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Literature / The New Humans

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A tale of young superhumans in the 1960s

"Dum inter homines sumus, colamus humanitatem."
"As long as we are among humans, let us be humane,"
Herbert Lawrence, headmaster of the New Human Institute

The New Humans.

An original web serial story by The Wizard of Woah, starting in 2016.

Allison Kinsey is an eight-year-old girl incarcerated at the McClare Demi-Human Containment Center for study of her power, copying the skills of others by listening to their "song." If the researchers had any idea what she could really do, it's unlikely they would have ever put her there. Fortunately, she is taken from that place to the New Humans Institute, a school for superhuman children like her.

The New Humans contains examples of:

  • Acid Attack: Basilisk sweats acid that can't seriously harm people but does tend to destroy his clothing and any paper he handles.
  • The Adjectival Superhero: The Flying Man.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Zigzagged with Billy. He has tiger-fur, a tail, sharp claws and teeth, and a powerful roar, but his other two superpowers aren't particularly tiger themed.
  • Art Initiates Life: Mabel's "tridimensional enhancement". She doesn't even need to be the one to draw the object. Doesn't work with photographs.
  • Beware the Superman: A very mild example, but among all the unambiguously good things the Flying Man did his global nuclear disarmament really freaked people out.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": Happens a few times as children are speaking to each other. Mabel is particularly prone to this.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: A panicking teen tries this to escape Melusine. Given she's a powerful hydrokinetic it doesn't go well.
  • Cape Punk: Definitely fits the genre, as the story examines the logical consequences of supers.
  • Chest Insignia: The Flying Man has one, in the shape of a diamond. No one is sure of its significance, if there's one.
  • Child Prodigy: Allison attracted attention by being too good, even for a prodigy.
  • Code Name: Oddly enough, Dr. Lawrence not only assigns an appropriate name to all of his students but insists they use it on an every day basis.
  • Differently Powered Individuals: The official term is "demi-humans". Dr Lawrence finds it insulting and prefers "new humans" or "posthumans". "Supers" and "demis" are common shorthand slang.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Maelstrom and Melusine. As the names imply, it's of the watery flavour.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Guess what the Physician's job at the Institute is. The Flying Man also falls in this category.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: Melusine is French and very beautiful. The narration even cracks a Titanic joke when describing her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Sprinkled with some good ol' fashioned racism (and sexism, and classism) for flavor.
  • Footnote Fever: In every chapter until "The Battle of Avon Valley". From silly jokes to quick character sketches to extra worldbuilding info.
  • Goo-Goo-Godlike: Around half of the child characters thus far, with special mention given to Joe and Ophelia, both of whom are introduced as magic babies capable of making people witness space-time.
  • Handshake Refusal: Basilisk won't shake anyone's hand when introduced. Turns out there's a good reason for that...
  • Historical Domain Character: New Kelly is referenced once, though only to emphasis the infamy of the supervillain AU.
  • Human Aliens: According to Lawrence and the Physician, several planets are thus populated. The Physician himself may or may not apply.
    • The Physician ultimately subverts this trope. He is an alien but his human form is really a disguise used to hide something much worse.
  • I Am Very British: Lawrence self-deprecatively explains to a surprised Allison that the Australian upper class likes to makes themselves as British as possible.
  • Land Downunder: Averted thus far. The story takes place in Australia, but it may as well be anywhere. There is a refreshing lack of stereotypes.
  • Last-Name Basis: Lawrence. He prefers it to Herbert.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: One of Billy's abilities.
  • Making a Splash: The core of Melusine and her son Maelstrom's powerset.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Maybe, a lot it still unknown about how and why people get powers.
  • Muggle Power: Demi-humans make up a tiny percentage of the population, but are feared and hated because of the highhanded acts of a few.
  • Mutant Draft Board: The DDHA, the Department of Demi Human Affairs. They can detain a suspect for eighteen months without proof of powers and are not above barging in an elementary classroom with guns.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Maelstrom, Basilisk, the Physician and every one of the younger Institute students except Allison, Mabel and Arnold.
  • Power Copying: Allison's power. Mundane abilities are permanently retained, but superpowers fade once out of range.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The researchers at McClare really just want to get through the day, collect their check and go home.
  • Shout-Out: To Superman, and several obscure Australian superhero comics, among others.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Physician.
  • Superhero School: The New Human Institute. Like Xavier's, it offers safe harbour and training to persecuted young supers. Of course, its actual purpose is much more sinister.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Maelstrom has inherited all his mother's powers. The jury's still out on whether he's also inherited his father's dubiously useful power.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Arnold, without many of the usual restrictions, but with the drawback that he can only teleport things other than himself. The New Human Institute also has a couple more conventional examples as students.