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Super by Dietz Aaron
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Super

by Dietz Aaron

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1321,085,685 (4.33)None
Need a new job? Does the world need another superhero? You see the connection, don't you? If you had the chance to save lives...could you handle the adventure? The pressure, the risk, the grotesque, the insane? Most of all, could you handle your humanity? Update your resume, 'cause here we go. Either stick with being sucked down further into your life, or earn the lift-off of the elite. Aaron Dietz's debut novel moves with an experimental edge into America's heroic mythology. Structured as a novel-length job application for a superhero agency, Dietz uses his iron touch to explore themes that go far deeper than the swashbuckling world of comics and costumes. It's a story about commitment, ability, bureaucracy, possibility, crisis, and heartbreak. Super.… (more)

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How was it? Super, thanks for asking! I quite enjoyed this book. It’s a very fast read, actually, and I powered it down. Which makes sense given that it’s about superheroes. Get it? Powered it down? Sorry, I’ll go back to sleep.

Okay, I’m awake again. Where was I? Ah, Super. It’s quite a charming concept. You are applying for a job as a superhero with the local city government. (Turns out … superhero jobs don’t pay all that well.) The book consists of a series of these applications as you attempt to move up from a first level superhero to a tenth level superhero. The applications describe various heroic actions that a hero must successfully perform (in the danger room/holodeck) in order to qualify for the next level. After explaining the deeds, the applications describe various hypothetical superhero scenarios followed by questions about those scenarios. The scenarios seem intended to be linguistic Rorschach tests, and the questions are for evaluation of your psychological suitability for promotion.

I really enjoyed Super and here’s why: 1) I’m a nerd; 2) The hypothetical scenarios were like connected short stories (featuring some overlapping characters), and I found them to be damn good short stories. I wanted more of them and didn’t want them to end. The hypothetical superheroes felt like real people with significant personal flaws, and I wanted to follow their lives. The tone of the stories was surprisingly melancholy, almost wistful, and mysterious, which contrasted sharply with the somewhat absurd nature of the “heroic tasks” posed by the application. I wish Dietz had written a novel about these characters! I would’ve loved that.

The application wrappers to the stories didn’t really do much for me. They seem intended to mock government bureaucracy a bit, and, sure, I’m not a fan of government bureaucracy, but I don’t find it a significant threat when compared to corporate inhumanity. It’s not that I disliked the applications, but after the first couple, I skimmed through them to get to the fantastic stories.

The premise was super-clever, and Dietz is a great writer. I’m looking forward to future work. ( )
  David_David_Katzman | Nov 26, 2013 |
I've known this book since it was a baby, and now it's all grown up!

I'm not the most unbiased reviewer, having helped a bit here and there, but in spite of that, I think I can say that this is one of the most clever takes on the superhero genre I've seen.

Just imagine that your superheroes worked for a government agency, not a super government agency, but one that you might find as part of your local city or county government. (Don't get me wrong! These are human beings in the cogs of the government machine, super-powered though they may be.)

Dietz's brilliant idea was to frame the book as a job application, complete with psychological evaluation, which allowed him to experiment with different modes of storytelling, from straight up narrative to comics and even to a word find!

If you like superheroes (and, seriously, even if you don't) there's a lot to get out of this book.

Buy it! Read it! Love it! ( )
1 vote paperclypse | Oct 28, 2010 |
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Super is a highly entertaining and quirky read.... Highly recommended.
added by aarondietz | editMidwest Book Review (Dec 13, 2010)
 
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