The K-Factor

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Author: Harry Harrison (Henry Maxwell Dempsey)
Published: 1960
Language: English
Wordcount: 10,842 / 38 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77.7
LoC Category: PS
Audiobook: librivox.org
Downloads: 7,602
Added to site: 2007.09.09
mnybks.net#: 18148
Origin: gutenberg.org

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....

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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

Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 4 reviews: *****
2015.10.01
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.

2013.09.25
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.

2008.09.26
Bits
*****

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.

2008.01.17
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.


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