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Only Superhuman

2.86  ·  Rating Details ·  328 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It's a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system.

Emerald Blair is a Trouble
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Tor Books
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Originally published at our Kirkus blog

In the year 2107, humanity has banned any human genetics modifications—other than the basic mods needed for human survival on Earth and the immediately adjacent colonies, that is. But while Earth and her immediate neighbors are genetic conservatives, human settlements in the Asteroid belt and the outskirts of the solar system are far more radical minded. Here, human genomes are spliced with animal and machine, resulting in people with super-human abilities,
Chris Bauer
Dec 26, 2012 Chris Bauer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

To be blunt, I gave up on this book about halfway through. Mostly out of frustration, a little out of anger.

Bennett has painstakingly created an incredibly rich and detailed sci-fi setting, complete with superhumans, cyborgs, and a myriad of other concepts which had the POTENTIAL to blow a reader's mind.

The actual execution fell so far short of that potential that I feel shame for writing this review on Goodreads.

- Unique and detailed background with immeasurable promise
- Remarkably dilig
Jun 12, 2012 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could give this half-stars, it would go to 3.5. Since it can't, I'm knocking it up to a 4.I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it, but I probably won't be revisiting it. If, however, Mr. Bennett writes a sequel, then I'd definitely want to at least check it out. He certainly left enough doors open to revisit the same protagonists and antagonists--or create entirely new ones within the confines of his elaborately constructed future of roughly 100 years from now.

In a nutshell, this book wa
Sep 10, 2012 Rawle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I confess, this book was written for me. There I said it. I was completely biased the entire way through. Every thread of the plot, every string of story felt tailor-made for me. I kept feeling like I was experiencing a mash-up of both Battlestar Galactica and Heroes t.v.s shows as done by the Wachowskis. I enjoyed the feel of the universe that Mr. Bennett developed, and felt that his science (fiction) elements fit in very nicely alongside the super-human backdrop. My personal preference would h ...more
This comic bookish novel revolves around the life of Emerald Blair of the Troubleshooters, a group of modified humans with special implants and genetic changes that make them stronger and more powerful than ordinary humans.

The Troubleshooters are in space in the space stations and habitations surrounding the Earth to try to keep the peace between the very different humans that live out there. Specifically, many of the people who have left Earth, have determined that advances in body modificatio
Nov 24, 2012 Doug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had very ambivalent reactions to Only Superhuman.

I really liked the central concept. Bennett starts with a fairly optimistic future in which, a century hence, there are hundreds of space habitats in the inner- and mid-solar system. The environment is rife with social schisms and empire/colony-ish tensions. The novelty is in Bennett postulating that humans with both intrinsic genetic and external technological adaptations to better survive in space might literally be inspired by and emulate 20t
Apr 10, 2013 Devon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of books take themselves seriously, but this one is blatantly about gorgeous supers dishing out justice in the asteroid belt, while delivering corny punchlines, while looking fantastic.

Bennett doesn't just get the science right in this, he comes up with ideas for settings and background that I just haven't seen laid out in such a believable and rigorous manner. These were not info dumps, but a well paced story that kept on hitting you with new awesomeness through nearly the whole book. Eve
This one was wavering between a 2.5 and 3 star book. ETA: Upon further thought, have to go with 2 stars though Reminded me a lot of the book by Austin Grossman, Soon I Will Be Invincible, definitely had a very comic-book feel to all the characters, but that was expected, and not all a bad thing. My biggest issue by far, was the constant interjecting the main character's sexuality into, well, everything. Unfortunately, this rings true to the hyper sexualized giant boobs tiny costumes history of w ...more
Oct 17, 2012 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comic book lovers, people who like cyber punk
***Disclosure - I received an Advanced Reading Copy from a Goodreads giveaway.***

I'd give Only Superhuman 3.5 stars. It's a nice book, but the pacing is a bit slow. It's interesting, but not exactly innovative.

I don't have too much experience with cyberpunk, but I'd say this book is part cyberpunk, part comic book super hero story, and part hard science fiction.

All the main characters owe their super powers to cybernetic enhancements. And the main plot line is a struggle for power over the surro
Oct 03, 2013 RICK! rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fun plot and interesting world but I simple get how sexist it was. Its great to see a female protagonist in a sci-fi adventure but the author treated her like a sex puppet. Could go 5 pages with out checking in to make sure her tits were doing ok. Seemed to fuck every other character in the story. I'm all for having a female with her own sexual agency but It was taken to the point of being gross and distracting, becoming a substitute for character development and establishing relationships. Yes ...more
I was really excited about this book. I mean, science fiction with a female protagonist plus sex. And that cover!

But it's just not for me. This was like the life story of a superhero. At 20%, I'd experienced more flashbacks than present action. The world-building was beautiful and complex, but sadly it was conveyed through infodumps and flashbacks. Maybe there was just too much effort put toward showing off the world and not enough effort toward developing a story in the present.

I didn't finish
Robert Aldrich
Oct 01, 2012 Robert Aldrich rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
I did not finish this book. I had been every excited to read this--I am a huge comic fan and from the little bit I had read about it, I thought it would be interesting.

Needless to say, I got about 25% of the way through my read, and found I had no interest to continue. I put the book down about a week ago, and I cannot recall much of anything that I read--heck, I can’t even remember the specific points about why I disliked it, let alone anything that might have been good.

So, for me, this was not
Steven Wilson
Aug 11, 2013 Steven Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christopher L. Bennett, author of Ex Machina (one of the few Trek novels of the past ten years that I've read, and well worth the time!) ventures out into new territory, creating an original universe of super-heroes who dwell throughout Earth's solar system. It's a carefully thought-out future history, and the characters are clever, multi-faceted and often surprising. They move the story, rather than it moving them. I've no doubt we'll see more of the adventures of Emerald Blair... and that's a ...more
Topher Schwab
Jul 12, 2016 Topher Schwab rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bread sandwich. (and the bread is sex.)
If writing a good book is a recipe, sex is a spice. And it's only needed in some recipes (like ground turmeric)! Real character development and an interesting story are the meat and potatoes of a book worth reading. This book is like a bowl of ground turmeric with a chicken nugget thrown in (just for good measure).
This book was not only not for me, but really not for anyone.
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because the title caught my eye and thought it would be a decent SiFi read. Boy was I surprised, excellent read. Very well developed background history and setting for the story. Nice futuristic detective/police story. The SiFi aspects of the plot are well weaved into the story and not just backdrop props. Overall a very entertaining and enjoyable read. I wish there were more books in the series. Very recommended
The Flooze
Oct 08, 2012 The Flooze marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, owned
NYCC12 freebie.
Jun 12, 2017 Erick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition's just...oy...

These characters and story are so contrived and cheesy that I was laughing at the absurdity of it within the first few pages of the book.

I say again, oy!

Bad, so so bad.
Aug 27, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first aspect of Only Superhuman that needs to be discussed is its genre. Mr. Bennett was exceedingly ambitious in his primary concept which is a down the middle blend of hard science fiction and superhero. For non-genre readers, this creates a nearly impossible task for a novel, because hard sci-fi readers are notoriously difficult to please, as are comic readers. There are certain tropes and “rules” that both need to follow, and if you deviate, you get some less than positive reaction in my ...more
Mar 25, 2017 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recent Reads: Only Superhuman. Christopher L Bennett's tale of asteroid belt superhuman cops hides a transhuman political thriller. Smart.
May 01, 2014 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mankind has spread out through the solar system, living in habitats in the asteroid belt, among other exotic places. And such exotic places have lead to exotic people... while highly restricted on Earth, elsewhere, mods that alter the human form and potential are common. Some of them have banded together and deliberately taken on the trappings of superheroes, to defend others and help foster acceptance of their differences. One of these is Emerald Blaze, a new Troubleshooter with a checkered pas ...more
Cody Martin
Oct 18, 2012 Cody Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only Superhuman is written by Christopher L. Bennett and is a hard-science take on superheroes, in a science fiction setting. Without giving too many details away, the main plot is about Emerald Blair, a member of the Troubleshooters Corps, a group of modified humans who maintain law and order in the colonies established in the asteroid belt region beyond Earth. When a conspiracy is discovered to enslave all of mankind, Blair's loyalties are questioned when all is not what it seems to be.

This is
I had put this book several displays and endcaps at my library and it was still just sitting there. I come from a library community that doesn't read a lot of science fiction/fantasy and I decided one day that I was going to take it home with me and at least give it one more circ. Turns out someone before got this book lightly water-damaged so the pages had this crinkly, wrinkly feeling to them, but somehow it added to the book.

This is a speculative future where humans have expanded beyond Earth
Jun 05, 2014 Kathryn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This sci-fi fantasy novel, set in the future, deals with the twin issues of body modification (both in the womb and at any point afterwards), and with the almost as complicated issue of politics between states that have extremely different goals and ideas. It also has a very busty main character, dealing with these issues along with issues of loss, guilt, and responsibility. I enjoyed reading this book, although I do think the author went overboard on two major points – the time when this tale i ...more
Jesse Zellmer
Feb 12, 2013 Jesse Zellmer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shoot-em-up
Judging a book by it's cover works both ways. Throw a curvy, midriff baring, redhead bounty hunter on a book and you definitely have my attention. However once I dug into Only Superhuman I realized that I may have stepped into a nose dive with no hope of the parachute of good writing going off. Being a big fan of sci fi I thought that this had a lot going for it and amid the gunfights and interesting world building I would actually be able to pick out some kind of discernible theme that relates ...more
Nathan Edwards
Attempting to reconcile the issue of comic-book serials with long-form prose, Only Superhuman act likes a superhero that has only just finished the fine stitching on his cape and cowl. It's capable, but it still takes a long time to get anything done.

Taking place in the not-too-distant future, Bennett's novel offers us a world where stem-cell research and genetic modification has finally plateaued. Not only are superhumans now possible, but they're also commonplace. Not only are they commonplace
Nov 08, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the early 22nd Century, Mankind has expanded into the Asteroid Belt, allowing people to set up all sorts of societies. A major issue is the attitude concerning genetic and cybernetic modifications of people. Earth and its nearby colonies banned such practices many years ago, but, in the Belt, anything goes.

Emerald Blair is one such "mod." Inspired by old-time comic books, she and other mods join together to form the Troubleshooters, policing the Belt as best they can. Emerald had a difficult
Tasha Robinson
To be fair, everything I didn't like about this book could be seen as a conscious attempt to evoke comics clichés: The characters' tendency to monologue (and explain their evil schemes) at huge length, the oversexed and overendowed characters, the big simple black-and-white morality, the intrigue based around huge, obvious villainous schemes. But "It's just evoking comics" becomes less of a selling point when a book is consistently drawing on such awful elements. The heroine gets a little exhaus ...more
Jun 12, 2016 Edwin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Great cover art work! I saw it in the library and it caught my eye. Synopsis was done well, so I took it home with me.

I loved comic books as a kid, and this should be fun.

Let's see, lets start off with the most stereotypical beginning as possible. Fight scene, and our heroines uncle-like mentor dies saving her.

Okay, next time to feeling bad for yourself and going around having sex with whoever. To each their own I suppose

On to the flashbacks of characters life to develop their backgr
Bart Hill
Jun 08, 2014 Bart Hill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book, since an acquaintance said I'd enjoy it and I had also read a very glowing review in some magazine. I suppose I better admit that I actually finished less than half of the book. I just couldn't take it any more.
This is a mix of hard SciFi and the writer's demented view of what is a sexually liberated X-Men intergalactic crime fighting team of the near future.
The hard SciFi comes across as dull, with long explanations of bio-genetically created human/animal persons
Okay. So I picked up this book because transhumanism and superheroes. What I didn't realize...? It's hard sci-fi. I just kept reading through it and going, wait, I know that science. And it's good. In fact, this is the first time lately I've read anything and not gone, "oh noes blatantly wrong science!" On many occasions, the author seems to kind of poke at other writers, pointing out things like dropping rocks from space is a much better way to destroy a planet than laser beams. That's what hap ...more
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