The problem with superpowers . . .

What would your perfect superpower be? Ali Sparkes shares hers . . .


Fly? Be invisible? Able to spit acid? Or control other people’s bowel movements..?

I get asked a lot about the superpower I would choose if I could have one, so I’ve given it a lot of thought.

Most people fancy flying or telekinesis (being able to move things with the power of your mind) but hmmmm, I’m not so sure. They both seem like the kind of powers you’d be chucked in a concrete bunker for possessing . . .

If you want a nice life you really need to go for a superpower which won’t freak people out too much. Like . . . Instant Buns. You just stare hard at an empty plate and . . . fwip fwip fwip. . . a plateful of hot buns! Brilliant! Everyone would be your friend, especially if you could do assorted types of buns. And you would never go hungry and could set up your own bun shop with very low overheads.


sigh I can see I’m not getting you excited. Hungry, maybe, but not excited.

OK – so how about the power to SILENCE those really annoying continuity announcers who shout STUPID, OVEREXCITED THINGS over the emotionally charged music at the end of the brilliant film you’ve just given two hours of your life to?

You know what I mean. End of amazing and slightly sad movie . . . music swells . . . we’re left with a retreating view of mountains at sunset . . . and. . .

HEY! Don’t forget to stay tuned for news of KATIE PRICE’S latest boob job on KATIE, KATIE, OH DEAR GOD IT’S EVEN MORE KATIE! – right after the break!

I mean, yes, there’s the MUTE button but then you lose all the music and the atmos too.



How about it instantly turns the continuity announcer into a bowl of jelly at the same time? Yeah?

But that would be unkind. After all, they’ve got to earn a living somehow. It can’t be easy in that little cupboard. They probably secretly yearn to be doing the news on the BBC . . .

When I came up with the assorted superpowers for the COLAs in the Shapeshifter series. . . and now again in Unleashed . . . I knew that most of them were going to be troublesome. The worst is poor Mia’s power – being able to heal people. Imagine that. Imagine if you really could. It would be the most amazing thing but also the most terrible. You would forever feel it was your duty to be helping save people, just because you could – even though it cost you so much in energy and time and made you weak and ill if you overdid it. You’d be surrounded by the sick and ill, all desperate to use your gift. Your life would not be your own. You would really HAVE to keep that power secret.

And of course, telekinesis – as Luke and Gideon find out yet again in their brand new adventure out this month (Unleashed: Mind Over Matter) – is a whole bundle of problems once it gets out. Their talent for moving things with their minds is so amazing and so scary that they end up going everywhere with government minders, like the royal family! I’d hate that.

So, every time, I decide it’s got to be Dax’s power of Shapeshifting. Into animals which are not remarkable in the UK. Dax can fly, swim, run, scent danger and see 20 times better than in his human form whenever he’s shapeshifted. He can look after himself and his friends with his hunting skills and escape all kinds of danger.

And then he can become human again and seem very normal. Perfect!

Yup. Shapeshifting for me and before you ask, yes – to the same forms that Dax shifts to. I’ve thought about this, remember?

How about you? Would an amazing superpower really be worth the loss of anonymity – or the normality among your friends and family? Would the responsibility of it flatten you? Would enemies forever come after you? Would your own people for ever want to use you for their personal gain..?

Come on. Admit it. You’re weighing up Instant Buns again now, aren’t you?


Ali Sparkes grew up in Southampton and despite some exciting months in London and even more exciting months in Lowestoft (where she really experienced life on the edge), still lives in Southampton today, with her husband and two sons.

She has worked as a singer, journalist, broadcaster, magazine editor and the spangle-clad assistant to a juggling unicyclist (frighteningly, there is photographic proof).

Ali has many children’s fiction titles published by Oxford University Press including her SWITCH series, her award-winning novel Frozen in Time, and her heart-stopping new adventure series about a group of teenagers with special powers, Unleashed.

Visit Ali’s website
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Unleashed: Mind Over Matter is out now. Unleashed: Trick or Truth and Unleashed: A Life and Death Job will be published in April and August this year, with further Unleashed titles due for release in 2014.


One thought on “The problem with superpowers . . .

  1. The bun superpower would be ace but I think I would need an additional superpower of eating what I like without turning into a bun! Maybe that would have to be mine!

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