When I found this book, I assumed it was going to be based on the Christopher Reeve movie – which would have been pretty cool. But it turned out I was wrong; it’s actually a completely unique story. And now that I’ve read it, I’m so glad it is.
The story takes place a few years after the original movies. Clark has been promoted, and is now a newscaster and producer for the 6 o’clock news. Lois is still with the Daily Planet, although she and Clark continue to meet for lunch every day. Lex Luthor spends his time breaking out of jail, hatching schemes and ending up back in jail. Superman is very old-school, doing over-the-top things with his powers to save the day. Those familiar with Superman’s history won’t have an issue with it, but new fans may find it a bit strange. All of that makes for an entertaining story, but Maggin added something to make it extra special. Or rather, he added someone.
Kal-El’s ship contained an advance drone, which arrived long before he did. It searched for the most intelligent person on Earth, and a message from Jor-El asked that person to raise his son. The drone found a kindly, elderly German man living in the States. Being too old to raise the baby himself, the man put on a disguise, headed out to the town where the ship was predicted to land, and took some time to find a nice couple whom he thought would do well. He then proceeded to trick the couple into being in the right place at the right time. With the baby now in the loving hands of the Kents, the old man went back to his life and no one was the wiser. All in a day’s work for Albert Einstein.
See?! Very cool. But Einstein isn’t just a neat cameo at the beginning of the book – the whole story is an Einstein love-fest. Which made this science geek very very happy!
Overall, the plot was engaging and entertaining – I would say it rivals today’s fiction in the same genre. This book is long out of print, but there appear to be some used copies available on Amazon. There’s even a sequel, which I managed to track down and order. I can’t wait to read it.