Help me identify this SciFi novel.
August 10, 2010 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Help me identify this SciFi novel. I can't remember the title or who wrote it. I read it back in the late 1970s or early 80s, so it is at least that old.

A man becomes aware that there are two secret organization on earth that are battling each other. One is responsible for causing much of the war and destruction that abounds, the other tries to stop those efforts.

The man is recruited into the good organization. The groups battle each other using their minds. He is trained to use a screen in his mind to "tear the screens" of enemies.

At the end of the book, he is let in on a grand secret: The universe has many peopled planets and is at peace. Earth is kept from this knowledge because good leadership skills require conflict and struggle to develop. Earth is a training ground for leaders who will "graduate" to become governors of other worlds.

Anyone know the name of this novel and who wrote it?

posted by governale to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I don't recognize it but it sounds like the kind of stuff that John Brunner wrote.
posted by neuron at 12:04 PM on August 10, 2010

It's almost certainly John D. MacDonald's Ballroom of the Skies. Good vivid novel, remember it fondly.
posted by mojohand at 2:12 PM on August 10, 2010

The first part reminds me very much of A. E. van Vogt's Slan series.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:30 PM on August 10, 2010

Thanks, mojohand. The second I saw the title I recognized it. Must have read this back when I was working my way through MacDonald's Travis McGee series. Totally forgot that he wrote some science fiction. Anyway, this is my very first question on Ask MetaFilter and a longtime mystery is solved almost instantly.
posted by governale at 2:48 PM on August 10, 2010

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