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All Those Explosions Were Someone…

All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault: A Novel (edition 2017)

by James Alan Gardner (Author)

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905209,746 (3.59)11
"Sparks are champions of (weird) science, complete with capes and costumes and amazing superpowers that only make sense if you don't think about them too hard. Darklings are creatures of myth and magic: ghosts, vampires, were-beasts, and the like. Doors creak at their approach. Cobwebs gather where they linger. Kim Lam is just an ordinary college student until a freak scientific accident (what else?) transforms Kim and her three housemates into honest-to-goodness Sparks-- and drafts them into the never-ending war between the Light and Dark. Now they have to master their new abilities, while coming up with cool new costumes and code names for themselves. But the learning curve is steep and there's no time to lose"--Amazon.com.… (more)
Title:All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault: A Novel
Authors:James Alan Gardner (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2017), 384 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault: A Novel by James Alan Gardner

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    Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman (Carnophile)
    Carnophile: Both books lovingly play with the conventions of superhero comic books.

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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
First of all, this book does not fall into a genre I typically read, so that might color my review a little bit. I really enjoyed it at first. It is clever and fun, a little reminiscent at times of Douglas Adams. For me the schtick just went on too long. If I think of this book as moments of action, there just aren't that many, and not enough to sustain the sheer length of the book. For as action packed as it promises to be, and even appears to be, it moves pretty slowly. I found the first person narrator, Kim/Zircon pretty fascinating at first, but after a while it felt like a slog to spend so much time in her head. So, I guess I would say, though this book is charming and light and at times delightfully silly, it probably wasn't the best fit for me. ( )
  Sarah_Angleton | Aug 16, 2019 |
Pretty funny. An interesting interpretation of how superheroics might work. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Jul 1, 2018 |
I personally thought this light deconstruction of superhero comic conventions was great, even if I tend to agree that some of the members of this instant team could have stood to be fleshed out a bit more; one does keep to the point of view of Kimberley Lam, a young woman with a problematic personal relationship with the world's vampire overlords. That's the other thing, that the "Dark" of this Earth are merely the wealthy elite who have truly sold out their humanity for more of everything makes this story more astringent than the usual round of heroes, villains and what-not going through their paces. I quite look forward to the next book in this series. ( )
  Shrike58 | Jun 25, 2018 |
All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault
Author: James Alan Gardner
Publisher: Tor Books
Date: 2017
Pgs: 384
Dewey: F GAR
Disposition: Irving Public Library - South Campus - Irving, TX


The Dark vs The Light
College students stumble upon a Dark magic dimensional ritual at a science lab. They try to rescue Darklings trapped inside. They get turned into Sparks. And away we go.
Sucks when you run into your ex and his sister and one is a vampire and the other is...something else. Sucks when the professor who teaches the physics class down the hall is really a mad scientist set on carrying out a diabolical plan that could destroy the world.

But hey, you and your friends are superheroes. Rock on.
Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Mashups
Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Superheroes
Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban

Why this book:
Superhero prose form. I’m in.

Favorite Character:
Grandfather and the Inventor are great characters. Wish we got more of them. Sort of a Vandal Savage gone good. And the Inventor, I’ve got a weakness for dog characters; Krypto, Lockjaw, Hyperdog though I always think of him as Sgt Kemlo Caesar.

Ninety-Nine/Jools grows on you after she gets her powers.

Least Favorite Character:

Aria and Dakini are cyphers and remain so. Almost get the feel that one or both of them could end up on the supervillain side at some point.

The Feel:
The worldbuilding here is awesome. Multiverse building too. Nice.

Favorite Scene / Quote:
Love the “a werewolf, a demon, and a vampire walk into a bar” scene. Don’t mess with Cal. Love the “The Boy Scout is always the first to emerge” on parallel Earths cliche.

The narrator character, Kim/Zircon, didn’t feel real to me until we got to the Goblin Market and she mentioned wishing that her costume was black instead of white that way all these ultra powerful monster Darklings wouldn’t see if she peed on herself. She caught me right there.

The Goblin Market is awesome. That is good worldbuilding.

The pace is great. In comic form...old comic form, this would have been three issues and action packed. In modern comic form, they would have had to slow it down and make us watch paint dry for an issue or five to pad out the page count and disrupt the strength of the narrative. Really glad this is prose.

Hmm Moments:
I originally thought that Nicholas got screwed on his Dark conversion or that he wasn’t a fullblood Vanderveer since the family all turn into vampires. But after finishing the book, I’ve rethought that. Good on him. Makes an awesome phantasm, or whatever the hell he is.

I love the calling out and canonizing of the cliche that superheros, supervillains, and creatures of the night in comics draw coincidences to themselves naturally. Like a giant coincidence engine is just part and parcel of their world, universe, creation. Good stuff.

WTF Moments:
Making deals in the Goblin Market, not smart Zircon. Not smart at all. But all superheroes make bad deals and bad decisions at some point in their careers. Classic trope.

Meh / PFFT Moments:
Reusing Lilith after she got her fangs handed to her behind that bar in Kansas...meh. The world is a vampire. Coulda found another.

I love the coincidence explanation of how chance impacts the lives of Sparks.

Missed Opportunity:
A coincidence engine would be an awesome supervillain weapon.

Last Page Sound:
Loved it. Great read. Very entertaining.

Author Assessment:
Great stuff.

Editorial Assessment:
Well done.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
instant classic
_________________________________________________ ( )
  texascheeseman | May 23, 2018 |
Entertaining story, but way too much with the infodumps.

Also, this was very similar to the Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson. It just added a dose of magic.

I'm not sure if I'll read the next book. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 7, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Alan Gardnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zeller, Emily WooNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Haiku summary
Four ironic new
heroines comment on selves
while fighting vampires.

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