The Stranger Within

ALittleMoreHumanA Little More Human was a novel about a guy named Phil Snyder, Jr., who could read minds. During the week he worked as a lowly nursing assistant at a top-secret medical research facility. But on weekends, he slipped into his superhero costume and became Brainstorm.

Basically the story was about a man who discovered his true identity by hiding behind a mask. Which was kind of a twist. The only time Phil felt good was when he was in his snazzy Brainstorm suit.

It was a twist. But it wasn’t a total surprise. Everybody leads a double life, says our new favorite author Fiona Maazel: “We’re all chronic liars – to the world and more often to ourselves.” Never make the mistake of thinking you know someone, she says. Secrecy is the bedrock of humanity – just ask Bruce Wayne.

Phil could read minds, but he wasn’t nearly as powerful as the Martian Manhunter or Professor X. He couldn’t, for example, drill into someone’s brain halfway across the country. Friedrich Nietzsche would call him an overman, but Phil had done little to cultivate himself beyond what was thought to be his natural-born province of intellect and spirit. More often than not, he thought his mindreading skills were skeevy.

But with a little biotech nudge, Phil’s powers would eventually evolve. And his new “super” powers came in handy when he got tangled up in a conspiracy web involving his wife’s pregnancy, his mother’s death, his father’s dementia, and his best friend’s duplicity. In addition, photos were being circulated showing Phil’s involvement in a violent sexual assault incident. With or without the Brainstorm suit, our hero had to figure out a way to become a little more human.

The good news was that Phil finally figured it out. The bad news, however, was that he did so in the messiest way possible. He used his newly acquired “mind scraping” abilities to change lives and rewrite history to his advantage. Once again the hero prevailed. Shout hooray. But this time nobody cared except him.

[A Little More Human / By Fiona Maazel / First Printing: April 2017 / ISBN: 9781555977696]

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