Looking for a science fiction short story from the 1980s about humans with ESP who have been banished to another world where they come into conflict with aliens at a similar stage of advancement. I believe the humans settle the planet but their ESP gets in the way of what really is happening until they have children who don't have ESP. I believe they may have been on a planet known as parker's world but it's been 30 years since I read the story.

  • What does ESP mean?
    – SJuan76
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 14:59
  • 1
    Extra Sensory Perception. In the story I think they referred to themselves as Espers. Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


This is "Cobwebs" by Ray Brown as per Short story about the drawbacks of human telepathy on an alien planet. You can find a story summary here:

Ray Brown in his story Cobwebs, in Analog August 1987, was part of a series he did of a planet colonized by telepaths. They developed a group mind, a zeitgeist, which over time created a false, yet pleasant, view of their colony. Everybody was handsome/beautiful, the colony was gleaming. The reality was that many of the people had caught a virus when they arrived that made them look like a Joker on a deck of cards, with the chin curving up to almost touch the nose. New arrivals would be shocked by people's appearances, yet the zeitgeist would quickly overwhelm that new view, and the existing false view would prevail.

A death occurred and was investigated. A person was found dead under an elevated walkway. It seems the elevated walkway actually had a missing floor section and the person stepped through the hole and died. Yet to the people in the zeitgeist all they saw was a perfect, gleaming construction.

The planet had natives that were trying to kill the colony. They could somehow hide in plain sight from the colonists. Only the children who were not yet part of the group mind could see them, so they had the kids be their eyes to protect them.

  • 1
    What are the odds that a story, published in the August 1987 Analog and never reprinted, is the subject of two different questions in the same week?
    – user14111
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 22:21
  • @user14111 1, it's happened so can't be anything else...
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 14:27

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