Giving a character a supernatural, or otherwise extraordinary, power is a classic. It’s used so often it’s a cliché set-up for a wide range of genre stories. There seems to be two basic “origins” of these powers. One, it came about naturally — Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse character is born with her mind-reading ability. Or, two, it’s a metamorphosis with a specific cause, like Spiderman’s spider bite. This can be an accidental transformation or an intentional change. I’d say that the most famous of the intentional variation is H.G. Wells’ “Invisible Man.”

When I was researching candidates for additional novellas in my Candy’s Monsters series I read it and, as with Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde and Poe’s short stories, I had to strip away the layers and layers of stories and movies based on the original tale. I had two immediate responses to Wells’ book — the 1933 film starring Claude Raines was significantly closer to the original than I’d anticipated, and no new, fresh, interesting approach to the story jumped out at me. This is not to say I won’t come up with one, eventually. I just didn’t have a EUREKA moment.

Still, it did get me thinking about enhanced senses and the downside of being so far outside the range of normal. I’m particularly fond of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and her mind reading episode is a case in point. At first it’s fun to hear what people are thinking until the constant hum of internal monologues begins to drive her crazy. Wells power-mad scientist goes down the same road in his invisible state.  He feels superior and disconnected at the same time.

Given the opportunity would you take the risk and experience a supernatural power? Would you want to pass through walls, hear the thoughts of people around you, fly, become invisible, predict the future…. Would you gamble on surviving the downside of your new power?


  1. I don’t think I’d like any of those supernatural powers, but boy would I love to be able to fly. 🙂 I can’t really see a downside to flying, which should make it safe enough, unless someone takes a potshot at me during duck hunting season!

    • Candy Korman

      I guess the pot shots would be the downside of flying — that and dealing with your sudden arrivals at unexpected places. LOL… might be fun!

  2. I liked the take on invisibility and the derangement that comes from not having to look at yourself in the mirror, from the movie Hollow Man.

    The talk of fantastical powers always brings me back to childhood dreams of becoming a superhero. The question becomes more, would you rather have utility or become a weapon. The thought of being able to hurl fireballs sounds cool but there is really only one use for that. Flight or invisibility offer other possibilities for what you can do.

    • Candy Korman

      Having never dreamed of becoming a superhero, I somehow missed your apt observation — the weapon or utility issue. The more appealing supernatural powers are the ones that allow for a wider range of uses. Weapon-grade powers are simply scary. In real life the angry Hulk-type is not a hero — he’s a scary, angry dude.

  3. No supernatural powers for me, thanks 😉 I’m more of a what would I do with three wishes type of person. I do have one idea I’ve been kicking around for years in my brain about a character with a supernatural power, but who knows if it will ever reach the page.

    • Candy Korman

      A three wishes situation — classic! Especially when the wishes must be very specific or they backfire!

      I’ve tried my hand at a character with something extra going on. It’s tricky when you aim for a realistic context. Of course if everything and everyone is a little magical… the surrounding context invites a mind reader, a flyer, an invisible man…