325A: Pubescent Children Develop Telepathic Powers

There’s a novel that I read years ago (late 70’s or early 80’s) from a library in England for which I can no longer remember the author or the title; so if you recognize the content, I’d be a happy camper. 🙂

The only things I can remember are…

1/ It was about mental powers, telepathy, etc

2/ Children developed these abilities at or around puberty (I think). If I remember correctly, the general populace/government reacted badly to these children.

3/ There was a woman scientist who studied these children and came up with a way to synthesize the catalyst, which she then tried on herself and, after a really rough transition, found that she had the same abilities.

3.1/ I’ve also got a vague recollection (so take it with a grain of salt) that other adults who tried to gain these powers died.

4/ The initial symptom of these powers was an increase in sensory perception and intense pleasure – enough to lock the affected person into repeating whatever felt good regardless of what it was doing to them.

4.1/ The woman scientist/doctor who managed to synthesize the activating chemical and used it on herself ended up “making love” to a tree (I’ve got a dim memory of the description of the feel of the bark against her naked skin).

4.2/ Another scene (probably just a paragraph or sentence) had a description of a boy who kept “pleasuring himself” for hours; even though he was now raw and bleeding, he couldn’t stop. (I think this was one of the notes the scientist/doctor compiled about the affected children, rather than being a central theme or character development).

4.3/ The powers allowed the children to feel the emotions of others (though I do not remember if it was limited to others with powers or everyone in general) and they banded together to feel safe/loved/etc. when the rest of the world turned against them due to fear. I don’t remember if it was true telepathy or just extreme empathy.

5/ Once she had the same abilities as the children, the woman scientist joined up with a group of them – presumably to help defend them against the haters.

Beyond that, I have no idea. The only other non-story items I know are…

  • I read it late-70’s or early 80’s.
  • Given the more grown-up content, it is not likely to be a children’s book; though it could be Teens and older.

I know it’s not much to go on, but it’s been driving me batty trying to remember the title.


6 thoughts on “325A: Pubescent Children Develop Telepathic Powers

  1. Are you sure you’re not mixing up two books? The whole plot with telepathically gifted youngsters – including them being hated or persecuted by society in general and a female scientist helping them out – sounds a lot like “The Chrysalids” by John Wyndham (maybe written under an alias). The rest – the catalyst and the sexual parts so to say – is unknown to me.

    • No, I’m definitely not mixing up two books. It’s definitely a different book to the Chrysalids. I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed that one (along with Day of the Triffids, Trouble With Lichen, etc).
      I also know that it’s not:
      The Tomorrow People by Roger Price
      The Inner Wheel by Keith Roberts
      A Coming of Age by Timothy Zahn

    • That’s one I definitely have not read. It’s also a post-apocalyptic story and I’m fairly sure that the book I’m looking for was set more in the “modern day”.

  2. Sounds similar to the movie Village of the Dammed (1960s)
    and various sequels
    based on the book The Midwich Cukoos (1957) by John Wyndham
    Takes place in Britian
    I have not read the book.

    • Unfortunately, while a great book in its own right, The Midwich Cuckoos is not the one I’m trying to find. Wyndham’s book has a group of children all born about the same time after an alien incident in a village. They all have pale skin, blonde hair and golden eyes – and they can control others with their minds. The various movie adaptations have been interesting too.
      That said, given how in 1957 Wyndham needed to write about sexuality using misdirection, subtext, irony and ambiguity, it is likely that the book I am looking for was written in the 60’s or 70’s.

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