SpeculativeFiction


Legion (The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds)

Brandon Sanderson has had a series of stories featuring a character named Legion (real name, Stephen Leeds) whose "superpower" (in a thinly defined world mostly similar to our own, but with science fiction elements) is a form of multiple personality disorder. In essence, he hears voices and sees things, specifically, other people. These "aspects" encapsulate and represent the information and expertise that his own own mind cannot itself contain and represent. Think of them as a coping mechanism for a supergenius.

Just released, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds collects two of those existing novellas with a new third. The author says there aren't any more coming with this character, and there's no (admitted) connection to Marvel's Legion character. I enjoyed the character when he first appeared, and this conclusion to his story is interesting without bringing the series itself to any kind of classic significance.

It is, I think, a thinly veiled examination of the typical authors feelings about having fully realized imaginary characters occupying significant parts of their thoughts and attention, combined with the common situation of needing to research details for a book on a lot of different topics well enough to quickly sound like an expert to a reader.

Categories Brandon Sanderson

Thu Sep 20 07:50:00 CDT 2018 by Matthew. Comments

Steelheart

Brandon Sanderson's excursion into young adult literature, Steelheart (The Reckoners) explores the world of superheroes and supervillains... or more accurately, explores a world where there is a surfeit of supervillains and absolutely no superheroes whatsoever. The world is based roughly on our own present, but with variations ranging from the surreal (supervillains ruling various cities as dictators) to the bizarre (transforming entire cities into steel, with super-moles digging vast tunnels for people to live and work within).

The plot is fairly complex for a young-adult novel, with twists that an experienced reader will be able to anticipate without the sense of boring certainty that makes the whole exercise feel like a color-by-numbers exercise. I was entertained, but not blown away, which appears to be my usual reaction to Sanderson's more workmanlike books.

For devoted fans of the young-adult-superhero novels, this has a lot more depth and realism than most books in the genre and can be readily enjoyed by adults as well. Unfortunately those same qualities mean it lacks the most important quality for a really good superhero book: a light-hearted sense of fun with witty quips flying as fast as the punches. This one is definitely on the grim side.

Sat May 03 13:01:02 CDT 2014 by Matthew. Comments



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