In writing “The Mind Agents” series, I researched ESP and was surprised by how seriously it’s taken in academic and government circles. Government agencies like the CIA have historically been intrigued by the potential of ESP in international espionage. The CIA approached physicists at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park in the 1960s and 1970s. Scientists there like Russel Targ and Harold Puthoff had done experiments on something called “remote viewing” and they were publishing in peer-reviewed science journals, claiming it was real. It was like the type of psychic behavior you see on those A&E shows about crime-solving psychics—they draw a location from a thought, and then the police find the murder victim there. That kind of thing. And the CIA took this seriously and investigated its practical applications.

Since this actually happened, I thought it was a solid basis for a fun story. And it’s how I came up with the Mind Agents idea. I thought, what would happen if they followed through, and found someone who had extrasensory perception—what would they do with someone with real ESP in the government?