A Minor Superhero Obsession

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I’m on a bit of a superhero bender right now.

I just finished a fantastic short story collection called “Masked” from Gallery Books, published in July, 2010, edited by the amazing Lou Anders, who recently won a Hugo award (jealous!).

My obsession with superheros isn’t new, it dates back to the comic books I read in high school, titles like The Uncanny X-Men, the New Mutants and Excalibur. But “Masked,” along with Mur Lafferty’s wonderful “Playing for Keeps,” have rekindled my interest. And when that happens, story ideas just pop into my head.

The mere idea of the existence of superpowers throws certain issues into sharp relief:

• Societal imbalance: special powers give you an advantage over anyone who doesn’t have them.

• Outsider status: anything that sets you apart from the rest of humanity can bring up a variety of reactions from those who don’t possess those abilities: fear, awe, anger, jealousy, hatred.

• An endless variety of powers: even among superheros, varying levels of ability exist. I’m particularly fascinated by the minor powers, the weird powers, outside the realm of the obvious super strength, super hearing, flight, x-ray vision. Mur deals with these brilliantly in “Playing for Keeps.”

All of this, and more, brings up such powerful ideas for stories that they’re climbing over each other to get onto paper. Keep an eye out for more news about my up-and-coming superhero stories.

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