Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Poul Anderson's "The Sensitive Man" (novella, free): A superman rescues a hostage

A fast moving action story, with some ruminations on politics & society. In a world where man has began building cities on the surface of, & at the bottom of, seas, & has also began farming on the ocean's surface.

I've collected some quotes from this story here.

Story summary.

Psychotechnic Institute is developing a variation of Asimov's Psychohistory: the "science" of manipulating society to force-move it in a desired direction! Men with political ambitions desire it. One of them have kidnapped a veteran researcher from the institute, Dr Michael Tighe.

Simon Dalgetty, the young protegee of Tighe & a trained superman, will go out & effect a rescue. With help from Elena Casimir, an FBI mole in the gang. Of course, by the end of the story, they'll be romantically entangled too.

Title comes from superman abilities of Simon: ability to make his physical senses supersentitive, far beyond what is merely human.


  1. Story makes a direct reference to Voltaire's alien visitation story, "Micromegas" (download).
  2. According to Wikipedia, this story is part of a series - a future history called "The Psychotechnic League", & this story happens in the year 2009.

Fact sheet.

First published: Fantastic Universe, January 1954.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of Poul Anderson, from 1950s.