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Psychoshop Paperback – June 30, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is a posthumous collaboration by two of SF's greatest writers, Alfred Bester and Roger Zelazny. Bester had completed half of the manuscript before his death in 1987, and then Zelazny finished it off before his own passing in 1995. In his introduction to this strange mix, Greg Bear calls the work an improvisational duet, and he is, as usual, right on the mark. This isn't so much a coherent novel as a story passed between two of the genre's more stylish writers. Fans looking for The Demolished Man or Nine Princes in Amber will be disappointed. Instead, what they'll find is the tale of Alf Noir, a reporter who travels to Rome where he finds a 3,000-year-old shop that trades in the strange dealings of the mind. Not only is the shop not what it seems, but its proprietor, Adam Maser, is not what he seems. And soon Alf will come to realize that there is something unusual about himself as well. --Craig E. Engler

From Publishers Weekly

This odd novel, left incomplete when Bester died in 1987, was finished by Zelazny, who himself died in 1995. In his introduction, Bear refers to Bester (The Deceivers) and Zelazny (Donnerjack) as masters of SF jazz, geniuses of improvisation, and the book has that feel to it. The plot is full of bizarre twists and turns. Neat ideas surface and disappear in an eyeblink and characters transform radically from one page to the next. Alf Noir, an investigative reporter, is sent to Rome to look into the mysterious Black Place of the Soul-Changer and its enigmatic proprietor, Adam Maser. Alf discovers that Maser is a Psychbroker, a sort of pawnbroker of the spirit, dealing in emotions, talents and psychological traits. Want more courage, the ability to see into the infrared, an understanding of ancient Persian? Maser will trade it to you for your mind-reading ability, or a rare coin, or perhaps for the secret of the collective unconscious. Alf discovers that Maser isn't human, but a highly evolved cat from the far future. Nothing is what it seems and no one can be trusted, not even Maser's sexy assistant, an evolved snake with whom Alf has an affair. There's much fun to be had here, but the book doesn't represent either writer in top form. Bester's style in the first part of the novel seems dated, and things don't gel until Zelazny takes over halfway through the book. Vintage has brought Bester's finest work back into print, and for this it deserves praise, but this novel is most likely to appeal to Zelazny's much larger readership.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (June 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679767827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679767824
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
As a long-time fan of both Alfie Bester and Roger Zelazny, I was delighted to find this posthumous collaboration. "Pschoshop" is, I think, true to both authors' bodies of work. After all, Bester's influence on Zelazny is evident in a a number of works, most notably "Eye of Cat" with its dazzling experimental typography so reminiscent of what Bester had done in "The Demolished Man" and "The Stars My Destination". What parts belong to which writer? I really would not care to guess. Their styles blend too well for that to be clear. "Psychoshop" is not the equal of the finest works of either Bester or Zelazny -- a level that few other writers can match -- but it is amusing and bright and energetic and engaging and makes a satisfactory last gift from these two wonderfully creative authors.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Miller (jeff.miller@mail.utexas.edu) on October 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
As a fan of Bester, I eagerly snatched up the latest offering. The book offered quite a surprise. I immediatley noticed a diiferent direction from Bester and about the middle of the book I found myself losing intrest.The characters seemed rather typical.I kept with it, however, and was pleased to find a transcendental world forming at the end. The finished product somehow reminded me of "The Illuminati".Psychoshop is not classic Bester but it is a good book none the less.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Shannon on October 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
Having never before read either Bester or Zelazny (I left my sci-fi roots at Asimov's door long ago) I had no comparison to their other works. As such, this book was a seamless story of amusement and intrigue. The characters are witty and mysterious, and the plot is extremely clever. I would highly recommend it. As an added benefit, it also has one of the most beautiful love poems I have ever read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin (mcmesser@eos.ncsu.edu) on July 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
It's not The Demolished Man, it's no The Stars My Destination, but it's certainly Bester. I don't have any prior Zelazny experience to help determine what was his and what was Bester's, but there are noticeable style and pacing changes throughout the book. But don't let that stop you. Any Bester fan will find plenty to keep things interesting, and I personally find Psychoshop much closer to his first novels than his later works (Golem 100, The Computer Connection, etc.) which most readers tend to find inferior. Oh, and as an added bonus, keep your eyes open for the Burning Man ...
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark J. Urbin on August 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book blended the two author's styles nicely. It was a lot of fun on the second read, trying to pick which part was written by whom. The fight scenes were pure Zelazny. Wonderfully crafted by a skilled fencer & Aikidoist.
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