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The Sensitive Man

Poul William Anderson

Book Overview: 

Poul Anderson delves into the realm of human potential in this exciting story and asks some penetrating questions for us to think about. What if psychology finally enabled people to even partially control all those automatic reactions of our minds and bodies? What if we were not slaves to anger, fear, emotions, hormones, blood pressure and the thousand other things that our bodies 'take care of' from instant to instant? What if those things could be brought under the control even partially of our reason and minds? In this story one man stood between a power-hungry cabal and their world mastery—but a man of, shall we say, unusual talents.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .No it hasn't," said Dalgetty, "not in the United States, though in some other countries—never mind. It's still in process of happening, that's all. The lines today are drawn not by nations or parties, but by—philosophies, if you wish. Two views of man's destiny, cutting across all national, political, racial and religious lines."

"And what are those two views?" asked the stranger quietly.

"You might call them libertarian and totalitarian, though the latter don't necessarily think of themselves as such. The peak of rampant individualism was reached in the nineteenth century, legally speaking. Though in point of fact social pressure and custom were more strait-jacketing than most people today realize.

"In the twentieth century that social rigidity—in manners, morals, habits of thought—broke down. The emancipation of women, for instance, or the easy divorce or the laws about privacy. But at the same time legal control began . . . Read More

Community Reviews

A little hard to get into. I felt like the book was 3 or 4 times as long as it actually was because I kept having to stop reading cause it wasn't that interesting. I don't feel like I really understood the whole changing the philosophy of the world parts, but I liked the action sequences and the sup

A solidly written adventure SF story.

This was one of Anderson's forays into human plus, training people to better use what they were born with along with a kidnapping to solve. It was interesting, but not one of his best by any means. Well narrated.

From the Wikipedia entry:
...first published in the January 1954 issue of Fantastic Unive

Its interesting when reading scifi to compare the technology that the author predicts in the future to what actually exists. Many scifi authors miss badly. Andeson doesn't commit too many blunders (as ususal for Anderson) but he did think that slide rules would still be in use. I guess, a little box

Why does Isaac Asimov speak so highly of Poul Anderson? Why all the hullaballoo? Is this a case of quantity against quality? Or have I judged unfairly, this being his first story I've not had the pleasure of reading? It reads too much like a movie that fails to deliver an anticipated climax.

OK story about the son in the house trying to save the family.