Dying Inside

{4/5} “I never could send my thoughts into anybody else’s head. Even when the power was strongest in me, I couldn’t transmit. I could only receive… So right there I was condemned to be society’s ugliest toad, the eavesdropper, the voyeur.”

Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg, published in 1972

What if you could read people’s minds? Would it be a gift or a curse? What would you do with that power? And if you had lived with that power all your life, what would it mean to you to have it taken away?

In Dying Inside, David is losing his ability to read people’s minds. As this progresses, he recalls important people from his past. The women he loved, and those he merely slept with. His sister, who hated him for a long time but now tries to get along with him. The one other person he found who had the ability — and who had adjusted to it much better than himself.

The only difference between the world of the novel and the real world of 1972 is that a very small number of people can read other people’s minds. The novel is about what effect that would have, mostly on one particular person. Although he feels some guilt about it, David reads the mind of virtually everyone he meets. He sometimes uses that information to benefit himself — which woman will go out with him, which stock will make him some money — but on the whole it doesn’t make him happy.

It’s a good book. A lot of it is made up of everyday conversations and activities — it just didn’t excite me quite as much as I thought it would.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 5th, 2012 at 4:06 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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