HOW LIKE A GOD, by Brenda W. Clough (Tor/Tom Doherty, $22.95), begins like a hip young adult novel. Rob and his wife Julianne are stressed-out suburban parents of 18-month-old twins. When Rob, a computer programmer, first notices that he can read and control other people's minds, he immediately compares himself to his favorite comic-book hero, the Amazing Spider-Man. When the downside of his new-found mental muscle becomes more apparent -- in his presence the twins start turning unnaturally bright -- he begins talking about "the weirdness."
Forced to abandon wife and children to save them from himself, he eventually meets an open-minded scientist who helps him discover the surprising source of his ever-growing power. At this point the story takes a turn that it would be unfair to reveal. Suffice it to say that Rob and Ed make an unusual pair of adventurers, and that despite a tendency to bite off more than she can chew, Ms. Clough has an appealingly cheeky imagination.