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"I've come across more and more people who've actually tried reading science fiction and can't make it make sense."
- Samuel R. Delany

Remote-Control Slavery  
  Mental control (possibly mediated by radio waves) of individuals of other species.  

“We’re only beginning to understand this, and of course I don’t have much of the inside information myself, but as I piece it together it seems that these beings make use of lower life-forms, turning them essentially into radio-controlled robots. They’ll use anything with limbs and mobility. They started with certain animals of their own planet, a small dolphin-like form perhaps on the threshold of intelligence, and worked through them to achieve a space drive. Then they got to neighboring planets—land planets— and took control of pseudoprimates, protochimps of some kind. They look for fingers. Manual dexterity counts a great deal with them. At present their sphere of influence covers some eighty light-years and appears to be spreading at an exponential rate.”

Muller shook his head. “This is worse nonsense than the stuff you were handing me about a cure. Look, there’s a limiting velocity for radio transmission, right? If they’re controlling flunkeys from eighty light-years away, it’ll take eighty years for any command to reach its destination. Every twitch of a muscle, every trifling movement—”

“They can leave their home world,” said Rawlins.

“But if they’re so big—”

“They’ve used their slave beings to build gravity tanks. They also have a star drive. All their colonies are run by overseers in orbit a few thousand kilometers up, floating in a simulated home-world environment. It takes one overseer to run one planet. I suppose they rotate tours of duty.”

From The Man in the Maze, by Robert Silverberg.
Published by Avon Books in 1969
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