cover image Superhero Universe: Tesseracts 19

Superhero Universe: Tesseracts 19

Edited by Claude Lalumière and Mark Shainblum. Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, $15.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-77053-087-4

This particular installment of the long-running Canadian SF and fantasy anthology series is a mixed bag of 25 superhero stories. The best entry, P.E. Bolivar’s “The Rise and Fall of Captain Stupendous,” combines irony with black humor as a journalist who was kidnapped by a supervillain and rescued by the Canadian Super League explains how she ended up in prison. Occasional forced humor mars Corey Redekop’s otherwise excellent “SÜPER,” in which Canada’s finest medical minds are corralled to work in a superhuman sanatorium founded by a deranged seven-limbed scientist. Also of note are the wryly clever ending in Luke Murphy’s “Lost and Found” and the reimagined Golem of Prague in Bevan Thomas’s “Spirit in the Clay.” Least successful are John Bell’s overly serious poem, “In the Kirby Krackle”; Sacha A. Howells’s “Black Falcon Saves City, World,” a clumsy story about a wannabe superhero; and the uninteresting superhuman therapy group depicted in Kim Goldberg’s “Bluefields Reharmony Nest.” But the strongest works will remind readers why superhero stories remain popular and fascinating. (Apr.)