An introduction to The Extrahuman Union series by Susan Jane Bigelow.
Broken is the first book in the Extrahuman Union series of four interconnected novels, featuring a group of superheroes struggling to survive in a dystopian future under the oppression of a totalitarian regime. Over the course of these books, we watch these very human superheroes fly, fall, and dream of freedom.
Today, author Susan Jane Bigelow is here with an introduction to the series, particularly for the first book, Broken.
The Extrahuman Union: A Primer
The Extrahuman Union series is simple to sum up—it’s about superheroes in space in the future fighting an authoritarian regime. There. Easy.
But it’s also about an awful lot more than that.
I started writing this series twelve years ago, and put the finishing touches on it in 2015. A lot has changed for me since then, and I’m sure the themes I chose to focus on reflect that. But here’s a quick outline of the major themes, major characters, and more.
The format is one that I use a lot: each book has a separate main character or characters, and can often stand alone, but they add up to a single overarching story.
So what about these characters? There’s… quite a few of them, about two dozen major characters and countless minor ones. The major two that appear in Broken, the first book in the series, are Broken herself, and Michael Forward.
Broken started her life as a member of the Extrahuman Union named Silverwing, a name she later altered to Silverwyng to seem more interesting. She does not know her given name, nor does she remember her parents. Any children with extrahuman abilities are taken to be raised in Union Tower. Her abilities are flight and super-fast healing which renders her functionally immortal. She joined the Union’s Law Enforcement Division in order to be near her lover, the Union’s leader Sky Ranger.
At some point, she loses her flight abilities and her relationship with Sky Ranger ends. Despondent, she flees the Union and gives herself the name Broken. When we meet her nearly a decade later, Broken is living on the streets of New York. She still has her healing abilities, but she is tough, cynical, and often blind to the world around her.
This series is essentially her story, told through her own point of view and the points of view of characters around her.
Michael Forward is a teenage boy with a heavy burden: he can see many possible futures whenever he looks at someone—including himself. He’s seen enough possibilities that he has a general sense of where things are going, and he knows he has to act. He has extrahuman abilities, but he’s not a member of the Union. He’s been kept away from them and guided by Joe, a friend of Michael’s parents who entrusted him to Joe’s care before they died.
Michael, when we meet him, is looking for Broken. He believes that she is the key to the future.
These books are about dealing with the burdens of fate and destiny, about how to go on living when you’re being ground into the dust by an oppressive regime, and how to be yourself when what you are is dangerous and feared. They are about freedom, despair, betrayal, miracles, and even love.
I hope you check them out. Thank you all for reading!
About the Novel
In a post-war, future world, where first contact has been made with intelligent life and humans are colonizing the stars, the nations of Earth have been united under a central government. Extrahumans, those possessing supernatural abilities such as flight and strength, are required by this government to belong to the Union, where they can be trained, monitored, and weaponized.
Michael Forward is cursed with the ability to see the future – every possible future – when he gazes into another person’s eyes. All he has ever wanted is to escape the grim destiny he sees when he looks in the mirror, but when he is tasked with a mission that will define the course of human history, Michael finds he cannot refuse. Now, he needs the help of a homeless ex-superhero to save a baby who may become the key to humanity’s freedom.
Broken figured she was done with heroics when she lost the ability to fly and escaped the confinement of the Extrahuman Union. But then the world started to fall apart around her, and a desperate teenage prophet with a baby entered her life, offering her the possibility of redemption and a chance to fly once more.
In a time of spreading darkness, when paranoia and oppression reign, can these unlikely allies preserve a small ray of hope for a better, brighter future?
How to Get the Book
Broken will be officially published on March 22, 2016. You can buy the book in print now, or preorder the ebook (EPUB & MOBI) from all major retailers online. You can also buy the ebook directly from us on March 22. The print book contains the novel, two illustrations from Kirbi Fagan, and a sneak peek at Sky Ranger, the second book in the series (published this June). The ebook edition will also contain a prequel short story, Crimson Cadet, as well as an essay from the author and a Q&A with the artist.
Buy the Book (Print & Ebook)
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play
Add the book on Goodreads
Women in SF&F Month: Susan Jane Bigelow | Fantasy Cafe | Reviews of Fantasy and Science Fiction BooksApril 19, 2016 at 9:00 am
[…] guest is science fiction and fantasy writer Susan Jane Bigelow! She’s the author of the Extrahuman Union series beginning with Broken, which was recently republished through Book Smugglers Publishing. The next […]
30 Trans Authors You Should Be Reading | Twin Cities GeekDecember 20, 2019 at 12:32 pm
[…] columnist, a librarian, and a cat owner in addition to having published two series of novels, the Extrahuman Union series and the Grayline Sisters series. She’s also published a standalone novel, The Demon […]