My Enemy's Eyes

Today’s post comes from Ellen Renner, who’s new novel TRIBUTE comes out next week. To celebrate its publication, Ellen has written a special short story to introduce to a world where magic is power, and the non-magical majority are oppressed and enslaved…


Story ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. You glimpse them as you go about your normal life. Sometimes a person’s face will spark a character; sometimes a news item will set your mind asking ‘what if’. Also, like most writers, I write about the themes that obsess me.

Tribute was a long time growing, a long time writing. Many ingredients went into its making: past story ideas combined with a longstanding desire to write about magic in opposition to technology. And, inevitably, I found myself focussing on one of my biggest obsessions: power and what it does to people who have too much of it.

Fantasy is the perfect form for examining our world. A writer can extract aspects of society and examine them in isolation – a sort of literary petri dish. I wanted to write about magic versus technology, but I wanted it to be ‘real’ magic: something that might actually happen in some alternative universe where the physics was just a bit different. So: no spells or incantations. In Tribute, I asked myself this question: Given a world where a small proportion of the population have a genetic ability to transform matter and control physical laws – a form of telekinesis – granting them almost unlimited power over the majority, what sort of society would exist? Not, I believe, a Harry Potter type magic community,  but something far, far darker.

Download MY ENEMY’S EYES here and let us know what you think @HotKeyBooks!