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Aberrant RPG - Inspirational reading

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Firsts things first; Hi to all people on this forum! As a longtime Aberrant fan I was very happy to see a community still interested in this verse:) The free ebooks were also very nice.

I wanted to know what books you consider thematically appropriate reading for Aberrant? Or other properties?

Ted Chiang' s ''Understand'' seems to me as good inspirational stuff. A test subject becomes super-intelligent and starts to become something more then human, illustrating how mega-intelligence works in broad strokes. The tone is rather serious, the protagonist is not using new powers for fun or playing with them. He later enters into a conflict with another super-intelligent test subject, over ideologies. A few thing get mentioned, a new language for super-intelligent people, the danger of losing mental balance because of the intelligence boost, the means and methods two mega-minds use to hurt each other.

Good stuff. So, what do you recommend?

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I personally haven't read that many books or series that are for me an inspiration for Aberrant, but there are several movies that really nail it on the head.

The Wild Cards (edited by George R. R. Martin, each book have several authors, their stories interweaving) series. Has it all, a wide variety of 'novas,' most mutated to extreme degrees, like the mayor of Jokertown with a trunk that has a hand on the end of it.

Having seen Chronicle recently, it's a perfect depiction of what happens when young people suddenly develop powers, and then descent to taint-ridden madness.

Limitless and Sherlock Holmes (both Downey Jr.'s depiction and the excellent BBC series) show a good example of Mega-Intelligence and Mega-Perception.

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Excellent suggestions Bombshell.

I would add Jump. There are actually three books, not just the movie! A boy gets the power to teleport and there is a shadowy agency after all Jumpers.

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I consider Aberrant to be a superpowers without spandex story.

On the SyFy cable channel, they aired the aired the "Alphas" tv series. On NBC, there was the "Heroes" series, even though the writing went downhill after the first season. In Britain, there is the "Misfits" series, about a group of juvenile delinquents who become superhuman.

There are some older series from the sixties to seventies that may seen as reruns. "The Champions" features a trio of super powered government operators. "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Bionic Woman" had cybernetic secret agents performing missions.

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I would like to add a series from the 80's. The Misfits of Science! The adventures of a team of misfit superheroes who fight crime for a scientific think tank. Which also starred a very young Courtney Cox...

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To jump mediums to Anime and Manga, Akira is a very good movie (and extensive manga series) for looking at what happens when a teenage delinquent picks up psyhic-like nova powers, then the aberrations that follow. Read or Die is a interesting treatment on powers, in fact it would be a good example for a low-power setting (and a way to treat how Novas were kept secret).

Addendum: If you look at the Read or Die manga series, it's a bit more light-hearted, and avoid "Read or Dream" unless you're a shoujo fan.

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Akira was very good...right up until the blob monster... totally broke immersion for me. It was like the creators couldn't figure out how to ended so they said "Fuck It! Lets put in a Blob Monster!"

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The Wild Cards series is probably the seminal source of inspiration for Aberrant, seeing as how so much of Aberrant was very obviously based upon it. (And seeing as how the series itself was born out of a group of people playing a superhero roleplaying game and the characters they'd created for it, this makes a lot of sense.)

Other, less obvious sources for inspiration (for me, at least) would be some of Frank Herbert's novels. Specifically the Dune series, which has a running theme throughout it of individuals who attain more-than-human powers or abilities and the affects of their actions on the world (or galaxy in this case) around them, but also his ConSentient novels like The Whipping Star and The Dosadi Experiment.

Delving further back into time, some sources of inspiration might be John Carter of Mars (the Burroughs novels, not the movie!), as well as much older works of 'fiction', like the Epic of Gilgamesh, or even the myths surrounding Heracles and other, similar mythic protagonists, such as Sun Wukong the Monkey King or his Indian counterpart (and, arguably, the inspiration from which he came) Hanuman. In fact mythology is arguably the best source of inspirational reading material when it comes to Aberrant, with old pulp detective novels and newer conspiracy thrillers (the majority of which will have no one with 'powers' in the story at all) coming in a pretty close second.

As far as actual 'superhero' fiction - aside from the aforementioned Wild Cards series - the manga Akira is actually a pretty good examination of what can happen when man gains access to essentially godlike power (the movie is OK, but nowhere near as good as the manga). The Supreme comic book series was also quite good for a while, though it went downhill later in its run (in my opinion, at least), and did a great job of looking at the tensions that might exist between 'normal' people and those with superpowers.

Where legitimate fiction is concerned (as opposed to comic books), there have been several short fiction anthologies released over the past decade that were dedicated solely to superheroic fiction. I personally enjoyed Masked (published by Gallery Books in 2010). Within that anthology, I especially enjoyed 'Cleansed and Set in Gold' by Matthew Sturges, 'Thug' by Gail Simone, 'Downfall' by Joseph Mallozzi, 'Call Her Savage' by Marjorie M. Liu, and 'Tonight We Fly' by Ian McDonald. Of those, I think probably 'Thug' and 'Tonight We Fly' were my favorites, though 'Cleansed and Set in Gold' is great inspiration for a tainted nova who's still trying to be a hero.

And that's about all I can come up with at the moment, though I'm sure I'm forgetting - or just don't know about - plenty of other great stories.

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There is a little-known series by Grant Morrison as he was just starting out, called "Zenith."

The main character is an asshole superhuman raised in a world that's had superpeople around for a while and is less interested in altruism than promoting his new record. Despite this, he winds up pulled into saving the world anyways when a Lovecraftian threat emerges, existing beyond conventional spacetime and sharing a connection to mad superhumans. Excellent showcase of taint and the notion of the asshole celebrity superhuman, both of which are large parts of Aberrant.

Good luck finding it, though. You'll be digging through a lot of longboxes at a lot of cons to get a complete set.

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Let's see... Inspiration Material for Aberant...

The original Ghost in the Shell manga which I've always found to be a fun examination of the metahuman condition and what comes after.

Keith Giffen's 2010 run on Doom Patrol covers the disfunctional nova wierdness angle.

Simon R. Green's Nightside series for the wonderful and terrible atmosphere of a society with Novas walking around.

And, I must confess, good old fashioned, quality four-color heroics of any stripe or medium. I'm a sucker for awesome deeds bringing hope to a darkening world. Gets my muse right in that place for making a dramatic difference.

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Actually, if I was going with Simon R. Green, I'd go with his Deathstalker series, those who pass though the Madness Maze, with some of it's potential negatives make it more like nova's complete with taint, and Owen starts right off with a form of Boost even before he goes into the Maze.

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