This may be the definitive science fiction tale about intuition. The story is completely about intuition, and little else. This is an impressive and thought-provoking tale about a statistician who becomes, as the title suggests, non-statistical when his natural human potential for intuition is unlocked.
This story thoroughly contemplates the impact that the possession and use of powerful intuition would have on individuals and society. For example, the main character first encounters the world of intuition when investigating a statistically improbable run of short-term insurance claims: dozens of people have purchased insurance just weeks before actually needing it. The only connection between these people is they have all participated in a seminar by a seemingly quack scientist whose program actually does unlock people's powerful intuitive abilities.
This is a very focused science fiction tale: there are no aliens, no new inventions, nothing science fictional except the central elements pertaining to inuition. This story has a very "Twilight Zone" feel to it. This is definitely recommended reading for anybody unafraid to confront a startlingly alternative viewpoint.
This story is part of a 5-story anthology about the bounty hunters glimpsed in the movie "The Empire Strikes Back." The story is completely independent of the rest of the novel, and can easily be read and enjoyed on its own.
"Of Possible Futures" is almost as focused on the subject of intuition as "The Non-Statistical Man," although it does have the additional elements of the Star Wars background, and hunt for Han Solo by bounty hunters Zuckuss and 4-LOM. But the heart of the story is the intelligent robot 4-LOM's quest for the secret of intution possessed by his alien companion Zuckuss. Zuckuss' race developed powerful intuitive abilities on the gaseous, fog-covered planet where they developed. These abilities were used to hunt when sight and other senses were insufficient. As technology came to their planet, scanners and modern equipment became available, and the intuitive abilities declined in most, except for some individuals, like Zuckuss, who became bounty hunters and used their intuition, knowledge gained from a powerful connection to universe, to locate individuals beyond the reach of any scanners.
The story describes in detail 4-LOM's observations of Zuckuss' intution, and his own attempts to develop the skill, despite the fact that he is a robot. The story presents very interesting ideas regarding intuition, how it is related to and distinct from the Force, and its advantages, disadvantages, and limitations.
Comments by Kurt Keefner:
And since I am encouraging people to read better literature, I will mention The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley. This is a novel that deals with race and history, but also issues of reason and intuition. It's very powerful, but still something that a fan of Rand or of SF could find accessible.
Web page created 20 July 2000. Last modified 20 July 2000.