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Friday, October 06, 2006

Book Review: Third Class Superhero by Charles Yu

Third Class Superhero is the title story of this collection from Charles Yu, and it is by far my favourite.

Moisture Man receives a rejection letter.

Dear Applicant, not a good sign, the number of qualified candidates this year blah blah far exceeded the number of available blah.

Moisture Man has his good guy card, but he’s not even made it to third class superhero. Some of those he graduated with have climbed the ladder quickly and are already positioned to be first class superheroes.

It’s difficult to compete against the usual assortment of strong and beautiful superhero lads and lassies. The fireball shooters. The ice makers. The telepaths. The shapeshifters. Moisture Man is able to make two gallons of water from the moisture in the air and shoot it in a stream or a gentle mist. Or a ball. “Which is useful for water balloon fights, but not all that helpful when trying to stop Carnage and Mayhem from robbing a bank.”

Yu’s stories all full of anti-heroes, tragic figures and the absurd.

Disclaimer: Third Class Superhero is published by Harcourt and distributed by Raincoast in Canada so I have a vested interest in this book. But I can assure you that I’m not making up my enthusiasm for Yu.

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