Today we are excited to welcome Alex Hughes who is visiting us on her SHARP Blog Tour. SHARP is the second book in the urban fantasy Mindscape Investigations series (Available now from Roc) and check out my review later today. In the Mindscape Investigations universe there are a wide range of psychic abilities one can have and Alex is giving us a breakdown. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win CLEAN, the first book in the series, below!
Alex Hughes’ Top 6 Abilities Possible in the Mindscape Investigations Universe
(In order of occurrence within Guild circles; the higher in the list an Ability is, the more common.)
The Ability to read the waves that minds make in Mindspace in order to interpret what someone is thinking. Also the Ability to change the waves in Mindspace so as to influence someone’s thoughts, whether for communication or other purposes. The strongest and best telepaths have both the reading and influencing capability; lesser telepaths can still be very strong in one or the other.
- Telepaths are graded on the raw strength of the strongest wave they can make in Mindspace – this is done on a scale similar to the Richter scale, where a 6 is ten times a 5 and a 7 a hundred times a 5. While this is the prevailing measurement of a telepath, recently controversy among the Guild teachers has led to various new measurements of things like control. The only measurement now in wide use, however, is the valence measurement, the measure of how many minds a given telepath can read without disturbing. Typical valence measurements cluster around .6, 60% of minds read, though there can be wide variations for various individuals.
- Only some Telepaths can see the finer structures of the mind, much less influence them. Others can influence emotions in wider stretches of Mindspace without negative effect, such as crowd-calmers. Variations on specialties and capabilities among telepaths mean that certain individuals are particularly suited for certain jobs, and others, not as much.
- The student is strongly discouraged from underestimating well-trained telepaths at the smaller strength numbers; a small lever, well-applied, can move the world, and the mind is a much more delicate animal than you believe.
The Ability to manipulate objects without touching them.
- Telekinesis is commonly divided into two groups, the macrokinetics and the microkinetics. As you recall from science class, macro is a larger scale, the scale on which most of us view the world. Macrokinesis is the manipulation of visible objects in the everyday world, as is graded based on the maximum weight of object able to be manipulated for a space of thirty seconds. Macrokinetics are in particular demand in low-G and no-G environments.
- Microkinesis is the manipulation of objects from the size of a grain of sand all the way to, theoretically, the size of atoms. While the occasional urban legend exists about these smallest manipulations, no repeatable evidence has been found. Microkinetics are graded on control of a given-sized object, chosen deliberately as the size of a human red blood cell. Most exceptional microkinetics go into medical pursuits, whether in practical care or in medical research. They are among the highest paid Guild members.
Teleportation is the movement of a person or object from Point A to Point B without touching the spaces in between.
- Very few Guild members can move objects directly; most teleporters must move themselves through space in order to accomplish the task. Teleporters are graded on how much “dead weight” they can carry through the spaces with them; the average measurement is less than two pounds in addition to normal clothing. Fortunately, the shape of a living mind provides extra “grip” and teleporters with low measurements are still frequently able to carry individuals with them unharmed.
- Teleporting couriers Jump high-value packages constantly throughout the world; the few that can handle a Trans-Atlantic Jump in one go are able to do no more than three Jumps a week. Despite this, the courier services, which promises absolute discretion, is one of the most sought-after services of the Guild.
Precognition is the Ability to see the future, in whole or in part, before it happens.
- As control and accuracy are an issue even with the most reliable precogs, the Guild has not yet found a way to reliably monetize this Ability. All efforts to have precogs choose stocks, for example, have yielded lower-than-market results.
- The most reliable precognition, as near as can be determined, features future danger to self or others. Pilot programs where precogs are encouraged to befriend Black Ops personnel have been cautiously successful… although the number of false alarms in those situations is disheartening.
- Future testing and development have yet to be done on this Ability. Confirming visions are highly desired.
Pyrokinesis is the Ability to start and control fire with the mind.
- Most pyros are better at the starting than the controlling, particularly before training.
- A well-trained pyro is of immeasurable use to fire control and explosive control; they can prevent the fire or explosion from using any more fuel than it already has, dramatically decreasing the damage to property and personnel. Bomb squads all over the country are prepared to spend millions to obtain the services of a pyro, but they are few in number and normally employed by government and military to the point of scarcity.
Guild founder Cooper famously said, “You can’t put a human mind in a box.” Urban legends that claim he was speaking out against brain-machine hybrids (which he was, admittedly, no fan of), Cooper was in fact saying that no test yet devised can completely capture the breadth and depth of a human mind. Individuals can still surprise us, and many do.
- Rogue Abilities pop up now and again both in Guild circles and in the general population. They are called rogue because they do not fit nicely into any of the categories listed above.
- The most common rogue Ability is called Charisma, which will pop up occasionally in the most successful musicians, cult leaders, and con men. Through some mechanism not yet understood, their personality becomes addictive to followers in a very real way. However, do not be deceived; rogue Abilities range far more widely and unpredictably than this one trait.
- Guild policy on rogue Abilities is to collect the person in question and study them for a period of at least two years. If the Ability is unusually stable and is not considered dangerous to Guild interests, the Guild will cautiously allow training and occasional supervised work. However, if the Ability is determined to be unstable or dangerous in any way, Guild policy is to destroy the section of the brain that controls Ability and render the person sterile, so as not to pollute the gene pool further.
Alex has written since early childhood, and loves great stories in any form including scifi, fantasy, and mystery. Over the years, she has lived in many neighborhoods of the sprawling metro Atlanta area, including Decatur, the neighborhood on which Clean is centered. Her work is dark, complex, action-filled and a little funny. Her Mindspace Investigations series has been called “A fun blend of Chinatown and Blade Runner” by James Knapp, and Publisher’s Weekly called her “a writer to watch.”
When not writing you can find Alex in the kitchen cooking gourmet Italian food, watching hours of police procedural dramas, and humming to delightfully obscure music.
Giveaway provided by ROC
One copy of CLEAN by Alex Hughes
Available now from Roc
A RUTHLESS KILLER—OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND
I used to work for the Telepath’s Guild before they kicked me out for a drug habit that wasn’t entirely my fault. Now I work for the cops, helping Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino put killers behind bars. My ability to get inside the twisted minds of suspects makes me the best interrogator in the department. But the normals keep me on a short leash. When the Tech Wars ripped the world apart, the Guild stepped up to save it. But they had to get scary to do it—real scary. Now the cops don’t trust the telepaths, the Guild doesn’t trust me, a serial killer is stalking the city—and I’m aching for a fix. But I need to solve this case. Fast. I’ve just had a vision of the future: I’m the next to die.
HISTORY HAS A WAY OF REPEATING ITSELF, EVEN FOR TELEPATHS.…
As a Level Eight telepath, I am the best police interrogator in the department. But I’m not a cop—I never will be—and my only friend on the force, Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino, is avoiding me because of a telepathic link I created by accident.
And I might not even be an interrogator for much longer. Our boss says unless I pull out a miracle, I’ll be gone before Christmas. I need this job, damn it. It’s the only thing keeping me sane.
Parts for illegal Tech—the same parts used to bring the world to its knees in the Tech Wars sixty years ago—are being hijacked all over the city. Plus Cherbino’s longtime nemesis, a cop killer, has resurfaced with a vengeance. If I can stay alive long enough, I just might be able to prove my worth, once and for all..
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