LOS ANGELES, CA – Dec 28, 2015 – When is science fiction not science fiction? Is it when New Yorker magazine publishes a Junot Diaz zombie apocalypse story? Or when David Mitchell redefines the boundaries of epic sci-fi with his novel Cloud Atlas? Or when we read the cyberpunk-ish final chapter in Jennifer Egan’s Welcome to the Goon Squad? In an age when mash-ups and genre-hopping have become the norm, perhaps it was only inevitable that “literary” science fiction have its heyday. And the newest – and perhaps boldest – entry into this brave new world is Kenneth Kim’s The Superhero Memoirs – an unabashed paean to the kind of sci-fi and comic books that helped mainline the Star Wars and Marvel universes into mainstream pop culture – as well as to the classic literary fiction that defined so many previous generations. It’s been said that the purpose of literature is to make us feel like we are not so alone – and repeated so often that it’s almost become a cliché. But truth can be found in even the most hackneyed of sayings, and whether you’re reading Catcher in the Rye or The Great Gatsby for the first time – or Dune or Neuromancer – for that matter – and you feel a secret thrill that maybe you’re not so strange after all, that maybe there are other people who live in a world inside their heads not so different from your own… well, maybe that’s all that really matters.
The Superhero Memoirs follows the path of aspiring young writer Christian Shannon, whose prized fictional creation is Captain Cosmos, a star-spanning superhero. As Christian’s writing career takes him in other directions, Cosmos’ life somehow goes on – his amazing adventures continuing even off the page – eventually bringing him to earth as a celebrity. But when the transition from superhero to ordinary life proves problematic, he decides to become a writer himself – of his heroic memoirs – and embarks upon his own literary quest. Christian’s and Cosmos’ lives and stories begin to interweave – not only with each other – but with that of Molly, a mysterious young girl in a mental institution who inexplicably appears as a character in both their narratives. Determined to unravel the mystery of their identity – and her own – Molly plots a daring escape from the asylum.
An epic tale that unfolds like a house of mirrors, using multiple mediums, narrators, even bending genders, The Superhero Memoirs takes the reader on an incredible journey that blurs the boundary between fantasy and reality, traversing the universe, the very fabric of time itself, from modern-day Manhattan to the realm of the gods, from the far reaches of space to the back streets of Hollywood. Christian, Cosmos and Molly spin a dizzying web of intertwining tales that take many different forms – chronicle, short story, screenplay, novelette, play – all of them illuminating the universal connection between our dream… our stories… and our lives.
“The scattered moments in life can often seem random, meaningless… I think we tell stories to somehow try to make sense of it all… the little movies that unspool inside our heads in those fleeting moments each night before we drift off to sleep…our dreams of reinvention, rebirth. “The Superhero Memoirs” is my take on those stories – couched in the language of modern-day mythology – science fiction – a meditation on love, loss, relationships and remembrance.”
– Kenneth Kim
About the Author
Kenneth Kim is a writer currently residing in Los Angeles. His background includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. His novel, The Superhero Memoirs, is a lyrical work of literary fiction, an evocative rumination on the mysteries of modern love, life, relationships and regret through a unique lens of science-fiction, mythology and fantasy.
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