Danya Petrovich Galkin was born with a twist to his genetic code. He could hear the electrical world and could exert some control over it. If he wanted, he could change the channels on his TV without using a remote. In other words, he was an “uberhuman” with minor superpowers.
But Dan was haunted by his family’s despicable legacy. His grandfather was the Mad Russian, an international psychopath with enough atrocities linked to his name to rank him side-by-side with some of the worst supervillains of the 20th century like Dr. Doom and 2 Live Crew. Whether he liked it or not, Dan was the next generation of Galkin supervillain and the prodigal grandson. It was time to pass the torch.
As a youngster, Dan made his villainous debut as a member of the Small Gods, an assembled team of super delinquents. Needless to say, it didn’t go very well. Since that time he’s been in an oppressive government rehabilitation program. “I was a teenage supervillain for two weeks,” he said five years later. “And no one was going to let me forget it.”
Now, the Mad Russian wants Dan to quit his job at Birdie’s Chicken and Pizza (“The shame he brings me!”) and embrace his ignoble birthright. The aging supervillain may be insane, but he’s not stupid. He knows that his influence is fading and he needs to find a successor soon. “We must all die,” he tells his grandson. “Even the old gods themselves must one day make way for the new gods.”
But rites of succession are often bumpy—especially for mighty titans. Just ask Darkseid. His son Orion has been a giant thorn in his side for years. There’s always going to be tension between old gods and new gods. It’s inevitable.
More than anything, The Miranda Contract is a novel about Mount Olympus-sized family expectations. But it’s also about love and respect and profound human connections. While his grandfather is blowing up “like a human lightning storm,” Dan is doing his best to navigate a world filled with obstinate bureaucrats, an unhinged mother, an American teen idol, and a Turkish adventurer named Suleyman. He’s also grappling with his past misadventures as a member of the Small Gods. In fact, his prickly relationship with his former cohort Sohail Pirzada (code name: Halo) is arguably the best thing about the novel. Unquestionably, this is Dan Galkin’s story. But in an unexpected twist, it is Halo who turns out to be the real hero.
[The Miranda Contract / By Ben Langdon / First Printing: March 2014 / ISBN: 9780987530844]