This week the Christian Science Fiction Fantasy Blog Tour is discussing The Enclave by Karen Hancock. I’ve followed Karen’s blog for a number of years now and therefore watched, from a distance, as she wrote and edited this novel. She’s a SOTP (seat-of-the-pants) writer and the frustration often came through in her blog posts as she struggled to put together the various parts of the novel into a seamless whole.
You know what? I wouldn’t have guessed. The Enclave would hold together under a microscope, with bits of adventure, intrigue, and romance woven together into a solid and satisfying story. Here’s the opening paragraphs:
Cameron Reinhardt is an idiot!
Yes, but he had a PhD from Stanford. Yes, he was widely acknowledged as a brilliant geneticist. Yes, Director Swain called him the field’s brightest rising star, the Institute’s greatest asset, and a fabulous hiring coup. But this wasn’t the first time Lacey McHenry wondered how the man managed get up in the morning and make it to his office fully clothed.
She stood in the frog room’s open doorway, a large, rectangular steel tank hulking against the peach-colored wall across from her. One of its three hinged covers stood open, propped back against the wall. Live frogs and toads scattered the concrete floor beneath it, watching her with bulging golden eyes; more of them had trailed slime onto the gleaming floor of the corridor behind her in their break for freedom.
Apparently Dr. Reinhardt had come in sometime that afternoon and forgotten to close not only the lid but the door, as well. She pictured him collecting his subjects and hurrying off to his wet lab at the hall’s end, heedless as a teenaged boy. Never mind that all the remaining amphibians could and did escape; never mind someone else would have to clean them up.
Surely he was living proof that a man could be a genius and a moron at the same time.
Through Lacey’s discovery and thoughts we see Reinhardt (the other main character), at the very beginning of the novel, the way all his colleagues at the Institute see him. Even when Lacey is faced with the intruder responsible for the frog tanks, we are still left wondering if this is really who Reinhardt is, or whether there is more to him than that.
Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this month’s tour, and if you’re interested, click some of the other blogger’s links from yesterday.