overmind n.

a single, non-material consciousness composed of the consciousnesses of a large number of beings

  • 1949 J. H. Schmitz Agent of Vega in Astounding Science Fiction July 20/1 page image James H. Schmitz bibliography

    The akaba condition was a disconcerting defensive trick which had been played on him on occasion by members of other telepathic races. The facutly [sic] was common to most of them; completely involuntary, and affected the pursuer more or less as if he had been closing in on aglow of mental light and suddenly saw that light vanish without a trace.The Departmental Lab’s theory was that under the stress of a psychic attack which was about to overwhelm the individual telepath, a kind of racial Overmind took over automatically and conducted its member-mind’s escape from the emergency, if that was at all possible, with complete mechanical efficiency before restoring it to awareness of itself. It was only a theory since the Overmind, if it existed, left no slightest traces of its work—except the brief void of one of the very few forms of complete and irreparable amnesia known. For some reason, as mysterious as the rest of it, the Overmind never intervened if the threatened telepath had been physically located by the pursuer.

  • 1953 A.C. Clarke Childhood’s End 202 Arthur C. Clarke bibliography

    There lay the Overmind, whatever it might be, bearing the same relation to man as man bore to the amoeba. Potentially infinite, beyond mortality, how long had it been absorbing race after race as it spread across the stars?

  • 1979 J. Varley Titan (1987) 286 John Varley

    The satellite brain that held sway over the territory was a tool of the overmind, and had not as yet developed a personality of his own.

  • 1987 T. Pratchett Equal Rites (1990) 27 Terry Pratchett bibliography

    The overmind of the forest made impromptu searching as hard as listening for a waterfall in a thunderstorm.

  • 1991 J. Varley Steel Beach (1993) 345 John Varley bibliography

    We’re guided, at first by the survivors of the Invasion who got us through the early years, and now by the overmind they created.

  • 1999 R. J. Sawyer Factoring Humanity xxxiii. 278 Robert J. Sawyer

    ‘To build the machine.’ ‘What machine?’ She opened her mouth slightly, then exhaled, feeling her cheeks puff out as she did so. ‘A machine to access…the overmind.’ Kyle tilted his head, stunned. ‘The aliens…that was what they were trying to tell us. Individuality is an illusion; we're all part of a greater whole.’

  • 2001 ‘G. Mesta’ Shadow of Xel’Naga xvi. 105 page image Kevin J. Anderson Rebecca Moesta bibliography

    These prototype Zerg had rapidly adapted and assimilated all of the native species there, and as their race grew more powerful and more intelligent, the fledgling Zerg overmind had reached a critical point, a roadblock that prevented it from expanding further. The Zerg were planet-bound—until the star-sailing behemoths had wandered into the system. Immense and docile creatures of the airless void, the behemoths drifted close enough that the Overmind had called out to them with its great telepathic powers.


Research requirements

antedating 1949

Earliest cite

James H. Schmitz, 'Agent of Vega'

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1999 reprint of Robert J. Sawyer's 1998 "Factoring Humanity".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from James H. Schmitz's 1949 "Agent of Vega".
Jeff Prucher submitted a 1953 cite from Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End".
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 2001 cite from "Gabriel Mesta".

Last modified 2021-11-10 15:09:30
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.