Its always nice when one of our contributors releases a book, especially when that contributor is three time TOWWZ contest winner Jeffrey DeRego. His book ‘Escape Clause’ is currently available through ENC Press, and is based in Jeff’s superb Superhero universe of ‘Union Dues’, where having a super power is not dream, but a nightmare of bureaucracy and control. I have followed Jeffs ‘Union Dues’ stories for a number of years now, and can’t recommend this enough.
America of superheroes and super villains is not the romanticized world of your childhood comic books. Here, people with superpowers—or, as they are known, Supers—are taken from their families and given a choice: they can get trained to become superheroes and live out their lives to mirror the comic books that share their likeness, or they can spend a lifetime of isolation in Antarctica. Those who choose training receive a new identity, get brainwashed, and live according to a complex set of rules designed to protect regular people, the Normals, from the Supers, and the Supers from the Normals. There’s no way out of the contract.
A mosaic novel that uses comic-book imagery in prose,Escape Clause tells the stories of the Supers who make up the Union of Superheroes; not the benign, PR-approved tales that American kids read in their comics but the grittier truth about the beginnings and goals of the Union, about superheroes who can’t catch a break whether they try to follow the rules or go rogue, and about what really happens to those who have the misfortune to be born with a little too much talent.
Set in the framework of our legalistic society, each tile of the mosaic shines a new light on the relationships between powerful lobbies and the government, between those who make the rules and those the rules are made for, between people who are different from one another. Superpowers or not, Union members have to cope with the same sort of frustrations that any employee or civil servant would instantly recognize.
And, as Supers and Normals alike learn again and again, when bureaucracy and superpowers collide, nobody wins.
Escape Clause is currently only available direct from ENC Press