Review: Hoda Machine

Review by David Ferguson

Created by Leeann Hamilton

Following on the heels of A Tear In Jean (which I need to get around to reviewing), Leeann Hamilton follows it up with another excellent science fiction book, Hoda Machine. The book is a collection of stories with a few humour pieces to go along with the main story. Leeann starts of by taking a humorous stab at the sword and sorcery genre (literally) before moving on to Hoda Machine. Hoda Machine is my kind of science fiction story. It uses a science fiction setting and pretext to tell a very human story. The main character Daciana is a delivery person and immigrant so we get her point of view of the anti-immigrant feeling. The story shows depth as there are hint to issues she has and a past in the military. The story also goes into some interesting connections between her boss (who is a bit of a dick) and one of their biggest clients. It is a great example of business politics and humour nature. This is all done via Daciana’s interaction with a vending machine. I really hope this is the first instalment of something more as there is some great set-up here and an intriguing science fiction element.

A short story about a local old (we can’t post that word on ICN but it is on the cover) follows which is funny little poke at the type of old man character that we all have had to deal with. This followed by Triassic Field which is a very entertaining story that could be described as “what would happen if you did Jurassic Park on a budget and in Ireland”. I just love the Irish style humour to this piece as it lampoons both Jurassic Park and the Irish way of doing things and appears to star a caricature of Leeann herself.

What really hits me about this book is Leeann’s ability to change her art style to suit the story. The three comedy strips or inserts have slightly different styles as she looks at lampooning swords and sorcery, an angry old man and Jurassic Park. It actually showed me a new side to her art as she creates a great character that looks likes a caricature of Leeann herself that wouldn’t be out of place in a political cartoon in a broadsheet newspaper. Hoda Machine is definitely the main course though. The story is not a action story. This is not a criticism as Leeann deftly selects angles and shots to keep the story visually interesting. Her style in this story still retains a manga influence which brings to a mind a tag line of a “Philip K. Dick style story seen through the eyes of Masamune Shirow” but this is all Leeann Hamilton and I want more of it.

You can grab your copy at Dublin Comic Con (along with a copy of A Tear In Jean and Kitteenies).