Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review: Emergence: Humanity 2.0

Emergence: Humanity 2.0

Edited By:  J.M. Martin

Publish Date:  September 27, 2016

Format:  eARC

Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Superheroes

Series:  Anthology

First Impression:  Good anthology of people with super powers.

AN ANCIENT TRIGGER GENE buried deep in humankind's DNA is sporadically activating, evolving some humans into something superhuman. Influenced by comic-book culture, many of these 'chimerics,' as they have been dubbed, have taken on costumes and adopted codenames. Organizations have risen to either train, exploit, or police these chimerics, and the entire world is at odds about their very existence.

In this open-ended series, Ragnarok gathers authors to write superhuman fiction in a shared universe. It begins here with book #1, Emergence, shipping in fall 2016. Look for book #2, Chimeric, featuring stories by Dan Wells, Rob Duperre, Steve Diamond, and more, in 2017.

Emergence collects nine tales, each with a unique perspective on what it might be like to be superhuman in the modern age.

"From the Barrel of a Gun" by Jeff C. Carter
"Whiplash" by Tim Marquitz
"Never Go Half Supervillain" by C.T. Phipps
"We Can Be Heroes" by Eloise J. Knapp
"Perennial" by Edward M. Erdelac
"The Other" by Rob J. Hayes
"Avenger" by G.N. Braun
"Bring It On, Hero" by J.M. Martin
"(They Call Me) Epilogue" by Steve Diamond

In the Humanity 2.0 cosmology, the stories are set in a shared universe. Characters cross over, events have impact, establishments are consistent. It's an open-ended series and the stories, like the chimerics of H2.0, will continue to evolve.

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My Thoughts and Summary:
*I was offered a copy of this book from the author or publisher for review.

These novella length stories are longer than short stories so you can get the feel of the full story, characters, and world. Each story is different but set as a braided story in the same world. There are mentions of other characters from stories in them as you go, but nothing that would take from the story if you didn't read it.

Overall it's an enjoyable set of novellas based on people who come into super powers. But how will they use it? And how will the world be touched by them? Good? Bad? You decide.

From the Barrel of a Gun by Jeff C. Carter
I wasn't sure where this story was going as we watch the court case of Timothy Hathcock for killing 23 chimerics (super-beings). When I was about ready to say I was bored, the story took a twist and Hathcock decided to take the stand. That's when things cleared and made me thing.

We get this story from Lars Wilson, superhero known as The Red Wraith, point of view. He's stood by and watched his friends killed and had a target on his own head. Hathcock has his own story too. We get both here. Now we try to decide who is in the right. Or are they both wrong? Does two wrongs make a right? In this case, it's a slippery slope. Interesting.

Never Go Half-Supervillain by C.T. Phipps
David makes a living helping villains in his home town Motor Hills. But part-time as he's living a life as a husband and father too. David, The Freelancer, is drawn into the conspiratory world of who's in charge and who's doing right, to find he needs to decide what he wants to do.

C.T.'s humor with science fiction/fantasy is the top of my favorite list. So many quick remarks that I get! And they make me smile. I enjoyed seeing David be on his own side through the story. And make his decision. It was quite a dangerous adventure for David, but I didn't get overly worried for him because of his ability, though it's not always right...

We Could Be Heroes by Eloise J. Knapp
Vlad and Lucy are eighteen year old chimerics trying to get by in Russia under the thieving hand of a cruel man. They want to be heroes, not the thieves they have to be for Cheslav. One day, they will find a way to break his hold on them and escape to America.

I liked the way this story gave us a past and present view. Almost like two stories in one. It tells of what happened in the past to bring Vlad to be who he is today, and how he got to today. Vlad and Lucy work to get away from one life in Russia, to fall into another in America. Is it better and what they wanted? Hmm, you'll have to read to find out.

Whiplash by Tim Marquitz
Whiplash is working through college, but finds herself helping against the crime in her home city. Chimeric in their teens are popping up and attacking and stealing from stores. Vivian doesn't think it's a coincidence, there is a pattern. She puts the pieces together and goes after these kids, to find a bigger danger behind the acts of the kids. Monger.

I found this story fun with the headbanging and metal-head references. But what I like is that Whiplash, or Vivian, does get beat up. It's not that she's beat up that I like, but that she takes a beating and keeps going. She does get hurt, but she'll fight on. She keeps going back to stop what's happening. She wants to stop the person behind it too. That's strength. That's power. I like that draw to Whiplash as a character.

The Other by Rob J. Hayes
David wants to remain safe from the crime and chimerics employed to do crime, so he's modified his body. Working at Biotiq prosthetic's lab helps with the new and improved items.

This story is one of my favorites. I really like how it reads and makes me curious and interested in David. And The Other. Interesting story with The Other and what he's trying to do while meeting another chimeric and what she's up to.

Perennial by Edward M. Erdelac
Nico and Pan are tracking Zita, a baby-napper for hire. Pan's goal, to find the babies that didn't go through the illegal adoptions. But he learns more about himself and fights through more than he expected.

This is one of the longest stories in the book, page wise.

The story was okay for me. I really wanted to love it more with one character named Pan, after Peter Pan, and to learn why. I enjoyed some sections, but others dragged. I think the one thing that slowed the story for me was all the back stories. This is something in short stories that slows the story for me and frustrates me. Someone else may well enjoy this story more than I.

Avenger by G.N. Braun
Leon Stone, a security guard at the mall, finds a delivery van with blood on the side door. When he looks inside, he can't believe what he sees! Blood. And death. Then he has to fight the creature that caused it. This one incident draws him into the strange and deadly world of chimerics.

This story had me from the beginning with what Leon found in the van. This is in first person, but I felt I liked the feel from the first sentence. Leon's personality really comes through.

This story feels like it could be a prequel to a series. A series I'd be curious and interested in reading!

Bring It On, Hero by J.M. Martin
Where Avenger stopped, this one picks up from another person's point of view. It's like a braided world. Hero goes in to investigate where the others left. This draws Hero's memories to when had to talk about events lived through and what went wrong.

The story shares, through Hero, the memory of leaving TCA, when first developed powers, and more. The story started really good for me, then I got mixed up in the memories on where and who Hero was in the story.

(They Call Me) Epilogue by Steve Diamond
Kennedy Ross's husband is being honored with a statue. The news press pushes on for more answers and her thoughts on Human Shield not coming into his powers until after he failed to prevent her husbands death...

This is probably the shortest story of the anthology, and I loved it. It had me curious from the get go. What happened to Kennedy's husband to die? Even the true feelings Kennedy has, as you know she's holding back. Oh, I love Kennedy!

This story references the previous ones here, but not based on them. But answers a question from one of the earlier ones. (Who's behind this?)

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  1. Oooh I like the sound of all these novellas :D

  2. Oh this looks like a fun one. I think I need to get into a anthology. I've been in a bit of a reading slump and sometimes it gets me out of it.

    1. The quick stories help sometimes, Melissa (B&T). Hope you find your way out of the slump. :)


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