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In today’s installment in our story by story review of Corrupts Absolutely? we take a look at “Pride”, a story written by Wayne Ligon. It is the twelfth story in this anthology edited by Lincoln Crisler that collects twenty-one stories about people gifted (or cursed depending on your perspective) with superpowers. We have seen acts of heroism, instances of characters having to cope with their powers, characters abusing their powers, and more. Ligon, who makes his first professional appearance in this book, offers us a slightly different perspective on possessing superpowers though.

In the world created in “Pride”, metahumans are made to register and it is hinted that they are also engaged in a civil rights movement. Some states prohibit them from marrying, some shun them altogether in Jim Crow fashion, and others require all children to get tested for “abnormalities”. But the Federal government prohibits all metahumans from using their powers on “normals”. Calvin Carmichael, the story’s protagonist, happens to be suffering the lighter consequences of this and we are presented with what I imagine having a power would actually be like. After Carmichael stops a robbery he finds himself late to work at a construction site where he uses his power for the very mundane task of moving heavy materials. When poor construction causes a disaster at the construction site, it brings him to a crossroads in his life, a life that has been repeatedly hindered by the laws regarding metahumans.

For a fiction premiere to appear in an anthology instead of a tiny little unheard of magazine is impressive. Yet, the story does not stick out as a first appearance. Ligon has obviously followed the writers’ mantra of write, write, write. I was quite pleased to see someone in this anthology approach the mundane tasks that having extraordinary powers would undoubtedly boil down to on a daily basis. Plus, it becomes one of the ultimate “take this job and shove it” endings ever. I can’t wait to see more from this author and give his professional debut 

Corrupts Absolutely? maintains its four alien heads and is only one or two steps away from making it back up to four and a half alien heads. This is a tightly wrapped collection featuring some great ideas and talent.