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Brave Men Run - A Novel of the Sovereign Era…
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Brave Men Run - A Novel of the Sovereign Era

by Matthew Wayne Selznick

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Brave Men Run has some of the best characterization in any of the podiobooks that I have listened to. The setting is excellent and the prose is easy to follow. Excellent book all around. ( )
  kainlane | Mar 25, 2009 |
This coming of age story set in the 1980s is told from the point of view of a young teenager who has grown up knowing that he is different from other people, with special abilities that he keeps hidden. What he isn't prepared for is finding out that others like him exist--and what he thinks he knows about his own life isn't completely true.

I started listening to this as a free podcast from Podiobooks.com, and ended up buying a copy for myself and one for my nieces. Selznick does a good job of writing realistic teenage characters and his tale of a misfit kid will resonate with anyone who felt different growing up (even if we didn't turn out to have special powers, darn it).

I subscribe to a couple of different podcasts from Selznick and hope he publishes another book in the Sovereign setting. ( )
  theniceone | Oct 19, 2007 |
Brave Men Run is an interesting take on the superhero genre. It follows Nate Charters--an outsider with an unusual appearance and special abilities that he must keep secret--as he deals with the daily trials and tribulations of high school. Then Dr. William Donner appears on the scene, declaring to the world that super-powered humans exist and they are demanding autonomy. Before long, Nate finds himself caught up in a world entering the Sovereign Era and the confusion of learning the truth of where he came from and what happened to his father.

This is my first exposure to a podcast novel turned into a published one. I've never really been into the whole podcast fiction thing. It's not that I don't think there's value in them, it's just that I've never found them particularly interesting and some of the key players have become, in my opinion, a bit full of themselves, which really irritates me when it comes to writers. There needs to be a lot more humility in the podcast community.

But none of this really influenced how I felt about Brave Men Run coming in. Brave Men Run is a fairly short novel, clocking in at 227 pages (with a fairly large typeface). The one thing that should be made clear about this novel is that it is not an action-packed superhero story. Brave Men Run focuses on the characters, putting them first and the events happening in the world second. This is, for me, a different approach to the genre: I'm used to explosions and superhero battles; this novel isn't about such things, but about what these characters go through as the world around them changes. All of this is a strength for Brave Men Run. Selznick has managed to create a character-driven story about people with special abilities (and their friends and family). The characters are fairly realistic and the story progresses at a pace that seems worthy of their struggles.

I think calling Brave Men Run's vision part Stan Lee (as one of the blurbs on the back says) is misleading, because this is not a story about superheroes living daily lives. Nate isn't a superhero, and he doesn't really want to be one either. He has gifts, but he is not running about saving people or blowing up buildings. I'm not sure what you'd compare it to, because I have little exposure to stories like this. I think this goes with the territory these days: we're seeing more novels put out there that take cliche elements and drag them into areas not usually explored. We have vampire novels that have little to do with the popular blood-sucking renditions and now a novel about extraordinary people living normal lives.

The only problem I had with Brave Men Run was the beginning. The first few chapters failed to grab me immediately primarily because the writing style is simplistic. The writing isn't bad (there are some noticeable flaws), just straightforward. The more I read, however, the more I found myself interested in the characters and what was going on. This is a novel that grows on you, and it all has to do with the characters, who seem to become more life-like the more you read. Selznick has put together an entertaining story, if not a little flawed.

All in all, it was a good read. Maybe we'll see some more of Selznick in print in the future. If you're interested in Brave Men Run, you can find it for sale at Swarm Press (or Amazon, etc.). Matthew Selznick also has a website with plenty of other fiction you might want to check out.
  Arconna |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 193486109X, Paperback)

April 18, 1985-Into a world already wound tight with the desperate tensions of the Cold War comes Dr. William Donner with a startling declaration: superhumans exist, they demand autonomy, and he has the reality-bending power to enforce their status. The traditional balance of power is thrown askew by the addition of not one super-powered human, but six thousand. Before the Donner Declaration, high school sophomore Nate Charters was just an outsider and self-proclaimed freak. His unusual appearance, hair-trigger reflexes, and overactive metabolism should have made him something special, but his differences and low self-esteem have long since marked him as a target for the jocks and popular kids. Now, just as his unique nature brings him the attention of a self-assured older girl, Nate must find his place in the world. Why is he the way he is? What really happened to his long dead father? Why is his biggest rival suddenly interested in a private meeting? Is he part of a remarkable, powerful new minority... or just a misfit among misfits? Nate must discover the answers to these questions quickly, because those in power know more about him than he could ever imagine. And they're closing in...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -0400)

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