On A Sunbeam

A+

There are interesting layers of meaning to the word “soft”. In one sense, it can mean comfortable, inviting, pleasant to touch. In another, it conveys instead looseness, a lack of structure, or a yielding quality. These connotations have an unspoken gendered quality to them – “soft” is code, in so many ways, for “feminine”, and whether something being soft is a good or bad thing betrays much about the speaker’s attitude towards femininity. As a case in point, whenever a dude┬ádismisses something as “soft scifi”, I get the sense that┬áhe prefers scifi that follows strict rules, that doesn’t deviate from real-world scientific theories, that dispenses with ooey-gooey trivialities like “romance” and “feelings”, and that he would call these things “hard scifi”. Tillie Walden’s On A Sunbeam is not for that guy. This is a comic that is proud of its softness, and with good reason. A story of young love,…