Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Worm: A Review. By Sam Stafford

I had a bit of quiet time on my hands last week as I was getting over a cold, and spent a good chunk of it getting caught up on Worm, a superhero novel published online in serial form. There are a handful of epilogue chapters still to come, but the main story wrapped up a couple of weeks ago after a run of more than two years. Needless to say, it's not a quick read. Here's my quick review to help you figure out if you're interested in reading it.

alternate text
Worm does not have any pictures in between the parts you have to read. Sorry.

Worm is a superhero story that is more science fiction than fantasy. It explores, with as much verisimilitude as can be mustered, a world where a great number of flawed human beings are inexplicably gifted with superpowers. It's similar to Warren Ellis's superhero comics in that respect (cf. his runs of Stormwatch and Nextwave). Questions like "how do normal humans deal with all these masked superpeople running around" and "why don't people who can walk through walls fall through the earth" are explored and become integral to the plot in later chapters.

As a part of that focus on realism, what really grabs me about Worm is the importance of mental abilities in the Wormverse. The classic Superman-type superpowers are very much in evidence here, but the heroes and villains who are most able to affect the world in meaningful ways are those whose powers help them to acquire information and predict outcomes. A "thinker" who can read you like a book or a "stranger" who can make you forget they were ever there is widely considered more dangerous than a "bruiser" who can lift a building or a "blaster" who can shoot lasers from their eyes. I think that's pretty awesome.

You can read more about the story (or get started reading it) on the About page. If you're a fan of the genre, you're okay with reading books that don't have pictures, and you can handle a bit of "dark" in your superhero story, I think you'll enjoy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment