in the 1980s George R. R. Martin instigated a series of books titled
Wild Cards. In these "mosaic novels" each
story or chapter was written by a different author. Here's the premise:
An alien virus strikes the Earth just after WW II endowing some victims,
the Aces, with superhuman powers. The Jokers, however, were cursed
with strange mental or physical disfigurements. It sounds a little
silly, and yet there were some really good stories there. Father Squid,
a Joker, was a minor character to be sure, but a rather tragic figure,
and photogenic enough to capture my imagination.
Have you ever noticed how when you frist step outside
on a hot summer morning in the city the air smells like burnt rubber?
No? You mean it's just me?