Ursula Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (1971). An otherwise perfectly ordinary man has a supernatural power: his dreams come true. He is compelled to undergo psychiatric treatment for drug abuse, and when his psychiatrist learns of the man's ability, he decides to use it together with hypnotic suggestion to make the world a better place. However, the man's dream-materializing unconscious fulfills the suggestions literally, like the monkey paw from the famous story; the world may become a better place in the suggested aspect but horrible otherwise. So the psychiatrist needs to suggest a new fix to the dreamer, which the dreamer's unconscious implements, which has more unintended consequences, and so on; the world quickly degenerates into a nightmare. In the hands of a certain drug-addled visionary this novel would be unreadable, but Le Guin is so skilled in prose writing and characterization that it reads beautifully.
Tags: books, science fiction