Some dreams never turn out quite like you hope they will, and when they all come crashing down, things are going to change. Many humans are allergic to change, so they cling to their hopes as if that will be an antidote for change, but that tactic makes change much harder to bear. We see that played out in the strange desires of voters every election year, always looking back to some arbitrary past that never quite existed in the wider consciousness, but is vivid in the hearts and minds of these lost souls, which currently inhabit the process as Trump voters.
Mooncop is a lot about that. It’s about believing in something so much that you are willing to go through the motions of fulfilling a role that has no purpose in order to offer some concrete structure that proves it actually exists, even as other forces work against that hopeful fantasy.
There are some versions of moon living in which being a policeman on the moon wouldn’t be boring, but Tom Gauld takes a perfect “Adam 12” approach to the matter. This is your everyday variety beat cop, patrolling the dead and dusty lunar landscape, performing small tasks of citizenship amidst an entirely crime-less society. The reason there is so little crime is that there is so little of anything, and this is only made worse by a slow immigration of various aspects of the moon society back to Earth.
As such, the beat of our Mooncop becomes a surreal and endless journey that can be likened to coming upon a stop light at 3 a.m. There’s no other car anywhere near yours, but if you believe in the system, you stop. It’s the belief and then your actions built around the belief that keep the system alive and relevant.
Ultimately, though, and surprisingly, Mooncop is a hopeful book that suggests that this belief might be something that we apply to all aspects of our life, to make us think that any of this matters. The humor is gentle, the outlook is sympathetic, and the conclusion reminds us that even in practical solitude, you can make meaningful connections. Gauld is perfect in rendering a comical, dark, empty lunar landscape, but the emotions behind what he presents are anything but. There is a warmth to Mooncop, and it’s the kind of comfort that creeps into your own situation and helps a little.
We’re all kind of Mooncop, surveying our lunar beat, trying to find meaning in our routine. If there is a god, I hope he’s as sympathetic as Tom Gauld is.
John Seven is a journalist and children’s book writer living in North Adams, Massachusetts. His books include ‘A Rule Is To Break: A Child’s Guide To Anarchy,’ ‘Happy Punks 1-2-3,’ ‘Frankie Liked To Sing,’ and others. Find out about all his things at johnseven.me.