Telepathy. Just a far-fetched bit of science fiction “hocus pocus.” But is it? With today’s giant leaps forward in technology and biotechnology, with people constantly surrounded by sophisticated yet invisible communication networks, and with a rapidly increasing understanding of the brain’s inner workings . . . is it so hard to imagine that we might be able to develop direct mind-to-mind communication?
Or might it not be the case that evolution alone, in the right circumstances—if not on this planet, then on others—could give rise to creatures with telepathic abilities?
This collection of fourteen stories explores the ramifications of a future where telepathy is real. From that first glorious moment of discovery, to the subsequent jealousies and class divisions, to the dangers of weaponization and the blessings of medical miracles, The Telepath Chronicles promises to take you inside the creative minds of some of today’s top science fiction authors.
Review 4 of 5 Stars
I really enjoyed several of the stories in this anthology. Given that there were stories by so many different authors, I’m just going to go through them as they come in the book.
#Don’tTell (Peter Cawdron)
This was an interesting take on how society would react to telepaths. As humans we often seek to control what we do not understand and this story is a good indication of that tendency. There are several things to consider when discussing the possibility of telepathy. One of the primary things to consider is that a person’s ability to lie to another would be greatly impeded. Additionally, to be an accepted part of society telepaths would need to limit themselves with regard to individual privacy of those they encounter. As with anything new, fear is often the precursor of understanding and this story does a good job of showing that. As readers of Peter Cawdron’s stories have come to appreciate, this story does not end as one would expect. It was a good kickoff to the anthology and put me in the right mindset for the stories to follow.
The Elm Tree (E.E. Giorgi)
This was a mystery as well as a telepath tale with several twists and turns. Dr. Celine Bent unexpectedly finds herself in an unusual situation as she tries to save a young girl in this story. Nothing is as she expects and the experience throws her for a loop for lack of a better explanation. County Sheriff Albert Contardo turns to Dr. Bent for help with the investigation. The revelations to come are intriguing. I enjoyed this story. I wasn’t surprised by the ending, but the writing was good it was a sign of good things to come as the second story of this anthology.
Stability (Theresa Kay)
Cora is an easy character to follow through this story. When we meet her, she has been a test subject for years and has willingly complied with the testing and limitation of her freedom. However, this attitude changes when Cora finds out that the end goal of those who care for her is to breed a stable telepath that can operate in the real world. An unexpected escape attempt by an outside group thrusts Cora into the center of the action when they decide to help her escape. Along the way Cora has to determine who to trust and whether she is safer as an escapee or a patient.
Dreampath (Elle Casey)
Kelli Erickson is a different sort of character, kind of apathetic with her overall regard of the world. She sleeps when she wants, enjoys delving into her dreams more than going our or making friends, has a job that accommodates her changing view on how much sleep she needs and is just an all around stay-at-home type. During one of her napping sessions Kelli’s peaceful snoozing is interrupted unexpectedly. What Kelli uncovers in between her naps may determine the course of the rest of her life. I don’t want to spoil the story so we’ll just have to leave it at that for this one.
Tortured (Nicholas Wilson)
This was a good all around science fiction story. The telepathy was a major part of the story’s backdrop, but the real story here was about personal acceptance and fear of the unknown. I really enjoyed the character study that took place here and feel the author did a good job of exploring not only the fears of those who might encounter a telepath, but also of the telepath herself and what she fears her capabilities may actually be.
The Locksmith (Susan Kaye Quinn)
The author put forth an interesting concept here. If the world were full of telepaths then there would most likely be some desire to protect oneself from their intrusions, especially for more unsavory dealings. This story takes us into the underworld of crime with Zeph, a mindjacker who locks and unlocks minds for a local gang. Zeph has a lot of decisions to make during this story and it was certainly a unique perspective.
Trauma Room (Samuel Peralta)
This was an interesting tale with some real world things to think about. Imagine that a major military leader has information in his head that can save the day and you’ll be on the right track for this story. I don’t want to ruin the story. This is a pretty short slice of life tale with lots to think about.
Venus in Red (Therin Knite)
I really enjoyed this story. It was an unexpected bonus for me in the book. Mick Grayson, head of Grayson Dynamics, is taking mankind on a one-way trip while he feeds his own sense of self-importance. Along comes someone to save the world from Mick and what a formidable enemy she is. This isn’t only a story about telepathy, but about artificial intelligence as well and was definitely a page turner. Aside from Therin Knite’s blog I hadn’t really read any of this author’s work, but was well pleased with this story and may go hunt down some more because of it. This is definitely an action-packed tale that was fleshed out nicely. If you enjoy stories that not only make you think, but also keep your pulse going then this might just be a story for you.
Decode (Autumn Kalquist)
This is a pretty emotional story. Geneticist Avia Sherman is pretty much involved in her own world of personal grief and desperately continuing research to help humanity. Along the way she is asked to consult on another case involving a young girl. What seems like an interruption may be the key to unlocking secrets that Avia desperately needs to continue her work.
The Null (Vincent Trigili)
The Null was a little bit darker tale of an operative with an interesting version of telepathy. I enjoyed this story and found myself following right along with the main character as he made his way through. Our character teams up with an unlikely character to complete his mission and protect his family. Once again, too short of a tale to give too much detail, but I enjoyed the story and the character.
Green Gifts (Endi Webb)
I enjoyed this story, but the tone reminded me of the Darkover series right off. I don’t know if that is fair or not, but that’s what it made me think of…that and Captain Jack Sparrow’s moving rocks from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I liked the story, but was a little distracted by my own thoughts of other stories and movies that this tale brought to the forefront as I read. You’ll have to decide about this one on your own.
Little Blue (Chris Reher)
Cyann is a great character. I really enjoyed the childish enthusiasm of this character. Cyann is a hybrid between humans and the Delphi. She is a very engaging character and this story was easy to enjoy. There’s some telepathy going on here, but there is a greater mystery that I would like to delve into with regard to this story. There is a completely unknown character involved in this story that is helping Cyann along. That is the character I want to know more about. There is a word from the author at the end of each of these stories and I have to agree with Chris Reher that space opera is about people. The author did a great job of showing the people in this story.
No More Lies (Nina Croft)
This story explores the inability of normal people to lie to telepaths. The normal humans in this story have developed a workaround for this problem, but when they start employing that workaround more and more questions arise for the telepaths working with them. What information are the others trying to hide from the telepaths and how will that affect them all going forward? This isn’t too long of a story. There is no original science fiction, but as there have been several different series that covered many of these elements I wasn’t at all surprised by the ending. Some elements of this story have been used from Dune to Futurama and I saw where it was leading pretty quickly.
Word-Bound (MeiLin Miranda)
This was a really intriguing look at how society would develop and react to the advent of telepathy in everyday life. This particular tale caught and kept my attention right to the very end. I don’t want to spoil the overall story, but imagine being one of the few people in the world who cannot communicate with telepathy and how that would put you on the outside of society’s norms. It’s an interesting way to look at a fictional situation that is all too real when it comes to deaf and mute members of our society, especially with regard to language and the different ways we communicate.
That’s a wrap for today. I have lots going on as we head toward the holidays, but am still plugging along on my reading list. We have Thanksgiving here in America next week so I plan to spend several days reading and lounging with my family. I’ve made some progress on the backlog and anticipate I might even get caught up before too long. Hopefully, I’ll make some progress on that over the holiday. Always feel free to contact me if you’re interested in having your book reviewed.