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You know, that dog is aggressively cute.

(From Freefall. Click on the thumbnail... well, to go to the main site page because for whatever reason they don't create an archive page for the current entry, just for past entries, and I hate pointing people to 404 errors, but with luck I'll remember to backlink this to the actual archive entry at some point. And if not... um... go Giants!)

I haven't mentioned Freefall lately, and that's sad, because Freefall remains rock solid and consistent. It first crossed my radar because it was funny. It stomped all over my radar because it was funny and hard SF. Neither of those have changed.

In a way, that's what we've got with today's strip. Oh sure, there are no rockets, but there's solid computer science and sociology and artificial intelligence theory bundled in behind the scenes in this strip and the strips preceding it. Winston was delayed in heading out to his date with Florence when his dust mop with legs dog Beekay ran out into the mud. He wanted to call her and let her know he'd be late, but he forgot her last name. (I've had that problem myself. But then, I'm a jerk.) He asked for the database to find a Bowman's Wolf named Florence, but ran into "non-discrimination code." And that set up today's joke.

And the thing is, I can totally see an artificial intelligence doing this -- mostly because I can see a human operator doing this. The rules for things like privacy are meant to protect us, not hinder us, and an AI for a communications system would be designed to be helpful. So, while it can't come out and say "okay, here's Florence, the Bowman's Wolf," it can helpfully suggest searches that will give Winston what he wants without breaking the rules. Only Winston's annoyed because he can't do the direct search he wants.

I know, I'm overexplaining the joke. My point is, I can see this exact situation taking place, in this exact way. It makes sense to me. And it's also funny.

And that is why I like Freefall so much. It's not just that it's got good jokes. It's that it's got good jokes that have a solid foundation underneath.


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Actually, if you click on the comic, you get a direct link to the GIF file. That comic is http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1100/fv01045.gif

Oh, and you've pinpointed why Freefall is one of my favorite comics, much more effectively that I've been able to. Thanks!

Actually, I won't link directly to graphics, just to graphics pages. That's part of my own little "terms of usage" that I set up for this site. As it works out, it might not matter so much for Freefall (he doesn't have ads on his site, for example), but still -- I feel the graphics should be presented in the context of the artist's site.

One of the things I've always enjoyed about Freefall is its clean, crisp, site lay out. The site is functional and easy to navigate in a way that feels almost...ergonomic. The color pallet is simple, and subtle. It performs its task perfectly.

I've been reading Freefall since its first year, back when it was linked from the long-lost PVP Toonhound page (found several great comics that way, including Dragon Tails and When I Grow Up, the precursor to Wigu).

What blows my mind about Freefall is the absolute pragmatism displayed by the author when he lays out an argument in the strip. Florence's explanation of why radiation isn't as dangerous as people expect was incredible.

It doesn't hurt that Helix's gleeful, childlike personality makes him the cutest robot I've ever seen.

Wednesday's strip is up, which means that Monday's archive page is up, which means that you can change that link now.


The world's CUTEST cartoon! No, it's not just the dustmop... the WHOLE THING is incredibly cute.

And funny. Wow. I'm hooked!

It's funny, and I spent a good chunk of yesterday going through the archives, but eventually I bailed.

The sci-fi comedy parts of the strip are very well done, and I like the characters, but I just can't get past the political bits in it. They feel so out-of-place and jammed in -- one minute I'm reading about spaceport capers and the next I'm being lectured at about how global warming is a crock or government ruins everything, or the 2000 election was terrible.

Part of the problem is that the topical current-day politics references really don't fit well in a sci-fi setting. These folks are working on spaceports with aliens and I'm supposed to believe that the news still cares about the 2000 US election?

Now, I'm not saying that political content has no place in a comic strip -- I'd just like it to blend in better with the rest of the strip, to be a little more subtle.

I did get about 500 strips in before bailing, though, so it's not all bad. And maybe the political stuff is toned down a bit in later years, but I'm not willing to wade through more of the archive to find out.

"You had me and you lost me"(TM), I guess.

(Also, as a first-time poster here, it's a little confusing that the 'Preview' button shows posts very differently than they'll actually look when posted -- my post initially had all of the paragraphs running together, so I went back and added
tags so it wasn't a jumble of words. Now that it's posted, it looks all goofy and double-spaced. Argh.)

Hey, if you don't like political content in your comics, you've just lost a good chunk of the webcomic world. Personally, I'm fine with it (and it's refreshing to see a comic that leans to the right, and without being all about it to boot).

That's not what I said. I said that I don't like how this strip's political content seems wedged in awkwardly, not that I don't want any political content at all.

I'm with Nat. I'll browse through Freefall occasionally (now you've alerted me to its existence), but it's too didactic for me to read a lot at once. I feel it over-explains quite a lot - the racism / specism parallels were telegraphed from a long way off and then jammed down the readers throats in great lumps, for example. I prefer the light-hearted goof humour - I think it's better executed.

I'd never heard of Freefall before reading of it here (that I remember), but I just digested the archives and loved it, so thanks for snarking it. Great comic, lots of humour, fun characters.

The political references don't fit in well at all, but I generally found it easy to blank them out - with the single exception of the global warming comment, which really grated. The sniping doesn't even make sense - dismissing some data as scatter can be entirely reasonable if you've got a clear trend in the data as a whole - so it reads as mindless sneering.

I also wish to note that I read through the entire archives without once noticing any parallels to racism, so I don't think they were rammed down our throats that much.

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