The Mind Benders

By James Kennaway

Synopsis

A British scientist is discovered to have been passing information to the Communists, then kills himself. Another scientist decides that they might have brainwashed him by a sensory deprivation technique, but he doesn't know if someone really can be convinced to act against their strongest feelings. So he agrees to be the subject in an experiment in which others will try to make him stop loving his wife.

Review

This is an overlooked gem: Major "Ramrod" Hall is assigned to observe Sharpey, a scientist working on the effects of sensory deprivation. Sharpey, apparently, commits suicide and the action turns to his erstwhile assistant, Longman, who has a worrying tendency to self-experimentation. This patient, psychologically astute and chilling novel was also made into a film, with Kennaway's script. -- Stuart Kelly