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25 July 2011 @ 12:58 pm
Soon I Will Be Invincible!  
So aside from all the physical books i just listed last night, i am of course also burning through Audible books at a reasonable rate. (The fact that i usually spend at least an hour a day listening to audio books during my commute is the only thing that keeps me from being depressed about the amount of time i "normally" spend actually reading over the past few years. There may be some cause and effect relationship there as well.)

In any case, i just finished listening to Austin Grossman's "Soon I Will Be Invincible."

Imagine "The Incredible." Then imagine it with less slapstick and expanded out to book length. "Soon I Will Be Invincible" is set in a world where pretty much anything that ever happened in the Marvel or DC universes is possible, and many of the characters in the book are pastiches of famous comic book superheroes or villains.

There's a lot of deconstructing of tropes, and the characters, at least the ones whose thoughts we're allowed to see, realize what all the superhero/villain stereotypes and tropes are. They recognize that some characters follow those tropes more closely than others. They realize when they themselves are following those stereotypes. Sometimes they glory in it, and sometimes they try to stop themselves but just can't help it. In particular it's mentioned in the first chapter that there's a medically diagnosed mental condition that is effectively "Mad Scientist Disease" which most or all hyper-intelligent humans suffer from.

If you watched the occasional Justice League cartoon as a kid and at least some of the X-Men movies, then you'll probably get a kick out of this, at least if you can enjoy the deconstruction of tropes in subtle and not so subtle ways. It's also fun to try and figure out ahead of time which tropes will just be deconstructed and which will be outright subverted. I presume that people who are more familiar with comic lore will get even more out of the book. (The TVTropes page points out that one of the female superheroes is kind of a pastiche of Wonder Girl and Ms Marvel. I have vague second-hand knowledge of both those characters, and i recognized that the character in question was a reference to certain general comic tropes, but i never would have made the exact connection myself.)

The story is told from two viewpoints, "Dr Impossible", a vaguely Lex Luthor-ish super-genius with some "minor" strength and invulnerability powers (presumably so he can survive the numerous fights he gets into with heroes) and "Fatale", a cyborg who joins the ersatz Justice League as a new recruit. Dr Impossible begins the book in prison, but if you know anything about comic book stories you know that it is inevitable that sooner or later he will manage to get out and enact some kind of plan that the heroes will have to try and thwart.

And in case you didn't read through the cut, the short short version is that i liked it :)
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