While a well written story, I've actually read quite a few with similar themes - so impact on me was moderate.
Most interesting thing about this story is suspense. You know something unusual is cooking - but what? Reading the summary below is guaranteed to spoil some of the fun if you intend to actually read it.
Story summary.There are 2 main actors - 13 year old boy Timothy Paul, & a psychiatrist Dr Peter Welles. Tim has always been a prodigy - mature beyond his years, & that has always got him in trouble. So he now conforms - consciously cuts down his visible performance to level of his peers. What he does behind the scenes - in his spare time - is another matter, as we will slowly learn.
Tim's school teacher, Miss Page, senses something unusual about him - just a hunch, though she cannot really pinpoint. She makes him see Dr Welles. Story is mostly about Dr Welles slowly gaining Tim's confidence, learning about his unusual ability, & discovering that humanity has actually split into two - genetic mutations in children born of a certain nuclear accident are probably supermen (how come it's the same mutation in many babies?).
We see a very common plot device - caring guardians that don't understand the unusual abilities of children, & nip the buds before they can bloom.
- In this story, it's Tim's maternal grandmother, Mrs Davis; he was raised by his grandparents - his parents fell victim to accident that gave him unusual abilities. Fearful of his possible mutation, she is especially keen to see him fit.
- Last year's beautiful movie - "Tare Zameen Par" (2007) - has a dyslexic child with a loving but utterly unsympathetic dad; he will also be helped by his teacher.
- This is also the main theme Henry Kuttner's very dark "Absalom" - there too a mutation is sweeping through the population, turning new generation much smarter than older one. A loving father who's unconsciously jealous of his son's unusual abilities is coming in the way.
- Judith Merril's "That Only a Mother" has a parents' mutation fears similar to Tim's grandma here - but in very unhappy circumstances. There too, mutations are caused as a side-effect of nuclear bomb radiation.
Fact sheet.First published: Astounding Science Fiction, November 1948.
Note the author is a woman, in spite of the name!