All the World Needs Is a Glowing Blue Supermetal From Space

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By Ben H. Winters

THE NINTH METAL
By Benjamin Percy

There are many novels about the end of the world; much rarer are books that don’t destroy all life on Earth, just kind of screw around with it a little to see what happens. In Tom Perrotta’s “The Leftovers,” a sizable chunk of humanity goes poof; in Karen Thompson Walker’s lovely “The Age of Miracles,” the planet’s rotation inexplicably slows. Ask your favorite science-fiction fan about Wild Cards, a sprawling multi-author series that unspools in postwar America after an alien virus turns some people into mutants, others into superheroes.

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