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Psychohistorical Crisis

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  253 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A loving homage to Asimov, and dialogue with him--a triumph of galactic-scaled SF that is destined to be recognized as a classic in its own right

Eron Osa had faced the ultimate penalty. Not death, but the removal of his fam. Without the augmentation of his brain by his electronic familiar, he can barely function amidst the bewildering complexities of everyday life on Splen
Paperback, 736 pages
Published October 13th 2002 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Asimov's Foundation series
Shelves: sf-fantasy
As a child, I enjoyed Asimov's science fiction; as an adult, I became aware of his limitations as an author. Kingsbury's interpretation of the Empire/Foundation universe is masterful and a wonderful read.

[REREAD: June 2014]

Ever since I read Donald Kingsbury’s Psychohistorical Crisis I have been recommending it every chance I get. At a little over 700 pages (in my edition), this book has not been high on my list of rereads, but as I’m waiting for R. Scott Bakker’s Unholy Consult to come out in Ju
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
While _Psychohistorical Crisis_ can be read on its own, it's far more impressive if you're familiar with Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. This book is essentially a sequel to a better version of the Foundation series, set ~2,000 years after _Foundation's Edge_ in a world where the Psychohistorians are the benevolent hand guiding a Galactic empire, and where everyone relies on a personal organic computer (called a fam, for familiar) used since their youth as a memory and intelligence augmentor ( ...more
Brian Jeffreys
Oct 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
The author of the Hugo-nominated Courtship Rite has dared to create a fascinating sequel to the Asimov Foundation trilogy, one of the greatest SF yarns of all time.

At first it was difficult to keep pace with the name changes: Trantor was named Splendid Wisdom, Terminus was named Faraway, etc. But the story was an astounding SF journey through time and the mathematical treatment of psychohistory, the statistical science of predicting the future for mankind.

Kingsbury took on the daunting task of p
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
John C. Wright mentioned this book as one of his own influences while writing the "Count to Infinity" series, and I was inspired to seek it out. It was worth reading. The style was honestly neither like Asimov (it is a clear homage to his Foundation series), nor at all like Wrights, and I cannot claim to have really loved any of the characters, but the twin ideas of throwing enough research and computing power at human behavior to predict the future on a grand scale, and of a Mule-like device to ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Psychohistorical Crisis does a wonderful thing, playing with the core conceit of Isaac Asimov's Foundation novels, asking the questions that presumably everyone who has read those books has eventually asked: what would the rule of the Second Empire actually be like? How would the psychohistorians goverrn?

This book is a rare beast: not a pastiche, not a licensed continuation, but a work that is genuinely engaged with Asimov's ideas as well as his setting. Since Kingsbury didn't apparently have p
Paul Darcy
Jan 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Psychohistorical Crisis, written by Donald Kingsbury, is indeed, as you probably guessed by the title, set in Asimov’s Foundation universe. It is another piece of a magnificent puzzle of Foundation, in this case the Second Foundation, where we explore all those great Psychohistorical ideas.

Most of the action of this book takes place on Splendid Wisdom, (aka - Trantor), where everybody from birth has a "fam" installed to work in tandem with their brain. Sounds horrid, but actually it is a powerfu
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is in my top three and is by far the best science fiction book I've ever read. It's an homage to Asimov galactic empire series and is, as far as I'm concerned, far better than anything Asimov ever did. It is set well after the establishment of the second galactic empire and the universe is ruled by the mathematics of "psychohistory." Of course, since this is "only" an homage to Asimov the book isn't actually set in the Asimov universe - there are differences, especially with the later ...more
David C. Mueller
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This novel is based on the novella "Historical Crisis" (c) 1995 by the same author that appeared in the anthology Far Futures (c) 1995 edited by Gregory Benford and published by Tor. It is the compelling story set in a universe very similar to Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series. As a loving tribute to Asimov's best known science fiction work, the author has created a novel that reads like a Asimov "Foundation" novel while while still being up to date with the developments in science and technolo ...more
Bob Cutler
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
There is a lot wrong with this novel. First, there's not enough plot for a 500 page book. It could have been a 3 star at 350 pages or 4 stars at 250 pages. For example, there's chapters dedicated to the process of re-creating a World War II era B-17 Flying Fortress and how they figured out how long a foot was. This added nothing to the evolution of the characters or the plot.

The details of the crisis and how it gets resolved is covered in the last 8 pages. I came very close to not finishing thi
Pat Cummings
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
One of the pillars upon which the giant reputation of Isaac Asimov still rests is the sweeping Foundation Trilogy.

The Trilogy's three novels detail how mathematician and historian Hari Seldon foresaw a 30-millennium-long Galaxy-wide collapse of civilization, and devised a plan to shorten those coming dark ages to a single millennium. Seldon planned an openly-acknowledged path of historical development for the newly-created Encyclopedia Foundation located on a world at the fringe of the Empire wh
Justin Cole
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I REALLY wanted to like this book...

The story intrigues me and I can see how it is an attempt to continue on the mythos of the Foundation series by Asimov...

But something about the writing style just makes reading it intolerable.

I have been unable to finish it after YEARS of trying (off and on) to get through it.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I struggle with this book. I really enjoyed the beginning. The entire setup hooked me immediately and I couldn't put the book down for about a hundred pages. Then I struggled to pick the book up again. I think the book was just...over-written? I don't know. Maybe more reflection on it will reveal why I lost interest in the book until the last hundred when I couldn't put it down again. ...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi, local-waiting
Didn't really enjoy it, though there were some interesting ideas. I didn't learn until the second try to read it that Kingsbury tried to write this as a sequel to Asimov's Foundation series. That made the whole thing make much more sense. ...more
George Menegakis
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great homage to Asimov's "Foundation" with complex plot and amazing insights both in sociology and history. ...more
Aaron Arnold
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Out of all of the bad sequels to the Foundation trilogy, namely the Bear/Benford/Brin ones and Asimov's own attempts, this one probably comes nearest to standing on its own, in part because it wisely ignores the existence of all the rest of those terrible books, and it tries to give its own take on the concept of psychohistory instead of thinking up stupid new gimmicks like chaos plagues or living planets.

It opens several thousand years after the Foundation reunified the Galaxy, where psychohist
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Science fiction fans who love deep detail.
Shelves: science-fiction
Donald Kingsury's Psychohistorical Crisis could be considered a loose sequel to Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The storyline is predicated on Asmiov's theme of "psychohistory," a predictive mathematical science that can anticipate future events when dealing with large numbers of people. At a time when the galaxy is populated with quintillions of humans, that tool is quite useful to psychohistorians, an elite group of individuals who use the knowledge to their advantage in keeping the galaxy a ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A sequel, of sorts, to the ideas if not the exact material of Isaac Asimov's foundation series. The book is at its best when advancing Asimov's ideas: what happens, for example, a few centuries down the road, after the pyschohistorians win? and there's also the idea of a fam--an electronic cognitive augmenting device that each person of this galactic future has, that acts as processor and permanent search engine. Given the current popularity of mobile devices, it seems like a very prescient thin ...more
Nov 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
(Science Fiction 2001) This book is definitely an homage to Asimov's Foundation series, which I read about forty years ago, so couldn't really draw on my memories of the plots. The thing I noticed the most is the author's glee in drawing on historical happenings of Earth's past, but not quite the way they happened, but as they might be remembered and skewed by historians centuries afterward. More than the plot of the book, I will remember the "facts" scattered through the story. It was a long, p ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
With one reservation* I loved this book. It was grand in scale, and approached the story from a very interesting timeline perspective, with multiple view points at very different times in the story eventually colliding and providing a very complete story.

I loved Kingsbury's treatment of the implications of Azimov's "Phycohistorical" mechanisms from the Foundation works, and he coupled it with a really interesting exploration of what would happen to society/individuals if we augmented our brains
Rebecca DeVendra
Kingsbury makes the "science" of psychohistory plausible. He likens it to strumming an instrument or forecasting the weather, images I quite enjoyed. The story is pretty neat, but there are no women characters of consequence, something I noticed and lamented. ...more
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I've read some great reviews of this book so I'm assuming I'm just not intelligent enough to have enjoyed this. It's slow, full of techno babble and often a bit confusing. It's hard work early on and then suddenly gets you interested before losing it again for a while. I enjoyed the ideas and liked the characters but wouldn't recommend this I'm afraid. The most disappointing bit (for me) was the ending which seemed to fizzle out almost as if the author couldn't be bothered to keep going (I know ...more
Zoe Aleshire
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Usually I steer very clear of sequels written by someone other than the author of a series. I picked this book up with no understanding of the connection to Asimov's Foundation, in a hurry and intrigued by the title. What a nice surprise... great classic style hard sci fi, with a distinctive voice that blends into the Foundation books without losing integrity as a stand-alone.

Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: SciFi fans
Very interesting. As a person in the middle of moving, I very much understand and appreciate the templates idea. It would be so much easier just to recreate things at the new house in that fashion. Took my much longer to read the second half because I was saving the book to read at work, a little at a time.
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not canon, which might be irritating to some.
Somewhat slow paced. Perhaps better editing would have helped.
Decent character development, but no conflicted characters or interesting drama.
Fairly straightforward plot.
Dedaimia Whitney
So far, great! A sequel to Asimov's Foundation series. ...more
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
An honest sequel to the ideas of Foundation, but the book could have been much more tightly focused. It rambles for too long a few too many times.
Eric Post
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A sequel (kind of) to Asimov's Foundation books. ...more
Bob Collins
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A follow up to Asimov'e Foundation series. Intelligent, engaging and a lot of fun! ...more
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
loved it. the timeline made me chuckle a bit. :)
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was difficult to read. It took me a few years to read it. The reason I suspect is because it's part of the foundation series but it is not authorized by the Isaac Asimov estate. It gave me a hard time to relate to the time and places in the Asimov Foundation universe. I don't think that I will ever read a book in this fashion for me at my age it is just time-consuming. ...more
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