Reading: Soon I Will Be Invincible

Just read my old friend Austin Grossman’s book Soon I Will Be Invincible, which is warmly recommended to anyone who, let’s say, can define two out of three of adamantium, Earth-2, and J’onn J’onzz. I expected this to be the kind of novel that pretends to be a superhero book but actually steps outside the genre and glares at it in a self-conscious yet loving way. Actually, it just plain is a superhero book, a charming and funny one. The main character is an evil genius who can’t stop trying to take over the world in more and more grandiose ways, even though each plan ends with him getting punched in the face and dragged off to jail. It reminded me of a beautiful strange old issue of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spiderman. Spiderman battles Doctor Octopus at a construction site, finally pinning him with a girder. Instead of his usual wisecracks, a frustrated Spiderman gives Dr. O two barrels of existential monologue: “It’s time you faced the truth! I beat you — despite the fact that you are the deadliest, most dangerous foe I’ve ever faced — despite the fact that you are at the height of your power! I’ll always find a way to beat you! You’ll never win! Never!” And Octopus stares up at Spiderman with horror — because he knows Spiderman is right, and what’s more, he knows that even though he knows this, he will challenge Spiderman again, and get beaten again. And again, and again. And that’s kind of what Austin’s novel is about. Except funny. You’ll like it.

Here’s the page, from PPTSM #79.

Austin is also a pretty famous writer of video games, which makes it strange that it’s not he but his brother who wrote a really good video game novel. You’ll like that too.

4 thoughts on “Reading: Soon I Will Be Invincible

  1. […] tuned and delicate prose style. By the way, he and Austin Grossman (whose new novel I blogged about here) are brothers. Between the two they constitute a kind of ultimate and frankly intimidating […]

  2. […] 14Jun08 It’s a year since I started this blog with a post about Austin Grossman’s novel. I’ve made 250 posts and gotten 530 comments, and according to WordPress been visited about […]

  3. […] Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, subject of this blog’s inaugural post, is in the running too — it’s not really a book about nerds, like Oscar Wao, but a book […]

  4. […] The very first post on this blog was about Austin Grossman’s first novel.  Good news:  he just signed a deal for two more! The first one, You, is about computer games.  The second, Crooked, is a supernatural thriller about Richard Nixon.  I haven’t been this excited since they filmed both Back to the Future sequels at the same time. […]

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