Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

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saint_matthew
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Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by saint_matthew » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:33 am

So Green Ronins M&M novel Height of the Storm is out already, has anyone picked it up & read it yet?

I'm wondering if it's any good, before I pay out cash for a book that turns out to be another terrible superhero prose novel that is nothing but either critical theory based misery porn, or "I am so clever, look at all my insightful commentary deconstructing the superhero paradigm", or something that is using the word superhero to mean urban fantasy, or something that is nothing but a group of strung together self referential genre clichés with an overly self aware sarcastic protagonist with vast genre knowledge constantly lampshading how silly some comic book genre conventions can be.

So what I'm hoping for is a review if any of you have read it, wether it's worth getting or not.

So anyone got a review of this one?

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Scots Dragon
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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by Scots Dragon » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:48 am

What is 'critical theory based misery porn' even supposed to mean?

Critical theory isn't something that goes into the writing of a story but a way to analyse the writing after the fact. It's like saying that a painting contains art theory.
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saint_matthew
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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by saint_matthew » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:24 am

Scots Dragon wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:48 am
What is 'critical theory based misery porn' even supposed to mean?
SD, I'm not doing this with you. You know what it means, you simply want an irrelevant political argument where there isn't one & it aint going to happen in this thread.

If you have read the novel in question I'd love your feedback, if not then not so much so. :)

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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by Scots Dragon » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:00 pm

saint_matthew wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:24 am
Scots Dragon wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:48 am
What is 'critical theory based misery porn' even supposed to mean?
SD, I'm not doing this with you. You know what it means, you simply want an irrelevant political argument where there isn't one & it aint going to happen in this thread.
I actually don't know what it means. The sentence 'critical theory based misery porn' literally makes no fucking sense to me as someone who's actually studied critical theory.

It's literally a nonsense statement.
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Doctor Malsyn
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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by Doctor Malsyn » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:12 pm

I've been interested in superhero fiction myself as of late, had been considering checking out The Work series for that reason. If those one's any good, I'll add it to my list as well.
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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by FuzzyBoots » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:10 pm

Scots Dragon wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:00 pm
I actually don't know what it means. The sentence 'critical theory based misery porn' literally makes no fucking sense to me as someone who's actually studied critical theory.

It's literally a nonsense statement.
I can't speak for saint_matthew of course, but given the context, I suspect that he's making use of the "criticizing for change" part of social analysis inherent in "critical theory" and, using further context, he's not looking for a superhero-based story which is less about superheroes than about complaining about current society, and the "misery porn" part is likely a matter of reveling in all of the details of what's wrong in this horrible corrupt society to the point where it gets hard to tell whether you're really trying to tell the reader that things are really bad, or if because you really get your jollies off of describing weeping pustules and PTSD-ridden abused children.

I have no idea if such a work has been written, but it seems like the sort of thing someone has written at some point. Heck, one could probably argue that something like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, could be seen as an example of such with his descriptions of the meatpacking industry, except that that was a genuine case where he felt that people who focused on that, and not his description of how communism was better than capitalism, were totally missing the point.

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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by FuzzyBoots » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:17 pm

Doctor Malsyn wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:12 pm
I've been interested in superhero fiction myself as of late, had been considering checking out The Work series for that reason. If those one's any good, I'll add it to my list as well.
Just as a quick plug, Charles Phipps made a topic for people to post superhero reviews, so you can get some ideas there, and once someone does read this book, they could also post a review there. :) There's also the Superhero Literature page of TVTropes.

Personally, I'm loathe to spend $9 for the PDF of a book that I have no idea what the quality will be. I'm afraid they may have priced themselves out of the market given how many good eBooks are in the $3-5 range.

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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by Scots Dragon » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:14 pm

FuzzyBoots wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:17 pm
Personally, I'm loathe to spend $9 for the PDF of a book that I have no idea what the quality will be. I'm afraid they may have priced themselves out of the market given how many good eBooks are in the $3-5 range.
Yeah, that's pretty much the reason I didn't pick it up myself. I was genuinely tempted by it, since I've been wanting to get into superhero prose myself, but that's just too expensive for my price range.

I can however recommend Dreadnought and Sovereign by April Daniels, about Danielle Tozer, a transgender teenager who gets transformed into her approximate ideal body and gains superpowers when the hero Dreadnought dies in front of her and passes on his powers to her. I'll probably add them to the other thread with a more comprehensive set of reviews, but they're pretty damn good at embracing the genre in its best elements while being vitally good queer rep, so I'm an obvious mark for them.

EDIT:
Also it might be hard to get hold of a copy, but It's Superman by Tom DeHaven is a good pick. It's basically a really good example of leaning into the medium of prose and what literary fiction can bring to the table while retaining the comic-book elements, a period piece set in the 1930s with a take on the Golden Age Superman, a Clark Kent who's just coming into his powers against the backdrop of the Great Depression, organised crime, and local politics with Lex Luthor as a Metropolis politician as the legitimate front for his criminal enterprises. It's a really good read, and I recommend it.
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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by saint_matthew » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:21 am

FuzzyBoots wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:10 pm
I can't speak for saint_matthew of course, but given the context, I suspect that he's making use of the "criticizing for change" part of social analysis inherent in "critical theory" and, using further context, he's not looking for a superhero-based story which is less about superheroes than about complaining about current society, and the "misery porn" part is likely a matter of reveling in all of the details of what's wrong in this horrible corrupt society to the point where it gets hard to tell whether you're really trying to tell the reader that things are really bad, or if because you really get your jollies off of describing weeping pustules and PTSD-ridden abused children.
Close: Misery porn is already a thing in literature, though it's technically called "Misery Lit." Misery lit is a genre of supposedly biographical literature mostly concerned with the protagonist's triumph over personal trauma or abuse, often during childhood. Though people will argue misery PORN is misery lit, where the only goal is to be miserable, being miserable is the money shot, like somehow depth & plot writing talent is judged based on how miserable you can make your protagonist & how much time they spend wallowing in misery.

Critical theory based misery porn takes the "someone is out to get me" element of Misery Porn & makes it "EVERYONE is out to get me, because I'm [insert name of arbitrary biological traits here], even though this level of persecution only exists in the mind of the author." It essentially splits everyone in to two groups, the good people who agree with me 100% on all of my opinions no matter how ill thought out & the evil people who don't agree with me, it's an utterly black and white view of the world, the critical theory view of the world.

For me that's something I'm not interested in reading, it does nothing for me except annoys me in the same way someone who constantly complains about how hard they imagine their middle class life is. That's not something I want to read & I most certainly don't want to pay good money for it because while that book might be $9 in the USA, I'm in Australia, here it's going to be at least $20.

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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by Ares » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:54 pm

saint_matthew wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:21 am
FuzzyBoots wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:10 pm
I can't speak for saint_matthew of course, but given the context, I suspect that he's making use of the "criticizing for change" part of social analysis inherent in "critical theory" and, using further context, he's not looking for a superhero-based story which is less about superheroes than about complaining about current society, and the "misery porn" part is likely a matter of reveling in all of the details of what's wrong in this horrible corrupt society to the point where it gets hard to tell whether you're really trying to tell the reader that things are really bad, or if because you really get your jollies off of describing weeping pustules and PTSD-ridden abused children.
Close: Misery porn is already a thing in literature, though it's technically called "Misery Lit." Misery lit is a genre of supposedly biographical literature mostly concerned with the protagonist's triumph over personal trauma or abuse, often during childhood. Though people will argue misery PORN is misery lit, where the only goal is to be miserable, being miserable is the money shot, like somehow depth & plot writing talent is judged based on how miserable you can make your protagonist & how much time they spend wallowing in misery.

Critical theory based misery porn takes the "someone is out to get me" element of Misery Porn & makes it "EVERYONE is out to get me, because I'm [insert name of arbitrary biological traits here], even though this level of persecution only exists in the mind of the author." It essentially splits everyone in to two groups, the good people who agree with me 100% on all of my opinions no matter how ill thought out & the evil people who don't agree with me, it's an utterly black and white view of the world, the critical theory view of the world.

For me that's something I'm not interested in reading, it does nothing for me except annoys me in the same way someone who constantly complains about how hard they imagine their middle class life is. That's not something I want to read & I most certainly don't want to pay good money for it because while that book might be $9 in the USA, I'm in Australia, here it's going to be at least $20.
I've heard this described as "Persecution Porn". Before the line was cancelled, the most recent iteration of DC Comic's Vertigo (which was a hot mess) had a series called Border Town that fit this description pretty handily.

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Re: Seeking a Review: Height of the Storm

Post by FuzzyBoots » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:20 pm

Ah. I can actually provide a (in my opinion) good example of "misery lit" as it applies to superheroes.
The Infected is a series set in a world where people get powers randomly, and are stuck with an exaggerated version of the emotion they were experiencing when they got the power. Even positive emotions like compassion or love get twisted into obsessions, and there's a fair amount of people who manifest with distinctly negative emotions. As a result, military and police response to people with powers tends to brutally proactive as a default. The main character, codenamed Proxy, has the proportionate strength and endurance of an average human being and the power of being teleported in place of people in mortal danger. The stories can be very dreary in places, and Proxy's shared antipathy with the police probably also tips that over into "critical theory" in that it does kind of touch on the issue of police brutality while also acknowledging that said brutality is often sparked by very real dangers. You could probably also draw a parallel with debates about open carry of weapons in public with how the police assume that anyone exhibiting powers is a clear menace because so many of them are, even if not intentionally, but sometimes results in tragedy when people with innocuous powers or good intentions are attacked before they can demonstrate that they are not harmful.

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