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  1. #1

    Forgotten book from the 1960s

    I would dearly like to remember and find a book that I read in the 1960s. It was distinguished by a society that tested all citizens who dared to participate -- participation was not mandatory but the world was ruled by those who were tested... and ranked. Rank was in the form of badges -- stars, crosses, circles, of different colors. the highest achievable rank was a white star I think. white was higher than yellow which was higher than blue (or whatever), and a star was higher than a circle which was higher than a cross (or whatever) and so on. I can't remember exactly, but you get the idea, and I still remember it - a pretty easy to remember system.

    Anybody have a clue what book or author this was?



  2. #2
    A chuffing heffalump Chuffalump's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Darlington, UK
    No idea what this book is but the ranking system rings a Heinlein kind of bell. Not one that I've read though, so this is probably a red herring.

  3. #3
    Couldn't be Heinlein, that I would remember. The premise was intriguing enough for me to remember it all these years -- the test, the ranking. And I'm beginning to remember a little more -- that the protagonist isn't sure of who he is or his potential, so taking the test is a double-edged sword for him: he may discover that he is just an ordinary person, not something special. Specialness is something he believes himself to be. And, I remember, he turns out to be something quite special.

  4. #4
    Could it have been by A. E. Van Vogt? For some reason, this sounds like something by him. It's been too many years since I read The World of Null-A to recall if there was a ranking system in it.

    Randy M.

  5. #5
    I checked out the first chapter courtesy of Amazon. the description i gave does seem to fit Null-A, but I don't think this is the book. I'd rather not buy and reread this tangled thing (I probably last read it decades ago). It could be that my mystery book's author was influenced by (i.e. stole) some of Van Vogt's setups.

    Does anyone know Null-A well enough to say that the test/competition in that book ends up with ratings like white star, circle, cross, etc? that was feature that gnaws at me all these years later.

  6. #6

    Forgotten Book from 60's

    World out of Mind JT McIntosh?
    White Star was the top ranking, aliens from Nwylla (sp) plant agents in place on earth prior to invasion. Top aliens become leaders of earth and defeat the invaders.


  7. #7
    Wow. I do remember that an alien connection ultimately surfaced -- this must be the book! can't thank you enough. have already ordered -- long out of print. thank you!

  8. #8


    Glad to help out. I have the book at home, time for a re-read. The hero guy, Eldin or Elvin or Ragmore or something similar goes through the "tests" advancing up the rankings. His examiner gets really excited to be discovering the new white star. He does not know he is an alien until later on in the book.

    In trying to come up with the title I thought of another book, but couldn't remember the title or author, so I had to post!


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