Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask - Jim Munroe

I came across this book at Jim Munroe's website,, after reading his book Everyone in Silico. Flyboy was available as a free ebook download, so I put it on my Palm and have basically been carrying it around with me for about two years, reading it when I find myself with free time but no book available. I finally finished it, which means now I need to find a new ebook to carry around on my Palm.

Ryan "Flyboy" Slint can turn himself into a fly; it's an ability he hasn't ever shared with anyone because, well, how would you bring this up in conversation? That, and his clothes fall off when he changes, so he can't change back into a human without being naked. Cassandra has the weird ability to make things vanish. They find each other, fall in love, and become Flyboy and Ms. Place, the Superheroes for Social Justice. It's a little like Everyone in Silico in that the protagonists are anti-establishment. But in this case, it's less about the big corporations as about the media and the police. There's a major subplot involving a friend who gets busted for a marijuana joint.

What I liked most about the book was the mystery of Ryan's ability. It's told from his point of view, and it's great that he doesn't have a good understanding of how his abilities work or why he has them. He tries to study insects as much as possible, but obviously he can't simply ask a professor "Have you ever heard of somebody who could turn into an insect? ... Oh, no reason, just wondering." Some parts of it reminded me vaguely of Clan Apis or Empire of the Ants. When he turns into a fly, he retains his sense of self but also becomes flylike: rotten fruit suddenly becomes quite appealing.

Of course, since it took me such a long time to read it, the beginning and middle of the story is no longer fresh in my mind. It was pretty good, though I thought Everyone in Silico was better. I think I never quite sympathized with Ryan outside of his curiosity about his powers.

Fed to jonathan's brain | February 03, 2005 | Comments (0)


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