A Broken French Telepath in New York

Illustration for article titled A Broken French Telepath in New York

There are dozens of movies about telepaths who are drunk on their power, like Jean Gray in X-Men or Carrie in Carrie. And there are psychics who struggle with the hideous responsibility their visions impart, like John Smith in Dead Zone. That's why I was excited to hear that at last we're going to get a movie that turns the telepath myth on its head. A French film company has bought the rights to Robert Silverberg's intense, disturbing novel Dying Inside, about a telepath who is losing his powers in a kind of ESP Alzheimers way.

The film will be directed by relative newcomer Bruno Merle, whose 2007 movie Héros was a thriller about a small-time comedian who kidnaps a famous singer. Given that he's already explored the psychology of a desperate loser, Merle might be the person who can do justice to Silverberg's story of a guy who relied on his telepathy to slide by his whole life — and who is now watching his one great ability misfire and fail. What I loved best about Dying Inside was the way Silverberg managed to convey the pettiness of telepathy. His protagonist David Selig uses his amazing powers mostly to figure out who might take him home for a one-night stand. No saving the world. Just small-time stuff.

Silverberg told Locus magazine that the movie will be Gallicized, with Selig turned into a French expat in New York.

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Dying Inside [via Amazon]

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

I think I'd make for a real bad superhero.

If I woke up with telepathic power like this, I'd walk straight over to the UW and say, "As long as it doesn't kill me, harm me, take away my power and I don't have to do any work I find objectionable, you guys got a free hand to run whatever tests it takes to figure out what makes me tick. This quirk of nature needs to be reproduced in instrumentality, that way everyone can have it."

Like I say, I'd make a crummy superhero but a great test subject.

Besides telepathy would just depress the hell out of me—to discover that everyone is just as scared, petty, boring and conflicted as I am.