enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Austin Grossman, Soon I Will Be Invincible

I read this book about 2-Sep-2007. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2007. This note was last modified Tuesday, 04-Sep-2007 19:51:00 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


A novel set in a generic "superhero" universe, it looks like. There'd be rights issues in using any real one for an original story, and beyond that, haven't they all be "reloaded" so many times that none of them are a single timeline anyway?

Uncle Hugo's didn't carry it new (though there'd been a used copy through; gone by the time I got there), and while Dreamhaven had it, it was off in the back left with the comics stuff, not with the real books in front.

I've never read comics, other than "comic strips" like Calvin and Hobbes or whatever, they don't make stories for me much. So I don't have fond pre-adolescent memories of super-hero stories to play off of here. We'll see how it goes.

I'm reading this for the "Good Read" panel at Farthing Party Two. I believe it was James Nicoll's suggestion.

It's a first-person narrative by a super-villain. So far, he's sitting in jail (enhanced-security of course) musing on his past, going back to when he left home to go to the special school (simply for being smart, not for being in any other way super). Looks like the typical "outsider" story; he never had the faintest clue how to relate to other people. There are some hints about the lab accident that gave him his other super-powers (beyond being smart).

Ah, the second chapter starts POV a superheroine named Fatale. So it's going to be more complicated, I guess. First person. Present tense, even, sigh.

And lots of jumping around in time, which I purely hate (I haven't even forgiven Zelazny for that part of Lord of Light (#2) yet).

The characters are fleshed out (even if the flesh is half metal, or transparent crystal), and their internal lives are nicely done. They feel believable, they have depths not present in the actual comics I've looked at.

I have the feeling that treating the personal experience of being a human who becomes a superhero is a big part of what got the author interested in telling this story, and he did that part very well.

The trouble, for me, is that this attention to detail and reality in the one part of the story just throws the absurdity of the background into a clearer light.

Also, living in the sort of uncertain world, filled with super-powered entities and inexplicable magical artifacts, faced with doomsday threats many times a decade which are averted only by, um, super-human exertions on the parts of the super-heros, would have a deep impact on society that's not even suggested here.

In the end, it feels to me like a waste of talent. The author is quite good at what he does, but I don't find what he's done here terribly interesting.

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David Dyer-Bennet