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Project Nought

by Chelsey Furedi

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895304,981 (3.82)None
Ren Mittal's last memory in the year 1996 is getting on a bus to visit his mystery pen pal Georgia. When he wakes up in 2122, he thinks he might be hallucinating...he's not! Tech conglomerate Chronotech sponsors a time-travel program to help students in 2122 learn what history was really like...from real-life subjects who've been transported into the future...and Ren is one of them. In 2122, Ren's life in the 1990s is practically ancient history--and Ren's not sure how to feel about that. On top of it all, he learns that his memory will be wiped of all things 2122 before he's sent back to the '90s. Adding to Ren's complicated feels, he's forming a crush on his student guide, Mars. And when he crosses paths with the absolute last person he expected to see in the future, he has a bigger problem on his hands: What if Chronotech isn't the benevolent organization they claim to be, and he and his fellow subjects are in great danger?"--Back cover.… (more)
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The year is 1996, Auckland, and Ren suddenly finds himself in 2122. The future has plucked him, along with dozens of others, and he is now part of a futuristic high school show-and-tell-class. The class lasts one year, but he will be sent back with memory erasure. Plenty of original ideas with the plot and subtle messages that gender is not important anymore. But all is not all as it seems, and Ren and the other students are in real danger of not making it back to their own year. Guiding them along is nerdy but plucky romantic interest and "induction to 2122 life" assistant, Mars . Recommended. NB: has garnered 1.5 million views as a Tapas webcomic ( )
  goofyfootfeather | Nov 14, 2023 |
Ren is living his life in 1996 when suddenly he finds himself in 2122. Chronotech has brought him and a number of other "subjects" for their "students" to learn about the past. But ex-student Jia is certain that Chronotech is up to no good - they think Chronotech covered up the death of one of the subjects two years ago. Ren's student partner, Mars, on the other hand, is a wholehearted fan of Chronotech who dreams of working there one day. And Ren isn't sure whether they want to stay or go home, but points out that they didn't have a choice in the first place, and the experience won't be valuable to them, as subjects' memories will be wiped before they're sent back. But it turns out Jia is right, and Chronotech doesn't have all the capabilities they claim...

*Spoiler alert*

...subjects aren't sent back to their own time, they're sent to a facility where they're experimented upon. And they weren't actually taken from the past, but cloned.

Quotes

"Then what's the point for me? ...I'm getting sent back to my own time in, what, five months? I'll forget everything. This whole trip will be pointless." (Ren to Mars, 57)

"I think the farther back you go, the more complications there are." (Mars to Ren; subjects are usually from 1970-2010; p. 65)

"It's not like I want to be this way. I wish I could stop thinking all the time." (Ren to Mars, 104)

"We live in an inspirational yet fragile time." (Ms. Wiltshire to Ren, 142)

I thought I was waiting around for my death to catch up to me, but now I'm wondering if I'm stpidly running right toward it. (Ren to Georgia, 185)

"The program doesn't...work like you think." (Aria/Elle, 203)

"The timelines don't matter. They don't care what happens to us." (Aria/Elle, 204)

"But if there's a choice at the end of it..." (Ren, 247)

"It's not multiple dimensions. It's not even time travel....I'm not even me!" (Ren, 290)

"Chronotech's time travel...was a hoax. It was never real time travel, but cloning." (podcasters, 312) ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 13, 2023 |
I started following this comic years ago after finishing Furedi's first webcomic Rock and Riot, but lost it among the years. I'm so glad to have found it again, this time in physical form!

I love the character designs so much. The mystery behind Chronotech and the time travelers is incredibly engaging. I also like the different relationships that the characters have with one another. If you're a fan of sci-fi and graphic novels, I highly recommend this story! ( )
  BarnesBookshelf | Aug 4, 2023 |
(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Netgalley.)

-- 4.5 stars --

It's 1999, and Ren Mittal is running away from his lackluster life and disapproving parents when he blacks out and wakes up in a hospital room in the year 2122. Along with a handful of other teenagers from '99, Ren's been chosen to be part of a time travel educational program. A joint venture of the megacorp Chronotech and The University of Time Expansion, the program "borrows" (read: kidnaps) kids from the past and transports them to the future, so that their present-day peers can benefit from learning history hands-on. When the semester ends, the oldies are sent back to the moment of their disappearance, memories wiped and timelines intact. Or so that's the story.

Although the normally reserved Ren initially has trouble fitting in - the time travelers are treated like celebrities, their every move scrutinized and gossiped over - Ren finds a friend (and maybe more!?) in his partner, Mithaniel Milton (Mars for short). He also makes quick friends with roommate Phoebe, as outgoing as Ren is awkward. However, things swiftly go sideways when a t.v. broadcast that Ren is scheduled to appear on is hijacked, seemingly by an anti-Chronotech activist and ... a future version of Ren himself? It quickly becomes clear that Mars's friend Jia is onto something with her Chronotech conspiracy theories. Can Ren and his friends find out the truth - before losing themselves?

As weird as the plot of PROJECT NOUGHT sounds, trust me when I say that it gets weirder, and I'm here for every last moment of it. The plot, the pacing, the world-building, the characters, the artwork - it's all aces. The scifi aspects are great, and I love the plot twists - but most of all, the humanity with which the characters are handled. There's an effortlessness to the inclusivity that I adore - not only do we get four main LGBTQ characters, but also three supporting characters and a smattering of background characters as well. (Cishet seems to be the exception, and again, so here for it. Gender neutral bathrooms ftw!)

I especially love Mars and his two "children," the drones Deimos and Phobos. NGL, I got teary eyed at that one scene. (Not to spoil anything, but I am Team Cylon / Team Number 5 all the way.) ( )
  smiteme | Nov 25, 2022 |
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Ren Mittal's last memory in the year 1996 is getting on a bus to visit his mystery pen pal Georgia. When he wakes up in 2122, he thinks he might be hallucinating...he's not! Tech conglomerate Chronotech sponsors a time-travel program to help students in 2122 learn what history was really like...from real-life subjects who've been transported into the future...and Ren is one of them. In 2122, Ren's life in the 1990s is practically ancient history--and Ren's not sure how to feel about that. On top of it all, he learns that his memory will be wiped of all things 2122 before he's sent back to the '90s. Adding to Ren's complicated feels, he's forming a crush on his student guide, Mars. And when he crosses paths with the absolute last person he expected to see in the future, he has a bigger problem on his hands: What if Chronotech isn't the benevolent organization they claim to be, and he and his fellow subjects are in great danger?"--Back cover.

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