Rita Flemming, the award-winning author of the mystery/adventure holonovel Telepathis, discusses the problems between telepathic and non-telepathic species currently seen in the Tacalia system near the Federation’s border.
Soon after the release of Telepathis in October 2392, the holonovel became one of the most popular and best-selling ones in its genre. People from all over United Earth, including the colonies have been activating their holosuites to go through the thirty-seven chapters as either female or male protagonist, Yalissa Fields or Frayn Lawrence.
In the novel, the author describes a world which is seperated into two different ethical groups – telepaths and non-telepaths – who hardly interact with each other on official channels as well as privately. Telepathis, the only education institution, main employer, and single political party every telepath is forced to join from birth, manipulate and bring their members into line.
Fields and Lawrence are only collegues at the beginning of the novel, working in Telepathis’ principal administration but soon become renegades as they begin to question Telepathis’ methods. Together they are on the run, hunted by Telepathis cops who are not only willing to return them but to brainwash them to not ever question Telepathis again. Therefore, Fields and Lawrence have to hide in a non-telepath’s city and are forced to pass themselves off as non-telepaths. They soon learn how different their own world is compared to the non-telepath ones’ and they see what they’ve missed because of Telepathis.
Rita Flemming, author of Telepathis and part Human, part Lumerian – a telepathic species – herself, describes her novel as a “worst case scenario that might happen to telepaths in the Tacalia system if the non-telepaths’ prejudices towards them continue.”
Flemming also states that her story doesn’t show the real situation, as average telepathic societies don’t manipulate their people or force them to a particular lifestyle.
“Nobody should think that,” said Flemming to the FNS. “It is a great misunderstanding if anybody who ran my holonovel thinks that all telepath species have their own crazy and oppressive laws like is shown in Telepathis.”
Flemming wanted to present the opposite because in her opinion the “great barriers between for example the Rali and the Tacalians or any non-telepathic and telepathic races are simply built up”.
The Beta Quadrant’s Tacalia system includes seven planets, two suns and five different races – Rali, Larians, Corbans, Philla and Tacalians. They share the same script, official language, culture and political system as well as the monarch Aldyrilun Pneym. The only contrast between the five races is that two of them are telepathic, three are non-telepathic.
“Even if they are now one society, the differences between each other have been strongly marked at the beginning,” explained Flemming. “Especially prejudices between telepaths and non-telepaths resulted from that. The Rali and the Larians, the two Telepathic species, somehow became seen as ‘different’ or even ‘mysterious’ and that unfortunately stayed in the people’s heads, even more than a decade after.”
With Telepathis, Flemming is trying to show both the inhabitants of the Tacalians as well as outsiders what is currently happening and what is going to happen in the Tacalia system if the situation doesn’t improve.
“My message to all the inhabitants of the Tacalia system is that there is no need to be afraid of telepathic races’ abilities. I think it’s even a great addition to their society,” said Flemming.
“And as strange as it may sound, sometimes you have to show the people the worst way to lead them to the best way,” the author added, referring to the rather abhorrent telepaths’ lifestyle in her novel.
Nevertheless most non-telepaths in the Tacalia system find telepathy irritating or even scary. A study in 2391 found that 39% of non-telepaths viewed telepaths as “invading privacy”, as they would theoretically be able to read their minds. Only 12% reported themselves as “not irritated” by telepathic people. Nine percent went so far as to state they would “not tolerate telepaths in higher official posts at all,” as they could be manipulating others by using telepathy.
“It’s not easy for them. Partly because they are a minority. They [Rali and Larians] only come to one fourth of the population,” said Flemming. “We telepaths and empaths can be glad that there is no such wide-spread discrimination against us in the Federation. We have to help other races to reach the same goal.”
Rita Flemming’s telepathic rating is E3, she tells proudly, as it is uncommon that any kind of Lumerian hybrid retain his/her telepathy or rather empathy.
“When I first heard about the conflict in the Tacalia system, I started woking with the people there to inform myself. I heard some real horror stories about non-telepaths’ prejudices torwards them. I remember one I was told by a young Rali/Corban hybrid. At age eight, he once had been on a playground with his mother [a Corban non-telepath], when suddenly a boy from his class ran towards his mother and shouted, ‘He can read minds!'”
“Well, his mother just stared at the boy for a moment before he told him that her husband, the young part Rali, part Corban’s father, was a telepath too. The boy started screaming and ran way. A few days later the young Rali/Corban hybrid’s parents read an article about a radical anti-telepath politician. It was the boy’s father. I was as much shocked as the young man who told me this story once had been. I personally couldn’t imagine what wrong things some parents in the system tell their children.”
Flemming repeated how important it was to fight against such extreme views. In her opinion, the only way is to tell as many others about the conflict in the Tacalia system as possible, and she hopes she partly contributed in that by creating her holonovel.
“I don’t think I will change something overnight when people are simply running my novel. I just want everyone to know about the problems in the Tacalia system, and I think that’s at least a step,” she said. “But as in any great rethink, it’s a long way until everyone leaves all doubts behind.”