web analytics

Invisible People

It’s an oldie for sure, but being invisible is still an irresistible concept, isn’t it? If we’re honest, I bet at one time or another we’ve all imagined what it would be like to be able to roam around unseen. You naturally focus on the freedom it’ll give you, and your mind might start exploring all the voyeuristic possibilities – all the things you could do and the places you could go… who you’d eavesdrop on, what you’d watch, what you’d try to get away with.

Don’t tell me you wouldn’t be tempted. If, for some impossible, inexplicable reason you suddenly couldn’t be seen or heard by anyone else, you’d want to take full advantage, wouldn’t you?

Wouldn’t you?

See, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Despite being predicated on their transparency, I think the benefits of invisibility on an individual would be hard to see. Other than a brief honeymoon period where it might have some novelty value, I think being invisible would be a frigging nightmare.

The Invisible Man in the 1933 movie adaptation of the H G Wells novel.

Though we might not always feel like it, we’re social creatures at heart. Whether we like it or not, we all depend to a greater or lesser extent on being around other people. Even the most solitary of us would have to try pretty hard to exist without the occasional face-to-face interaction. Heck, if you were invisible, you’d have to be more aware of other people precisely because they wouldn’t be aware of you. Cars won’t stop for you if you’re crossing the road. You’re not going to get any help at the hospital if you get sick or break your invisible leg. Okay, so the Internet makes getting hold of stuff and getting things done easier and more anonymous, but if no one can see you you’re still going to encounter problems at some point as you try to get food and keep a roof over your head. On a practical basis, you’re likely going to be out of a job. I guess you could resort to a life of crime and just steal what you need, but I think the novelty would wear off quick. A life of luxury’s going to be dull if you’re invisible and no one can see you to share it with you. Maybe you could stowaway on a plane and escape to paradise, but you won’t be travelling business class, and you’ll be forever scavenging to survive on scraps when you reach your eventual destination.

And there’s another danger, isn’t there? If you stay put and you’re around people who know you but don’t realise you’re there, they’ll likely behave differently to how you remember. In all probability, they’ll be more honest. If you’re eavesdropping and they’re talking about you and where you might have gone, you’ll likely get the raw, unedited truth about what they actually thought of you. It might not be pretty. It might be hurtful, and because to all intents and purposes you won’t be there, you won’t have any right of reply. You’ll just have to suck it up.

And those people you were closest to in your pre-invisible life… what are they really going to be like? For the first time, you’ll be seeing them without a filter. It might be that they’re not the people you thought they were. Your understanding of events might be very different from reality. What are they really searching for online? Where do they go when they leave the house each morning? Who do they talk to, and what do they talk about? The reality of your world might be very different from what you experienced when you were a part of it.

Now imagine your invisibility isn’t a temporary thing. It’s not something you can turn on and off at will. Imagine you’re stuck like this forever. You’re there but you’re not there, existing only on the periphery of reality, able only to watch and not interact. You’re SHADOWLOCKED.

My new novel SHADOWLOCKED is out now. It’s a million miles removed from H G Wells’ invisible man story, but I can’t deny there are some common themes. Imagine being trapped in your world but no one knows you’re there. All you can do is observe and watch everyone else’s lives going on without you, filling in the gaps where you used to be.

Is a person who’s there but who can’t be seen or heard anything more than a ghost?

You can find out more about the book here. Print, eBook, and signed copies are available.