A superhero no more, menopausal superheroes and witch hunters: books

NEXUS ARCHIVES Vol. 8 by Mark Baron and Steve Rude marks the point at which Horatio finally decides to be Nexus no more. Which is, of course, a staple in superhero stories, but usually it doesn’t take. Here it had serious repercussions, such as Horatio’s patron, the Merk, recruiting the murderous Loomis girls (in the Next Nexus miniseries) to replace Horatio. As always a good read.

I was relieved how much I liked GOING THROUGH THE CHANGE: A Menopausal Superhero Novel as I know the author, Samantha Bryant, and I’m always afraid I’ll read a friend’s book and hate it. The premise here is that four women in their forties and fifties start manifesting metahuman powers after sampling a seemingly kindly doctor’s alternative medicines (it’s obvious to us before it’s clear to them). One starts to hulk out, another finds herself defying gravity, one becomes a studly younger man, one can throw fire … The story moves slowly (it’s very much the start of a series) but the characters and their coping with their new powers (not to mention their everyday lives) are absorbing so that’s not a problem. This was one I’d been meaning to try for a while, and finally picked it up at Illogicon last month.

WITCHFINDERS: A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy by Malcolm Gaskill reminds me of Stalin’s observation that one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic. The horror of the individual witch trials becomes tedious as Gaskill recounts case after case, all identical except for the names. While Gaskill does a good job showing the cultural and social forces that fueled the witch hunts, and busting some of the myths about “witchfinder general” Matthew Hopkins, this ultimately got too plodding and monotonous to enjoy.

Cover by Steve Rude, all rights remain with current holder #SFWApro

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