These powers ranged from telepathy to telekinesis, teleportation, micro manipulation by tiny hands near the wrists of the person, pyrokinesis and other mental powers. The book ended with the hypothesis that life as a human is just the pupal stage of the conscious mind's metamorphosis into a higher level.

Unlike other people, the protagonist had many mental powers.

I think it was a juvenile novel since I probably read it in either the high school library or a small Indiana town library.

  • Hey Bruce, welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange! The more details you provide, the easier time we'll have in answering this - any details. What language did you read it in? What was the setting - was it a 'swords 'n sorcery' type story, or set in the modern world? Are there any plot details that you can give us? See also this guide for Story-ID questions, as well as the tour and How to Ask (plus How to Answer is a good read if you're planning on answering anything). Welcome! :) – Mithrandir Oct 21 '17 at 18:46
  • Was it a short novel? Possibly paired with another in something like the old "Ace Doubles" format? Was there some kind of "police agency" searching for the "empowered"? The concept sounds really familiar but I'm not locking in on it. – Emsley Wyatt Oct 21 '17 at 20:08
  • @LSerni - neither of these questions have accepted answers. We only vote to close Story-ID questions as duplicates if both OPs have confirmed. Please don't VTC Story-ID questions as duplicates when they don't have accepted answers. – Mithrandir Oct 22 '17 at 18:39
  • @LSerni if there's no confirmation for the answer, it's not a dupe. We're not sure that this answer is in fact the book in question it could be a similar one. Therefore we don't close them until we have confirmation on both. – Edlothiad Oct 22 '17 at 18:41

Not sure on this one but could it be "Sentinels from Space" by Eric Frank Russell?


From the Wikipedia page:

  1. True Telepaths (D+): Can read minds and, unlike sub-telepaths, can close their minds to any attempts to read them.
  2. Levitators (D): Called floaters, they can simply defy gravity.
  3. Pyrotics (D+): Can cause heat to appear at a distance and simply burn someone to death with a thought.
  4. Chameleons (I): Not described, but an incident in the book implies that they can simply blend into any background.
  5. Nocturnals (I): Never need to sleep.
  6. Malleables (D): Have faces backed by cartilage, rather than bone, and can thus change their appearance to resemble anybody.
  7. Hypnos (D+): With wide eyes that seem to glow, a hypno can compel anyone to believe or to do exactly what he commands.
  8. Supersonics (I): With floppy ears, they can hear ultrasound, even at a considerable distance from its source. They can also create ultrasound and use it for bat-like sonar.
  9. Mini-engineers (D+): With long, slender fingers and eyes so deformed that they can only see objects within four inches of their faces, they can build exquisitely tiny mechanisms, such as a cruise missile the size of a cigarette.
  10. Radiosensitives (D): Not described.
  11. Insectivocals (D+): Using high-pitched chirrups, they talk to insects, especially the toxic breeds found on Venus. Able to communicate with insects, they can also command them, with deadly results.
  12. Teleports (D+): Can levitate objects but not themselves (teleport means far-carry). This is not the instantaneous transport of objects that we normally associate with the word teleport.

The story follows a man who seems to be unique in having multiple powers. He draws the wrath and attention of a famous insectivocal villain. Eventually we learn that when we die, our souls go on to a new stage of life. They are described as looking like butterflies. They are actually keeping an eye on earth because there are evil warlike aliens on the search for Earth, and the butterfly-humans have begun to take over the bodies of the dead and dying (all those so-called "miraculous recoveries" are actually them swapping out) to act as agents to unite all the human peoples so that they can be ready when the outer system aliens arrive.

  • A shorter version of Eric Frank Russell's novel Sentinels from Space as published as "The Star Watchers" in the November 1951 issue of Startling Stories, which you can read for free at the Internet Archive. – user14111 Oct 21 '17 at 21:58
  • This is undoubtedly the story, I've read it a few times. – Broklynite Oct 22 '17 at 9:36
  • 1
    That plot summary is not quite accurate. – JdeBP Oct 22 '17 at 19:16
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/166082/… – Otis Jun 19 at 14:14

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