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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  553 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The Black Place of the Soul-Changer was doing business in Rome six centuries before Christ. It will probably be there on the last day of the cosmos. This is the Psychoshop, where you can dump any unwanted aspect of your spirit as long as you exchange it for something else -- arcane knowledge, a change of luck, or a sixth sense. Just remember: All sales are final.

Half finis
Paperback, 1st edition, 224 pages
Published July 1998 by Random House / Vintage (first published June 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

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I (somewhat) recently finished my first Alfred Bester book ( The Demolished Man ) and immediately decided I loved him. I've always put a lot of importance on an author's voice, and Bester's is great. So a collaboration between Bester and Roger Zelazny (my all-time favorite author, by a landslide victory) was a formula for success, right?

Well, most of the time, Zelazny's collaborations are nowhere near as good as his solo efforts. (I'm looking at you, Flare and If at Faust You Don't Succeed .) So
Lovely novel that takes a trip through history to trade the freshest and hottest ingredients with the richest and commonest of wishers. Lovely storytelling; I got hooked by the first sentence. I guess you need some kind of historical background to properly enjoy this, but it's great even if you don't get the references. Fun read.
Lasairfiona Smith
My librarian friend was looking for books for me to read and this book jumped out at me. Really, I can't pass up anything by Zelazny and the addition of Bester... well, I had to read it.

Bester began this book and then died. Zelazny picked up the manuscript and finished it. The beginning doesn't read like the other Bester things I have read. The flow is very choppy. When Zelazny starts up, although there is no specific point where you can tell that the authors have been switched though it is quit
Alfred Bester's early work blew me away (The Demolished Man, The Stars My Destination). Written in the early 1950's they were roller coaster rides of non-stop invention that deeply influenced much of the sci-fi world. Then he spent many years making a living writing for a travel magazine, and when he finally returned to sci-fi, it wasn't the same. He was still innovative, but it seemed forced, like he was trying to recapture a lost voice.

Psychoshop feels like it could have been a return to the
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
Life is just too short.

Let's be completely honest: we all pick up books for various reasons. A recommendation from a trusted friend. It was up front in the airport bookshop. Written by a favorite author. A great cover.

I picked up Psychoshop because it was written by Alfred Bester. I was at Powell's in Portland, and it seemed like a good find. A classic author, a previously unread title, and a giant bookstore.

A win, right?

Perhaps for some. For me, time is too precious and life is too short.

Zachary Jernigan
OBJECTIVE RATING (my best stab at looking at the book's merits, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it all that much): 3.5

PERSONAL RATING (how much the book "worked" for me personally): 4

You won't have this much fun with a book ever again. If you're reading it while drunk and naked, so much the better.
This is one time I read the other reviews before writing my own,just to see if others were as lost as I was. I read the first few books of Zelazny's "Princes in Amber" as well as Bester's "The Demolished Man" years ago and really enjoyed them. So I thought this book would be a real find. I give it three stars just on imagination alone. However, although I followed the plot for the most part and enjoyed the characters, I cannot say it was a quick read; there are passages I read twice just to tell ...more
Grant Phipps
From the Hemingway-type approach to dialogue, the code names, lingo, time traveling, historical references to artists and psychologists, PsychoShop comes off as a weird, hip, amusing, and interesting pseudo-collaboration between two of science fiction’s trailblazers. Greg Bear, who wrote the introduction, calls the novel “SF jazz” due to its free-flow, genre-melding unconventionality, and... simply the idea of the two men working toward a compelling story (much like a compelling tune) with a pen ...more
Cathrine Bonham
Mar 01, 2011 Cathrine Bonham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who read a lot & about everything
***Warning*** The contents of this book are rated R for invoking images that would make Freud giddy.

The beginning starts with a journalist named Alf who is assigned to write a story on "The black place of the Soul Changer" which turns out to be the "Psychoshop" of the title, a pawn shop for Ids Egos and Superegos.

Ok I confess that this book is not for everyone. In fact I am not entrely sure that I understood it all
the plot is very complex but not so heavy that you can't keep reading. in fact it
Paul Spence
Psychoshop has all the things that I love about the writing's of Bester and Zelazny. It is mythic and grand and ties together most of Bester's stories. The references are mixed in smoothly and with just the right amount of panache.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the writing of either author. That said, I wouldn't recommend making this the first book you read of either of them. Read The Stars My Destination by Bester, and Bridge of Ashes by Zelazny first. It will prepare you.
I love this book and have reread it at least twice. I'm always trying to get others to read it and no one ever does. On the surface, it's about a shop where once can barter one part of thier psyche or personality for a new or desired trait. Likewise, they can trade off an undesired trait and take another on in exchange, not always with the desired results. It's an interesting but difficult to explain concept. The story culminates in an iteresting, yet not totally surprising way. I think I remem ...more
Seems to be received with either love or a shrug. I enjoyed this book. Having come late to Alfred Bester and a huge fan of Zelazny, I found it very intriguing. Some plot points and situations felt a bit lacking - but Bester's plotting has never been highly opaque. Reading the post-mortem collaboration between these two authors, I found myself enjoying the transitions from Z to B and B to Z, sometimes picking up particular sentences or turns of phrase that very clearly were from one mind or the o ...more
Quirky little book--not particularly memorable, I think, but not bad for a fast read. The plot was rather weak and seemed to meander a bit, but I suppose that couldn't be helped with the circumstances. I've never read anything by Roger Zelazny, but I know he was taking up Alfred Bester's unfinished work here, so naturally that factor must have contributed to the convoluted nature of the story. The other work I've read by Bester has been startling and very thought-provoking, two qualities I certa ...more
Bester somehow completely destroys the mood here by name dropping, quote dropping, and sounding like an all-around pretentious guy. It has it's moments, but in the end it takes a lot of effort to get to the end... and even then, I'm not sure I even wanted to make sense of all of it. Also, sex with a snake-woman -- I'm not saying it's a bad thing... just really really odd.
Jan 04, 2008 krin rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
Quirky and a bit funny at times, this book reminded me of Twilight Zone episodes "Wong's Lost and Found Emporium" and "The Mind of Simon Foster." I liked the interactions between Glory, Alf, Adam and the patrons - especially the one whose vocal inflections inspired Beethoven to compose his fifth symphony.
Muddled narrative, carried along by the incredible style and tone of its two authors. I'd much rather have read what it would look like if Bester finished it, or if Zelazny ran with the material on his own. But with what we have, it's a light, enjoyable read.
A final testament to the skills and talents of two of the twentieth-century's greatest masters: Bester and Zelazny. And keep an eye out for the shop, the voice you hear in your asthmatic wheeze could make you a famous person.
Milton Soong
A so so book. Enjoyed the banter between the characters but the plot went from surreal to ridiculous in the 2nd half. A mish-mash of good and the indifferent, a trait of many collaborations.
Very interesting, creepy, whacked out story. Entertaining but a bit harder to follow than some of his other books, like The Demolished Man. But it is a good read none the less.
Jeremy Matters
Truly experimental sci-fi centered around a shop that swaps unique characteristics. Starts off a little slow and weird, but becomes a real page-turner by the middle.
Mar 25, 2008 S. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to S. by: found on shelf in library
Weird. An unusual ending in a strange realm of the imagination. It was fun and fast.
Started me down the road of both Zelazny and Bester... glad for both.
All I can think about is the McCavity song in Webber's Cats.
Pretty weird. Deus ex machina out the wazoo.
Engaging storyline.
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American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books.

His novel The Demolished Man (1953) won the very first Hugo Award for best novel.
More about Alfred Bester...
The Stars My Destination The Demolished Man Virtual Unrealities: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester The Computer Connection Golem 100

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