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The computer connection by Alfred Bester

The computer connection (edition 1975)

by Alfred Bester

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504920,201 (3.23)12
Title:The computer connection
Authors:Alfred Bester
Info:New York : Berkley Pub. Corp. : distributed by Putnam, [1975]
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction

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The Computer Connection by Alfred Bester



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I am happy to see that quite a few reviewers here liked this. I wanted to like it too, but in the end I can't quite bring myself to say that I did. There are brief hints of the bravura storytelling that made The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination so memorable (but of course what was groundbreaking in the 1950s might be pretty ho-hum by 1975). In any case the storytelling can do little for characters whose uniqueness can't hide their superficiality and a plot that feels utterly random (most particularly the motivations of the bad "guy"). Oh well... ( )
  clong | Jan 24, 2015 |
I've read this book a few times. One of my top favorites. If you are into science fiction this a must must have. It's a page turner. ( )
  crdf | Sep 15, 2013 |
Although somewhat dated now, this is still a very good Alfred Bester novel, which means it is a very good story. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
My reactions to reading this novel in 1991. Spoilers follow.

This is not, as Bester said in an interview, an undefined failure.

The story works in terms of interest after a slow start. The novel picks up after the murder of Fee-5 Grauman's Chinese. It is without the more strained typographical devices and incomprehensibility of his Golem100. The story of immortals killing to increase their number and their eventual transcendence to virtual godlike omniscient was coherent. It prefigures some cyberpunk themes in books like William Gibson's Neuromancer as does his unusual emphasis on the criminal underworld -- here less pronounced than, say, his The Demolished Man or The Stars My Destination. I wonder if this was one of the first sf novels to show computers running society through electronic networks of linked devices -- both inputs of data and executing machines -- rather than a central monolith computer. These elements help explain cyberpunk authors listing Bester as an influence.

It's interesting to see how Bester repeatedly uses certain elements at certain points in his writing career. Here the ecological themes and idea of a computer run society echo Bester's "Somebody Up There Likes Me", a violent America and Indians show up in his "The Four-Hour Fugue" and Golem100. (I liked his witty satire and rioting, illiterate students.)

I didn't, after awhile, mind the contrived romance between Curzon and Natorna. I'm even able to overlook lapses in plot logic. (Why go to Titan to get the Neanderthal immortal to fool Extro? Why not just go back to the salt mine and detain Guess by force so he can't serve as Extro switchboard by surfacing from the salt mine?.) I liked the brilliant, colorful group of immortals. But the story didn't work nearly as well The Stars My Destination or The Demolished Man. Both these novels were, especially the former, rather grim books. In Bester's latter novels, his wit and urbanity overwhelm his emotional effects, make the story an exercise in plot mechanics and cleverness with no emotional depth. In these latter books -- especially Golem100 -- typographical devices are not as well integrated, seem to be present more out of habit than need. To be sure, the glibness, wit, and superficiality of this book's story was due to the nature of the narrating character but that makes it no more effective ( )
  RandyStafford | Nov 3, 2012 |
Good, although not on a par with The Stars My Destination.

It's about a bunch of immortals. Again we see Bester embracing a very audacious concept (like the teleporting in The Stars My Destination). I find that to be one of the most pleasing features of his storytelling. ( )
  Carnophile | Feb 5, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0671039016, Paperback)

Alfred Bester's first science fiction novel since The Stars My Destination was a major event-a fast-moving adventure story set in Earth's future. A band of immortal-as charming a bunch of eccentrics as you'll ever come across-recruit a new member, the brilliant Cherokee physicist Sequoya Guess. Dr. Guess, with group's help, gain control of Extro, the supercomputer that controls all mechanical activity on Earth. They plan to rid Earth of political repression and to further Guess's researches-which may lead to a great leap in human evolution to produce a race of supermen. But Extro takes over Guess instead and turns malevolent. The task of the merry band suddenly becomes a fight in deadly earnest for the future of Earth. .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:35 -0400)

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