I am trying to remember a novel I half read as a teen (1984-1986), I borrowed it from the library but had to take it back before finishing.

I believe it was in an omnibus/ compilation edition book with two or three SciFi stories by different authors.

The plot was an alien studying the mental capacity and ESP of the human race.

The alien abducts a low level criminal/ wise guy from America and takes him to a base in the Arctic (perhaps) for study.

He is subjected to a number of physical and mental tests to find out how dangerous or powerful the human race could become.

I got as far as the criminal overpowering the alien and escaping in his spaceship to explore the galaxy.

Unique things I remember;

  • The human is put in an exo-skeleton to test and improve his flexibility.
  • The human manages to fool the alien ESP testing/ training equipment.
    • Escapes his cell at night to use it unsupervised to increase his ESP powers in order to gain the upperhand.
  • In his travel through the galaxy he meets a insectoid race, (butterfly like? or maybe bat)
    • The insectoid is amazed humans still dream, when he gets telepathically pulled into a dream the main character is having.
  • ESP powers the main character gains includes matter translation, like turning wood into a steak or hamburger.
  • The main character doesn't understand the risks of overuse of ESP powers.

I think you're looking for The Ultimax Man by Keith Laumer. Duplicate answer of this question; Kidnaped human(hitman),Neanderthal . From Kirkus Review; Minor hoodlum Damocles Montgomerie, whisked from the path of a speeding bullet to a concealed alien research center at the North Pole, achieves untold powers of cerebration in the course of having his brain picked by the donnish Xorialle. Once in command of his new abilities, Dammy promptly commandeers Xorialle's ship and sets out to track down the ""Galactic Concensus"" in the neighborhood of Deneb. The closer he gets, the more bewildering his discoveries about the origin of the whole adventure--the most curious pieces of the puzzle being a mild-mannered, bee-like creature by the name of Floss and a telepathic proto-hominid called Sport. You also have the exo-skeleton which improves flexibility and gives him the motor memory of several martial arts and card sharp skills. Damocles sneaking out of his confinement to increase his skills and esp. enter image description here

The only collection I could find: enter image description here

  • Thanks, downloaded the sample eBook from Amazon to see if it's the one I remember. – Alastair Aug 23 '17 at 5:14
  • Looks something like the ones I used to loan from the library :) – Alastair Aug 26 '17 at 14:44

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