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The demolished man by Alfred Bester
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The demolished man (original 1953; edition 1999)

by Alfred Bester

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3,328871,633 (3.96)129
Member:TheoClarke
Title:The demolished man
Authors:Alfred Bester (Author)
Info:London : Millennium, 1999.
Collections:LT connections, Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:20th century, crime, fiction, murder, mystery, novel, paperback, sf, telepathy

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The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (1953)

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» See also 129 mentions

English (84)  Romanian (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
Very ahead of its time I can see why people describe this as one of the inspirations for cyberpunk. An excellent detective story. ( )
  kale.dyer | May 16, 2016 |
Time did some damage to this book - very dated. It was...not so good.

( )
  Garrison0550 | May 5, 2016 |
Although it posseses some residue of the pulp era with its language and speculative technology, it holds up rather well all things considered. Bester used some innovative text techniques which were very effective and the plot is good. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
It's been more than ten years since I read this, and I ejected the story from my memory to make room for better things. But I recall this much: To me, this book signified everything wrong with telepathy in fiction. The rules lacked sense and consistency. The story was typical noir, and the telepaths might as well have been using cell phones instead of psionic powers. Unimaginative. And the telepath powers were not thought through very far. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
I have a bee in my bonnet that I would like to deal with first. I tend to feel annoyed (even though I shouldn’t) when people ask for sci-fi recommendations with the caveat that the book being recommended must not be more than 10 years old. The reason given for this clause is usually because the science is “wrong”, there is no internet or history did not turn out the way the author depicted in the book. WUT? I would like to reiterate that it is not a sci-fi author’s job to predict the future, the whole point is to speculate. Anybody who want to get into reading sci-fi but steadfastly refuse to read the classics from the 50s, 60s etc. is really doing themselves a disfavor and missing out on some of the greatest sf stories and ideas ever written in the history of mankind.

Which brings us to Alfred’s Bester’s The Demolished Man, first published in 1953. Read this or his other classic [b:The Stars My Destination|333867|The Stars My Destination|Alfred Bester|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1433671750s/333867.jpg|1398442] and you will understand why I insist sci-fi readers should never neglect older science fiction. These are two terrific stories that stand the test of time.


In [b:The Stars My Destination|333867|The Stars My Destination|Alfred Bester|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1433671750s/333867.jpg|1398442] Bester posits a strange future society where everybody can teleport using the power of their mind. In The Demolished Man not everybody is a telepath but they are quite commonplace and can be found in all kinds of profession. Boy, did he get the future “wrong”! In lesser hands, this conceit would never work but Alfred’s Bester was able to spin a great yarn from this fairly simple premise.

The Demolished Man is an “inverted detective story” in the reader is immediately told who the murderer is, but the difficulty for our hero is how to catch the devious bastard. The murderer Ben Reich is a “normal”, non-telepathic person, but he is extremely smart and is able to foil even mind reading policemen. For example to avoid his mind being read by telepathic police he goes to a commercial jingle writer to play him a jingle that lodges in his brain after just one listening and bounces around it in an incessant looping playback. The hero policeman Lincoln Powell can barely keep up with him even with all the telepathic power (and manpower) under his disposal. The climax of the book is wonderfully surreal and reminds me of Ursula K. Le Guin’s [b:The Lathe of Heaven|59924|The Lathe of Heaven|Ursula K. Le Guin|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1433084322s/59924.jpg|425872] and PKD’s [b:Flow My Tears the Policeman Said|22584|Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said|Philip K. Dick|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1398026028s/22584.jpg|949696]. A friend recently told me that I sometime inadvertently put spoilers in my reviews so I’d better not elaborate any more on this point.

Bester’s writing style reminds me of noir detective fiction by the likes of [a:Raymond Chandler|1377|Raymond Chandler|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1206535318p2/1377.jpg], with the clipped dialogue and witty banter. The book is quite short so there is not a lot of room for character development, but the protagonist and antagonist are quite complex and believable characters.

All in all a gripping, entertaining and very readable sci-fi classic that should please all sci-fi fans. ( )
1 vote apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alfred Besterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, C.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Byttner, GöranTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DiFate, VincentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Figueroa, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harrison, HarryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehman, SergeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lippi, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Makarský, LubošTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcel, PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meltzoff, StanleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Papy, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pınar, RehaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pukallus, HorstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Serra, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamminen, ArviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viskupic, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vonnegut, KurtIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Horace Gold
First words
In the endless universe there is nothing new, nothing different.
Quotations
"Tenser", said the Tensor; "tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun"
Its lucky for the world I'm willing to stop at one murder.   Together we could rape the universe.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679767819, Paperback)

In a world policed by telepaths, Ben Reich plans to commit a crime that hasn't been heard of in 70 years: murder. That's the only option left for Reich, whose company is losing a 10-year death struggle with rival D'Courtney Enterprises. Terrorized in his dreams by The Man With No Face and driven to the edge after D'Courtney refuses a merger offer, Reich murders his rival and bribes a high-ranking telepath to help him cover his tracks. But while police prefect Lincoln Powell knows Reich is guilty, his telepath's knowledge is a far cry from admissible evidence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:14 -0400)

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