Thursday, September 22, 2016

Emergence: A Humanity 2.0 Novel - Edited by J.M. Martin - The first book in a new shared world anthology series

3 of 5 Stars     Review copy

Emergence: A Humanity 2.0 Novel, edited by J.M. Martin, is a shared world anthology where an ancient trigger gene buried deep in humankinds's DNA is sporadically activating  and evolving some humans into something superhuman.  What these "chimerics" do with their new powers is up to them. Some become heroes, others villains.

From the Barrel of a Gun by Jeff C. Carter - A former military sniper is brought to trial for killing Anchor City's superheroes. His motive for the crimes may surprise you.

Never Go Half Supervillain by C.T. Phipps - Charles' approach to the anthology seems to be less than serious, with supervillains having names like the Human BBQ, Inside-Out-Man, and Penmanship, really, Penmanship?  The title does give some good advice though. You didn't go full-supervillain, Freelancer.  You never go half-supervillain.  You need the hideouts, the henchmen, and the constant breaking out.  You try to live the white-picket fence and marriage, you get busted.

We Could Be Heroes by Eloise J. Knapp - A nice, solid, story which makes good utilization of the shared world aspect of the anthology.  Russian chimeras who want to flee to America and become superheroes.  This one has a good twist, too.  Overall, one of the better stories in the collection.  Well-told, with plenty of drama.

Whiplash by Tim Marquitz - Another excellent story, making good use of the shared world concept. Someone is introducing young chimeras into a life of crime and Whiplash is bent of finding the culprit

The Other by Rob J. Hayes - Things are picking up as Rob delivers a complex tale of a research scientist going to great lengths to protect himself from chimeras, with very interesting results.

Perennial by Edward M. Erdelac - This story could have been a standalone novel. Layered, with many elements.  The primary storyline is a kid's show called Peter 'N Wendy where one of the producers is a pedophile and the actor playing Peter actually becomes a superhero called Pan.  There was quite a bit that I liked about this story, but at the same time the author changed some names of places and things and left celebrities with their actual names, which seemed odd to me.  Like Hillywood for Hollywood and Tweeter for Twitter, but leaving references to Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.  This just didn't work for me.

Avenger by G.N Braunn - Probably my favorite story in the collection.  Leon Stoner, former special-ops agent and current security guard, is recruited  into a secret organization which combats evil chimerics.  A more serious approach to the material and the result is a very good story.

Bring It On, Hero by J.M. Martin - Hero, Noah Jensen, is in for a bit of a surprise when he has to meet with a therapist.  Another solid tale with nice cross-references to the other stories.

(They Call Me) Epilogue by Steve Diamond - As you may have figured out by now , most chimerics are born out of times of great stress.  For the Human Shield, it was when he tried to save the life of industrialist, Ted Ross.  He failed that day, but since then he's saved many lives.  Not good enough for Ted's wife.

I found Emergence: A Humanity 2.0 Novel to be somewhat choppy.  Some good stories, some average, and a few great tales.  The plan is to develop this as a series, if that happens I hope they take more time to work on the shared world aspects of the anthology.

By the way, comic book artist, Patrick Brown, brilliantly captures the feel of the book with his cover art for this first volume of stories.

Emergence: A Humanity 2.0 Novel should be available any day, in both paperback and e-book formats, from Ragnarok Publications.

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