By far my most favourite post-apocalyptic novel, Emergence was written in 1981 and follows the life of Candidia Maria Smith-Foster, an eleven-year-old girl, who is unaware that she’s a Homo post hominem, mankind’s next evolutionary step. Hominems have higher IQs, they’re stronger, faster, more resistant to illness and trauma, and have quicker reflexes. Their eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell are superior as well.
By the time the narrative opens, Candy has acquired a high school education, some college, and learned karate, having achieved her Fifth Degree Black Belt from her neighbor, 73-year-old Soo Kim McDivott, who she is led to believe is merely a retired schoolteacher. McDivott, whom she calls “Teacher”, is actually the discoverer of the H. post hominem species, and has identified and continues to mentor and lead a group of them, the AAs. As part of her karate training, she has learned to release her hysterical strength, which permits brief bursts of nearly superhuman activity.