Superhero Literature

The place to talk about your favorite novels, comic books and web comics.
Spectrum
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by Spectrum »

I just finished the first book of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and really enjoyed it. While not explicitly a super hero book, the entire time I was thinking I was thinking of it in the direction of Xmen or New Mutants.

Highly recommended.
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by FuzzyBoots »

Swarm by Scott Westerfield

One of the things that I liked about the first book was the thematic tie the powers had in connections between people. By their nature, the Zeroes both affected the world and had the world affect them back. For all of their faults, the Zeroes were trying to use their powers to do good things, and at the start of this book, they're trying to continue to do so with their illegal nightclub, The Petri Dish, wherein they can manipulate people, but for a good cause. The problem is, they're not the only people with powers, and not everyone is above the influence.

Enter Glitch and Coin (names provided for them by Nate / Bellweather, a couple who are using their powers to wreak havoc, in part because they can and in part for the attention. And, in part, because they're trying to hide from something more powerful, the eponymous Swarm, who's hunting Zeroes...

I liked the book. The Zeroes, for all of their powers, are very vulnerable, and the nature of their powers and how they connect to other people means interpersonal conflict can wreck them. Relationships built up in the first book are strained to the breaking point, and sometimes past it, and not everyone survives. Because frankly, they're kids, and their brilliant plans sometimes amount to naught. The book does jump around a lot, constantly switching perspectives, but the person's POV is stated at the beginning of each chapter, so it's not too difficult to follow.

One of the other things I really liked about the book is that it handles the trauma of what they've gone through. Kelsey doesn't just brush off being locked in a trunk in the first book. Thibault is deeply wounded by the abandonment of his family, and what he has to do in the climax of the book, leaving him even more alone. Nate is crushed when he encounters a situation his power can't handle. Despite their powers, they're just kids, and they don't just shake it off. I like that.
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by FuzzyBoots »

Going Through the Change

This is the first of four reviews I'll be posting. The third book in the series, and some short stories, are coming out, and I volunteered to be an Advance Reader, so Curiosity Quills sent me the first two books.
Menopause and superpowers, seems like a weird combination, no? But in this case, it really does work. Four women using Cindy Liu's alternative medicine remedies develop powers ranging from flight to super-strength and turning into a man to armored skin to the ability to throw flame. The parallels are obvious to menopausal issues such as lightheadedness, hormone changes, eczema, and hot flashes. The characters are well developed with their own little foibles. The action was a little disjointed, with scenes frequently changing characters without notice. I liked that it was nearly halfway through the book before there was some sort of villain, and that the heroes were far from tactically proficient. It makes sense that it would take time to adjust to having powers, and that the primary danger would be domestic.

I received this book for free from Curiosity Quills in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. Last note, the editing was on point here, much as I have come to expect from their releases.
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Powerless

Post by FuzzyBoots »

Powerless by Matthew Cody

The plot is simple. A 12-year-old boy named Daniel moves to the small town of Noble's Green, PA so that his family can be with his grandmother, who's received a cancer diagnosis. Not long after he arrives, he realizes that the children of Noble's Green have something odd going on, and he eventually learns that they all have superpowers, ranging from super senses to intangibility to being able to turn invisibility to flight and super-strength. No adults have powers; at the age of 13, children lose their powers entirely, as well as apparently any memory of having had them (and, because much of the interaction between the children involves their powers, they also suddenly become estranged from their former friends who they barely remember spending time with). Daniel, the first new kid in some time, is envious of their powers, but also finds himself in the right position, as someone without powers, to investigate where the powers came from, and why they go away.

What could have been a very simplistic book actually gets a fairly nuanced treatment. The kids are just kids, enjoying the use of their powers for the most part, but knowing they have to keep them secret. Not everyone uses their powers properly, including two bullies where it's made abundantly clear that were not some of the more noble-minded kids keeping them in check, they'd be wreaking havoc. The eventual villain has sympathetic motivations even if he is misguided. And the characters have more depth than a handful of personality traits and a power. Logical questions, such as how the kids get away with no one noticing (it turns out they have a guardian of sorts looking after them), or what keeps the kids in check (self-policing and a passed-on tradition of the town's historical hero, Johnny Noble, as the original superhero, combined with the span of only a few years for powers), are addressed.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this one. It's a YA book, so don't be looking at it for grimdark themes or explicit sex and violence (there's some minor teen romance, and at least one broken arm, but that's the extent of it), but I think any adult who enjoyed reading Harry Potter will like this one.
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by FuzzyBoots »

I recently got into Seanan Mcguire's Velveteen vs. stories. It's set in a world where superheroes are generally considered pretty recent. They happen more often than you might expect, with a fairly wide variety of origins from magic (embodiments of seasons are oddly common, and might be an exception to superheroes being recent) to radioactive maple syrup to genetic engineering, or sometimes a bunch of them at once. The main characters is Velveteen, who has the power to bring toys to life (and offers them appropriate weaponry, e.g. plush bears get teeth and claws, army soldiers get functioning weapons, etc). In the first stories, she's retired from being a superheroine and is on the run from Marketing. Ah yeah, that's the other twist of this world... 97% of the world's superhero population are under the control of one corporation, who controls their lives with the fervor of an early 20th century movie studio, bringing them in at an early age to be "junior" heroes and then keeping a stranglehold on them in their later years by virtue of owning their trademark hero identities. Velveteen (just Velma now) emancipated herself at the age of 18 (prior to that, the corporation basically owned her due to her parents signing her over into the contract) and just wants a normal life, but can't use her powers because it's illegal to use powers without being licensed, ad the corporation keeps a stranglehold on those licenses by refusing to allow the Patriot League (the top heroes of the setting) solve any crises in a state that licenses heroes that the corporation doesn't own.

It's equal measures of silly (the main character animates toys. One of her former teammates is a humanoid lobster as a result of genetic engineering. The tendency of random events causing superpowers results in her fighting a cult based on drinking special coffee in one of the early stories) and tragic (children are basically sold into contract slavery if they show powers, heroes seldom live past 35, and the death rate for children is even higher because they're being thrown into deadly scenarios with a handful of training and an emphasis on image), and it's very well-written. The only real catch is that various contractual issues means there's a handful of stories online, a handful that you can buy as a book, and some that are only on the author's blog, so you have to track them down.
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RainOnTheSun
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by RainOnTheSun »

Superheroes vs. a megacorp sounds interesting. (Superpunk?)
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Arkrite
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by Arkrite »

I really liked the first book in the series, the second one was okay, but the third one is terrible.
I really can't suggest reading Velveteen vs. The Seasons, it's kind of a waste of a book where almost nothing of importance happens due to events in the book. It just... I really, really didn't like it.

But I did really enjoy Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots, and I would say it's worth the read if you get the chance.
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by FuzzyBoots »

RainOnTheSun wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:44 am Superheroes vs. a megacorp sounds interesting. (Superpunk?)
It's less "corporation runs the government" and more "corporation has enough power that they control the market". More Amazon/Google than Megacorp. :-D
Arkrite wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:57 am I really liked the first book in the series, the second one was okay, but the third one is terrible.
I really can't suggest reading Velveteen vs. The Seasons, it's kind of a waste of a book where almost nothing of importance happens due to events in the book. It just... I really, really didn't like it.

But I did really enjoy Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots, and I would say it's worth the read if you get the chance.
That's not far from where I am in the stories. Currently reading Velveteen vs. Blacklight vs. Sin-Dee, one of the early stories not on the main page (which basically covers Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots, I think). I got introduced to Velveteen largely through the Wearing the Cape crossover, Team-Ups and Crossovers.
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by FuzzyBoots »

I think I'm about two chapters and a half from the end of the second book. I've got to admit that the revelation about Tag caught me by surprise, but it makes total sense. I'm slightly spoiled on how that one ends although, again, it makes sense.
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by FuzzyBoots »

Currently reading How to Become a Hero, third book in the The Henchman's Guide to Survival after rereading the first two. It's good. Basic idea is that Heroes and Villains are participating in a reality show in a corporate-owned city without predetermined outcomes, but with rules to try to keep things less than lethal (or at least at UFC levels of death and injury). The main thrust of the story is the slow descent of the protagonist, Alice, as she starts out getting a Henchman's job to cover college tuition for her plan to wrest control from PAGS (Pepsi, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs) who own the entertainment empire that rules their lives.

One of the things I've been enjoying is how the author projects current trends like massive broadcasting of personal lives via social media to citizenry scores to people escaping the world via VR, drugs, and mass media, to subverting concepts like UBI (barely enough to survive on) and Universal Health Care (it can bring you back from virtual death, but to get it, you need to either be rich or almost dead).

And the box set is currently available for about $10.
Last edited by FuzzyBoots on Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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CTPhipps
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Re: Superhero Literature

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Sadly, I missed sharing this but a few of these are still on sale for 99c. Lots of great ones I think.

https://superhero-fiction.com/salespage/

I recommend getting:

* Darius Brasher's CAPED
* Dan Jolley's GRAY WIDOW'S WALK
* Chelsea M. Campbell's THE RISE OF RENEGADE X

Oh and The Rules of Supervillainy.

Ha.

I'd also second the love for VELVETEEN VS. as it is a really fantastic series with a tongue-in-cheek Buffy-esque protagonist. The biggest problem is, as stated, the rights issues where you just can't pick up the books and read them all in one sitting. Velveteen is a great heroine who is just trying to live her life with the corporation that "owns" her wanting to do everything in their power to make her a supervillain in the public eye because they don't want to let any of their former stars go.
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Harnos
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by Harnos »

CTPhipps wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:17 pm Just read Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.

http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogsp ... eview.html

Going to read all the rest now.
I liked it. The post-apocalyptic setting was a neat idea and uncontrolled flood of metaphors within David's mind was fun. First book was better than the rest though.
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CTPhipps
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Re: Superhero Literature

Post by CTPhipps »

THE HORROR OF SUPERVILLAINY came out yesterday:

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Horror-o ... B08Y97MX7L

Gary's latest adventure!

7th in the series!
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CTPhipps
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Re: Superhero Literature

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TALES OF SUPERVILLAINY: CINDY'S SEVEN came out yesterday.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Tales-of-Sup ... B0BSNXRM75
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, Space Academy Dropouts, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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