Thursday, October 15, 2009

That Sweet Little Old Lady, by Randall Garrett

For the past few days I went back to Project Gutenberg to read an award-nominated story, That Sweet Little Old Lady by Randall Garrett. Free SF Online also gives a coauthor credit to Laurence Janifer, but Gutenberg doesn't mention him.

The MacGuffin here is ESP as a known and studied phenomenon. An FBI agent who figures he just gets lucky is assigned to find the telepathic spy. ESP doesn't get much play in SF these days, but was much more common as a theme in mid 20th century SF. Possibly because life is imitating art--brain research and progress in MRI study is making it possible to get a rough idea of what people are thinking about from the outside.

As for the story, it gets off to a somewhat slow start but picks up nicely. By the end I was amused enough to recommend it. 3 stars

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