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I have a vivid memory of something similar to Psychohistory being used in either a TV show or movie (most likely TV). Earth is taken over by a totalitarian government (or alien), and two characters are debating whether to fight it or not. They had mathematical predictions that if they fought now they would lose anyway, and sometime in the future (200 years?) a resistance would form on Mars and free everyone. They debated whether or not fighting back now was worth it given that they would undoubtedly lose and people would die in vain.

I thought it an episode of Babylon 5 but I just watched it all again and couldn't find it. Does anybody else remember this?

Edit: Just to note, though I always appreciate recommendations, I'm looking for a specific piece of sci-fi.

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    It's definitely not Babylon 5. Jan 18, 2011 at 22:06
  • @Steve - nope, it's not. But Mars and a revolution to take back an alien/totalitarian government were predominant themes towards the end of B5, so that's where I started looking for the answer Jan 18, 2011 at 22:09
  • You might find this interesting - it's the closest thing there is in reality to psychohistory: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss-Howe_generational_theory. There's a lot of hand-waving and fudging, but there's no question that it essentially predicts a Seldon crisis RIGHT NOW. Sep 23, 2011 at 21:12
  • It is not an answer but may be of interest that Doctor Who 12th Doctor story Extremis has aliens running a perfect simulation Nov 12, 2022 at 21:16

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In the Deep Space Nine episode Statistical Probabilities, Dr Bashir and some other genetically augmented humans "develop a statistical historical model to predict the future".

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  • Good answer, but that's not the one that's stuck in my head. It was definitely Mars, which doesn't really feature in the Star Trek universe. Jan 18, 2011 at 22:14
  • I rewatched DS9 last year, and I think the center of the future resistance was Earth, not Mars.
    – user1027
    Mar 7, 2011 at 18:07
  • I'm sure this is the right answer, even if the OP rejects it.
    – Pete
    Nov 12, 2022 at 18:42
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    youtu.be/11TJ-YyUqVQ even more entertaining with Alexander Siddig in both shows. (Comparison of the DS9 scene and Foundation scenes) Nov 12, 2022 at 21:20
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Michael Flynn has In the Country of the Blind. I read it with this huge sense of deja vu. I was sure I had read an excerpt and not remembered reading it.

I found it a very strange read. But intruiging, and somewhat confusing as there are many levels to the story.

I love his other stuff. The Firestar series is currently my all time favorites.

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Psychohistorical Crisis is a novel that takes place in the Foundation universe, but written by another author.

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In Heinlein's If This Goes On (aka Revolt in 2100) from 1940, the rebels had advanced psychological skills and constantly monitored the readiness of the general population to accept revolution against the Church of the First Prophet. At one point, they (the rebels) conclude that victory is a long way off (based on their analysis of the rate of change in loss of faith in the church), but eventually come up with a work-around to bring about victory sooner.

Likewise in M. K. Wren's "Phoenix" trilogy, the rebels also have a version of psychohistory that causes them to be very cautious in their plans for rebellion, for fear of causing another complete collapse of civilization

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