Saturday, June 16, 2007


Last week, I read a very interesting book review in the New York Sun for a new novel by Austin Grossman entitled, "Soon I Will Be invincible".

For those of you who are going through withdrawal pangs since 'Heroes' went off the air for the summer, perhaps you should check out this book. It's all about the nearly 1700 "meta-humans" who live on this Earth in the literary universe.

I visited the website for Austin Grossman and discovered that he had the first couple of paragraphs from the book right there to be sampled. In hopes that I'm spreading the news and perhaps getting more people to buy the book, I trust that he won't mind if I reprint them here:

"This morning on planet Earth, there are one thousand, six hundred, and eighty-six enhanced, gifted, or otherwise superpoweredpersons. Of these, one hundred and twenty-six are civilians leading normal lives. Thirty-eight are kept in research facilities funded by the Department of Defense, or foreign equivalents. Two hundredand twenty-six are aquatic, confined to the oceans. Twenty-nine are strictly localized—powerful trees and genii loci, the Great Sphinx,and the Pyramid of Giza. Twenty-five are microscopic (including the Infinitesimal Seven). Three are dogs; four are cats; one is a bird. Six are made of gas. One is a mobile electrical effect, more of a weather pattern than a person. Seventy-seven are alien visitors. Thirty-eight are missing. Forty-one are off-continuity, permanent émigrés to Earth’s alternate realities and branching time streams. Six hundred and seventy-eight use their powers to fight crimes, while 441 use their powers to commit them. Forty-four are currently confined in Special Containment Facilities for enhanced criminals. Of these last, it is interesting to note that an unusually high proportion have IQs of 300 or more—eighteen to be exact. Including me."

There's something about that style and sense of humor in the descriptions that reminds me a little of "The Face In The Frost" by John Bellairs, especially in his description of the home in which his wizard lives.

That narrator for "Soon I Will Be Invincible" is Doctor Impossible, a super-villain, who shares narrative duties with one of the heroes, a cyborg fem named Fatale. Here's what Benjamin Lytal, the reviewer for the Sun had to say about her:

"Fatale joins the Champions, a Silver Age force that also includes a few flying females, a golden boy, a Bruce Wayne with an attitude, a magician, and two non-humans: a fairy, and a cat, for good measure. This ensemble makes for a sitcom. They bicker constantly, and their generic attributes give the novel a bleached quality."

That may hardly sound like praise in that last line, but it sounds perfect for Toobworld beach reading.

There's also a website which treats the subject matter as real, which can be found by clicking here.

It looks to have a lot of interesting things to do while learning more about the threat of emerging meta-humans.

By the way, if you're interested in reading Benjamin Lytal's full review, you can find it here.

I can't personally recommend this book yet myself, as I've not yet ordered it. And even if I had it here, I would save it for my summer vacation reading at The Lake. I'm just saying that those who enjoy 'Heroes', or the DC/Marvel style comic book universe, or the shared-universe anthologies of "Wild Cards" stories edited by George R.R. Martin, then this may be the novel for you.

Finally, for those of you who really are jonesing for some 'Heroes'-styled action, you should be getting primed for the return of 'The 4400' this Sunday night on the USA Network. (Check your local listings.) They were doing this ordinary people with extra-ordinary powers thang three TV seasons before Hiro and the gang.

Toby OB

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