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Years ago, I read a novel whose title I'd like to rediscover. What I can remember is this:

  • The novel's world has powerful, amoral-or-evil telepaths who are in a dominant social position. They've got large, unusually-shaped heads. They might be aliens?

  • It must have been published before 1996. I'm certain of this. But it could've been published at any point before that. I feel like it might've been from the 1980s given the cover's style, but that's more of a guess.

  • It was most likely a British edition, but I can't rule out an American (or otherwise) edition that was imported.

  • It started with an action sequence in an apartment building, I think, and the protagonist had to escape being framed for a crime he didn't commit. He's down on his luck and an everyman.

  • The protagonist eventually finds a weakness in the telepaths by subjecting them to some horrible noise, which causes them extreme pain and possibly reduces them to normalcy. This is the only way they seem to be vulnerable, and it's how the non-telepaths take control of society back from them.

  • I don't think it was particularly space-y but I am not certain.

  • It had a serious, if pulpy, tone. Fast-paced action/drama.

  • The cover was all flat yellow, and had a smallish illustration (less than a quarter of the cover) showing one of the telepaths kneeling down and crying out on it. He was wearing something appropriately futuristic. I'm pretty sure this was the cover's over-all look, and that there wasn't any other art except for that.

  • Its title was something obscure, but striking and allusive.

Some Googling tossed up The Demolished Man as a candidate, but I couldn't find a cover that even vaguely matched how I remembered it, and the plot's not a perfect match (though it does have an awful lot of similarities). Alternatively, I could be mis-remembering that book, but whence the cover? ISFDB doesn't have any that are even close, and I don't know any better places to look for what might've been an obscure British reprint.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! This is a really great question! – DavidW Apr 17 at 3:34
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Could it be Philip K. Dick's "Our Friends from Frolix 8" (1970)? It was about telepaths ruling the normals, and the cover sort of fits, but I don't remember the details of the plot that well.

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  • Oh, that cover's dead on; I'd evidently forgotten about the spaceships, and perhaps confused some bits of the plot with others. Mystery solved! Thank you. – sam Apr 17 at 5:15
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    @sam: Re: "and perhaps confused some bits of the plot with others": I think you may have incorporated some elements from the second half of Isaac Asimov's Second Foundation. – ruakh Apr 17 at 19:46
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    This answer could be greatly improved by having a few quotes from a summary matching it, but good find – Stormblessed Apr 18 at 3:49

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