Nick Harkaway

Kapows and wisecracks: Fight Me, by Austin Grossman, reviewed

Superheroes are the trump card of genres. As a rule of thumb, if a novel has a murder, it’s ‘Crime’; if it has a murder on a space station, it’s ‘Science Fiction’; and if it has a murder on a haunted space station, it’s ‘Horror’. But a novel with crimes, robots, faeries, cavemen, magic, cyborgs and time travel can only be ‘Superhero’. It is rarely successful outside the graphic variety, possibly because such strenuous suspension of disbelief is best managed in comics. Yet it can be done. Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay is one, while Lavie Tidhar’s Our Violent Century and Nick Harkaway’s Titanium Noir are