Goz (i_review_stuff) wrote in bookish,

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

  I didn't kill him. But it's bad taste at any funeral to have tried to kill the deceased as often as I have, and taste is very much on my mind. Sooner or later, one of the crew on the podium is bound to recognize the incognito Doctor Impossible, and although I assume it is considered to be in equally bad taste to try to kill me as I pay my respects, taste feels like an increasingly tenuous shield against the planet-wrecking ordinance the VIP's are capable of launching in my direction.

I never understood CoreFire or liked him particularly. I should know how he worked if anyone can, but I don't. I've pieced together as much as I can about his exploits from news broadcasts, hacked computer files, and eyewitnesses. He could fly, which was reason enough to resent him. He didn't even have the decency to work for it, to flap a pair of wings or at least glow a little. He seemed to do it purely out of a sense of entitlement - something about it suggested that the rest of us had simply knuckled under to gravity. I didn't kill him. But I wish I knew who the murderer was, because it was supposed to be me.

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Let's put it out there. This book is aimed squarely at an older generation of comic book geeks. The generation that grew up loving Superman, Batman and the X-Men. I'm talking Golden Age here, some Silver Age. Austin Grossman puts together an alternate reality where our modern world was built upon the backs of Powered Individuals that won WWII, that save us time and again from Extra Terrestrial threats like asteroids, Demigods and invasions. The Meta-Humans, Mutants, Techno-Wonders and adventurers that avail themselves to humanity time and time again. It treats Super-Heroes as the New Gods, and and newspaper accounts read like the comic books used to.

It's an interesting way to go about telling the story. The clichéd one-liners of old, like "Have at you, villain!" seem to be something that even the heroes are ashamed about but simply cannot help themselves to say. Villains treat the tendency to spill the beans about their entire world-dominating plans as some sort of disease or disorder.

When Soon I Will Be Invincible works, it's wonderful, and when it works is when Grossman concentrates on DR. Impossible. Unfortunately the book alternates between the Dr's point of view and that of Fatale, a new member of the super-group called The Champions. The sections with Fatal drag, and are mostly pointless, while Dr. Impossible seems to enjoy a more thoughtfull and loving treatment from the author. This may be blamed in part on the Authors background. Grossman is a doctoral candidate (at the time of publication) at Berkeley, where he specializes in Romantic and Victorian literature. There's nothing romantic lit loves more than a tragic figure, and you could reasonably assign that title to Dr. Impossible.

One of the great lines from disenfranchised, ridiculed and shunned peoples everywhere is that other people just don't understand them. What does one of these people do when suddlenly faced with the gain of tremendous power? Some redeem themselves by doing good deeds. I'd bet most would show them. Oh, show them so well.

There is plenty tongue in cheek to this book, he doesn't shy from the cheese factor when it is called for. But there is plenty to love as well. If The Watchmen had had Super-Powers (Well, more of them than the Blue Penis guy anyway) and had a first-person point of view, this would have been it. I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who likes superheroes. At least, they way they used to be.
Tags: genre: fiction, genre: science fiction, review, xxx author last name: a-h

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