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Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Ex-library book. The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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The Power Paperback – March 2, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Apart from the wonderful and almost purely science fiction The Dark Beyond the Stars, Frank M. Robinson's novels tend toward various subgenres of the thriller--such as techno (The Glass Inferno), espionage (Death of a Marionette), and anthropological (Waiting)--albeit with significant science fiction elements.

The Power is a science fiction thriller about a malevolent superhuman, a mutant masquerading as normal man. In this guise, the superman penetrates a secret committee convened to test the limits of human endurance--and therefore keeps tabs on the government's efforts to find those like him. One of the committee members begins to get an inkling that something isn't quite as it should be, setting off a paranoid and paranormal cat-and-mouse game with all the players wondering who to trust--for here, what you see is most definitely not what you get. Several innocents die, and the novel ends on a chilling note with a previously sympathetic character shedding his humanity with as little regret as a snake sheds its skin.

This was Robinson's first novel, written in his late twenties and first published in 1956, now updated and rereleased. If the reader can ignore the jarring inconsistencies which result from the superficial rewrite--characters calling each other Mac but having fought in the Gulf War, women acting like '50s molls but with birthdates in the '60s--then this is not a bad example of its kind. It is focused, fast-moving, and armed with just enough wish-fulfillment to please all those who dream of the day the world will recognize their obvious superiority. --Luc Duplessis

Review

"I've always maintained that Frank M. Robinson's The Power was one of the best terror tales ever told. Waiting is even better, rich with character, suspense and constant surprise. This is one of the best chillers of the entire decade." --Ed Gorman, Mystery Scene
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Updated edition (March 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312866542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312866549
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished rereading "The Power". Robinson apparently updated the text very slightly to set it in the 90's instead of the 50's. I haven't read the book in at least 25 years, so I can't recall all of the details, but it seems that he also cleaned up a couple of minor plot points. Overall the book is still quite good, but I think that he should have left it in the 50's, since that was its natural era.
The basic idea behind the plot is that a university gets a Navy contract to identify the factors that result in survival in battle (or other harsh conditions). They develop a questionaire, the people on the committee take it anonymously to "test the test", and one of the test scores is off the charts, but no one will admit to it. And then people start dying...
This is a very 50's idea at its core. This was the heyday of tests like the 16PF, which purported to be able to uncover people that were thieves (for instance). The idea was that you could write a test that included a lot of questions whose significance you barely understood yourself, give it to a big group of people that had a different "levels" of whatever trait you were looking for (measured independently -- that is, they survived desperate circumstances through something other than complete luck), and you'd apply statistical methods to construct the scoring formula that would be able to magically identify and quantify that trait. This is a great idea for use in a sci-fi thriller, so never mind that it didn't work very well. The only problem with pushing the book into the 90's is that this plot device needs some gee-whizzing to be contemporary, and that didn't change in the update. So my advice is to set it mentally in the 50's so that it's okay for the hero to travel by train, and ignore the references to the Vietnam and Gulf wars (which are glancing, at most).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Frank Robinson's book THE POWER back in 1956, when I was about twelve years old. The twist in the final paragraphs really got my attention, and made the book memorable over all these years.
I'm writing now myself (working on my 3rd novel). This book is my model for how suspense ought to be written.
Oddly, because God is not presented in a positive way at all in the book, it was in fact this book that kept the idea of God on my mind through my teen and early adult years. I became a Christian at twenty years old. God used this book toward that end. Amazing.
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Format: Kindle Edition
An unknown masterpiece of the abuse of mental power, by the first member of the race that will evolve from us. The ability to control others and force them to do what you want. Or, your identity disappearing; your bank account, no record; your credentials, retroactively falsified; your life, forever changed. Who has the Power?
It was Lord Acton who said "Power corrupts" and this book is a cynical verification of that.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jim Tanner heads up a panel of researchers into the nature of pain and is confronted by the fact that one of the panel-members is not human. Whoever it is, it's someone who skipped a couple evolutionary steps. He looks human, but his mind is in a whole other place. He can control thoughts and actions and memories, he can work a normal person like Howdy Doody.

The revelation spells death for the researcher who brought it up, and threatens everyone on the panel. Tanner finds himself being isolated, dismissed as an imposter when his work records disappear, friends have forgotten who he is, his bank doesn't have a record of his name ...he's being erased. And when done...he'll be done.

Frankl M. Robinson's own Twilight Zone take on paranoia came out in the 1950's and stands up well after he did a bit of editing ten years ago to substitute dated references with newer ones. It's a thought-provoking exploration of how a normal guy takes on a superhuman enemy out to get him, much less beat him.

I remain a big fan of the late 60's movie made from the book by George Pal, responsible for the classic War of the Worlds and When Worlds Collide. The Power starred George Hamilton, Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Rennie, Aldo Ray, Arthur O'Connel, Earl Holliman, and a stable of other reliables. I watch it every once in awhile.

Haven't read the book since I was a teen, but it's excellent.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An from the 1950's by Frank M. Robinson that was repubished with a few updates to fit a later decade. One of my favorite books. Until the last page you really don't know how it will turn out. A great read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I originally saw the movie with George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette. They still show it periodically on Turner Classic Movies. Of course, I had to read the book to find out what is always missing and implied in the movie. Naturally, the book was out of print. However, I found a copy. I was right the book was better. Of course I was disappointed to find that Suzanne (Margery Lansing) was written into many seines.

While looking for his new book I found to my amazement that "The Power" has been re-issued. However upon reading the book, I found dates and places changed. The changes were not significant. I just wished that he did not do it. Arthur Nordlund was in the Korean Campaign and that was before me. Now he was in the Gulf War and that was after me. Luckily, I know if I had met him, he would have been from the Vietnam War. I would have named this book "You've got to have Hart"

The Dark Beyond the Stars: A Novel
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