The K-Factor

Cover image for


Author: Harry Harrison (Henry Maxwell Dempsey)
Published: 1960
Language: English
Wordcount: 10,842 / 38 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77.7
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 7,559
Added to site: 2007.09.09 18148

Speed never hurt anybody--it's the sudden stop at the end. It's not how much change that signals danger, but how fast it's changing....

Show Excerpt

g. But as soon as he says something, passes on information in an altered form, or merely expresses an attitude--he becomes a reference point. He can be marked, measured and entered on a graph. His actions can be grouped with others and the action of the group measured. Man--and his society--then becomes a systems problem that can be fed into a computer. We've cut the Gordian knot of the three-L's and are on our way towards a solution."

* * * * *

"Stop!" Costa said, raising his hand. "I was with you as far as the 3L's. What are they? A private code?"

"Not a code--abbreviation. Linear Logic Language, the pitfall of all the old researchers. All of them, historians, sociologists, political analysts, anthropologists, were licked before they started. They had to know all about A and B before they could find C. Facts to them were always hooked up in a series. Whereas in truth they had to be analyzed as a complex circuit complete with elements like positive and negative feedback, and crossover sw


Average Rating of 5 from 4 reviews: *****
JoJo Biggins

One of the best short stories I've read in quite a while. There's a little bit much explanation in the first half of the story, but it gets more intriguing beyond that.

The only thing I find fault with is that the story could have benefitted from more depth and more length. But, I decided not to detract from the score on that account, and simply judged it as the short story it was written to be.

Paulo Respighi

Scientists working with statistical trends of history identify a planet rushing towards war. They send undercover agents to verify the data, and possibly modify the society enough to stabilize it.

The story is absorbing, kind of a mini Foundation Trilogy. The character development is barely enough to carry the story, but suffices.


Yes, "societics" bears a striking resemblance to "psychohistory", but there the similarity between Harrison and Asimov ends. K-factor is a tightly written, plot driven, short story in which science plays a small role. The ending may surprise you.

R Stephan

If you know Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis or Asimov's Foundation trilogy, here is a story with a similar subject, that is, government by computation. The author is able to compress an interesting spy story into a short SF novella. Recommended.

(Promote your book here)

Featured Books

Cover image for The K-Factor by Harry Harrison - Free eBook

Rise of The Iron Eagle

The Iron Eagle Series Book 1
Roy A. Teel Jr.

Is The Iron Eagle a psychotic serial killer?Read more

Cover image for The K-Factor by Harry Harrison - Free eBook


True Alpha 1
Alisa Woods

Shifters in Seattle Desired (True Alpha 1) Ne... Read more

Cover image for The K-Factor by Harry Harrison - Free eBook

Open Minds

Mindjack Saga Book 1
Susan Kaye Quinn

When everyone reads minds, a secret is a danger... Read more

Cover image for The K-Factor by Harry Harrison - Free eBook

XGeneration 1

You Don't Know Me (XGeneration Series)
Brad Magnarella

In the fall of 1984, Cold War tensions between... Read more

Cover image for The K-Factor by Harry Harrison - Free eBook

Drive, Ride, Repeat

The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure
Al Macy

Author Al Macy is a character and a tightwad wi... Read more

Cover image for The K-Factor by Harry Harrison - Free eBook

I Bring the Fire

Part I: Wolves (A Loki Story)
C. Gockel

In the middle of America, Amy Lewis is on her way... Read more

login | register

User ID


reset password

Help ManyBooks by sharing this page!

See it as donating a moment of your social media time, every little thing helps us improve and stay online.

Popular in This Genre

The list of books below is based on the weekly downloads by our users regardless of eReader device or file format.

Open Minds
by Susan Kaye Quinn
I'm a Stranger Here Myself
by Dallas McCord Reynolds
The Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells
The Mysterious Island
by Jules Verne
After The Ending
by Lindsey Fairleigh
The War of the Worlds
by H.G. Wells
by Annelie Wendeberg
The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells

See more popular titles from this genre.