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Only Superhuman

2.86  ·  Rating details ·  377 ratings  ·  76 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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Tor Books
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Average rating 2.86  · 
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Oct 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 rated it did not like it

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 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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 rated it liked it
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
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Steve Tetreault
I started this book once and just couldn't get into it; but it kept coming up on a blog I like ( as a great title, so I gave it another shot.

Once I got past the first few chapters, it was pretty good. The biggest problem was that it couldn't quite seem to decide what it wanted to be. There was a ton of sex, and a ton of action, and some thriller/political issues. It wasn't quite the superhero story it presented itself as - the "superpowers" come from genetic and/or cybernetic modificati
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 rated it did not like it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Christopher Schwab
Jul 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
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.
The Flooze
Oct 08, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: sci-fi, owned
NYCC12 freebie.
Kirsten Simkiss
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
To be honest, this book was not as bad as I feared it would be from the rating it had on Goodreads. That being said, I didn't enjoy the book very much and I wouldn't really think to recommend it to others for overall plot or characters.

Everything in this book revolved heavily around the main character's libido. Emerald being an attractive sexually active woman didn't bother me. Seriously, bring on the bi protagonists. I'm all for it. But I feel like most of the time this book would have failed t
Dec 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
Christopher L. Bennett has apparently tried to write an SF superhero novel and fails miserably. The SF part is mostly dry exposition paragraphs trying to prove with technical lectures why the world follows at least some inner logic and the superhero part, well, is hollow and sexist drivel bringing to the fore the worst parts of superhero comics without any redeeming art.

Emerald Blair is a Troubleshooter, a member of a galactic vigilante super-organization, who fights against the forces that seek
Morgan Gariepy
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
This just wasn't the book for me. Too many info dumps and poor dialog. So much gratuitous sex. (I'm very pro-sex, but there was something about this that was just. . . off.)

In addition, it almost set itself up for a sequel, then the very next chapter awkwardly crushes that with a news bulletin stating someone else already did what they wanted to do. Even though I wasn't looking forward to a sequel, I felt robbed.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it did not like it'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 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm pretty sure no woman thinks about sex or breasts the way Christopher Bennett thinks they do.
Also, the scientific background should have been cool - some of the gravity stuff was - but mostly it was just distracting filler.
Erik Dewey
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Decent enough, but a little too focused on sex. I enjoyed the superhero team but the sci-fi setting was far enough into the future that I questioned the need for superheroes. That being said, I did enjoy the story and the plot was intricate enough to be satisfying in the end.
Dec 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like pain
Recommended to Brandon by: graphic audio
Not enjoyable. main character is annoying, too many useless sex scenes and overall uninteresting.
so much potential :(
Jan 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I gave up after the third chapter. The jokes were just sooooo bad.
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
Recent Reads: Only Superhuman. Christopher L Bennett's tale of asteroid belt superhuman cops hides a transhuman political thriller. Smart. ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 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.

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Christopher L. Bennett is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, with a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati. A fan of science and science fiction since age five, he has spent the past two decades selling original short fiction to magazines such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact (home of his "Hub" series of comedy adventures), BuzzyMag, and Galaxy's Edge. Sinc ...more

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