In Less Than Hero, S.G. Browne presents an entirely different take on the superhero genre than anything I have ever read before. Typically, superheroes have cool powers like the ability to fly, or super strength, or speed. In this novel, Lloyd and his band of heroes do things like put people to sleep, make them develop rashes all over their bodies, and blow up like human version of the Goodyear blimp. Not exactly an astounding array of powers. Not to mention the way they obtain their powers is quite odd, being the guinea pigs of pharmaceutical company clinical trials. And what would a superhero novel be without supervillains to counter them? In this case, the villains can steal people’s memories and create hallucinations. One thing is certain, Browne will never write a novel that isn’t entirely fascinating and interesting to read.
As usual, Browne writes in an easy going and professional manner. It’s always a breeze to read his books, something I appreciate. The premise is full of intrigue. I like the development of the characters’ powers and how they go about using it. These are unconventional heroes so it’s fitting that they should have an unconventional way of developing and using their abilities. There’s a lot to like in this novel. One area that I thought it falls short is that there is a lot of social commentary about the role of pharmaceutical drugs and how they are used in society. I don’t have a problem with that, but I did think it was a little heavy handed, and it often took me out of the story because those sections were lengthy. This is a cool novel that you will want to read.
Carl Alves - author of Reconquest: Mother Earth