Sci-Fi November - Review: The Telepath Chronicles - An Anthology of Science Fiction

telepath chronicles

About The Telepath Chronicles

Telepathy. Just a far-fetched bit of science fiction “hocus pocus.” But is it? With today’s giant leaps forward in technology and biotechnology, with people constantly surrounded by sophisticated yet invisible communication networks, and with a rapidly increasing understanding of the brain’s inner workings . . . is it so hard to imagine that we might be able to develop direct mind-to-mind communication?

Or might it not be the case that evolution alone, in the right circumstances—if not on this planet, then on others—could give rise to creatures with telepathic abilities?

This collection of fourteen stories explores the ramifications of a future where telepathy is real. From that first glorious moment of discovery, to the subsequent jealousies and class divisions, to the dangers of weaponization and the blessings of medical miracles, The Telepath Chronicles promises to take you inside the creative minds of some of today’s top science fiction authors.

My Thoughts

Continuing his line of The Future Chronicles anthologies, Samuel Peralta follows-up this past summer's The Robot Chronicles with a new anthology centered around telepathy. Collecting fourteen short stories from various authors, The Telepath Chronicles explores the ramifications of one of science fictions most enduring staples. Assembled here are stories that span time and space, ranging from a present-day murder investigation to an alien world that is, itself, a sentient entity.

A few of the highlights for me:

  • Peter Cawdron's #DontTell kicks off the anthology with an excellent piece that explores the social implications of a burgeoning telepathic community and the fear it brings, acting as an allegory of minority rights. It's a terrific opener, and provides a street-level view of the action presented through the eyes of a celebrity journalist.
  • Stability, by Theresa Kay, presented an intriguing premise that's a bit like X-Men by way of a prison break, involving a central telepath, Cora, and several psionics who are attempting to free her from a sinister breeding program. There are hints of a darker world outside the prison and the story is effectively engaging. This is a world I would happily return to if the author decides to explore the territory any further.
  • Susan Kaye Quinn's story, The Locksmith, takes place in her Mindjack universe, but stands alone and requires no former knowledge of her prior works. It works well and the world-building on display was strong and interesting enough to goad me into picking up her novel, Open Minds, book one of the Mindjack series. Her short story in this anthology also promises to continue the series with a new trilogy, and I'm certainly interested in reading more from her.
  • Therin Knite's Venus in Red is another strong contender. Her stand-alone piece is a fun sci-fi actioneer revolving around a corporate assassination with the telepathy aspect playing an integral part via high-tech cerebral upgrades. It's a serious bit of entertainment, and Knite brings her usual flair to the story, as exhibited in her earlier release, Othella.
  • MeiLin Miranda uses the concept of telepathy to write one of the anthologies more dramatically striking stories. Word-Bound focuses on a family that is incapable of communicating telepathically in a society where telepathy is the norm. Four-year-old Campbell is about to undergo corrective surgery to have an implant placed in his skull that will help him receive and transmit thoughts, and be capable of living a normal life. It's a fascinating parable of the hearing-impaired that inverts the typical telepath-story mold, presenting a story of "outsiders" in an original and intriguing way, and, similar to Cawdron's opening short, looks at the societal implications and the changing landscape that such a gift would bring.

As with any anthology, some stories stuck a stronger chord than others, and there were a few that did not quite resonate with me as well as others. Overall, though, I found it to be a fun and engaging read, and the breadth and depth that some writers were able to bring to the table made for a very pleasant mix.

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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