To honour the release of Psychonauts 2, I thought it would be fun to recommend some mental stories.
I tried my best to find books with that Psychonauts vibes we love so much. Stories about the power of our minds, about psychic abilities and a little pinch of mania. I think I achieved my goal with these four books.
Mindplayers by Pat Cadigan
The Brain Police do sound like something that would be in the Psychonauts universe, don’t they?
Alexandra Haas, better known as Allie, is in some serious trouble when she uses the illegal Madcap given to her by Jerry Wirerammer. Thing is, the gear didn’t exactly shut down properly, leaving her in a state of psychosis and alerting The Brain Police. They let her pick her sentence, either go to the J. Walter Tech for training in mindplay and become a mindplayer or go to jail. She picks the former, becoming a pathosfinder, helping others overcome blocks to their creativity.
If this book doesn’t scream Psychonauts to you, then I don’t know what to tell you.
The Big Time by Fritz Leiber
Our lives, our memories, are their battleground.
The war? The Change War. Two sides, “Spiders” and “Snakes” are locked in a bitter war, one that has been going on for billion years. To simplify, they keep altering the past to favour them.
The story takes place in a Recuperation Station where we watch Greta help heal soldiers trama before they go back on the front line.
This golden age SciFi title seems to have been forgotten. This is a shame if you ask me. However, thanks to Project Gutenberg and what is left of the Public Domain, you can read it for free here. Enjoy!
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
More Than Human follows the lives of six people with inhuman abilities. Lone can hear peoples thoughts then blow their heads sky high, Janie has telekinesis, the teleporting twins, Baby the genius and finally Gerry who has the power to more or less take over the world.
Alone, they are gifted, together they are a near unstoppable force. A force for what? Saving humanity or destroying it? Well, they haven’t decided on that yet.
It is disturbing and fascinating, you will be hard-pressed to put it down once you start reading.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
In an overcrowded world, things are not looking too good. No wonder folks are popping pills like crazy to deal with the hand life game them. The drug of choice for many is Can-D.
Can-D is a hallucinogenic that lets those under its effects share an illusory world. Palmer Eldritch has arrived home from interstellar travel. He brings some gifts home with him. Not just any old crap from an overpriced souvenir shop, but Chew-Z. Chew-Z is far more powerful than Can-D, maybe a bit too powerful as it now threatens to keep everyone in a world manipulated by Eldritch.
What is Eldritch planning to do with his new power over others minds? Read for yourself to find out.
I hope at least one of these books piques your interest. Happy reading!