It's been over two decades since I read this story, so bear with me. There were three humans; two men and a woman, IIRC. Each had a psychic ability: clairvoyance, telepathy and telekinesis.

There was a war going on between humans and an alien race, a point which became important later in the story. The three are being sent back from the war due to their being unusable in the war. The ship they are on is attacked in space and they escape in an escape pod, landing on a primitive planet of humanoids.

They set up or join some kind of traveling performance where they do tricks based on their abilities, because they think they're stuck on the planet. Then the enemy aliens show up and they have to grow and learn to be able to fight them off.

  • I cannot remember the title from when I read it. But, I am pretty sure this is a novel by Andre Norton. If this is the same book, perhaps one scene you might remember is that one of the humans helps the humanoids kill some of the aliens with pitchforks flung precisely enough to stab them directly in a vital point. Does that ring a bell?
    – beichst
    Mar 14, 2015 at 14:25
  • That does sound vaguely familiar. Thanks. I'll have to go hunt up a list of Andre Nortons works.
    – Jolinar
    Mar 15, 2015 at 2:57
  • While I'm almost 100% certain that it doesn't match up, since it's set long after the crash, but Circus World is an example of a science fiction world with psychics using their powers for an act, and later for even more outlandish effect.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Apr 20, 2015 at 12:20
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/256010/… (which is newer but has an accepted answer)
    – Otis
    Nov 17, 2021 at 3:45

1 Answer 1


I believe I have found it. This is "The Galactic Rejects" by Andrew J. Offutt from 1973. I recognized the cover once I saw it again. It was not Norton as I had originally thought. But, this is definitely the one I remember. I hope this is the one you are seeking.

Goodreads description

"Stranded on an unknown planet, two men and a girl from Earth devise a carnival act to disguise their special powers and better fit in with the natives."

"Three people with special psi powers escape a damaged spaceship in a pod and land on an agricultural, backwards planet. These folks don't even know that there has been a war on for 18 years! "

Rising Shadow Summary

"The sad middle-aged man, the temperamental young girl, and the self-centered young man have special mental powers that had been highly useful in the war against the Azuli. Now they were being sent back to Earth as worn-out casualties of that war. When their transport is destroyed in space they are stranded on the plant Bor, whose population and technology resemble that of nineteenth century Earth."

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