In 1959 Randall Garrett and Laurence Janifer got together to write the first of the Kenneth Malone stories, “That Sweet Little Old Lady” under the pseudonym Mark Phillips for Astounding Science Fiction. This story was followed by two more, “Out Like a Light” and “Occasion for Disaster.” These stories were later expanded and released as the novels Brain Twister, The Impossibles, and Supermind.
By their own, possibly less than truthful, admission, the stories were written in a matter of days, and one suspects with the aid of a certain quantity of alcoholic beverages. The end result was a set of rollicking tales featuring the exploits of Kenneth Malone, an FBI agent who is more lucky than competent, as he pursues various enemies who threaten the United States with their psychic powers.
At the time these stories were written, the possibility of psychic abilities was taken seriously by many people. A series of widely publicized experiments had been carried out by the Rhine Institute. The government was about to explore the possibility of using remote viewing to spy on Russians. Psychic powers were the topic of numerous serious science fiction stories including a number by each of these two authors. This was, however, not the case in the Malone stories, which parodied not only psychic abilities, but the FBI, scientists, the government, and just about anyone or anything else they could think of.
In this, the first of the three novels, Agent Malone finds himself trying to track down a telepath who is reading the minds of scientists operating at a secret base at Yucca Flats, Nevada. Along the way, he finds the usual beautiful woman, drinks the typical quantities of alcoholic beverages, smokes an amazing amount of tobacco products and finds himself dependent on the help of a sweet little old lady who just happens to be crazy.
Resurrected Press is happy to bring you Brain Twister, the first novel in this entertaining series.
About the Authors
Mark Phillips was the pen named used b Randall Garrett and Laurence Janifer for the three novels, Brain Twister, The Impossibles, and Supermind. The pair was nominated for a Hugo for best novel for Brain Twister in 1960. They also collaborated on the novel Pagan Passions.
Gordon Randall Garrett (December 16, 1927-December 31, 1987) was a prolific author of science fiction and fantasy. He was a regular contributor to Astounding and other magazines during the 50’s and 60’s. He is best known for his alternate reality stories featuring the detective Lord Darcy who lives in a world where the Plantagenates still rule an Anglo-French empire and magic works. He wrote under a number of pseudonyms including David Gordon, John Gordon, Ivar Jorgensen, Darrel T. Langart, Gerald Vance and others. He collaborated on several works with Laurence Janifer and with Robert Silverberg as Robert Randall. He was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Laurence M. Janifer
Laurence M. Janifer (March 17, 1933-July 10, 2002) was born in Brooklyn, New York. Originally named Laurence M. Harris, he changed his name to Janifer, which was the name of his Polish grandfather. Starting with the publication of a story in 1959 his writing career spanned three decades. Many of his early stories were published under the name Larry M. Harris. He collaborated on a number of stories and novels with Randall Garrett, often using the pseudonym Mark Phillips. In addition to his career as a writer, he served as an editor for various magazines and literary agencies.