Soon I Will Be Invincible

Posted by on October 2nd,2008

I recently finished reading Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman. This is a fine novel. I love superheroes, and any novel that includes the line “I fought for prize money in unlicensed hero fights in Bangkok” gets my vote. That line does a good job of summing up the story: it’s a more realistic look at the spandex-and-cape world. Some people have called it a parody or a satire, and while it’s funny at parts, it never feels like it’s making fun of superheroes.  It loves being a superhero story and embraces it wholeheartedly. If you like superheroes or just want a good, quirky read, I highly recommend it.

The story follows the world’s greatest villain, Doctor Impossible, as he breaks out of jail for the twelfth time and tries once again to take over the world. It also follows a young cyborg, Fatale, as she joins the world’s greatest team of superheroes and tries to fit in.

But why am I mentioning it in a Steampunk blog?I’ll give you one good reason: Baron Ether. The Baron is a supporting character, a retired villain the main character, Doctor Impossible, idolizes. I give you the Baron:

“Baron Ether is old. He lost an eye fighting Paragon, and replaced it with a mechanical device of his own construction. Whatever gave him his original superpowers has mostly faded, except in the elongated shape of his skull and a coal-like glow behind his remaining eye. He’s an old man–no one really knows how old–and he’s been a villain a long, long time. He started out robbing railroads. He fought Victorian adventurers and American whiz kids, wore a mustache and carried a trick cane whose jeweled head bulged with concealed gadgetry.”

There’s more, of course, but I’ll let you read it for yourself. I think I’ll skip ahead to the description of the Baron just before retirement: “by the end, he was using hardware with gears and brass fittings against mutants with fusion-powered hardware.”

Now that’s Steampunk.