Hey Everyone!! :-)
It's the 18th again, so time for my monthly #IndieBooksBeSeen indie author book review! Enjoy! :-)
Supernormal by Stuart Kenyon:
After the events of Subnormal, Paul Kelly and his brother's widow, Jenni, are trying to raise her non-verbal, autistic son in post-war England. The country is reeling after their civil war and the bombing by Russia, and times are tough. The public's memories of the horrors of life under the Unity party and the dictator, Alison Latham, are fading, and people are looking for someone to blame for their current troubles. Will that scapegoat turn out to be the very people who rescued them from slavery?
What do you do if you're accused of a crime that you're innocent of, but the entire media seems bent on spreading a false narrative in which you're guilty? What happens when facts cease to matter and no one bothers to consider the evidence? How do you convince people of the truth when you aren't allowed to have a voice? These are just some of the questions that Supernormal seeks to explore.
Once again, Stuart Kenyon explores some of the most frighteningly relevant themes in our current political climate. The effect of a corporate media beholden to the government is examined. When those in power have a stranglehold on information, what happens when they lie to the people? And how long does it take before an oft-repeated lie is widely accepted as the truth?
Mr. Stuart also uses Supernormal to explore one of the ugliest parts of human nature. Namely, the inevitable search for a scapegoat during difficult times and how that tendency can be used by those who seek to control and manipulate others for their own ends. And how easily people allow themselves to be deceived this way simply through complacency and a lack of healthy skepticism towards claims made by those in power.
This book repeatedly brought to mind parallels in current events. The way Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent seemed to play out with terrifying accuracy during this last election was something that I thought of often while reading Supernormal. The way the media manipulated voters and how evidence and facts were rarely asked for or offered.
But the scariest thing, to me, were the similarities I saw between how those classified as Subnormal were talked about and treated in this story and how certain minority groups are being treated and spoken of now. Because Mr. Kenyon is correct. When people are in hard times, they do look for someone to blame. And someone with bad intentions can use that to cause a lot of harm. Hitler did it with the Jews in Nazi Germany. And, from his rhetoric, I fear that Donald Trump is trying to do it now with Muslims and Mexicans.
The problem is, as Mr. Kenyon's story illustrates, it isn't those in worse circumstances who cause the trouble. It's those who benefit from that trouble, those in power, who cause it. And all scapegoating innocent minorities does is allow those who would fleece a populace for their own ends to continue doing so without interference or being held responsible for their actions.
As is also demonstrated in Supernormal, those who speak the truth under such circumstances are rarely thanked. In fact, people tend to resent them for making them feel uncomfortable. But facts don't depend on popularity, they are what they are. And Mr. Kenyon did a fabulous job of underscoring that conundrum.
Once again, this was a riveting, thought-provoking story that I thoroughly enjoyed. The action was a little slower to build in this book than it was in Subnormal, but it's definitely worth the wait. If I had one criticism, it would be that I don't think Mr. Kenyon's portrayal of a post-nuclear attack is terribly realistic. If Russia truly nuked England, I doubt very much anyone would be able to live there afterwards, or anywhere else in Western Europe, for that matter. And that's if it was a relatively restrained attack. But this is fiction, so that's probably a minor detail. Overall, this is definitely another five star read by Mr. Kenyon, and I can't wait to see how this series ends!