|Trope · Genre|
|Synonyms:||mind reading, mind melding, legilimency|
|Related:||psionic powers, psychic powers, Psychics|
|See Also:||Vulcan Mind Meld|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Telepathy is a science fiction staple. In non-sf sources the talent is often referred to as mind reading. There are specialised terms for it in some sources, such as mind melding in Star Trek and legilimency in Harry Potter. Otherwise in most sources it is known as a psychic power, and because of this many people often refer to telepaths being a psychic.
Sources with major characters who are telepaths include:
- Blake's 7 -- Auronar such as Cally are telepathic. A frequent plot device in the series is for Cally to be taken over by telepathic aliens.
- Darkover series -- the ruling caste are all telepathic.
- Doctor Who -- Time Lords such as the Doctor and the Master have telepathic powers.
- Firefly -- River Tam is telepathic.
- Harry Potter -- legilimency (and its converse occlumency) are magical skills; legilimens include Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape and Voldemort. Harry Potter learning to occlude is a major plot thread.
- Star Trek -- telepaths turn up in all flavours of Trek. Vulcans, Betazoids, Ocampa and the Q are telepathic races. Half-Betazoid Deanna Troi is another character who gets taken over by telepathic aliens a lot.
- Tolkien -- wizards such as Gandalf and some elves such as Galadriel have telepathic powers.
- True Blood -- Sookie Stackhouse is telepathic.
- X-Men -- Charles Xavier is a powerful telepath, as are Jean Grey and Emma Frost.
- and many, many more...
Telepathy is most common in works featuring telepathy, telepathic characters or supernatural elements.
In works featuring telepathic characters, telepathy is often a plot device allowing characters to communicate over considerable distances. In shipping fics, telepathy can be used as a device to allow one character to discover another character's romantic feelings, often leading to first-time encounters. Particularly in established relationships, telepathy can enhance intimacy or result in telepathic sex.
Telepathic bonds are common in forced or accidental bonding stories; usually the partners initially resent but learn to enjoy the connection. On the other hand, forced telepathy can be read as a form of torture or rape; it is sometimes called "mind rape" in this context.
Inability to connect telepathically can break up couples where only one partner can communicate in this way. The loneliness of telepaths isolated from compatible minds is another trope.
In sources lacking a telepathic character, character X Wakes Up Telepathic (aka Aliens Made Them Telepathic) is a stock plot. This trope also appears in works featuring a telepath paired with a non-telepath. It is a very popular trope in Doctor/Rose fics, with Rose often acquiring a Timelords lifespan along with her telepathic powers.
Always a Telepath AUs are probably rarer, but still plentiful.
- Touch Me Deep by Daroos. Clint knows that being amazing can get you places, but being different can get you killed. Luckily, sharpshooters aren’t known for being touchy-feely folk, and Clint has gotten pretty good at hiding the fact he’s a mutant. (Clint/Natasha)
- Space Electric by icarus_chained. Gen Space AU where Tony Stark, Jarvis and several AIs all have a telepathic connection.
- you could be the one to see it through by twistedingenue. In which Darcy Lewis becomes a telepath but can only "hear"/"see" what other people think of her and about her only. (Darcy/Clint)
- Drown Out the Crowd by ziparumpazoo. While pregnant, Olivia forms a sort of mind meld with Peter - knowing what he was going to say or want... and much more. (Olivia/Peter)
- Poignant Sting by Ione. An example of the rule that telepathy can be inserted into the most unlikely of sources. In this case, Miss Bates' telepathy isolates her from others
- What You See Is What You Get (If You're Looking Hard Enough) by Sixthlight. Patrick Jane pretends to be a telepath in a magical AU where telepathy actually exists
- Your Lips Are Sealed (But Your Mind Is An Open Book) by paregmenon. Their thoughts weave their way around your mind, so tightly that you sometimes can’t tell the difference between their thoughts and yours.
- Only Human by Alara Rogers. Well-known novel in which Q never regains his powers (which include telepathy) after "Deja Q"; an important thread is Q's reaction to a device that amplifies telepathic powers
- Flinch by maisierita. Rodney can't read people, Rodney is always oblivious, so Rodney had always been safe, would have never figured it out, but now he knows, and when John had touched him, he'd flinched.
- An absence which could not be more there by aesc. He prepared to shift another half-step over to the Current Events section (which would, of course, enrage him) when the teaser positioned by the model's left elbow caught his eye: DATING WHILE TELEPATHIC: WHY I DON'T DO IT. Modern, still-powered AU exploring the difficulties of having a relationship between a telepath and a non-telepath. Charles/Erik.
- Getting Your Frustration Out Of My System by helens78. Erik thinks of getting off like just another bodily function; half the time he doesn't even remember to do it. He's used to the low-level sexual frustration, but it's making Charles crazy. Telepathic sex, Charles/Erik.
- Out Of The Shower (And Into The Bathroom) by misura. The thing about the helmet (well, one of the many things about the helmet) was: you couldn't properly shower with it. Or, well, you could, but it would mean not getting your hair wet. Possibly, Erik should have considered what that meant before he started taking his clothes off. Telepathic sex, Charles/Erik.