Psience Fiction

The Paranormal in Science Fiction Literature

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About the Book

Science fiction has often been considered the literature of futuristic technology: fantastic warfare among the stars or ruinous apocalypses on Earth. The last century, however, saw through John W. Campbell the introduction of “psience fiction,” which explores themes of mind powers—telepathy, precognition of the future, teleportation, etc.—and symbolic machines that react to such forces.
The author surveys this long-ignored literary shift through a series of influential novels and short stories published between the 1930s and the present. This discussion is framed by the sudden surge of interest in parapsychology and its absorption not only into the SF genre, but also into the real world through military experiments such as the Star Gate Program.

About the Author(s)

Damien Broderick is an Australian writer, editor and critical theorist, living in San Antonio, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Damien Broderick
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages:
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7228-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3197-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 7
1. Donald Macpherson (George Humphrey), Go Home, Unicorn (1935) 21
2. Olaf Stapledon, Odd John (1935) 24
3. E.E. Smith, The History of Civilization (1937/1951) 28
4. A.E. van Vogt, Slan (1940/1946/1968) 32
5. James Blish, Jack of Eagles (1949/1952) 37
6. James H. Schmitz, The Witches of Karres (1949/1966) 42
7. Alfred Bester, The Demolished Man (1952) 45
8. Zenna Henderson, The People (1952) 50
9. J.T. McIntosh, The ESP Worlds (1952) 52
10. Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human (1953) 55
11. Mark Clifton and Frank Riley, They’d Rather Be Right (1953–1956) 59
12. Mark Clifton, “What Thin Partitions” to “Remembrance and Reflection” (1953–1958) 63
13. Wilson Tucker, Wild Talent (1954) 67
14. James H. Schmitz, The Ties of Earth (1955) 69
15. John Wyndham, The Chrysalids/Re-Birth (1955) 72
16. Robert A. Heinlein, Time for the Stars (1956) 73
17. Frank M. Robinson, The Power (1956) and Waiting (1999) 77
18. George O. Smith, Highways in Hiding (1956) 80
19. Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination (1956–57) 83
20. Lan Wright, A Man Called Destiny (1958) 87
21. Marion Zimmer Bradley, Darkover Series (1958–) 90
22. Jack Vance, “Parapsyche,” “The Miracle Workers” and “Telek” (1958) 92
23. Short Stories (1940s–1950s) 98
Katherine MacLean, “Defense Mechanism” (1949)  98
C.M. Kornbluth, “The Mindworm” (1950)  99
Walter M. Miller, Jr., “Command Performance” (1952)  100
Isaac Asimov, “Belief” (1953)  101
Algis Budrys, “Riya’s Foundling” (1953)  103
Cordwainer Smith, “The Game of Rat and Dragon” (1955)  104
Brian W. Aldiss, “Psyclops” (1956)  105
J.T. McIntosh, “Empath” (1956)  106
Poul Anderson, “Journeys End” (1957)  107
24. Mark Phillips (Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer), Brain Twister, Impossibles and Supermind (1959–1961) 108
25. Arthur Sellings, Telepath (1962) 112
26. Keith Woodcott, a.k.a. John Brunner, Crack of Doom/The Psionic Menace (1962–1963) 115
27. John Brunner, Telepathist/The Whole Man (1964) 118
28. Dan Morgan, The Sixth Perception Series (1967–75) 121
29. Richard Cowper, Breakthrough (1967) 127
30. Anne McCaffrey, Talents Universe (1968–) 130
31. Philip K. Dick, Ubik (1969) 133
32. Colin Wilson, The Philosopher’s Stone (1969) 138
33. Joanna Russ, And Chaos Died (1970) 142
34. Lester del Rey, Pstalemate (1971) 145
35. Robert Silverberg, Dying Inside (1972) 149
36. Katherine MacLean, Missing Man (1975) 152
37. Robert Silverberg, The Stochastic Man (1975) 155
38. Octavia Butler, Mind of My Mind (1976) 158
39. Joan D. Vinge, Psion (1982) 162
40. Lucius Shepard, Life During Wartime (1987) 164
41. Carrie Vaughn, After the Golden Age (2011) and Dreams of the Golden Age (2013) 167
42. Connie Willis, Crosstalk (2016) 169
43. Two Novels by Psychics (1978, 1998) 173
44. Short Stories (1960s–1990s) 178
Poul Anderson, “Night Piece” (1961)  178
Robert Silverberg, “Something Wild Is Loose” (1971)  180
C.J. Cherryh, “Cassandra” (1978)  181
Brian M. Stableford, “The Oedipus Effect” (1991)  182
Conclusion 184
Appendix 1: A Brief Guide to Paranormal Research 195
Appendix 2: Psi and Afterlife in Psience Fiction 207
Chapter Notes 218
References 223
Index 229

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Psience Fiction is a must for anyone who enjoys science fiction and has in interest in psi phenomena. Broderick is engaging, informative, witty, and stimulating as he brings us to understand more about the heritage that psi enjoys in the body of literature that has in many ways inspired—and predicted—the modern world in which we now live.”—Journal of Scientific Exploration.