in his own inimitable car-crash comedy style, HATEs Peter Bagge returns to the realms of virtual reality. First there was the identity crisis of OTHER LIVES, now its the eternal question about whether given the opportunity to relive major moments youd change any decisions you made in your life: things you did, things that you said, things you can never take back. Now you can, or at least washed-up actor/comedian Guy Krause can, after he signs up as a guinea pig for a virtual reality experiment wherein he walks around in his own history and engages with those he once knew. But is he only going to make matters worse? I dont know! He keeps pushing the reset button!
Suspicious and cynical, however many times Guy Krause walks out, he keeps coming back: convicted of road rage, hes been off the stage for too long. Hes broke, he needs money and the experiments backers know that, so when he does try to secure a spotlight again, however minor, the rugs mysteriously pulled from under him right at the very last minute.
Meanwhile lead scientist Angie Minor has done extensive research into Guy Krauses history, gleaning all manner of intimate details based on Guys stand-up routine, extensive media coverage and interviews thats what makes him the perfect candidate but shes even dug out the relevant college yearbooks. And thats where the opportunities for exploration begin: on Graduation Day when Gail Malone, a girl Guy had admired from afar, said the first and last word she will ever say to him: Spaz. Its a moment thats sure left its scars. Will Guy ever find out why she said it, and if so, how can that be possible in a pre-programmed virtual reality?
didnt quite go where I was hoping it would. OTHER LIVES really ran with its premise, exploring all kinds of temptations to deceive online, each with its own ramification offline. And certainly this throws up all sorts of questions about what celebrities are increasingly prepared to do in order to maintain or rekindle their profiles and fortunes. Also: how much unfinished business a lot of people carry with them, cluttering up their lives, and how many lies may be told about you once youve left a particular circle of friends, safe in the knowledge youll never hear what is said. Sorry if Ive induced a little paranoia there!
But this doesnt dig deep enough nor unearth any great surprises, while the game itself goes nowhere. As to the sub-plot behind it, well, there is an alternate use the systems been tested for which is topical and could actually work, but Ive had to imagine those circumstances myself: theres nothing to convince you of it here.