In May, I had a short story accepted to the annual science fiction and fantasy humor anthology, Unidentified Funny Objects. Currently in its eighth year, UFO has featured a lot of famous writers, and this year it features such luminaries as David Gerrold (he created the Tribbles for Star Trek) Jodie Lynn Nye (who’s published more than 50 books) and of course Esther Friesner, who has probably written more humorous short stories than Alexander Hamilton wrote essays.
When I submitted the story, I wasn’t expecting to have my story be the first one in the book. But there it is, doing its duty to make a first impression. “The 10:40 Appointment at the NYC Department of Superhero Registration” starts the volume off, followed by 23 more lighthearted romps. There’s grandmotherly golems, cybernetic cats, a daring quest inside the living room couch, and more.
The book is now available in print and Kindle, and it seems to be getting a bit of acclaim on Goodreads (for some reason, there aren’t nearly as many Amazon reviews as of this writing).
“The 10:40 Appointment” follows the hapless Dr. Amir al-Madani, a newly-empowered vigilante who gave up his job in the United Arab Emirates and moved to New York to fight crime. Problem is, New York is full of superheroes, so the Department of Superhero Registration is basically that cantina in Star Wars except with more teenage deities and nuclear-powered mutants. Amir’s only superpower is regeneration, which is really the worst power to bring to the heroic equivalent of the DMV.
Why? Because to register his super-ness, he’s got to demonstrate its capabilities in a road test… which, for regeneration, means a proctor in power armor beats the living snot out of him.
Amir triumphs… but not in the way you might expect. The story is goofy, but it also tries to encapsulate a lesson about what makes a real hero. I’m pretty proud of the story, so by all means, check it out here:
Unidentified Funny Objects, vol. 8, on Amazon.
“The 10:40 Appointment” is not my only light-and-fluffy superhero short story. Keen-eyed observers of this site may note that I’ve had heroes on the brain for a few months. I’ve actually got five or six stories in the works, all in the same universe as “The 10:40 Appointment.” None are quite ready for prime time yet: they’re all in various stages of creation, editing, and submission to various magazines and markets. If any of them score a bullseye, I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, check out the book for a laugh, and if you like it, feel free to leave a review. And kids, remember to drink your milk, because someday your superpowers might depend on it.