Tournament of Books, Round One: Landscape with Invisible Hand vs Motor Crush

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M T Anderson

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson is an entertaining book that slyly pokes fun at material culture with a sci-fi framing.

landscapeEarth has recently been colonized by Vuvv aliens, and at first their medical and technological advances seem like a boon, but soon it puts people out of work and society starts to collapse. Teen Adam’s parents are out of work and struggling to hold on to their home and dignity. When another family moves in to share with the bills, Adam falls in love with their daughter Chloe. Adam and Chloe broadcast their choreographed dates to the Vuvv (who enjoy retro 50’s era Earth courtship) for money, but when their romance fades in real life, Adam hopes his artwork will win an award to bring in money for his family and save them from financial ruin.

Each chapter title relates to a piece of artwork that Adam is working on, and once readers figure that out, it’s fun to imagine how it ties into a narrative about alien colonization. What Adam does at the end of the story seems counterintuitive to what people think today, but that’s what might make readers stop and think about their own choices and motivations.  

The story was refreshingly short, as I believe too many YA novels are overblown, and the satire was spot on. The narrative can be enjoyed on several levels- as a fun sci-fi romp or as a witty reminder of how much social media and how we wish to be identified can define us.

Motor Crush by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr

Motor Crush by Brenden FletcherCameron Stewart  and Babs Tarr is an action adventure/sci-fi graphic novel.

motor crushMain character, Domino Swift is a beautiful young woman who races motorcycles for a living as did her famous father years ago. In a world similar to ours, but set in the indeterminate future, the World Grand Prix dominates social media and the economy. Domino is one of the top racers on the circuit, but at night she participates secretly in bike races with gang members to illegally obtain a machine stimulant called Crush. There is an undercurrent of crime and addiction that run through the narrative, with an out of left field twist about Domino’s origins. Many unanswered questions start to build at the end, with story lines set up for future volumes.

An appealing romance is established between Domino and pink haired Lola, who is a star mechanic. While currently not dating, the two are still connected and their relationship is accepted by everyone around them. That their relationship is natural and easy is a plus, its part of the narrative, no more or no less than any other characters. Kudos for the representation!

The art is top notch with bold anime-inspired illustrations in Babs Tarr’s distinctive style. The team give Domino and Lola a fresh look, and the panels and splash pages have some nice variety. I was definitely crushing on Motor Crush and that the volume ends on an intriguing cliff hanger will bring me back for more!

And the winner is…


Landscape with Invisible Hand by M T Anderson

Both books were exceptionally strong and both had sci-fi underpinnings in the narrative. As a graphic novels fan, I certainly liked Motor Crush but am pushing Landscape with Invisible Hand through to the next bracket. I feel that the graphic novel might be too much of a niche book with the motorcross racing, while M.T. Anderson’s astute book would have more appeal to a larger audience. If put in teens’ hands, the political and social satire found in the book could inspire some thought provoking conversations.

Nancy McKay is the Teen Services Coordinator at Ella Johnson Library in Hampshire. A married mom of three, she also co-writes for the blog Graphic Novelty² (please add link:

Back to Round One, Bracket One

Onto Round One, Bracket Three


5 thoughts on “Tournament of Books, Round One: Landscape with Invisible Hand vs Motor Crush

  1. Pingback: Guest Post on 2018 YASF Tournament of Books – Graphic Novelty²

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