Red Hot & Green

Here it is (finally), a legitimate science fiction novel with a substantial superhero component. Shout hooray. And because of the hybrid nature of the book, the superheroes have been reimagined and don’t fit neatly into any sort of Silver Surfer/Green Lantern mold. They can’t save the world or stop the sun from flaring—they don’t possess the Power Cosmic or anything like that. They simply call themselves Troubleshooters and that’s more or less what they do. They prevent trouble.

It all started way back in the future when everyone began leaving Earth. In order to survive in outer space, people needed to undergo a little bit of body modification. After a while, some people began to wonder how far they could enhance their bodies even further. Troubleshooters were the result of these ongoing experiments.

Of all the superheroes in the Troubleshooter Corps, Emerald Blair (code name: the Green Blaze) is the toughest of the bunch. Inspired by the comic books she read as a kid, she’s an explosive firecracker whose stated mission is to champion the underdog, save lives, make a difference, and “have wild thank-you sex with every cute guy she rescues.”

Like it or not, Emry’s overt sexuality is a big part of this novel. She is described as being “intensely physical, and deeply engaged with the material world on a sensory level.” That’s a nice way to say that she’s a super freak. At one point she even boasts, “I’ve got my job, my friends, a hot body…what more does a gal need?”

Regrettably, the way the novel presents its sexual content is divisive. Men will dig the bouncing boobs, the casual sex, and the soft-core lesbian bathing scenes. Or, in some measure, they will forgive it. But how about female readers? Will they put up with Emry’s cartoonish sexuality? That’s a big question.

It’s too bad the author didn’t handle the sexy stuff very well, because the rest of the novel (especially the SFnal details) is actually quite good. It’s the story of how genetic and cybernetic modifications are slowly tearing apart the human race. One constituency wants to engineer humanity into something greater. And the other constituency wants to keep the race pure. There are good and bad people in both camps. And moving forward (if there’s a sequel) the whole situation will undoubtedly get more and more complicated.

Right in the middle of the action is good ol’ Emerald Blair, aka Busty Blaze herself. Throughout the years she’s made a living as a laborer, a stripper, a pilot, an actor, a gang leader, and a bouncer. Add it all up and she’s got the experience and the temperament to be one of the best superhero Troubleshooters of all time. Watch out space pirates and galactic kingpins. The Green Blaze has arrived. She’s coming at you with tits a-blazin’.

[Only Superhuman / By Christopher L. Bennett / First Printing: October 2012 / ISBN: 9780765332295]

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