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.