The mind is a powerful thing. It can lead people to accomplish tremendous things, both admirable and abominable. To do either, however, requires drive and focus. So what happens when you suddenly realize you’re consumed by a focus you have no memory of setting your mind to, something you are compelled to accomplish without understanding why?
That’s the situation facing three individuals in Confabulation. Once a happily married man and productive employee, Henry Adamson has become obsessed with the idea that his wife is in mortal danger. He can’t remember why he thinks this, but with every fiber of his being he knows it to be true.
Simon Klein and Carolyn Hansford are also having strange experiences. Simon is experiencing bizarre episodes of vision loss, while Carolyn is suddenly in possession of an amazing wealth of information she’s been able to leverage for financial gain, information she has no memory of obtaining.
On the surface the three seemingly have nothing in common, neither in relation to one another nor in the events they are experiencing. That is until they are each contacted by someone claiming to know what’s happening to them, someone who offers up fantastic tales of government conspiracies and a shadow organization manipulating psychic abilities. When events conspire to bring the three together they must figure out whom to believe, but how can you trust a stranger when you’re not even sure you can trust your own mind?
Confabulation is an uncomfortable read. How can it not be when the premise is that your own mind is playing tricks on you, tricks so vivid you’re convinced they’re real. That concept gets even more disturbing when the possibility arises that your mind is being externally manipulated by means and for reasons you don’t understand, and author Ronald Thomas (actually the pen name of R. Thomas Brown) does a great job conveying the conflicting emotions of determination and panic which overwhelm the characters. The events with Henry are particularly claustrophobic, as his determination to protect his wife from the attack he knows is imminent escalates to the point he abandons his job in order to spy on her 24/7 in effort to be constantly vigilant against the dangers he’s convinced are everywhere around her. It’s a painful look at a mind descending into madness.
If you’re a fan of shadow organizations and/or conspiracy theories, Confabulation offers them up in spades. Add to that an interesting exploration of the power of the mind, infused with a nice twist that psychic ability doesn’t merely exist but that it’s able to be remotely manipulated, and you more than have the makings for some serious psychological suspense.
Confabulation is available as an e-book at Amazon.