Stuff & Nonsense: Soon I Will Be Invincible


30 June 2013

Soon I Will Be Invincible


I'm the smartest man in the world. Once I wore a cape in public, and fought battles against men who could fly, who had metal skin, who could kill you with their eyes. I fought CoreFire to a standstill, and the Super Squadron, and the Champions. Now I have to shuffle through a cafeteria line with men who tried to pass bad checks. Now I have to wonder if there will be chocolate milk in the dispenser. And whether the smartest man in the world has done the smartest thing he could do with his life.

I'm just going to come clean and say I bought Soon I Will Be Invincible because I loved the cover art. Also, as a fan of Dexter's Laboratory and Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog, the novel's premise charmed the pants off me (I love a good villain). So, yes, based on those two things I expected to love Soon I Will Be Invincible.

Unfortunately, it really didn't work for me. Too much jumping around in time and, aside from Dr. Impossible, the characters felt more like character sheets than people. And this is very unfortunate as the narration alternates between Dr. Impossible and the newbie cyborg superhero Fatale. I'd expect them to sound very different as they are clearly meant to be completely different people. (But then Fatale turns out to be one of Dr. Impossible's experimental afterthoughts/an authorial red herring and it's just ... ugh).

And the novel is rife with inconsistencies. Various characters (including Dr. Impossible) discuss how passionately Dr. Impossible dislikes magic and then he casually mentions using it. As if, suddenly, it's no big deal. And bits of plot are set-up ... only to go nowhere. Mr. Mystic appears to know more than he's letting on, but his knowledge is never revealed (I know being Deep and Mystical is his schtick, but it's a tiresome one). Baron Ether is also Kleinfeld, but what's that knowledge worth? Ether built Galatea, but again what's that knowledge worth? And, why did Dr. Impossible never figure out that Lisa was Erica? I did and I'm not a super-intelligent supervillian.

It's great premise, though, and I do think Soon I Will Be Invincible would work fine on film.

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman (Vintage Books, 2007)

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