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I remember reading a story when I was a kid (this must have been roughly between 1980 and 1990) which focussed on the ability for humans to teleport at will.

If I remember correctly, there's a fad in the story about some sort of radio receiver which supposedly enables people to hear some cosmic message and learn something about it.

The hero is sent to investigate the claim undercover as some people have mysteriously disappeared. While doing so, he learns that the receiver enables people to teleport, although some can't handle the process properly and die in the process (they teleport away but can't teleport air in their place, resulting in an implosive vacuum).

The people who do succeed to teleport form a secret society in order to keep the knowledge from falling into bad hands, and actively work towards peace by teleporting weapons away (in the sun or something).

Does this story ring a bell to anyone? I wouldn't mind re-reading it.

Edit: to clarify, the ability to teleport is purely mental; the radio receiver isn't what's teleporting; rather, it sorts of download the instructions in the brain.

  • Sounds vaguely like the plot to the movie Contact, which was based on a novel by Carl Sagan. I didn't read the book, and the description in the question doesn't perfectly match the movie. – Merlyn Morgan-Graham Dec 14 '11 at 13:08
  • That one I'm fairly sure it's not, although I can see the similarities – Joubarc Dec 14 '11 at 16:46
13

I guess it's "Listen! The Stars!" from John Brunner, also published as "The Stardroppers".

The Stardroppers is about an undercover United Nations agent investigating a new fad, "stardropping", whereby physics-violating equipment is used to listen to sounds believed to be alien or paranormal signals. Superficially a harmless but expensive hobby, stardropping reins in a fanaticism resembling addiction, where some users assemble in semi-social communes and spend all of their money on increasingly improved equipment. The fad gains an additional aspect of risk when users begin disappearing into thin air, in cases of increasing profile and witnessing.

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  • The description matches what I remember, so that may be it - now to find a copy of it :-/ – Joubarc Dec 14 '11 at 16:47
  • Yes, that's the one, I just finishing reading it. Thanks! – Joubarc Dec 27 '12 at 20:22

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