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3.60  ·  Rating details ·  806 ratings  ·  51 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.

Paperback, 1st edition, 207 pages
Published July 1998 by Random House / Vintage (first published June 1998)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  806 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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J.M. Hushour
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it

I like both Bester and Zelazny, though I wouldn't necessarily have lumped them together (the latter finished the former's unfinished novel here), but this is still nearly as fun as the best that either of them could wrangle.
A journalist named Alf is sent to cover the titular black hole-driven swap shop. It's a place where you can essentially trade an unwanted attribute for one you want, accessible by anyone anywhere in time. For example, a far-future guy with dramatically rising and falling
Ed Erwin
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf, humor

This short, light science-fantasy novel was started by Bester, but he died without finishing it. Zelazny wrote the concluding chapters. As a consequence, the style changes somewhat as it goes along. The transition isn't jarring, but isn't fully smooth, either. The first 1/3 has more puns, wordplay, and typographical tricks. The middle 1/3 is padded out with a romance story. The last 1/3 has Zelazny's far-ranging literary and cultural references, including this reference back to Bester: "... the
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 .)
Lasairfiona Smith
Aug 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, five-star
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.
Dec 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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.

Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Daniel Allen
Aug 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Daniel by: Stephen B.
Short review. If you like gumshoe mysteries, sci-fi that doesn't bother to explain itself (beyond "this is from the far future") and Deus Ex Machina up the wazoo, you might like this.

You might think this is a negative review, but it's not, really. This was a fun, very quick read; such as for an airplane.

I got a few chapters in before I remembered I'd already started reading this, once. Second time's the charm.

I told you this was a short review. :)
Salley J Robins
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of those books that you think about long after finishing it. It's as twisted as the title sounds - a book by Bester finished by Zelazney - two of my favorite writers. Sometimes you could just about guess which writer was at the keyboard, but it is a seamless story. Does the devil get his comeuppance - you will have to read it to find out! Strange and very adult themes, but wonderful. Highly recommended!
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Zelazny’s Amber series. It is hands down one of my all time favorite book series. I re-read it at least every 2 years.

This is not that.

This is a quirky, experiment of one author finishing a story a dead author began. And it works. It’s actually not bad. Not great sure, but not bad. It is certainly enjoyable, with a decent buildup, good plot, not too much given away, good dialogue, some very interesting characters, and some very interesting space/time ideas. It all works, even the rough
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
A friend loaned this to me and I'm not sure if I should thank him,

Bester didn't finish it, so Zelazny did. I've not read much Zelazny, so I can't tell where one ended and the other began.

A swap-shop across the millennia that engages in faust-ish (but not) bargains. One can go into the shop and have some quirk of their personality or personhood removed or gain one, but there is a price. It's not remarkably evil (first born sons or unknown futures) or anything like that, but the proprietor
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
"It was OK." This book was not bad, it was just disjointed. It would be interesting to see how much of the content is Bester, and how much is Roger Zelazny. There were resolutions to plot points thrown in that weren't mentioned in the book ("Oh, and they saved Ricky from the elephant." "Who the hell is Ricky, and where did the elephant come from?"). This may be bad editing. Some great, funny ideas were thrown in. However, the pacing was off, and it couldn't decide what sort of story it was. ...more
Frank Vasquez
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Gilfillan
I think the thing that kept me going with this story was just curiosity to see what was really going on. The main character, a journalist, gets the assignment to investigate The Black Place of the Soul-Changer. Oddly enough, the proprietor, a cat man, and his assistant, a snake woman, welcome him right in, where he witnesses all kinds of weird and unbelievable stuff. As might be expected when one is in the midst of a black hole, I guess.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was OK. Actually, it started off really well, an excellent, well-paced adventure, well written and with a good plot.

Then something happened, I'm not sure what. The last third of the book is just weird, a really jarring change of both pace and writing. I have a feeling that this might be where the manuscript was re-discovered, dusted off, and another author crow-barred into the process.

No matter. Overall worth reading, and enjoyable.
Maik Krüger
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not as clever or witty as I thought. It's funny at best, and directionless and nonsensical at worst, which is for the most part. There are hints of Bester's unlikeable but interesting characters and Zelazny's obsession with smutty sex, and these two don't go together well.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting read, especially due to a very diverse cast of characters, timelines and dimensions.
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: y2019
Bester + Zelazny = a wild and crazy ride with some seriously wacked characters, a story that seems to have no point at first but develops into an enthralling "who's going to do it?". Delightful!
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very very weird. Interesting, a lot of fun to read, but seriously strange concept and execution.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I really enjoy two masters in their field playing. Make no mistake that's what is happening. It makes for a light and fun read.
Marlo Griffith
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a weird and wonderful book. So often I was so confused and then the second, just brilliant.
Victoria Raun
First three-fourths of this book is amazing, then it just seems to slide into a war in somewhat mundane space war story. The foward by Greg Bear, a tribute to Bester and Zelazny is lyrical.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 31, 2016 rated it liked it
What a weird book. Of course, I am talking about a book that has a blue brain in a shopping bag on the cover, so I shouldn't be surprised that it is weird. I found Psychoshop in a used bookstore a couple weeks ago and bought it on a whim. Though I've read Bester before, and been reading a lot of Zelazny recently, I had never heard of it. The background is that Bester died while writing it and Zelazny finished it.

This book is a mess. It's a fascinating mess, an entertaining mess, but a mess
C.O. Bonham
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fiction
When I found this on a used book store crawl, I was pretty excited. I have so MUCH by Roger Zelazny, that finding anything that I don't already have is exceedingly rare. As it turns out, this is one that Bester started before his death and Zelazny finished. Bester can be rather hit or miss for me. I tend to either really like his stuff or not care for it. Not much in between. Zelazny's stuff I love. Well, the Western he co-wrote, maybe not so much, but then it's not really a genre I read much. ...more
Paul Spence
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
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.
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was hard to rate. Makes you really think about the big difference between three stars and four (again goodreads, for the love of our sanity, give us half stars!!!). Anyway this was a great story that is a bit to science-y for me to get into in depth. Plus it's probably more fun to just dive in. I will say that the only gripe of mine was I thought the whole romance between Alf and Glory really brought things down a notch for me. To much valuable story time was taken up with them doing it ...more
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Alfred Bester was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books.

Though successful in all these fields, he is best remembered for his science fiction, including The Demolished Man, winner of the inaugural Hugo Award in 1953, a story about murder in a future society where the police are telepathic, and The Stars My
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