Children of the Atom by Wilmar Shiras

Wilmar Shiras’s Children of the Atom is a hard book to come by. It had been out of print for quite some time until relatively recently. I now only have four books left to read on this list. Thankfully, I can find them all in the Cleveland library system.

Apparently this novel served as a foundation and creative spark for The X-men comic. A bunch of adolescents turn out to be super-geniuses due to some radiation accident that ended up killing all of their parents. They’ve all been forced, to some degree or another, to hide their literally incalcuable mental largesse from society. A psychologist tumbles to this fact with one boy, befriends him, finds out the background, and starts to search for other kids like this. The group he finally gets together is filled with geniuses of differing talents and differing psychological stability. Some lunatic televangelist calls them witches, but they defuse/diffuse the mob that comes to get them and decide to remingle with society in order that people will be less likely to hate what they do not know.

As the writing goes, it is very simple 1950s style, almost like a young adult science fiction novel, but there are conversations among the kids that read more like some of my blog posts. They debate Aquinas quite a bit, rip apart Poe’s The Raven and jump from debating Absolute Zero thermodynamically against Absolute Zero mathematically, to a debate on The Absolute, period. It is also relatively short, knocking about at around 200 pages. Worth a read, but I don’t think spot 14 on the list is the correct one.

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