"Only Superhuman" by Christopher L. Bennett http://www.amazon.com/Only-Superhuman-Christopher-L-Bennett/dp/0765332299/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357320141&sr=8-1&keywords=Only+Superhuman is a science fiction attempt to show how "super heroes" might be helpful in a future filled with genetically modified human beings living in space. This comic bookish novel revolves around the life of Emerald Blair of the Troubleshooters, a group of modified humans with special implants and genetic changes that make them stronger and more powerful than ordinary humans. As science fiction the book has some merit and it has great cover art, but overall it fails.
The Troubleshooters are in space in the space stations and habitations surrounding the Earth to try to keep the peace between the very different humans that live out there. Specifically, many of the people who have left Earth, have determined that advances in body modifications are important to survive the hostile environment or they have just chosen to make themselves better. Some want immortality. Some want power. The problem is that some of these enclaves are not just interested in changing their own citizens, but they want everyone else changed as well or they want to rule everyone because they are better, smarter, fitter than regular humans.
When we first meet Emerald Blair she is fighting along with her partner, some humans, who have modified themselves to be more like animals. Thus Bast, is a human feline mix with a tail. Emerald and her partner have to try to save the rest of the people on the space station from being infected by some kind of modification bug, and the action and science fiction aspects are good.
But, but Christopher Bennett is not content with starting a story in the middle and going from there. We have multiple flashback chapters about how Emerald became a Troubleshooter, and these chapters are interspersed in the story. These interludes detract from the overall story and impede forward momentum.
Moreover, while I am no prude, the sexual overtones of the story are ridiculous.
Clearly Bennett wants to make a point about the fact that female superheroes in comics have skin tight outfits that typically highlight some very robust attributes. So he is apparently poking fun at this in this book because Emerald clearly has some big breasts, which she talks about ad naseum. It can be taken as a given that the vast majority of comic book readers were once male, and the titillation factor was a just another way to get male readers to buy comics. We get it in comics, but its just over the top in the book.
Moreover, if that is not enough, Bennett throws in Psyche, one of the villians in the story, who uses tailored phernomes and chemicals secreted by her underarm hairs, her hair follicles, her breasts, and her tongue to attack males, drug them and get them to do what she wants. Maybe this is the future, but the diabolical female villian who has to use her entire body -- not just her sexuality to overcome men is hard to take.
Lastly, the plot is just not that great.
So for the science fictiony aspects, I'll give it just a big okay. But there are plenty of other better books out there.