Over the last decade, superheroes have shot into the mainstream, creating two cinematic universes. You might think the formula for a superhuman tale has become worn out with all the origin stories. But there’s still plenty of room for innovation, as writer Stephan Morse has shown with his novel, The Fiasco In News. The book tells the story of 21-year-old Adam Millard, whose superpower involves causing all sorts of mayhem to happen. Morse sent me an advanced copy of his self-published eBook in exchange for an honest review and here are my thoughts.
In my experience, traditional superheroes tend to fall into two categories: happy-go-lucky or tragically tortured. Adam Millard certainly isn’t a traditional superhero. From the opening chapter, Adam is held hostage by an over the top supervillain called Telegraph and he makes it clear that it’s not the first time it’s happened. Adam’s superpower involves him being a magnet for supernatural occurrences, like alien invasions or dropping into pocket dimensions. His power makes him immortal, but his real superpower might as well be his sarcasm.
What starts as a hostage situation soon spirals into a mad adventure, involving crazed stalkers, mole people and Wonderland. Adam exists in a world where heroes and villains are more like TV personalities. Heroes save people to feed their own ego and villains hurt people for publicity. Adam’s cynical nature reflects a wider view that the superhero genre has been done to death, and it works to the book’s credit.
I found Adam to be a funny and relatable protagonist. His sarcasm is a defence mechanism against all the crazy stuff that happens, but there’s an awkward, human side to him as well. Joining him on his adventures is the crazed villain/news reporter Ted, who seems to have a million different accents. Adam and Ted’s interactions are some of the best parts of the book, with their relationship being an interesting twist on the usual hero vs villain dynamic. Another of Adam’s companions is the psychotic Alice, a twisted version of Alice In Wonderland. Her relationship with Adam is both disturbing and weirdly relatable from a human perspective.
Morse’s writing style is imaginative and he’s managed to create a world that breaks all the tropes of a traditional superhero story, and even makes fun of them. The mix of comedy and horror blend together well, so I would recommend checking out this eBook.
The Fiasco In News is released on August 1st and you can purchase it on Amazon here.
You can also check out Morse’s website here.