Only Superhuman
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Only Superhuman

2.8 of 5 stars 2.80  ·  rating details  ·  220 ratings  ·  51 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...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Tor Books
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TheBookSmugglers
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,...more
Chris Bauer


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.

PROS:
- Unique and detailed background with immeasurable promise
- Remarkably dilig...more
Brent
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...more
Jeffrey
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...more
Rawle Charles
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
Doug
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...more
Josh
Oct 17, 2012 Josh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
RICK!
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
Carolyn
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
Alicia
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...more
Robert Aldrich
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...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...more
Bart Hill
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...more
Brandt Anderson
Really more of a 2.5 stars out of 5 but I'm generous and rounded up instead of down. I liked the idea of the story. People made into superhumans become superheroes. In the future in space. What's not to like? Some heroes have powered armor, cybernetic enhancements, or genetic modification. Some are born with enhanced genes and can be further enhanced by technology.

Despite this . . . they never mention how strong the enhanced people are in comparison to normal people. Or even in comparison to one...more
Kathryn
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
Peter
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
The Flooze
Oct 12, 2012 The Flooze marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, owned
NYCC12 freebie.
Paul Bonamy
I really love the concept for Only Superman. Space colonization comic book heroes with all the tropes? Yes, please! The characters are a lot of fun, and Strider society manages to be both plausible and reasonably fresh. There's a lot here to recommend the book.

That said, I had some trouble with it. It plays the comic book tropes quite well, and the whole environment is clearly comic-book-y: brightly colored and action-packed. However, as well as those tropes play in a comic book, they don't alwa...more
Stef
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...more
Devon
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...more
Jonathan
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
Cody Martin
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...more
Leons1701
An interesting future/transhumanist take on the idea of superheroes. Although the science is fairly crunchy and the setting is a fairly typical Belter Age SF one, have no doubt, this is a super hero story and one with a fairly classic structure at that. It tackles the same great question every serious superhero story has to ask sooner or later, Why? Why keep beating up criminals instead of trying to fix the system that creates them? Why is it OK to save the world from an invading robot horde, bu...more
Vicki
Let me start with an explanation. I was given this book to read by the Library Systems Reader's Choice selector leader. It looked interesting and like something I would read. I really did enjoy the interesting storyline about humans living in space after the Earth is partially destroyed. The space dwellers have their own governments and ways they feel are best to live. Interesting story about a Group known as the Troubleshooters, who are kind of a vigilanty police force. I was almost ready to pu...more
Tim Hicks
Like many others here, I didn't finish this book.

I think it's because the author never did settle on what kind of book it was going to be. Intelligent SF? There's a bit of that. A superhero story in prose? Maybe. A variation on the superhero standard, wherein heroes ask "Why?" Yes, that's there too. But so is a large dose of adolescent violence-and-huge-tits stuff. And those things can't all fit in the same story.

Especially if the story also has wooden dialogue. I wouldn't have been surprised...more
Dave White

Superheroes and prose are always an awkward fit at best, and Only Superhuman makes things even more awkward by moving everything into a posthuman science-fiction milieu. It's hard to imagine what would make any individual so outstanding in a world where anyone can transform themselves into a weapon of mass destruction through genetic modification and advanced technology. Which isn't to say it can't be done, but that Christopher L. Bennett doesn't even begin to tackle that issue.



It also doesn't h

...more
Cam
A novel involving "Wrath-Of-Khan"-style, cartoon-ish superhumans from the near future who help maintain a fragile peace and civil order in an era of humanity scattered about the solar system. Some of these "mods" are needed to live in the high radiation off planets, some are for ideological reasons, and some just from curiosity. Debates about appropriateness and ultimate goals for altering our genome combine with population, political, and economic struggles to put all the variety of humanity in...more
Michael Hirsch
A pretty fun superhero book. In a world rife with genetic manipulations, a few with particularly strong mutants have teamed up to be a league of heroes. Needless to say, others do not like them, and some have superpowers of their own.

I'm not really a big comic book fan, and this is definitely a comic book form, though without the pictures, but I still enjoyed it. One thing I appreciated was that none of the superpowers were impossible. They were mostly either extra muscle and recuperative powers...more
Eric
Here it is (finally), a legitimate science fiction novel with a superhero component. But the superheroes don't fit into in a Green Lantern/Superman mold. They can't save the world or stop the sun from flaring. They're called Troubleshooters and that's what they do. They prevent trouble. Emerald Blair (aka the Green Blaze) is the toughest of the bunch. She's a wild child with an Electra Complex and her mission is to champion the underdog, save some lives, make a difference, and "have wild thank-y...more
Eatenby Sharks
Pretty good book blending sci-fi and superheroes. Gets a little preachy at times with with political commentary but speeds up at the end. Check the glossary at the back if some of the terms and slang give you problems, it will help. I would recommend this for people who really like space based sci-fi since most of it takes place on orbital habitats and not on any planets and have an equal liking for superhero stories and the whole "with great power..." debate. I did have some problem is with the...more
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