Smallness is a Beautiful Inner Journey Across the Galaxy

smallness by Ashanti Forston (2018)


Ashanti Fortson (creator), Claire Napier (editor)
September 10, 2018

A copy of this book was provided to WWAC in exchange for an honest review. Claire Napier is the former editor-in-chief of WWAC, and a current contributor to the site. 

Akma has done a very bad thing. In a story that spans worlds across the galaxy, her mistake has a galactic effect. Not at the Death Star level, but it’s still significant enough to cost her her career and everything she has spent her entire life working towards.

In a nutshell, Akma begins the story feeling extremely small and worthless because of her catastrophic mistake, and despite the endearing love of her family that Fortson movingly conveys via a few phone calls and messages scattered throughout, Akma clearly has to come to terms with this failure on her own. To do so, she runs away.

smallness by Ashanti Forston (2018)

Accompanied only by Wallace, the insightful AI of her ship, Akma travels to the far reaches of the galaxy, only to discover that it’s simply not far enough to escape the magnitude of her situation. But, in the grand scheme of it all, is this as tremendous an issue as it seems?

Debuted at SPX , smallness is a quietly beautiful addition to the independent publishing scene. The artwork is stunning. Brilliant colours splash across the pages, giving the galaxy the sense of grandiosity it deserves, while still capturing the tight ball of emotions that Akma is struggling with.

Obvious care is given to every element of the design, from panels to word bubbles. The latter in particular stands out with colours and curving, looping lines connecting the dialogue. The lettering and colour and design of the world

This is a journey of self discovery and introspection that we can all relate to. We’ve all made mistakes that feel like the end of the world, if not the end of the universe for us and us alone. And being alone seems like the only way to deal with the depth of our problems.

Initially, I struggled with the scope of Akma’s mistake in relation to the resolution she finds. It didn’t seem to fit the magnitude and ramifications of that mistake. But after stewing on the conclusion of the story, I realized that Forston isn’t offering a conclusion at all. Instead, it can be viewed as another crossroad on Akma’s journey. The galaxy is wide and unknown, and where Akma goes from here is up to the reader, working with the knowledge that Akma has managed to find some level of peace as she takes her next steps.

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.