Meanwhile, I spent some time listening to some music on the radio. It seems like everything is on the verge of coming undone, like a shoelace. My spirit is real tight that way. I’d like to think that the means I endeavor to achieve is worthwhile, but I don’t know. I constantly wonder about the little bits of my life. The scores of sore and the fleeting wisps of delight confuse me. I want to grab hold of any semblance of it, but it seems like I’m clutching a fist full of sand.

I want to tell everybody that I’m a fake, so they’ll stop paying attention to me, but I’m not a fake and people don’t pay attention to me anyway.

I’m a box full of instead. Instead of this, you can pick something else. Just so you know, something else is just the same as everything else. The box is crumbling too, because of rain and it is made of cardboard. I wish it was different, but it isn’t.

I often throw my arms in the air with a hue of victory, my insides feel great then. I just absorb all my energy back and am proud of what I have done, even though I am very little. I cry with happy and sad after it is all over, per existence.

Often, I walk and the outside feels like a surreal existence. Trees bend with the wind more and the sun often shines too bright. Bugs adhere to my shirt as talisman decoration and I just go. It’s just fine. Time of my life, just like any other moment. Dream deeper dreams, that’s what I always say.

There was a deep blue in me for a long time. I was lovelorn. I loved many girls, but there was this one that I couldn’t get over. It was tough go on account of love and all, but eventually, I found another and love her just as much. I feel sometimes like I’m serving this love and injustice on account of all my love for that blue girl but I can’t help how I felt.

I just try not to lose. I don’t know what this whole life means and often I don’t know what to say or feel. This doesn’t mean I don’t love, because I know I love. I just can’t make any plans on my emotions. I don’t want to lose or miss, or lose because I missed. I figure mostly it doesn’t matter on account that I try. I try all the time and try to not miss the important things.

I’m always ready, so I won’t miss, but lapse is just a fact and I lapse all the time.

Wherever I’ve been, I have a deep knowledge of somewhere else I can be or was. The past and ahead behold possibilities endless. In these possibilities, I find music on the radio and all the things meanwhile in between.

Written and Illustrated by
Jason Shiga
Amulet Books, 2010

Meanwhile is a unique science fiction graphic novel. The central conceit is that this is a non-linear story -- a cross between a choose-you-own-adventure story and time loop.

In order to read the story, you have to follow the line -- a meandering tube connecting the panels in a haphazard fashion. This line travels chaotically across the page, occasionally branching, giving you choice and splitting the storyline. At intermittent intervals the path darts off the page, pointing to a tab on another page; you flip to that tab, and start the random walk again. This is used to great effect, with mazes, loops, and false paths interspersed among the pages.

The story follows young Jimmy K. through a very unusual day. It starts when he orders of some bad ice cream, and has to make a emergency trip to the nearest bathroom. This bathroom happens to be in the laboratory of a mad scientist, and this mad scientist happens to be perfectly willing to share all of his mad devices -- a memory transference device, a time machine, and a Killitron. (The Killitron was designed to kill everybody on Earth, but was found to have other uses). Madcap hijinks ensue.

This is a pretty good science fiction story, with surprise twists, well-thought out time travel, and a good mix of humor and dark undercurrents. It is also a good graphic novel. Although it is written in Shiga's cartoony style, the art, layout, and color scheme fit together very well, and build something that could not be accomplished as well through any other format (although, I admit, it wouldn't do half bad as a computer game).

I would strongly recommend that you clear about 1-2 hours and try to read it in one sitting. Leaving it and coming back to it is likely to be confusing (and the matter is made worse because with multiple storylines twisting across each page, a bookmark isn't very useful). I found it useful to have a few post-it notes and a piece of scrap paper on hand so that I didn't accidently go down certain loops more than once, and to keep track of a few hidden pass codes. It is a bit complicated, but it is worth it, and as long as you enjoy twisty stories and aren't intimidated by quantum mechanics as a plot point, this book is likely to be enjoyable regardless of whether or not you are a fan of graphic novels in general.

Mean"time` (?), Mean"while` (?), n.

The intervening time; as, in the meantime (or mean time).


© Webster 1913.

Mean"time`, Mean"while`, adv.

In the intervening time; during the interval.


© Webster 1913.

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