Doctor Orient: A Mind Adventure into the Occult
Frank Lauria | Bantam Books | 1970 | 214 pages
Master of telepathy Doctor Orient responds to a psychic emergency call from Hap Prentice, a promising former student now reduced to performing cheap carnival tricks to survive. During their performance, Hap’s assistant Malta slipped into a deep trance from which she could not recover. Projecting his own consciousness into Malta’s, Orient discovers a powerful negative vortex possessing her mind, suggesting a sinister influence with implications beyond Malta’s life.
Doctor Orient and his team of former telepathic acolytes–a washed-up baseball player, a bearded dentist with unrivaled chess acumen, and a B-movie actor—join forces with an occult-minded priest to release Malta and defeat the infernal powers responsible. A cryptic utterance during a séance leads the group to Susej, leader of the Clear One cult. By exploiting the potential of mass-media—insidious pop music recorded by his disciples at his discotheque, and faith-healing performances on television talk-shows—Susej plans to unleash the power of Ose, demon of insanity, gaining control of unsuspecting minds on a global level.
Outside of a few preliminary strikes into the psychic space of his adversary, Doctor Orient takes a rather passive approach to his task. He meditates, practices breathing techniques, performs yoga and teaches the value of a well-executed move during games of chess. Although Orient defers to a greater karmic code of magic that restricts his use of excessive negative energy, readers may grow impatient with the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo and implore him to fight back (telepathically explode some heads, perhaps?) before waiting for the counter-moves to reveal themselves. A hinted relationship between Orient and Malta, in a previous life, is also never fully explored.