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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Tor.com -- January 2013

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Tor.com, January 2013

“When We Were Heroes” by Daniel Abraham

Reviewed by Bob Blough

Daniel Abraham’s “When We Were Heroes” is set in George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards shared universe—a place of naturals, human beings who are untouched by the plague that made the rest either superheroes with wild card talents or deformed human beings, aka jokers.

In contemporary Manhattan, Kate, the superhero known as Curveball, begins a possible romantic relationship with a natural, Tyler. When an old friend, Bugsy, writes an article about the affair in a scandal sheet about superheroes, Aces, Kate finds her celebrity getting in the way of her privacy. Alternating segments of the story chronicle Kate’s night with Tyler and her confrontation with Bugsy.

Mr. Abraham’s characters breathe, and he gives us a poignant look at the themes of broken dreams and new hopes. My only problem with this story is that we need too much backstory to appreciate what is going on here. This makes the ending more compelling than the rest of the tale. Readers familiar with the Wild Cards universe will enjoy this as a piece of that tapestry.