I read this short story in the 1960s — can't remember just where. The main character is a middle-aged man, who, if I remember correctly, carries a cane. He is a telepath who was almost driven insane by the flood of other people's thoughts and emotions but eventually, with great difficulty, learned to stand it. (I think he believes himself to be the only telepath in the world.) He comes across a young man whose telepathic ability has just manifested itself; convinced the young man won't be able to stand it, the main character kills him!

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

  • What do you remember about the setting? Present or future? Urban? American? – user14111 Jan 9 at 4:19
  • This sounds a bit like Two Heads Are Better Than None by Spider Robinson, but also somewhat different. The two telepaths are half brothers. The older onevis driven insane by other people's thoughts. He learns how to block them out, but only after his father dies and he kills his step mother. He blocks everyone out and goes catatonic. The story is told by the younger brother whose telepathic abilities are growing and wants to contact his brother before he to goes insane. At one point, one of the other characters promises to kill (continued) – JRE Jan 9 at 8:57
  • the younger brother if the telepathic contact with his older brother goes bad. – JRE Jan 9 at 8:58
  • @JRE Do you mean Spider Robinson's 1975 yarn "Two Heads Are Better than One"? ("Two heads are better than none" is a 4e Ackerman punch line but I don't know if it's a story title.) If so you should ask the OP how sure he is that he read it in the 1960s. – user14111 Jan 9 at 11:58
  • 1
    To all: I appreciate your input! First, the setting was contemporary American. Second: I may be off as to when I read this, and Spider Robinson's story does share some plot elements. Third: On the other hand, the story I recall seemed much less complicated and I am pretty sure the two telepaths were strangers when they met. Fourth: two heads are better than none. – Lee Eckhardt Jan 9 at 14:58

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