Sci-fi books about things to do with the human mind
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (1953)
Six psionically gifted social misfits wander the backwoods of America and eventually morph into a single being - a symbiotic Homo gestalt superman. This proves to be an effective cure for loneliness and the need for love, although the creature's road to maturity contains its fair share of stuggles. Unsurpassed sensitivity and compassion.
Energetic 24th century tale of the motivational power of revenge, loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo. Central character Gully Foyle is left to die in space when a passing ship refuses to render aid. He taps the under-utilised resources of his mind to wreak revenge - becoming a psionic superman in the process. True classic from a genuine master.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)
Jailed for delinquent excesses, an ultra-violent youth is subjected to an experimental form of aversion therapy. Complications arise when his sense of humanity and love of classical music are destroyed. His confessions are told in a Russified near-future teenage jargon. Stanley Kubrick directed the disturbing 1971 feature film.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1966)
Moving story of a subnormal floor sweeper named Charly who has his intelligence raised by artificial means. When the lab mouse used to test the process dies, it is found that Charly's high-IQ will deteriorate at a rate "directly proportional to the quantity of the increase". Raises some serious questions about science and humanity.
Macroscope by Piers Anthony (1969)
The book that helped Piers Anthony emerge from the relative obscurity of the New Wave into mainstream acceptance. The macroscope allows users to check out just about anything anywhere at anytime, making it a politically explosive device. The protagonist tries to analyse some brain-frying alien messages in the macrons, with the results being metaphysically mind-bending.
Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg (1972)
Despite potential, David Selig never bothered to make much of himself - relying instead on his telepathic abilities to get him through life. With the onset of middle age his abilities start to fail, forcing him to face the prospect of leading a normal life. Obtuse New Wave offering which some critics claim is a camouflaged autobiography. Classic Silverberg.
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K Dick (1977)
While there is some debate as to the levels of drug-induced influence on Dick's earlier novels, few would argue that by 1977 the head-trip was in full flight. A Scanner Darkly is the ultimate paranoia trip, with a single mind split between a drug dealer peddling the highly addictive Substance D and the narc trying to catch him. Darkly comical surrealist brilliance not to be missed.
River of Gods by Ian McDonald (2004)
As Mother India approaches her centenary, nine people are going about their business, including Aj - the waif, the mind reader, the prophet. A war is fought, a love betrayed, a message from a different world decoded, as the great river Ganges flows on. A British Science Fiction Award winner, the novel is packed with SF devices - such as artificial intelligences, robots and nanotechnology.