Sunday, January 10, 2010

Final Impression of "Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman

I finished reading Soon I Will Be Invincible, and although I was a bit disappointed, I still recommend the book on the grounds that:
  • Austin Grossman (who has a blog, by the way) has a Douglas Adams-y gift for ending paragraphs with terrific gag lines.
  • It's the closest thing you're going to find to The Tick: a novel.
  • Cyborgs! With boobies!
For some folks, those three points alone will be enough to ensure their interest. For me, though, the book took its first misstep in Chapter 11 "Invincible" with the paragraph:
[The Pharaoh] wasn't much of a supervillain at all, just a crank, a nuisance in a costume. I think he called himself the Mummy for a while before I met him. He pulled a few bank jobs in the late 1970s, claiming to be the reincarnation  of the pharaoh Ramses. His most notable feature was that he'd chosen the same name as a famous hero, but he wasn't important enough for them to fight over it. Some villains make you embarrassed to be a villain.
Now, there is nothing wrong with that paragraph in and of itself. It's just that all of that information had already been covered previously (and better) in Chapter 5 "Free at Last", and that kind of repetition is hard to justify in a first-person narrative. That was the first symptom of a basic choppiness in the plot... unnecessary repetition in some places and missing information in others. It's the sort of stuff that a good editor would flag. Maybe I'm just sensitive to that because so many of my friends are such good editors, or maybe it's because I see that same choppiness when I look back at the novels I've tried my hand writing. Either way, it made for a kind of bumpy ride for me. Nothing that derailed the book, though, and there's plenty to enjoy. I'm hoping that the next book is a bit tighter, though.

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