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From the Notebooks of Doctor Brain

Minister Faust

Random House

2007

Copyright Š 2007 by Minister Faust

0345497414

En

CONTENTS

COVER PAGE

TITLE PAGE

DEDICATION

PREFACE Hey! You in the Cape! Why Are You Reading This Book?

PART ONE

VERY BAD CONDITION

CHAPTER ONE Operation: Cooperation!

CHAPTER TWO Facing the Ultimate Archenemy

CHAPTER THREE Clash of the Icons

CHAPTER FOUR Iconoclastic Means “I Can!”

PART TWO

MISSING NUMBER ONE

CHAPTER FIVE Limited Series

CHAPTER SIX Up Is Down: The Path Inside Is Outside

CHAPTER SEVEN Who Are You, Really? Secret Origins and Secret Shames

CHAPTER EIGHT Unrequited Hate

PART THREE

APPEALING TO A HIGHER POWER

CHAPTER NINE Paranoia: It Can Destroy Ya

CHAPTER TEN The Battle of All Mothers, the Mother of All Battles

CHAPTER ELEVEN Self-Distraction Is Self-Destruction

CHAPTER TWELVE Superheroes Need Superegos

EPILOGUE Be a Phoenix, Not a Dodo

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT THE REAL AUTHOR

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BY MINISTER FAUST

BY DOCTOR BRAIN

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR UNMASKED!

PREVIEW OF UNMASKED

PRAISE FOR MINISTER FAUST

COPYRIGHT

For my very own Mary-Jane Watson,

my beloved wife, Michelle

PREFACE

HEY! YOU IN THE CAPE!

Why Are You Reading This Book?

You can wrap a steel I beam around your neck with your bare hands and wear it like a tie. You can swim so quickly that you can go back in time to offer Columbus correct directions to India. You can climb the outside of a building, regurgitate the ton of paper you’ve eaten, and weave a beautiful multilevel hive while not paying a cent in downtown rent.

But are you happy?

There was an innocent time not so long ago when most people assumed that the flamboyant adventurers whose stories emblazoned the front pages of our newspapers and whose exploits ricocheted across the six o’clock news must really have had it all: fame, good looks, public adulation, and seemingly godlike powers.

But as our society has matured, many of the greatest heroes of our time have come to the numbing epiphany that invincibility and immortality simply aren’t enough. The war of Götterdämmerung was finally concluded in victory, the worst ultra-menaces were locked inside the maximum-security force fields of Asteroid Zed, and the rest of the misguided offenders are being cared for by the finest psychiatric facilities for the atomically insane.

But while superlawbreakers are being profiled in movies of the week, fêted for their (sometimes literally) ghost-written autobiographies, and cared for to the price of millions of tax dollars, who will care for you?

Who will care for you, the brave men and women who put the menacing malefactors away? Who will care for you, the courageous crusaders who risked your headquarters, your magic bracelets and diadems, your proprietary technology, your connection with your subdimensional xeno-souls and even your lives? Who will care for you, who jeopardized every relationship you were forced to put on hold or which you allowed to wither while you were fighting to preserve our freedom?

Far too often, the sad answer has been no one.

You men and women who kept our world safe from the likes of the Infinity Farmer and his Time Tractor, from X-Stacy and the Ravers, or from the technopurges of Robot-Stalin, have too often defined yourselves solely by the existence of your foes. But what are you supposed to do now that those foes are gone and the ungrateful world no longer applauds from the safety of its decorative balconies?

What are you supposed to do now that you’re trapped in a safe world of your own making, a world that offers you no challenge, no role, no identity, no external enemies?

Yes, the supervillains of old are gone. But there’s a new group of them around today. And they’re psychic. No, not psychic like Sarah Bellum, Menton the Destroyer, or the Specially Relative Einstein Baboons.

Nor are the poisons of these villains green glowing crystals hidden inside lead strongboxes or poisonous prions murdering you one DNA helix at a time. Instead these poisons are locked inside your head and your heart, revealing themselves as depression, paranoia, rage, guilt, performance anxiety, psionic decay, dimension-shifting, impotence, imomnipotence, or any number of other impairments of the soul.

Perhaps now you’re forced to recognize that hyperhominidism is equal part curse to the blessing of your glory days.

But if you’ve been suffering due to HH, the time to suffer without help is no more.

Meet Your Mentor

My name is Dr. Eva Brain-Silverman, but to thousands of superpowered individuals like you I’m simply known as Doctor Brain. For twenty years at my Hyper-Potentiality Clinic in the refurbished Mount Palomax Observatory in sunny Los Ditkos, I’ve been helping the extraordinarily abled to adjust to a life beyond heroics, and to feel alive again even when there are no more neutron bombs to defuse inside the UN building and no more Treemasons to burn out of our forests, banks, and government offices.

The book you’re holding in your hands is the summation of two decades of advice I’ve dispensed as balm to heroes across North America at lectures, seminars, and clinical sessions.

But it’s more than that. It’s also the case study of the most spectacular group session of my career, whose destructive dysfunction culminated in the diabolical July 16 Attacks, which are even now reshaping our world.

When first contacted by the board of directors of the Fantastic Order of Justice to assist its six most contentious and confused members in conquering their intercommunal conflicts, I leapt at the opportunity to assist. Which heroes among Earth’s foremost fighting force for freedom, I wondered, were so bent on antagonizing one another and destroying themselves that their own leadership was threatening to terminate them unless they solved their problems in group therapy?

To my astonishment, my lineup was a list of legends among legends:

• Omnipotent Man, AKA Wally W. Watchtower, seventy-one-year-old refugee from the destroyed planet Argon, and Earth’s mightiest man,

• Flying Squirrel, AKA Festus Piltdown III, seventy-year-old billionaire industrialist and scourge of the criminal underworld,

• Iron Lass, AKA Hnossi Icegaard, the immortal Norse warrior-goddess and the planet’s leading martial strategist,

• Brotherfly, AKA André “P-Fly” Parker, twenty-six-year-old wall-crawling, wisecracking, bluebottled ladies’ man,

• Power Grrrl, AKA Syndi Tycho, the nineteen-year-old dynamic diva and pop music sensation, and

• X-Man, AKA Philip Kareem Edgerton, the thirty-four-year-old detective supreme and militant rabble-rouser from

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