What if suddenly it was discovered that a small percentage of the population, through some quirk, could enable others to do amazing things? How would the world react? Would they be revered? Feared? Studied? Turned into celebrities? Go into seclusion? Be hunted? And what would the people they enabled do with their new abilities? And what would they do to keep those powers?
This is what C.D. Lind explores in his first book, “The Enablers.” But don’t expect a Heroes-esque tale of good vs. evil, rather it’s more a study of how humanity reacts to something new, and if you have knowledge of history, you probably already have an idea of where this story is going.
Comparisons to the Holocaust, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and many other social causes and issues are all paralleled here. some deftly and some bluntly. The story of the enablers, people who bestow special powers and enhanced abilities on others merely though touch, and proximity, are seen as angels by some, demons by others, and weapons of mass destruction by others still, is being recapped in this novel. The story begins at the ending, in a “post-enabled” world, five years after the world discovered about the existence of these people, and the history is being explored by reporter Michael McDermott.
McDermott goes and seeks out key players in the Enablers story. Each person he talks to tells him a different part of the Enablers’ story. From the discovery of the first case of a young girl enabling super strength, in a small town in rural Arkansas, to the creation of “Exclusion Zones” to prevent Enablers from coming into contact with normal people, (Enablers can’t enable one another) and the disastrous results that come from it. He talks to enablers, and the enabled, priests and reporters all to find out the bigger picture. Each tale is engaging, and sometimes surprising, but seldom to the threads come together, which is the one way I was disappointed in what was enjoyable story. I wanted to see the bigger story come together, and become something bigger than its parts. McDermott is mostly passive, only relaying the stories of those he talks to. Each section is told in the first person, by the interviewee, presumably to McDermott, and sometimes the voices of each person gets a little generic. Each tale is different, but voices of the storyteller start to sound the same, whether they are a doctor, a reporter, or a high ranking member of the Catholic Church.
This novel, the first from writer C.D. Lind, is a good effort, and as he writes more, he will almost certainly get better. The story behind how the book was written and published is just as interesting as the book itself. Lind, a software engineer,wrote about the process in his blog. He is self publishing, with his book available for most eReaders via iTunes and Amazon. It can also be purchased as a softcover, for those of you, like myself, who like to buy real books.