One of the things that made Star Kings such a popular book was a set of antagonists, who were extra-galactic aliens with abilities to control minds.

Was Hamilton the first to use that plot idea in SciFi, or were there earlier examples? If so, who was the first to come up with such a being?

By mind control I mean ability to force you to do anything they want to.

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    Is Edmond Hamilton really such a household name that it makes sense to assume we know who you are talking about here? – Paul Aug 31 '16 at 8:56
  • If I recall correctly, the mind-controlling h'harn were mentioned in passing in Star Kings, but only showed up in the sequel, Return to the Stars. – LAK Aug 31 '16 at 13:50
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    @Paul, he's one of the earliest writers of space opera and would be well-known to anyone interested in that area of science fiction. – LAK Aug 31 '16 at 14:05
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    @paul Yes, of course he is. – user14111 Sep 2 '16 at 3:05
  • @LAK - somehow I recalled the whole series being called "Star Kings" but you are welcome to edit in a more precise name if the series even has a name – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 2 '16 at 4:56

According to Hamilton's biography in Wikipedia Star Kings was published in 1949. That was almost 20 years after the beginning of the pulp science fiction market in the US. That would be a long time for nobody to think of aliens with mind control powers.

As I remember E.E. Smith's Lensman series starting with Galactic Patrol (1937) featured humans and aliens (some coming from our galaxy, some coming from another dimension and some from another galaxy) with great mental abilities including mind reading and mental control.


Definitely didn't originate in Star Kings.

Skylark Three by E. E. Smith (magazine publication 1930) has the Fenachrone with a hypnotic gaze, but we never see it used successfully - the hero has the strength of will to resist - so it's not clear if it would allow the kind of complete control you're talking about.

Galactic Patrol (as M. A. Golding mentioned above) has the Overlords of Delgon. Again, the heroes are able to resist, but we see it used on other aliens, so they definitely can take over completely.

An earlier story by Hamilton, The World With A Thousand Moons (apparently 1942), has aliens that successfully mind-control humans, but they require physical contact (link into the nervous system) to do so.

  • Oops! In my discussion of the Lensman series I forgot about the Overlords of Delgon. I was thinking about the ability of Lensmen and super advanced members of Boskone to be trained to mind control animals and people. PS I forgot to mention Hamilton's great nickname: "Edmund "world wrecker" Hamilton. – M.A. Golding Sep 3 '16 at 3:44
  • Yeah, they can too, but I didn't emphasize that because in Galactic Patrol (earliest published) only Kinnison has that trick and he's not an "alien". – cometaryorbit Sep 4 '16 at 18:59

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