Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: Soon I Will Be Invincible

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:23 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Late last week, I finished Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman.

I’ve never read anything by Grossman, but, as this is his first novel, that shouldn’t be surprising. I’m sure he’ll have more out soon, though, if this is any example of his work.
Soon I Will Be Invincible is the latest in a growing new sub-genre of literature; the superhero novel. Granted, George R. R. Martin has been doing this with his Wild Cards series for quite some time, but, for whatever reason, it just didn’t seem to grow beyond his anthologies, until recently. I would be very impressed if any of the recent additions to the genre are better than this. It really is quite good.

The story opens with a chapter from the point of view of Doctor Impossible, imprisoned super-genius and super-villain. He gives us a quick look at his world, both inside and outside of prison. I think the immediacy of starting out a book about larger-than-life heroes from the point of view of their chief villain really helped draw the reader into the story. At least, it drew me in a bit more. As a writer, though, I found it slightly hard to suspend my disbelief reading from the point of view of a genius. Theoretically, the character speaking is infinitely more intelligent than I am, and most people, for that matter, but I’m fairly certain that, as clever as he is, the author is not, in fact, an evil genius. So, how do you write a character more intelligent than you? And, Dr. Impossible is writing from jail. Hello? How much of a genius can he be if he got caught, right? Well, I think I laughed out loud when he made the same comment. Then, of course, he goes on to explain how that worked.

The chapters alternated point of view between Dr. Impossible and the more-or-less heroine, Fatale. Fatale is a female cyborg recruited to join the Champions, greatest super-team of the moment. Or, more precisely, the New Champions, who are the latest incarnation of the group that defeated Dr. Impossible the last time. But, she’s recruited to help find CoreFire, the World’s Greatest Hero, who’s gone missing. While she and the other New Champions are trying to solve that riddle, Dr. Impossible breaks out of prison and starts on his latest nefarious scheme to dominate the Earth.

Yeah, I know, it all sounds a little over the top, but, honestly? It’s not when you’re reading it. It really reads about like you’d expect the average super-hero comic book to read, if it didn’t have any pictures. It even has all the twists and turns and secret lives that the better comic books have. It even has secret government programs, forgotten past lives, and murky origins. And, not just in the form of Fatale’s past work for the NSA, who also, allegedly, made her.
Naturally, a lot of the time is spent looking closely at the normally hidden life of Dr. Impossible. Actually, based on the title, I’d have almost expected even more of a focus than there was. Besides, villains are almost always more interesting than the heroes anyway.

All in all, Soon I Will Be Invincible was a good book. It delivered everything that it promised and then some. I like Old Man’s War better, but, I would certainly recommend Soon I Will Be Invincible to anyone looking for a good, quick read that’s not the usual fare. Well worth the money I spent.

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