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Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction

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  • Posted July 7, 2012

    Corrupts Absolutely? is a collection of 21 short tales on the ve

    Corrupts Absolutely? is a collection of 21 short tales on the very dark side of having metahuman abilities, with stories ranging from a wounded man who brings his explosive rage to bear on those he blames for the deaths of his wife and daughter-to-be (“Retribution” by Tim Marquitz) to a world where metahumans live under more restrictions than sex offenders and being a hero is a crime (“Pride” by Wayne Ligon) to a woman whose concerns over the ultimate use of the robo-suit she lead development of are trumped by pragmatic realities (“Fixed” by Trisha J. Wooldridge). The metahuman abilities and settings vary widely, as do the contributing authors’ styles, making for an entertaining selection of tales.

    As is often the case, a story collection has its high and low points. Not all of the tales here worked for me, but my enjoyment level overall was high. In addition to the previously mentioned stories, my favorites included “Ozymandias Revisited” by A.S. Fox (where having godlike powers leads to having godlike problems), and “Illusion” by Karina Fabian (exploring the toll taken by telepathic abilities on a young telepath). Its a compelling collection of dark fiction where the ‘heroes’ are often not at all heroic, and well worth checking out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 7, 2012

    Corrupts Absolutely? is a collection of 21 short tales on the ve

    Corrupts Absolutely? is a collection of 21 short tales on the very dark side of having metahuman abilities, with stories ranging from a wounded man who brings his explosive rage to bear on those he blames for the deaths of his wife and daughter-to-be (“Retribution” by Tim Marquitz) to a world where metahumans live under more restrictions than sex offenders and being a hero is a crime (“Pride” by Wayne Ligon) to a woman whose concerns over the ultimate use of the robo-suit she lead development of are trumped by pragmatic realities (“Fixed” by Trisha J. Wooldridge). The metahuman abilities and settings vary widely, as do the contributing authors’ styles, making for an entertaining selection of tales.

    As is often the case, a story collection has its high and low points. Not all of the tales here worked for me, but my enjoyment level overall was high. In addition to the previously mentioned stories, my favorites included “Ozymandias Revisited” by A.S. Fox (where having godlike powers leads to having godlike problems), and “Illusion” by Karina Fabian (exploring the toll taken by telepathic abilities on a young telepath). Its a compelling collection of dark fiction where the ‘heroes’ are often not at all heroic, and well worth checking out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Since there are so many stories in this one, I'm going to try to

    Since there are so many stories in this one, I'm going to try to keep it short and mention only a few. I did however, write a small thought on each in my notes. So if you are curious about any stories on the list I don't mention here, just ask.. This is not your traditional 'superhero' thinking. These characters are heroes, are not heroes but potentially villains, and are in the grey area where some would think they are heroes and some would think villains. The views are yours for the deciding.

    The Introduction raises questions on the use of the term superhero, and the affect on people. The question is raised of how would people react with common things in life if "we" became a superhero. Would you marry the same person? Work the same job? These are some of the thoughts in a few of the stories.

    Mental Man is a mystery type take. We learn why Rob is in the position he is working, and that he doesn't have an archenemy to keep him feeling balanced and with a life purpose. Rob helps the police look for a murderer, but I wonder who the true murderer is.... I loved the metaphor of his feelings and the mental villain of diseases (Mental diseases.) The way this story turns around by the end in just a few short pages, had me hooked.

    I really liked Enlightened by Sin. Victor hears the encrypted threat from Red Dahlia from his favorite DJ while he's cleaning up after his latest bad guy eliminating. Red Dahlia is dangerous and known for many deaths in a world where "Heroes" are sponsored. Victor is not sponsored, and is doing the dirty work of cleaning up the streets where others are not. Victor goes to talk to a victim of Red Dahlia's that 1) didn't fit the profile like the other victims, and 2) lived. This man has secrets to tell. I liked that Victor starts as seeming like a villain for the way he works, but in reality he's not, and I wonder about the "Heroes" in this world as well. I kind of got the reversed feel of Heroes and Villains rule here.

    Threshold is a favorite of mine as well, for the twisted ending. We have a man who learns at twenty when he touches someone he will learn great details of harm they have done and if they need to die for it. A symptom of his ability, severe headaches. Uncontrollable pain until he does what needs to be done, and becomes the assassin, to eliminate the horrible people that shouldn't be here. I really liked this writing style, and the storyline with this man and his headaches pushing him to do what he needs to do.

    Crooked, Oh! This was one of my favorites. Leon uses his telekinetic power to help cover his tracks in the snow. He goes to rob his ex, just to find someones taken her captive because of him, wanting what he took from them some time ago. A crime boss is hot on Leon's trail, or is Leon the one on their trail. I really liked the way this story twisted together and came to an unforeseen end.

    Overall, this book really got me to thinking about who really is a "Hero" and a "Villain" and where is the line drawn. It all depends on the side you see, sometimes. The Heroes here could be borderline Villains. Or Villains, borderline heroes. A feeling of Dark Superheroes, nothing is black and white and they live in the grey making the tough decisions and trying to cope with the strange abilities within them in a world dominated without it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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