Apart from the wonderful and almost purely science fiction The Dark Beyond the Stars
, Frank M. Robinson's novels tend toward various subgenres of the thriller--such as techno (The Glass Inferno
), espionage (Death of a Marionette
), and anthropological (Waiting
)--albeit with significant science fiction elements.
The Power is a science fiction thriller about a malevolent superhuman, a mutant masquerading as normal man. In this guise, the superman penetrates a secret committee convened to test the limits of human endurance--and therefore keeps tabs on the government's efforts to find those like him. One of the committee members begins to get an inkling that something isn't quite as it should be, setting off a paranoid and paranormal cat-and-mouse game with all the players wondering who to trust--for here, what you see is most definitely not what you get. Several innocents die, and the novel ends on a chilling note with a previously sympathetic character shedding his humanity with as little regret as a snake sheds its skin.
This was Robinson's first novel, written in his late twenties and first published in 1956, now updated and rereleased. If the reader can ignore the jarring inconsistencies which result from the superficial rewrite--characters calling each other Mac but having fought in the Gulf War, women acting like '50s molls but with birthdates in the '60s--then this is not a bad example of its kind. It is focused, fast-moving, and armed with just enough wish-fulfillment to please all those who dream of the day the world will recognize their obvious superiority. --Luc Duplessis
"I've always maintained that Frank M. Robinson's The Power was one of the best terror tales ever told. Waiting is even better, rich with character, suspense and constant surprise. This is one of the best chillers of the entire decade." --Ed Gorman, Mystery Scene