Back in the early 20th century, one in a hundred Americans had a measure of magic within them. One in a thousand, however, had access to a greater superpower. Magic or superpowers (or whatever you want to call it), the cumulative effect was the same. The human race was quickly evolving into something new. Something Charles Xavier would later call X-traordinary.
The first documented case of Powers occurred back in 1849 when a Chinese man in California was caught bending railroad tracks with his bare hands. Years later, Charles Darwin would write a book called, On the Origin of Man and Selection of Human Magical Abilities. And even later, Babe Ruth would be accused of using magic to pump up his batting statistics. Say it ain’t so, Babe!
And now, post-WWI, the United States and Japan are locked in a secret war to determine the fate of the world. The Japanese Imperium is loaded with seemingly unstoppable Iron Guard warriors and Shadow Guard assassins. And leading the Nipponese charge is the scariest motherfucker of them all, Lord Okubo Tokugawa. He is by his own admission the most powerful man on Earth. “I have lived for over a hundred years,” he boasts. “I sculpt nations as other men sculpt clay.” He doesn’t sleep or eat, and like the Dragon Warrior, he can survive solely on the energy of the universe (and maybe a little bit of dew from a single ginkgo leaf every once in a while).
Naturally, the Americans have a bunch of super magicmen too. They call themselves the Grimnoir Society and it’s their job to keep the peace between good magic and bad magic, especially when someone wants to wipe New York City off the face of the map.
There’s little nuance or cultural commentary here. But there are lots of wizards, monsters, zombies, ninja, guns, and dirigibles. There’s even one gigantic all-seeing cosmic symbiotic parasite hanging around. In the end it all boils down to U.S. superheroes slugging it out with Japanese supervillains high above the Pacific Ocean. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
[Hard Magic: Book 1 of the Grimnoir Chronicles / By Larry Correia / First Printing: May 2011 / ISBN: 9781451637458]