A novel, possibly from the 80s or earlier, set in Earth's future. Society is split into three groups: Normal humans, telepaths, and people with the ability to think superhuman thoughts. (This cognition had a special name I've forgotten.) The third group is building machines to read minds to gain the upper hand on the telepaths.

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    Hi. Welcome to SF&F SE! This is a good start to a question. The more information you can provide though, the more likely we ar eto be able to help you. Do remember, for example, what the cover looked like? The names of any of the characters? Etc. See this question, with it's answers and comments -- maybe it will jog your memory of things that you might add.
    – Basya
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 14:10
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    Off the top of my head, it sounds like something A.E. van Vogt would have written. Slan comes to mind.
    – user888379
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 14:42
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    The first thing I thought of was Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams but it's not a great match.
    – Spencer
    Commented May 17, 2023 at 16:14
  • thanks, guys. that's all I can remember, unfortunately. I don't think it's Slan or Aristoi. Commented May 17, 2023 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


This could be Our Friends from Frolix 8 (1970) by Philip K. Dick. To quote Wikipedia:

In the 22nd century, the Earth is ruled by the "New Men", who have superhuman mental abilities, and the "Unusuals", who possess psionic abilities such as telepathy, telekinesis and precognition....Thors Provoni, who has gone deep into space to find help for his resistance to the ruling groups, is returning with a sentient protoplasmic alien being, a "Friend from Frolix 8" known as Morgo Rahn Wilc, to fight for the "Old Men", human beings who have none of the rulers' powers.

Wikipedia doesn't mention the "machines to read minds," but I remember the book, and the government is building a machine called the "Big Ear," which will enable the "New Men" to read minds (though ostensibly, iirc, it's intended to benefit the "Old Men").


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