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Who Can Save Us Now?: Brand-New Superheroes and Their Amazing (Short) Stories

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  365 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Twenty-two of today's most talented writers (and comics fans) unite in Who Can Save Us Now?, an anthology featuring brand-new superheroes equipped for the threats and challenges of the twenty-first century -- with a few supervillains thrown in for good measure. Edited and with contributions by Owen King (We're All in This Together) and John McNally (America's Report Card), ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published July 15th 2008 by Free Press (first published 2008)
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Sam Quixote
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
“Who Can Save Us Now?” is a 2008 anthology of short stories by non-comics writers about superheroes edited by Stephen King’s son, Owen. I bought this solely because of Scott Snyder’s story “The Thirteenth Egg” which he revealed in a recent podcast interview with Kevin Smith (“Fatman on Batman #19” - highly recommended!) was the spark that set him on the path to writing superhero comics, so this is a review of that one story rather than the 22 stories as a whole.

Snyder’s tale is set in 1946 and
Matthew Budman
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even with the recent explosion of Marvel- and DC-based superhero product on TV and in theaters, we see an extremely limited range of perspectives. What about sidekicks, journalists, neighbors, even support staff? After all, the presence of people with special abilities, whether or not they spend their days fighting crime, would create a lot of ripples. That's the premise of Who Can Save Us Now?, and it's a marvelous read. Indeed, it's a real feat of editing to solicit and compile twenty-two orig ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: anthology
I've read a few anthologies, and this one did not live up to my expectations. The person who choose these stories took a very wide view of the term 'superhero'. One of the stories obviously wants to be another take on Superman, but couldn't because of copyright or something. I would not consider a lot of the main characters in the stories heroes as most of the characters in the stories are just dealing with having powers, and they end up being emo.

Who can save us now? Not many of the 'superheroe
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This book doesn't come out until July, but I got to read it early. That's because I'm super-special. Go ahead: be jealous.
Taco Banana
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This wasn't what I expected, many of the stories leaned toward the tragic, but for such a large collection of different authors I found most stories good, if not great.
Like all collections I read I find favorites. There were very few that didn't do it for me, but there were others that stood out for me...

5 - The Meerkat - This story was an unexpected heart-warmer in the end, fun all the way through, travelling far reaches to collect a superpower. Wonderfully original. Very good stuff... as alwa
T.L. Barrett
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love superheroes, and this anthology has just what I wanted. The stories range from tragic stories of abilities gone wrong, to heroic moments with people who do what they can with the meager abilities they have been given. The stories range from moving and memorable to the head-scratching and plotless. There was enough great work included, however, to have me tearing through this anthology in a way I rarely do with these collections. The stories are thematically tied together in sections: I be ...more
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
I got this book because I wrote a short story about a super hero -- well, about a normal person's relationship to a super hero who has failied him -- and thought that I would be well served by reading what real writers have written about super heroes. I was wrong. I got through about six and a half stories in this collection and gave up. None of these stories seemed to say anything really substantial about super heroes. They all just seemed to be toung and cheek treatments of people with really ...more
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Solid writing so far, 1/5 of the way in. Not sure exactly what to make of it so far, though. The more I read, the more I liked! I wondered if this was going to be a collection of "literary" writers writing down to the "genre." I couldn't have been more wrong. Having read this, I can't wait to get to The Darker Mask, which claims to follow in the footsteps of McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales. I have a theory that this collection might do that a little better. ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
A few really good stories (Owen King's and Elizabeth Crane's are probably the best) mixed in with some poor-to-middling ones. An OK anthology, but not one to seek out. If you're looking for light superhero fiction, "Soon I Will Be Invincible" is a better bet. Or if you want something meatier, go to the granddaddy, Kavalier and Clay.
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
An entertaining collection of off-beat superhero stories, with most of the characters just barely resembling superheros. The best stories are the weirdest ones (Manna-Man, Karma girl, the girl reporter), and there are plenty of those. There are some clunkers as well, but with this many authors that was inevitable.
E.D. Martin
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A decent mix of stories. "The Meerkat" was my favorite, followed by "Bad Karma Girl Wins at Bingo."
Here are the stories that stood out to me:

"The Lives of Ordinary Superheroes'" by David Haynes was the most heartfelt.

"Roe # 5" by Richard Fooling was the most suspenseful.

"Bad Karma Girl Wins at Bingo" by Kelly Braffet was the most humorous.

Other standouts were:

"Quick Stop 5" by Sam Weller

"Pentecostal Home for Flying Children" by Will Clarke

"My Interview with the Avenger" by Tom Bissell
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Overall, a great collection. As with all collections, there were some good, some great, and some awful. Some stories didn't even have much to do with superheroes. I had never heard of most of the contributing authors, but anthologies are one of my favorite ways of finding new writers to love!
The good: The first story, Girl Reporter by Stephanie Harrell, is a nice twist on the superhero. Told from the perspective of the damsel in distress (if you believe the narrator, she's not always in distress
Jul 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is billed as being a collection of short stories about superheroes for the 21st century. As superheroes are meant to represent our best, then, if the billing is true, we in the 21st century need a lot of help. The supers depicted in these stories were often mean, petty, shallow, and vindictive. More than one story dealt with issues of impotence, both sexual and social. What the stories often lacked was any sense of the honor, pride, or sense of greater purpose that is so important to th ...more
Sep 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: shortstories, fantasy
Anthology of short stories featuring original superheroes (and villains). On balance, I liked this collection—there were more stories I felt positive toward than ones that annoyed me. Tom Bissell’s entry was possibly my favorite and made me want to investigate more of his work; in contrast, Jennifer Weiner’s tale made me feel pretty good about the fact that I haven’t yet bothered to check out her books, even when I find them at sales for $1. In general, I wish this collection had concentrated ...more
Brett Starr
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Finally finished it!

"Who Can Save Us Now?" is good, not great!

If you were to only read the best stories, it's a five star quality book, but everyone has their own opinion on which stories were best, so your stuck reading them all and deciding for yourself....

It seemed to me that alot of the writers didn't quite grasp what a super hero story is and got totally off course & to make matters worse, their stories were long winded!

The book has twenty two stories, eight of which I thought were exce
There were three stories in this anthology that I thought were stand-outs. "The Sisters of St. Misery" was original and beautifully written though if you thought The Da Vinci Code was shocking, this probably isn't the story for you. I loved "The Rememberer" almost entirely and identified with the central character though I vehemently reject the ending. I also really liked "My Interview With The Avenger" which I thought was clever, insightful and emotionally powerful.

On the other hand, there wer
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Who Can Save Us Now? is a great collection of short fiction exploring a wide-range of the effects superpowers can have on humanity in general, but also on heroes, villains, sidekicks and bystanders. I'm a huge superhero fan, a comics reader for over a decade and creator of a comic of my own that should see publication by year's end if I play my cards right. This book scratches an itch I oftentimes find no cure for; superheroes dealt with in a mature and innovative manner. I still read comics but ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who like slower paced stories, superhero fans
This is a very unevem collection of literary short stories about superheroes. Some of the stories are engaging, others are just downright dull and hard to get through. Most are just a bit too long. This book took me nearly a year to read because I kept losing interest and shelving it. What made it difficult to give up on was the thought I might miss out on a real gem of a story, of which one or two exist at the end. I'm also stubborn and I was already 2/3's of my way through the book when I star ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Eleven of these short stories are written by college professors. What can you expect when academics start writing superhero fiction? Let's see... you get a little bit of wanking, some bad New Yorker mimicry, a smidgeon of genre awkwardness, and scattered amounts of literary flimflam. But you also get a whole bunch of inventive, well-written prose that aims higher that most anthologies of this nature.

Full review here:
I was really excited when I found this book. I am such a superhero junkie and I was really looking forward to an entire anthology of superhero short stories. What a letdown. Most anthologies are a mixed bag but this one contained more stories that I didn't really enjoy than most. Honestly, I can probably only remember a few of the stories - and the one I remember most vividly I hated. I should have checked this out of the library instead of buying.
Nov 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Thought I liked the concept of modern-day Super Heroes facing modern-day evils, I couldn't help but feel that the stories were left incomplete and the characters just a bit bland. It was also disappointing to see how much language and sex the authors threw in, as if that alone might legitimize their "authenticity" for the current era. That being said, there were a couple shorts in the volume that I did enjoy.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The missing star is for the fact that I like the build up of the myth of the super hero... I liked the idea of this book, but it did leave me wanting more as an avid comic book reader. I like to read a book from start to finish. I would hate to discourage anyone, so I'm saying that for ME personally I would have liked FULL stories. I did like the humanization of these super folk.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
By the time I got to Owen King's story, I'd read one very good short story, three mediocre ones, and three awful ones, including what had to be the worst-written short story I've ever seen in print. King's story was a little better than mediocre, but I'm not willing to give the book any more of my time.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
This caught my eye one day when I was in a bookstore, so I decided to get it from the library. Sadly, most of the stories don't live up to the title. A surprising number of them end in abrupt and unsatisfying ways. There are perhaps five that I can imagine myself wanting to re-read.
Feb 15, 2009 added it
Shelves: fiction
So far the stories in this book have been hit or miss. Some I've really enjoyed, others were of no interest. That's the beauty of short story collections, though. Overall, it's been well worth the price of admission
J. Else
Feb 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Fun mix of different stories on new superheros and superpowers. Some stories left you wanting more as the ending was just not enough! Some stories did not make total sense. But overall, an interesting and fun quick read here and there of a collection of short stories.
Tanvir Muntasim
Oct 28, 2011 rated it liked it
A good collection of new super-heroes in a changing world. I liked how it was not all grandeur and pomp, rather the focus was on angst, doubt and how one would face super powers if they came along. A must read for super hero fans.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Never finished. Every story I read I thought, the next one's got to be better. It wasn't, so I gave up. Bonus points for a story by Owen King that takes place in Cleveland and one by Scott Snyder, now writer of Batman comics.
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I'm the author of the novel Double Feature and We're All In This Together: A Novella and Stories, co-editor (with John McNally) of the anthology Who Can Save Us Now, and co-author (with Mark Poirier) of the graphic novel Intro to Alien Invasion. I also co-wrote the novel Sleeping Beauties with Stephen King. My writing has appeared in publications such as The New York Times Book Review, The Los Ang ...more

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