I probably first read this book decades ago. In the last year or so I found it again and started reading it - since then I lost it and can't remember if it was a physical book or an electronic one!

Everyone in the civilization has a numerical level, a rigid class system.

The story starts during a space battle, the protagonist is a precog, his trainee does a bad job, and overthinks his response to an enemy move, resulting in damage or a near loss - the protagonists ship does win. The trainee has to go and punish himself using some machine. The protagonist goes to the captain and gets a dressing down, and is also expected to punish himself.

The protagonist is on leave (?) on a planet, and gets knocked out. He comes round with a woman who has saved him. They set off on some sort of quest.

That's as far as I got, at least this time around.

Edit: Per request, I think I probably read this in the 1980s, and I suspect it is Golden Age or soon after. The feel of the planet with the underclass was very like the underworld in bowels of Trantor.

  • 2
    Could you specify roughly which actual decade you read this in? Also, do you have any sense of how old the book was at the time? Apr 11, 2022 at 23:20
  • See if something here seems familiar: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CombatClairvoyance
    – jo1storm
    Apr 12, 2022 at 9:58
  • @jo1storm Great idea, but nothing seems to match. Apr 12, 2022 at 14:12
  • 1
    The pre-cog (I believe he is only 'pre-cog' in the sense that one might call the radar operator 'Radar') is knocked out by his trainee, who is hoping to step into his shoes. As a result the pre-cog misses his ship's departure, and his quest is to catch up with it. The story is essentially of an escapee, horrified by freedom, seeking only to return to his cage. And no, I can't remember the author either! But I believe it dates from the fifties.
    – Barnaby
    Apr 13, 2022 at 0:39
  • Thanks Barnaby! Apr 13, 2022 at 9:55


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