I read this in the last five years, I'm pretty sure, probably more than two years ago. I believe it was a complete book, not a short story. I don't remember if it was a paper book or an ebook. I'm pretty sure it was a published book, not an online story. The protagonist is a teenage boy who is the son of the Superman analogue of the setting. No powers, but it is a fairly intelligent young man with an interest in computers. Since the death of his mother, years ago, his father has kept him isolated from society for his own protection. In this case, he's at their Antarctica base. I remember there being a scene where he was discussing how he periodically had to go outside to do something (base maintenance?) and that, even with heavy gear, he couldn't be out there for long due to the low temperature. His father would leave him there for weeks at a time, if not months. I believe he'd cannibalized bits of the base to build his own communications network to give himself some internet access, which had been forbidden, again ostensibly for his safety. He thinks his father is overly paranoid since the death of his mother (which, I think, was unexplained by that point in the book). The base comes under attack by a robot, and he manages to board an escape pod, but only after doing something in the base that resulted in the robot being destroyed (although I think whatever he did messed up the base's systems such that he knew he wouldn't be able to stay and survive).

The escape pod is essentially a missile with a descent system, and he winds up in a park, where a young woman (I want to say the protagonist is high school age and she's around college age) finds him and brings him back to her home. It seems that his father saved her at some point in the past and so she agreed to monitor a particular frequency, retrieve the escape pod, keep him safe, etc. I want to say that she's either a doctor, or studying to be one, and that she has a steady boyfriend or fiancee (the protagonist doesn't really show any romantic interest in her, but she establishes that she's taken early on with the assumption that otherwise he'd assume something romantic). After that, my memory is hazy other than that the protagonist winds up being attacked by more robots, including I think a spider-based one that he manages to take out by virtue of coating its sensors in paint while climbing on shelves in a hardware shop to escape it. Eventually, he learns that the villain who is after him has an origin with direct ties to his father — I think that either the villain was a scripted opponent sponsored by the government to prop up the hero or was a former hero turned bad — and that his mother died at the villain's hands, possibly in front of him, refusing to tell the villain where to find her husband. I don't remember if this was something he'd blocked out, that had been wiped from his memory, or simply not revealed to the reader until then.

I also don't remember exactly how it ends, although I think he does reunite with his father, and they reconcile. The protagonist is still bitter about having been mewed up for so long but also understands the danger, and the father realizes that hiding so much from his son, and barring him from resources, has put him in danger. I don't know if the villain was defeated at the end, and I got the impression that the series would continue, although I don't think I read any other books.

1 Answer 1


Crimson Son (2014) by Russ Linton...?

It's the first book in the Crimson Son series.

From Goodreads:

His mother kidnapped, his superhero father absent, powerless Spencer launches into a world of battle robots and weaponized humans to uncover the truth.

Armed with only a multi-tool and an arsenal of weapons-grade snark, Spencer takes on his superpowered father's robotic nemesis to try and uncover the fate of his mother. Along the way he rallies a team of retiree superheroes and everyday people living in the shadow of a weapons program gone wrong.

Before the dust settles every superhero and supervillain will come together for a Jerry Springer style Ragnarok. On the brink of Armageddon, with his mother's very existence at stake, Spencer stumbles into the true mastermind's web and discovers he's been the prey all along.

Crimson Son isn't your typical superhero novel. Fast-paced, engaging, with all the action you'd expect but set in a believable world helmed by a vulnerable hero with an unmistakable voice. Mr. Robot meets the Winter Soldier in this unique superhero series you'll love.

From a Goodreads user review:

19-year-old Spencer Harrington is the powerless son of the world’s strongest Augment (a superpowered being) known as Crimson Mask. Two years prior, Spencer’s mom was abducted by the supervillain Black Beetle, and ever since her abduction, his father has kept him hidden away in an ice bunker located in Antarctica. Spencer’s dad is a hero, but they have a complex, almost antagonistic relationship with each other. Spencer blames his father for his mother’s disappearance and for never being there. Spencer’s dad has control issues and believes that he has to micromanage every bit of Spencer’s life when he is around for his safety. When his dad leaves the ice bunker for more supplies, Spencer comes under attack and is thrust into the world that his father has mostly tried to keep him safe from, and he has to learn to rely on his own wits to find out what happened to his mother and to make peace with his father.


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