|Collier / Macmillan paperback, first edition, 1979. Cover painting by|
Richard M. Powers.
"Sergei Arefyev is a brilliant scientist at the Institute of Telepathy. Torn by a sense of isolation and alienation, he dreams of a human future where telepathy allows mankind to share its experiences fully. His dream seems to be fulfilled by the World Soul, a biological mutation that links human consciousnesses through telepathy. Lies and deception become impossible, wars can no longer be fought, and people experience an ecstasy of full communion with each other. However, human relations change dramatically as the lack of individual privacy leads to a loss of personal identity. In the midst of this turmoil the World Soul evolves until it acquires a will of its own, and Sergei and his friends must face the horrible challenge of reestablishing individual autonomy before mankind is completely engulfed."