My life in outer space

Intervention – Julian May (1987)

Intervention (Intervention #1-2)

‘For 60,000 years the five races of the Galactic Milieu have watched and waited for the time when human mental development on Earth is ready for the Intervention…

As the twentieth century draws to its end, phenomenal mental powers are displayed by ‘operants’ all across our planet… They can ‘farspeak’ one another telepathically, they can build mental shields and they are capable of coercion by power of mind.

One of these is Rogatien Remillard, a dealer in secondhand books, whose memoirs – written a century on – form the core of this chronicle. They tell of a world where the mind has become a weapon; and of two brothers, each possessed of extraordinary powers – one a peace-bringer, the other an advocate of evil…’

Blurb from the 1988 Pan paperback edition

This rather massive book stands as both a connecting work between the Saga of the Exiles and the concluding three volumes of the series, and a history of the metapsychic community on Earth. It is told through the eyes of Rogi Remillard, a minor relative of the Remillard dynasty who is prompted by an entity known as ‘the Family Ghost’ to write his memoirs.
This is at a time after the Exiles have returned from the Pliocene and Earth is now a tourist attraction for the other psychic races of the Galactic Milieu.
And so, Uncle Rogi, from the comfort of the room above his shop where he sells antique Science Fiction novels, begins the tale of how isolated metapsychic communities, in Ireland, Scotland, Russia and America, began to form and eventually come together, occasionally with the help of Rogi himself, prompted by the Family Ghost.
It’s a wonderful, engrossing, rambling novel, full of May’s love and passion for her characters who are not, in some cases, very nice people. Many of the metapsychics were using their powers to control others, or to gain political power, and so the future of Humanity in Galactic Society was in the balance.
There are references in the book to the saga of the Exiles. Rogi, as a young man, is given a strange jewel by the ghost, a red stone which seems to gleam with an inner light and which Rogi has made into a key fob and calls ‘The Great Carbuncle’. Could this be what remains of Felice and Culluket after six million years? And in the addendum, a family tree is provided which shows that Aiken Drum (via banked sperm) is related to the great metapsychic families.
It’s these small touches that gives May’s work such a verisimilitude.
Eventually, as most readers will suspect, the Family Ghost, who is also the leader of the Lylmik contingent of Earth observers (The Lylmik being the oldest and most mysterious race in the galaxy) is actually Marc Remillard, still extant after six million years.

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