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Superheros [Mass Market Paperback]

J Varley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Dec 12 2012
A science fiction superhero anthology features Alan Dean Foster's ""Earth Spirit,"" Roger Zelazny's ""Hugh Glass,"" Lawrence Watt-Evans's ""Captain Cosmos,"" Michael A. Stackpole's ""Revenant,"" and John Varley's ""Bolshoiman."" Reprint. AB.

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Product Description

From School Library Journal

YA?Twenty-five marvelous short stories about cartoon heroes. These are not your run-of-the-mill superheroes like Captain Marvel, Superman, or Batman?these people have weird, sometimes twisted, viewpoints. Consider Captain Housework in Laurell K. Hamilton's "A Clean Sweep," who gets so frustrated about everyone hiring him as a maid instead of using his special powers that he takes macabre revenge on his last customer. In Josepha Sherman's "The Defender of Central Park," a misplaced leshy (tree spirit) is upset at being out of his element. But, as he defends a young woman from a stalker, he decides his life's work is to protect innocent people. Nevertheless, his defenses take dark turns. Harvey, a pediatrician, writes to his mother complaining of the hardships in caring for extraordinary infants in Mike Resnick and Lawrence Schmel's wacky "Super Acorns." All of the selections have unusual twists and surprise endings. Many are satirical and full of dark humor, and some are violent. All are intriguing.?Pat Royal, Crossland High School, Camp Springs, MD
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Superheroes and their derring-do are no longer confined to the cartoons, as a recent "biography" of Superman and this playfully entertaining collection of superhuman adventures attest. Coeditors Varley and Mainhardt wisely avoid episodes from the established superhero pantheon in favor of those from imaginative, even twisted, superhero variations. Using Varley's own wry tale of an invincible Soviet "Bolshoiman" as a springboard, they spotlight comic-book champions' often tongue-in-cheek literary cousins, from Captain Cosmos to Captain Housework. B. W. Clough, for instance, drolly recounts "the Gazorcher's" predicament of handing over "the goggles" to his Generation X-er daughter. Michael A. Stackpole in "Peer Review," however, takes a turn toward serious action-adventure as he treats one crime fighter's apparent defection into lawbreaking and his censure by fellow superheroes. In "Reflected Glory," Paul Kupperberg soberly demonstrates how today's world would really treat a superhero when a PR man slyly uses a superhuman vigilante to further his own career. These and the other stories well may satisfy both fans and foes of the comic-book scene. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is SUPER, Man! July 18 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
An original and entertaining take on the popular "superhero" fantasy -- and what a cast of characters! Captain Housework! And how about that pediatrician who cares for superheroes' children? And the one with the child with the abusive stepfather and a real father who's a superhero is the COOLEST beans! And I loved that Soviet "Superman" spoof -- Kyril Kentarovsky instead of Clark Kent! I laughed so hard I nearly burst a vein!
One little quibble. I wasn't so crazy about the fact that, in the aforementioned Russian Superman spoof, Kyril Kentarovsky referred to a prison rape victim as the inmates' "unwilling sweetheart." The author should have said "sex partner" or "boy-toy" instead of "sweetheart." "Sweetheart" means something, and it isn't this. The word sweetheart, to me, is associated with love, (which could be either heterosexual or same-sex),not violence or force. If someone is your "sweetheart," you don't abuse him or her.
Still in all, this book is all that and a bag of chips -- or, in reference to pop culture's #1 fantasy superhero -- this book is all that and a king-sized CLARK Bar!!!...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Super Reader Aug. 3 2007
By Blue Tyson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Varley admits in his introduction that is is not really very familiar with this sort of thing, and it would appear to show in the result. The story average is 3.28.

So, a lot of average/ordinary, and a small number that flat out really don't belong.

Still, it is buy no means bad, and some good stories, just average taken as a whole, and without the shouldn't have been there stuff, would have gotten a 3.5.

Superheroes : 01 A Clean Sweep - Laurell K. Hamilton
Superheroes : 02 Time for a Hero - Brian M. Thomsen
Superheroes : 03 Peer Review - Michael A. Stackpole
Superheroes : 04 Shadow Storm - Mickey Zucker Reichert
Superheroes : 05 Empowered - Alan Dean Foster
Superheroes : 06 Handling On the Goggles - B. W. Clough
Superheroes : 07 She Who Might Be Obayed - Roland J. Green and Frieda A. Murray
Superheroes : 08 And the Sea Shall Cast Him Out - William Marden
Superheroes : 09 The Defender of Central Park - Josepha Sherman
Superheroes : 10 Reflected Glory - Paul Kupperberg
Superheroes : 11 Super Acorns - Mike Resnick and Lawrence Schimel

Superheroes : 12 Vets - Richard Lee Byers
Superheroes : 13 Four Tales of Many Names - Gerald Hausman
Superheroes : 14 The Long Crawl of Hugh Glass - Roger Zelazny
Superheroes : 15 God Save the King - P. J. Beese and Todd Cameron Hamilton
Superheroes : 16 Contract Hit - Richard A. Knaak
Superheroes : 17 Origin Story - Dwight R. Decker
Superheroes : 18 Tu Quoque - John DeChancie
Superheroes : 19 Theme Music Man - Jody Lynn Nye
Superheroes : 20 Bicycle Superhero - Dennis O'Neil
Superheroes : 21 Captain Asimov - Steve Antczak
Superheroes : 22 Press Conference - Brad Linaweaver
Superheroes : 23 Basic Training - Jerry Bingham
Superheroes : 24 One of the Boys - Lawrence Watt-Evans
Superheroes : 25 Truth Justice and the Politically Correct Socialist Path - John Varley

Captain Housework is out of dirty villains, and left with dirty dishes and floors.

3 out of 5

Psychologically invented hero for dirty bomb job.

4 out of 5

An outlaw hero is called to account for his actions while removing a boy from a compound at the request of his father and the boy himself, to enable the boy to give a life-giving biological donation to his dying sister.

4.5 out of 5

A girl forced to live with her mother and her bastard new abusive man discovers the real father she actually likes is a superhero.

3.5 out of 5

A new hero decides he'd rather avoid lawyers, insurance and the media by relocation.

3 out of 5

A granddaughter cleaning up and going to throw out some old books is reprimanded by her grandfather, the owner.

He explains why via his teleportation ring.

3.5 out of 5

A woman has the Voice and tries to help other females.

3 out of 5

A torrid affair between a Sun hero and a Sea villain at the Extraodinary Talents Haven island.

3.5 out of 5

Russian forest spirit not too impressed with city recreation area, but thinks crimefighting violence should be loads of fun.

3 out of 5

Superman vigilante saves a publicist who then works for him, and his take no prisoners style rubs off when he decides he has had enough killing and wants to hang up the costume.

4 out of 5

Doctor for superkids tells his mum it is boring.

2.5 out of 5

Don't cheat on your stressed out overworked superhero husband unless cremation is your preferred form of funeral.

3.5 out of 5

Native American hero fables.

3 out of 5

Man mauled by bear shows extraordinary endurance.

3 out of 5

Arthur would now rather work at tax office than put up with Merlin's stuff, suggests finding a new bloke.

3.5 out of 5

City mayors treat superheroes and villains like baseball players it seems, complete with sidekicks to be named later.

4 out of 5

The opportunity to be Captain Swastika is not very appealing, despite the powers.

3.5 out of 5

Defeated alien race have infiltrators on earth with a breeding program involving humans to try and eventually recapture their home galaxy. However, their enemies have found them.

3.5 out of 5

Petty superpower occasionally useful, even in a dangerous situation like a bank robbery.

3 out of 5

Car chase and other heroic acts are all in his mind.

2.5 out of 5

A robot gets heroic, even in costume, briefly.

3 out of 5

The conflict between two superhumans has destroyed a city, leaving the President powerless to do anything, and then more of them turn up.

4 out of 5

Once in a decade harsh, pointless test.

2.5 out of 5

A woman on the trail of a secret identity finds out that an alien hero keeps to himself for very good reasons.

3.5 out of 5

Alien boy lands in the Soviet Union, becomes a good, but really dumb dob in anyone type communist. Basically ends up in prison a lot.

3 out of 5
4.0 out of 5 stars Old favorites May 9 2014
By J. Wan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With the current fashion of mining super hero comics for ideas for TV and the Movies, it would not be surprising to see some of these tales adapted.
Some nice tales which might be lesser known:
William Marden's "And the Sea Shall Cast HIm Out" has a poignant ending in a short short story.
Dwight Decker;s "Origin Story" points out how an ancient symbol once twisted and identified with a particular hate movement becomes stuck.
Lawrence Watt-Evans' "One of the Boys" puts a new spin on the tale of the visitor from a far off planet who came to earth and grew up to be a super hero.
5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Book Is Out of Print For A Reason April 1 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This anthology of superhero stories tries to explore unique variation of the superhero theme but few of the stories are remotely satisfying. The biggest problem with them is that they are often one-trick ponies that ask a single "what-if" question and then go about answering it with varying degrees of success. Also, the choice of superheroes leaves something to be desired. With Superman, Spiderman and Batman taken, the writers focus on second and third-string crime fighters that can only be used as punchlines.
The best story of the group is "Reflected Glory" about a public relations executive that helps guide the world's first superhero, Ultima, through the maze of endorsements, merchandizing contracts and image management decisions. This story is the most realistic exploration of how a superhero might be treated if he actually appeared. Although a humorous story, the problems of spin control and public perception are treated seriously throughout.
Surprisingly, the most moving stories in the anthology are those that aren't even about superheroes. Both "The Long Crawl of Hugh Glass" and "Basic Training" are about Native Americans and the former is even a true story.
Most of the other stories simply ask a single "what-if" question and then run it into the ground. "Peer Review" explores the ramifications of a superhero review board that examines the questionable acts of fellow superheroes. In "Empowered", a superhero is sued after preventing a robbery and decides to give up his crime fighting career entirely. "Super Acorns" asks what would life be like for a doctor that had to tend to superheroes, their children and the constant injuries that accompany a life of crime fighting. "Contract Hit" asks what if superheroes and villains were like sports teams that could be traded between cities. "Origin Stories" explores the reactions to regular citizens offered the chance to become a superhero but they are forced to fight crime as Captain Swastika. "Captain Asimov" asks what if a robot rejected Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics.
"Handing On The Goggles" and "She Who Might Be Obeyed" are dated feminist stories. The latter is apparently a response to the belief that women sacrifice too much of themselves for others. The hero of the story has the power to get people to do what she wants but only when her requests are for the benefit of someone else. After teaming up with other women with the same power, she learns that her power actually works more effectively when her requests are selfish.
The others center their story around some of the most absurd superheroes imaginable. "A Clean Sweep" is about Captain Housework, a down and out superhero that resorts to being and on-call maid. "Defender of Central Park" involves a tree spirit from Russia and "Theme Music Man" just hangs out at crime scenes and provides the theme music for other, more respected superheroes.
These may seem like cool little stories by reading the summaries but they end up being one-joke ponies that get run into the ground after a few pages. The editor of the book wrote one of the stories and it appears that he just got his buddies together to get enough stories for an "anthology".
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is SUPER, Man! July 18 2002
By Rayna Gorowitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
An original and entertaining take on the popular "superhero" fantasy -- and what a cast of characters! Captain Housework! And how about that pediatrician who cares for superheroes' children? And the one with the child with the abusive stepfather and a real father who's a superhero is the COOLEST beans! And I loved that Soviet "Superman" spoof -- Kyril Kentarovsky instead of Clark Kent! I laughed so hard I nearly burst a vein!
One little quibble. I wasn't so crazy about the fact that, in the aforementioned Russian Superman spoof, Kyril Kentarovsky referred to a prison rape victim as the inmates' "unwilling sweetheart." The author should have said "sex partner" or "boy-toy" instead of "sweetheart." "Sweetheart" means something, and it isn't this. The word sweetheart, to me, is associated with love, (which could be either heterosexual or same-sex),not violence or force. If someone is your "sweetheart," you don't abuse him or her.
Still in all, this book is all that and a bag of chips -- or, in reference to pop culture's #1 fantasy superhero -- this book is all that and a king-sized CLARK Bar!!!...
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book with some exceptional stories Dec 11 2000
By Timothy Hodges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I first read this book, i had checked it out of the library. I liked it so much i decided that I had to buy it. It has some great stories. Some aren't exactly what you might expect but that makes they even better. A must read for all comic readers and sci-fi fans.
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