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Psionics

 
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Fist and Faith
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:33 pm    Post subject: Psionics Reply with quote

I've been into psionics lately. Maybe others will be at some point, so I figured I'd make a thread. Here's what I've read so far.



Galactic Milieu, by Julian May
Intervention
Jack the Bodiless
Diamond Mask
Magnificat

My favorite of all. The rise of "operancy" in humanity. There have always been those who could astral-project, read minds, etc. But now it's getting more common and more powerful. Which attracts the attention of the Galactic Milieu - various other operant species from other planets. It follows various genetic lines; powerful individuals; organizations; the reactions of the rest of humanity... I haven't read the four books of The Sage of Pliocene Exile, which she wrote first, and of which the Milieu is a prequel and sequel. Maybe Av can tell us if it's any good?


Patternist series, by Octavia Butler
Wild Seed
Mind of My Mind
Clay's Ark
Patternmaster

Last book was written first, set... well, maybe a couple centuries in the future. Then she wrote the others, to show how it all came about. Very different stories, beginning a few centuries ago, involving a character who's a few millennia old. All pretty cool.


Warhammer 40K
There's tons of books, by many different authors, to flesh out the backstory of the tabletop game. An important part of the whole mythos are the psykers; people (and other beings) whose minds have a connection with the empyrean (another realm of existence). They can tap into that realm, and use its power in various ways. The God-Emperor, aka Emperor of Mankind, is among the most powerful psykers in the history of life, although we don't see much of him. But there are Inquisitors, Space Marine "Librarians", other humans, beings of other realms and worlds...


Dying Inside, by Robert Silverberg
Great book! David Selig is unique, born with the ability to read minds. But that ability is fading away as he ages. We meet him when he's in his 40's, and learn about his life. Not an upbeat character or story. Also, Silverberg's intro pointed me to many of the others I've read.


The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham. One of my favorites so far. All kind of weird mutations happening in a post-apocalyptic future, with religious hardliners trying to stop it. Meanwhile, there's a few telepaths cropping up.


The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester
I'd heard of Bester, but never read anything by him. As I was reading this, I was thinking, "This is good!" Turns out it won the Hugo in 1953. Heh. So there's many "peepers" in the world. The world is actually adjusting to this bit of evolution fairly well, unlike many other books. A guy who is not a telepath wants to murder someone. A very difficult thing with so many people who can read minds. Hiding his tracks takes a whole lot of planning!


Pilgrimage, by Zenna Henderson. The People are from another world. It was destroyed in some unexplained natural disaster. Some reached Earth. But the ships were damaged, didn't do well upon entry into our atmosphere, and various Groups managed to reach the ground in lifeboats. They don't know if there are others who survived. And they have to figure out how to live safely; not revealing their alien nature, while trying to maintain their own culture/religion/ways.


The Whole Man, by John Brunner. Another good one. The world knows about telepathists. (No idea why he added the ist.) They are extremely rare, and work for the good of humanity. Often trying to defuse situations before war starts. Also working as really good therapists. The book is about the most powerful of them. As is often the case, life is not wonderful for those with power.


Slan, by A.E. van Vogt
One of those books where those who can't read minds are not okay with the fact that others can. Very bad feelings all around. It focuses on one "slan", a child when the book starts, who can't seem to find any others. Not for lack of trying.


More Than Human, by Theodore Sturgeon. Pretty cool. Various psionic powers, but it's about more than people with powers.


The Hampdenshire Wonder, by J.D. Beresford
Not technically psionics, but the themes of uniqueness, strangeness, isolation, fear, etc, are the same. A child is born who is brilliant beyond all description and all other humans who ever lived.


Odd John, by Olaf Stapledon
John finds others, and finds an island for them to live on. Things don't go well, alas. I seem to like the writing from the late 19th and early 20th Century. Unfortunately, he should've written a much bigger book, so various elements could've been explored a lot more. Still, a good read.


Poor Superman, by Fritz Lieber
Short story. Not all that great, imo, but not too bad. Post-WWIII, high-tech that's not high-tech.


Ubik, by Philip K. Dick. This one was just plain crazy. Laughing


Sentience, by Terry A. Adams
A first contact story. The human is a telepath, from a planet of telepathic humans. Good job of showing what might happen when trying to relate to a species with entirely different ways of thinking, living, everything.


The Telepath Chronicles, edited by David Gatewood
An anthology of short stories, most of which were written for the anthology. A pretty good range of ideas. I particularly liked a couple that were about high-tech implants that gave telepathy. I also enjoyed a couple about natural telepathy.
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Last edited by Fist and Faith on Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:04 am; edited 9 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like all of those, [that I've been exposed to] for different reasons...obviously some are deeper/more creative/challenging than others....
I read the P. Exile first, and recommend them all the time to folk. Without giving too much away, there's a blurring of "good/bad" in characters that I like a lot. There are differences between them style/focus-wise...but I think you would like the other series, too.

I have my problems with Butler...but the 2 I've read of that group are decent.

Warhammer I've only read a couple, but the games [table and vid] can be fun.

Silverberg is love/hate for me...I loved that one though. [and the Valentine set...which has mental/psioni-ish aspect...and a couple others]

Don't know the Lieber short story...but I'm gonna hunt it down now. I think he's great...not great at "predictive tech/science" stuff...but one of the early attempts at moving the genre into decent writing/stories. [IMO--many "hard" fans don't LIKE that shift].

How do you feel about the later "Foundation" books???
I'd kinda count them as "psionic" if I were forced to put odd powers/attributes/evolution under a label.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been so many years since I read the Foundation Trilogy, and didn't read more than those three, that I can't really say. I remember a couple psionic scenes, which were cool, but that's about it.

Warhammer's really not the best literature out there, even if a small percentage of the books are. But some of the psykers are great. Psykers in a good percentage of the books, in fact, but not usually the focus or overly important. Sometimes they are, though. The hugely powerful Mephiston and Tigurius; less powerful Ravenor, and a couple villains he fights that are stronger than him.

If you have Nook, I can lend Lieber to you.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, try Frank Herbert's The Priests of Psi and The Godmakers.

(One of those might be part of the other, I can't remember.)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like Godmakers is a rewrite of four short stories, including Priests of Psi. I bought PoP on Kindle before I knew that. And it says this edition updated the language?? So they don't record things on tape? Give me a break. I don't need anybody to update the language for me! At least is was only $2.99. I also got Godmakers, which was $4.99. I'd heard of that one, but hadn't found it in the used store yet. heh
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked it. I also have them both. Laughing

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a new series that's a reboot of an old British SF series called The Tomorrow People. I haven't seen the new one (Episode 1 was just a week or two ago), but the old was decent in a campy sort of way.

In the old series, the psi powers were fairly limited - low-range teleportation (augmentable with technology); telekinesis - low mass-moving power, but very precise (could reassemble a broken crystal); full telepathic communication between psi's, and limited reading of non-psi. Came with a major balancer - fully "broken out" psi's were constitutionally incapable of murder.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'd heard that there was going to be another show based on that. Not that I've seen any of the others, but maybe I'll check this one out.

Just read Sentience, by Terry A. Adams. A first contact story. The human is a telepath, from a planet of telepathic humans. Good job of showing what might happen when trying to relate to a species with entirely different ways of thinking, living, everything.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The emergence of psionic abilities will always result in either the eventual enslavement or extermination of all psis at the hands of normals or the psis becoming lords over the normals. The paranoia among normals will be too high to resist and the psis will have to react out of self-preservation. Unless, of course, everyone is a psi, in which case things continue as they are now only more so--some people will cheat, lie, steal, and murder with their psi abilities just like they do now just like some people will help others and try to improve the quality of the lives of those around them.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed all around. You can't expect me to be happy if there are people who can know what's in my mind. And you can't expect those who can read minds to not. May as well ask me not to use my ears or eyes. It's just (or would be Laughing) the way things are. Heck, they'd be reading each others' minds. The kind of privacy we know wouldn't exist. There would have to be a change in the attitude of this new humanity.

Kind of like the internet. Heh. Hey, without much trouble, we can all find out an awful lot about other people. In many cases: how much you paid for your house; salary; pictures of you and your family... Those who know how can find a ton more than that. SS#; credit card info; bank info... We need a different way of thinking of privacy.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree on the ultimate fate tree regarding Psi vs Non. That was a place where the TP tried to instill some "balance" with the intrinsic "thou shalt not kill" imperative. Unfortunately, that wouldn't assuage the Normals' fears, but makes self-defense almost impossible. Now, who's up for a nice witch hunt?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect any such mindreading power would include with it the ability to at least detect, if not actively block its use on one's self.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not. Heh. And in the novel that I'm (ever so lazily) writing, it's not.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read Philip K. Dick's Ubik and John Wyndham's The Chrysalids in the last couple weeks.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human. Now reading Pilgrimage, by Zenna Henderson.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just read The Whole Man, by John Brunner. Added to the op.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Took a break from Olaf Stapledon's Odd John. Not sure why I did that. Anyway, just finished it. Pretty good.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read The Telepath Chronicles. It's an anthology of short stories, most of which were written for the anthology. A few were very good. Particularly the ones about telepathy (and other things) being due to high tech implants. Some are in the same settings as other books by the authors. All in all, a good, very quick read.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
I've read Philip K. Dick's Ubik and John Wyndham's The Chrysalids in the last couple weeks.

Wow, haven't read that one since high school. Wonder if it's worth a repeat performance ...
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chrysalids is among my favorites. For whatever that's worth. Heh.
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