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Only Superhuman

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Overview

2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It’s a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system.

Emerald Blair is a Troubleshooter. Inspired by the classic superhero comics of the twentieth century, she’s joined with other mods to...

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Overview

2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It’s a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system.

Emerald Blair is a Troubleshooter. Inspired by the classic superhero comics of the twentieth century, she’s joined with other mods to try to police the unruly Asteroid Belt. But her loyalties are tested when she finds herself torn between rival factions of superhumans with very different agendas. Emerald wants to put her special abilities to good use, but what do you do when you can’t tell the heroes from the villains?

Only Superhuman is a rollicking hard-SF adventure set in a complex and fascinating future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A healthy respect for superhero tropes is the strength and weakness of Bennett’s first non–tie-in novel. In the 22nd century, genetic engineering and bionic enhancements have created a new group of super-humans, and the elite among them fight for justice as the Troubleshooters, taking their inspiration from the classic comics of 200 years before. When Troubleshooter Arkady Nazarbayev is killed in action, his sidekick, the Green Blaze, is promoted to the team. Young, impulsive, and sexually promiscuous, Blaze is hardly the ideal teammate, but her family roots in the asteroid belt make her the obvious choice for a mission to undermine an alliance of transhumanist habitats. Unsurprisingly, she falls for a habitat’s leader and becomes uncertain about who is really fighting for justice. Bennett’s mastery of solid fight scenes serves him well, but the painful expository dialogue is a much less charming superhero convention. Other unfortunate choices, from Blaze’s portrayed-as-cute history of harassing “terrified” teen boys to utterly predictable betrayals and twists, undercut the remaining charm. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Only Superhuman is a heady comic book fix for the discerning SF reader, filled with a sense of wonder and a sense of seriousness.”
—Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Sisterhood of Dune

“Many writers have written about superheroes, but nobody does it like Christopher L. Bennett.”
—Stanley Schmidt, editor of Analog

Only Superhuman is, to my knowledge, the first hard science superhero story. And the story is the better for it.”  —Mike W. Barr, author of Camelot 3000

“A tour de force that tells a fascinating story with flair, imagination, and weight.”
—TV Zone on Star Trek: Ex Machina

Library Journal
Although Earth and its orbiting colonies have banned both genetic and cybernetic modifications, the practices are flourishing in the colonies and habitats of the Asteroid Belt. Inspired by the costumed superheroes of 20th-century comics, Emerald Blair belongs to a group known as the Troubleshooters whose mission is to prevent the rule of lawlessness and might wherever it might occur. When rival groups of superhumans clash in the field of politics, however, "Emry" becomes a pivotal figure in preventing—or unintentionally causing—the superhuman war that could forever change the universe. The sf debut and first original novel by the author of Star Trek: The Original Series: Ex Machina and other TV and comics tie-ins has created a world of believable supermen and women set against a complex world of rival factions not unlike those of Renaissance city-states. VERDICT Bennett brings believability to the larger-than-life world of superheroes in a story that should appeal to sf and comics fans alike.
Kirkus Reviews
First independent effort from a veteran comic-book and Star Trek novelist (Star Trek: DTI: Forgotten History, 2012, etc.). By 2107, following a war, Earth banned genetic and cybernetic experimentation on humans. Not so in the Asteroid Belt, where flourishing space habitats continue to develop highly modified humans. Emry Blair is a Troubleshooter, one of a band of such enhanced humans who consider themselves the embodiments of the superheroes pioneered by the classic comics of the 20th century. And they act accordingly, being given to foolhardy exploits and vainglorious banter as they perform their self-appointed task of defending the solar system against the other, rival societies of modified humans, many of whom have uncompromising and violently destructive ideologies. But then Gregor Tai of Ceres takes over the Corps, with the idea of not just reacting to threats, but preempting them by judicious assassinations and military strikes. The Troubleshooters grumble but go along. But then Tai orders Emry to infiltrate the Vanguardians, a rival superhero organization led by Eliot Thorne, who's been sulking in the Outer Belt for 30 years and now has plans to unite all the mods, even the unruly and violent ones. Since Emry's related to some of the Vanguardians, she's ideally suited to the role. But Thorne and his daughter, Psyche, are more formidable and persuasive than Emry bargained for, and she soon finds her loyalties wavering. The main plot's padded out with "origin" stories detailing Emry's personal evolution from scapegrace to defender of humanity and bouts of enthusiastic sex. You will have gathered that this is, indeed, an adult-ish comic book minus the illustrations. Proceed accordingly. Should satisfy the demographic but not too many others.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765332295
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/16/2012
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,301,845
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER L. BENNETT has had multiple works of short fiction published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact as well as the online magazines DayBreak and Alternative Coordinates, and has written critically acclaimed novels based on Star Trek, Spider-Man, and X-Men, all of them with a hard science slant. Only Superhuman is his first original novel. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2012

    Excellent blend of social commentary and action

    This was an excellent blend of social commentary and action. Definitely for mature audiences, as there is a high level of sexuality involved. Bits and pieces of philosophy all over the place, but it won't hurt, I promise, and you will be entertained whilst absorbing it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    Good read

    Imaginative. More please...

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  • Posted January 19, 2014

    You may know Bennett from his Star Trek novels, like A Choice Of

    You may know Bennett from his Star Trek novels, like A Choice Of Futures, and Watching The Clock. Only Superhuman is his first original novel. Like all his work, it has a hard science slant to it. Comic book heroics and hard SF together? Believe it or not, it works.




    If you love the technobabble on Star Trek, you'll get it here too. But if you don't, it doesn't slow down the story. There is a glossary of terms to help shed light on concepts but when actually reading the story, you don't need to know them. Bennett takes us into a future where heroes are modified and literally made; no mutant genes cause laser blasting eyes in this universe. His genetic enhancements and cyborg add-ons are based on what we know today and creates a very plausible future. The tech and hardware are SF, the comic book sensibilities come in with the characters.




    Speaking of characters, Emerald Blair is great one. She is a fighter, but flawed also. She doesn't always make the right choices. The first time I read this book, I wasn't use to how sexual and uninhibited she is. Star Trek is fairly chaste, and it seems Bennett was rebelling against that at first. But upon a second reading, it seems more like an extension of today's society. Differing views and lifestyles are accepted in his universe. I'm sure our modern day society would seem immoral compared to 300 years ago. While Bennett was trying to comment on the overt sexuality of comics, here it seems more sexual than sexy. But this is also partly on me; I'm not a big fan of sex and nudity in books or movies when it serves no purpose. It half-works, half-doesn't in OS.




    That, however, is my biggest critique. I would have loved to have more descriptions of weapons an such, but that is a minor quibble. OS is a fun read with very detailed and well-thought out world building. Emery is tough, sexy, and fun (she loves using puns and I found myself laughing), and the future Bennett postulates is entertaining. The animal-human hybrids are a trip (I love Bast), and the villains are larger-than-life.




    I'm really hoping for a sequel. I'd love to see more comic-style action. This book is very dear to Bennett and I really hope he gets the chance to explore more of Emery's world. I highly recommend reading the glossary and the annotations on his website. It enriches the book and gives great behind-the-pages insights.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Enjoyed this author Very Much

    Have been reading SF since Warlord of Mars. Tend to read authors I enjoy. Will definatelly look forward to more from this one.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    great debut

    Genetic mutation has been done before (e.g., Sharon Shinn;s great Archangel series). This is grittier than even adult comics. The plot is complex yet ties together at the end. More.

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    Posted February 10, 2013

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    Posted January 8, 2014

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    Posted September 15, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

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