Pstalemate-Lester del Rey (1971)

A man is being driven insane with his psi abilities. This is a good one for anyone who thought mind reading could be fun.

Harry Bronson is an engineer. He belongs to a group called the Primates. They’re artists, writers and other similar people. At one gathering during a snowstorm Harry meets Dr.Lawson. Harry, along with a reporter for the Village Voice go back to Lawson’s place.

Lawson gives Harry a test for ESP. He doesn’t do anything special. Then Lawson hypnotizes him. Now he gets a hundred eight out of a hundred eight playing cards right. He’s also haunted by a voice in his head. The reporter writes a comic story about it in his column.

Charles Grimes is Harry’s lawyer/guardian. His other ward is Ellen Palermo, Harry’s cousin. Grimes is upset about the article and doesn’t want Harry looking for Ellen. If he does he’ll cut him off of all funds. Harry is working on a special car engine. His partner is in Paris trying to sell it. Harry knows who he’s with and how things are going via mind reading.

Harry is driving along and ends up in a restaurant in Connecticut. The waitress talks him into getting his fortune told by a tea leaf reading Gypsy. Turns out it’s Ellen in disguise. Charles finds out and Harry gets a check for eight months rent and some other funds but that’s it.

His partner manages to sell the engine in England so Harry’s not worried about money. He and Ellen get together. Strange things start happening. Harry regress to two years old and slowly returns to his present age as Ellen watches over him.  By now Charles has given him his complicated family history and how his mother tried to kill him by setting their house on fire when he was ten. She’s in an asylum.

He’s able to know who’s on the phone before he picks it up and can read other people’s minds from a distance. He thinks there may be an alien presence controlling his mind. He has three months before he goes insane. He tries contacting others like him. Eventually he and Ellen go to a remote cabin. Harry decides LSD might help him.

There’s a lot to keep up with in this novel but it is interesting for anyone who likes books about the mind.

As a side note: del Rey was the model for the Magician Humphrey character is Piers Anthony’s Xanth series.

Lester del Rey

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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