Esper

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In 1951, renowned science fiction author Alfred Bester wrote in serial form, a story that was published in Galaxy magazine. The story was subsequently published as a novel. It was called The Demolished Man[1]. It is a story of the future, a world where homicide is made extinct because of the rising of an organisation of telepaths known as the Esper Guild that can detect murderous intent, and one man's attempt to defy it. In Chapter One of the book, it writes: "Esper for Extra Sensory Perception... For Telepaths, Mind Readers, Brain Peepers".

Most humans are born with the gift of the five senses, which are: touch, smell, taste, sight and sound. Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), is often described as a gift of the sixth sense, where people blessed (or cursed) with the gift have one or more of the following abilities:

  1. Psychokinesis
  2. Clairvoyance
  3. Telepathy
  4. Prerecognition.

It is unknown when or where the term "esper" in Alfred Bester's context was first used. The term was also used in Philip K. Dick's (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a.k.a. Blade Runner) 1954 novel Solar Lottery as well as George O. Smith's 1956 Highways In Hiding.

In 1986, the first issue of a long-running and critically-acclaimed comic series Espers — whose contributors include the late Roger Zelazny (Lord of Light) — was published. I suspect that it could have been this series that inspired the Final Fantasy VI version.

The espers of Final Fantasy VI are similar to the espers of Alfred Bester's creation[2] in that they are segregated from humans because of their innate ability to use magic. When an esper dies, it turns into magicite, an object that allows an ordinary human to master and use the natural abilities of the esper.

Appears in

References

  1. Bester, Alfred; introduction by Harry Harrison (1996). Demolished Man, The, New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-67976-781-9.
  2. I refer to Alfred Bester because in my research so far, he is the earliest author to have used the term.
    There is a Spanish word "esperanza", which is obviously similar to "esper" in spelling, and it means "hope". It is unlikely though that the FF creators got their inspiration from that one. "Esper" is also relatively common family name, but I doubt that connection. —Terra
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