Book Nights: Super Born: Seduction of Being
Super Born: Seduction of Being
by Keith Kornell
I was initially reluctant when I got an e-mail asking me to review a superhero novel, I was even more reluctant when I read the initial synopsis for it mentioning the main character as a single mom and a review blurb calling it “hypersexualized”. I also don’t own an e-reader which made me turn down a previous offer at reviewing a superhero novel, but even with my doubts they were still willing to send me a physical copy of the book. It was a rough start, I wasn’t fond of the overly sarcastic humor nor the frequent talk about sex which wasn’t helped by the cover that looked like I was reading a cheesy romance novel. The science mumbo-jumbo was equally over-specific and absurd, and the characterization of the superheroine main character felt like it was written by a man who was not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination. I soldiered on through the rest of the book was rewarded with much of the same, but underneath all of that there was an interesting plot that kept me wanting to know how it was all going to end up.
The story follows essentially two main characters, the first is a single mom named Allie who has a teenage daughter, a thankless middle class job, and suddenly discovers she has super powers. The second is a hack journalist named Logan who stumbles upon her and her story in a bar, immediately falls for her yet misses his chance to connect with her, and spends all of his efforts to find her again aided by a rich Indian scientist named Dr. Jones and plenty of “Miner’s Lite” which gets mentioned by name so often you’d think he was hoping for a product placement. There’s conspiracies, mobsters, mystery, and a lot of sex, well kinda. One of my biggest problems with this book was that I wasn’t sure who the target audience is for it. Logan constantly thinks about sex and comes up with almost every imaginable euphemism for an erection, and yet there is no actual sex. There is a very strong male influence which I imagine wouldn’t fit into a typical romance novel written for women, and yet it never gets to all the good parts which would make it fit alongside the letters section in a Penthouse magazine.
The story takes place in Scranton, PA where there was some sort of Russian based reactor which turned all the men in town into completely dysfunctional morons referred to as RFDs. And when I say morons, the way they are referred to in the book makes it seem like a complete impossibility that they would be able to even function as a society. There was also an unintended side effect to the reactor in that it turns women into superwomen, and in a rare few cases, literally. One of these cases is Allie, otherwise known as the B.I.B. which stands for the “Bitch in Black” who often feels way too much like a woman written by a man. One of her early uses for her superspeed/flight is to find new shoes in fancy New York shoe stores. There’s also a big story point where these Super Born women are unable to climax sexually, and in the process of trying seriously wound or even kill the men they are trying to bed. And due to this there is a scene where she has gone through an entire case of batteries on a vibrator to no avail. There is also a big point in the fact that she has a teenage daughter, and yet there are very few scenes with them interacting. When she does show up, she is a very shallow stereotype of a modern teenage daughter, rolling her eyes, buried in her phone texting her girlfriends, and arguing with mom who never understands. And she basically disappears for the last half of the book.
Another problem I had with the story was the matter of perspective. It’s written in first person perspective, and the first half of the book flips back and forth between Allie and Logan. And yet for some reason towards the latter half of the book it decides to jump into the perspective of one of the members of the mob who eventually rises to become the crime boss in Scranton, as well as the perspective of Jennifer Lowe, another superwoman and rival to the B.I.B. Not only that, but all four of them felt like essentially the same personality which made it very jarring during the first few jumps where it was hard to figure out whose point of view I was supposed to be reading. There’s also the whole concept of “marking” which all the superwomen not only seem to figure out on their own, but also all call it by the same name. “Marking” consists of flashing their eyes at a man who then becomes infatuated with them and unable to be with any other woman until he is unmarked. This is a big problem because Logan is marked during his very first meeting with the B.I.B. and is unnaturally drawn to her for the entire story, when it’s supposed to be a love story in the end, it feels really weird that he is essentially forced into loving her. It also really bothers me during one scene where the mob-influenced mayor tries to draw out the B.I.B. by using a custom B.I.B.-signal inspired by the Batsignal. During this scene the entire town is mesmerized by this image in the sky even though it has no actual connection to the B.I.B. or her powers and makes absolutely no sense as to why it would cause the chaos that it does. Even the few fighting scenes are fairly uninteresting when the B.I.B.’s signature, and seemingly only move is always a hammer fist.
Before I go on any further, I do have to mention again that I did get caught up in the story and the mystery towards the end of the story when everything is starting to converge and it’s hard to know who to trust and who is the real enemy. Not only that, but Allie and Logan finally do get together and there are some nice moments of connection that aren’t busy trying to make a sex joke. When the other Super Born start showcasing their own powers it’s refreshing, but all too soon and it’s over. As a whole, reading this book was an interesting experience and if someone were to once again offer me a physical book to read and review I wouldn’t turn it down, but based on how this one turned out I don’t expect it happening any time soon. If you actually are interested, you can get more information about the book at the official site theBIB.org. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.