“Less Than Hero” by S. G. Browne (Gallery Books, 2015)

Less Than Hero

It usually only takes a reader a couple of pages to know they’re reading an S. G. Browne novel, as they wrap their minds around a weird and wacky story, and Less Than Hero is another great, prime example of this. Here’s your one-sentence premise: what if some guys who have been human guinea pigs for years, testing new drugs and medications, suddenly developed stranger super powers?

Lloyd Prescott has been in the guinea pig program for a number of years now and it’s what he makes his living from.  For a relatively decent wage, all he has to put up with are some uncomfortable, unsettling side effects. He meets up weekly with a group of guys who are also fellow guinea pigs to hang out, chat about their lives and share info about upcoming trials.

At one of these meetings Lloyd tells everyone about his new-found ability: he can make people fall asleep on command. And then the rest of the group – except one – reveal their strange new powers that they can cause unto others: violent vomiting, seizures, and erections, to name a few. The group decides to use their unusual powers for good and set out to help those in need. Meanwhile in New York there are two super villains – if you will —  who can make people hallucinate and steal their memories.

While the main cast of superheroes could use a little diversity and maybe a female, Less Than Hero has to be the most bizarre yet entertaining superhero story out there. And in true Browne fashion, the reader doesn’t really know where it’s all going to go and what the ending will be like, they just keep going, enjoying the ride all the way.

Originally written on April 8, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Less Than Hero from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

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