Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New eStory: The Hero Cleanup Protocol

by. Paul Wartenberg
cover by.  Paul Wartenberg, 'cause I'm waiting on word from Adam Withers if he's available to draw a cover for me... ;-)

The story is an idea I'd been bumping about for ages: my own little superhero reality where it's a world where Superheroes exist... but because they didn't know they classified as supers, by the time they could do anything about it (the Sixties) all the superhero names were claimed by the comic book industry.  So they have to go with fake "real names" like Charlie or Vicky... except for the rare few who can afford to pay a name squatter the rights to those names.  This is also a world where Superheroes have to be registered: either work under legal guidelines for the U.S. Marshals or the military (where supersoldiers rarely worked out well...), or "retire".  The mechanics of the world is that 1) anyone can be a hero: there's no defining DNA or chromosomal trait or mutating process; 2) most super powers are basic such as improved agility, speed, and flight... but that's usually it, there are few advanced powers like firestarting, telekinesis, or scrying; 3) the powers are mental in nature, not physical, even the powers of strength and invulnerability; 4) Most supers don't even know they have powers because they're rarely in a situation to employ them; and 5) there are few true Superhumans or God-like beings: most are mortal humans (there's one or two notable exceptions, and they're terrifying...).

In this world, there's (supposedly) one potential superhuman per 500,000 people.  Most supers organize into teams per city/metro, dedicated to stuff like bounty hunting, emergency response to disasters, and public relations (they're treated like sports athletes and celebrities: the third thing you get when you become a Registered Super - AKA Talent because "Super" had been trademarked - is your own playable trading card).  And in this world, every wannabe hero goes through rigorous training with the FBI and Marshals offices at Quantico.  They also go through rigorous psych evals, because the last thing anyone wants on their team is a superhero ready to snap at any second.

My story is about what happens when a new hero arrival snaps on his first day.  That's the Cleanup Protocol.  And it's my introduce to the key character of my superhero universe: Powersurge, the exception to all the rules I made...

It's been uploaded into Smashwords, made available for various ereader services.  I think it has a converted format for Kindle as well, which is a bit surprising because I thought Kindle was still using an exclusive format...

This was part of my Local Authors event presentation: I wanted to demonstrate the relative ease of getting a story uploaded straight from Word document format into an epublishing market.

The tricky part now is, obviously, how to get 50,000 people to buy that estory... ;-)

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