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The demolished man by Alfred Bester

The demolished man (original 1953; edition 1999)

by Alfred Bester (Author)

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3,115781,810 (3.97)119
Title:The demolished man
Authors:Alfred Bester (Author)
Info:London : Millennium, 1999.
Collections:Your library, Favorites
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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English (73)  French (2)  Romanian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
I no longer own this book, but when I read it in the 70's or 80's, I thought it was great. A comment at Mulholland books reminded me of it. bit.ly/1ofQUgr ( )
  knowlengr | May 24, 2014 |
There are telepaths/psychics and since they can read your mind, murder has mostly become a thing of the past (a la Minority Report). Unless you're Ben Reich, CEO of one of the world's two biggest companies. The owner of the other is your rival, and you want to kill him for obvious reasons. How do you do it with all these telepaths watching? Well, that's the question, and it becomes a thrilling cat-and-dog game between the guy who may have committed the perfect crime and the telepath detective pursuing him.

At least it would be more thrilling if it wasn't so antiquated. Alfred Bester wrote radio serials and it shows. I kept hearing old episodes of The Shadow in my head during the dialogue. There are definite signs of its age -- a lot of the sci-fi tropes like common space travel that we know are implausible today are in place, and the storyline starts getting scrambled as you get further in the book. Suddenly everyone is someone's relative a la Star Wars. It felt like it was trying to get all artsy by making the page into a canvas and playing with word shapes. ( )
  theWallflower | Feb 24, 2014 |
First published in Galaxy in 1951 (as a serial), and then in 1953, this won the first Hugo awarded. Timescape (a specialized imprint similar to Spectra) reprinted it in 1978. The cover of this book (mine, at least) is barely legible as "Timescape" since it was dark grey over a pattern of two toned grey (the cover photo I selected seems to have had that same problem).

Not all things written in the fifties really make the transition to more modern times (it's been more than sixty years, after all, since it was first written). I think this does. It still reads well, and the points it made then still hold.

Dammit, now I have to put it on my "need to read this again" list. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Dec 6, 2013 |
Jeez, Freudian theory much. I'm not sure what to think of this book. It's quite short and a quick read really but still took me two days to finish. I understand it's a scifi classic, and Bester certainly does a good job at painting a fantastic future. Still, some things bugged me.

For a novel that is supposed to be ahead of its time, it completely lacks any feminism. The women in the book are never really called women. The term most used is girls, almost all the time in connection with the word pretty. Especially the relationship between Powell and Barbara was creepy. "his girl" "daddy" all that kind of crap. Paints a classic picture of many men liking their "girls" young, innocent, damsell-in-distress-ish, obediant and submissive. Yes, that bugs me. Sue me.

The whole Ben killing his father resolution was foreseeable. I had the feeling pretty early on where this was going, and who the man without a face was. Mostly, the book was making me anxious because of Ben's frantic and psychotic actions and personality. Besides that, he was a real jerk. So was Powell. Well actually all male characters in that book were either jerks or some spineless cowards that got yanked around by either Ben or Lincoln.

The idea itself of a world where there are many telepaths was interesting nonetheless. I liked that. Also the whole moral analysis of mankind raising themselves above such things as death sentence etc. was pretty good. Still, a book I have read and probably won't pick up again. ( )
1 vote J4N3 | Sep 23, 2013 |
This almost extraordinary for the first 80-85% of the book. The Final confrontation left a lot to be desired, and the "oh suddenly it's a romance portion" was just dreck and unnecessary. But then the last couple of pages just about made it worth sticking through that. ( )
  ScoutJ | Aug 7, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (38 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
Lehman, SergeForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Makarský, LubošTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcel, PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Papy, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamminen, ArviTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viskupic, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Horace Gold
First words
In the endless universe there is nothing new, nothing different.
"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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:06 -0400)

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