Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fitting In, by Max Gladstone

[Tor.com]
★★★★★ Loveable characters in a great caper tale

(Superhero; Wild Cards) A retired superhero and a conspiracy theorist join forces to gather evidence against a mobster who’s trying to force their friend to sell her property to him. (13,710 words; Time: 45m)


"," by (edited by George R.R. Martin), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2018.590 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a very nice amateur detective story. Robin and Jan, with help from their friends, gather evidence against Mikhail to try to protect Olivia and keep him from forcing her to sell to him. Beyond that, as the title suggests, it’s about Robin found a way to fit in at his school and earn the kids’ trust.
Heroes tended to meet people on very bad days. Though Robin never told the magazines, that was one of the reasons he quit—he wanted to help people before things got so bad you needed powers to do it.
Unfortunately for Robin, he needs the superpower that gets teenagers to listen to you. (Lots of people want that superpower, actually.) There’s no questioning his dedication: he doesn’t make enough money to make ends meet, and yet he’s putting in so much time that he can scarcely find a free moment for food.

Then Olivia’s shop is vandalized, and suddenly he’s a superhero all over again. Ironically, all he had to do to earn the kids’ respect was to be the superhero they expected him to be.
“Freeze, reptoids!”
Jan is a wonderful character. She’s nuts, but she’s a lovable, high-functioning nut. And when it comes time to try to get the surveillance tapes from Mama Salva, Jan is the only one who can do it. Her greatest weakness (her belief in conspiracy theories) becomes a strength.

Robin ends up much better off than he started. He’s got a more affordable place to stay, and the kids are ready to listen to him. Jan is better off too simply for having made him her friend.

Con: The irony of Robin trying to tell kids not to waste their potential when he’s clearly wasting his own goes unaddressed.

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