The Rise and Fall of the Regional Office

RegionalOfficeIf your daughter suddenly turned into a green hulk or started controlling the weather with her brain, there was perhaps no better place to turn for help than the Regional Office, a place uniquely positioned to empower and strengthen otherwise troubled or at-risk young women.

The Regional Office would happily take your daughter and train her to be a superpowered warrior woman. Once indoctrinated into its system, the girls of the Regional Office would be deployed as a barrier of last resort between the survival of the planet and amassing forces of darkness.

For 5,000 years (accounting for space and time travel irregularities), the system worked beautifully. The female fury battalion did a great job of saving the world from destruction, self-annihilation, interdimensional war strikes, and alien forces.

But you couldn’t operate a specialized agency such as the Regional Office without stepping on a few toes. Naturally, there were going to be people who wished for its demise — even people within the organization itself.

The decline and fall of the Regional Office came quite suddenly. But if you were looking for a tipping point, the beginning of the end could be summed up thusly: A man fell in love with a woman. No surprise really. The same could be said more or less about any iconic tragedy (including The Aeneid, The Iliad, Romeo and Juliet, and King Kong).

And so, despite all the explosions and weird science, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! isn’t a shojo superhero slugfest at all. It’s mostly a sad story about love, loss, and loneliness. With superheroes.

Obviously Manuel Gonzales is playing around with genre expectations. His novel is filled with hero and villain archetypes that everybody is familiar with. But he’s also pushing us into a post-modern period where genre tropes can be remixed and subverted. It’s not an easy thing to do. Thankfully, Gonzales is a smart and funny guy. And he’s a darn good writer too. In our opinion, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! is exactly what superhero prose fiction needs at this particular moment — even though it’s not about superheroes. Not really.

[The Regional Office Is Under Attack! / By Manuel Gonzales / First Printing: April 2016 / ISBN: 9781594632419]

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