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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
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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.

In Canon

Sources with major characters who are telepaths include:

A stock sf&f plot is for a character to gain telepathic powers for an episode; examples include Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville. Fake telepathic skills are central to The Mentalist and Psych.

In Fanfiction

This article or section needs expansion.

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.


The Avengers Movieverse:

Blake's 7:


Harry Potter:

Iron Man:

Jane Austen's Emma:

  • 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

The Mentalist:


Sherlock BBC:

Star Trek: TNG:

  • 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

Stargate: Atlantis:

  • 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.

X-Men: First Class:

  • 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.


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