The Demolished Man Epub ↠ The Demolished eBook

The Demolished Man [PDF / Epub] ☉ The Demolished Man By Alfred Bester – Thomashillier.co.uk In a world in which the police have telepathic powers, how do you get away with murder Ben Reichs heads a huge th century business empire, spanning the solar system He is also an obsessed, driven man In a world in which the police have telepathic powers, how do you get away with murder Ben Reichs heads a huge th century business empire, spanning the solar system He is also an obsessed, driven man determined to murder a rival To avoid capture, in a society where murderers can be detected even before they commit their crime, is the greatest challenge of his life.


10 thoughts on “The Demolished Man

  1. Manny Manny says:

    This is what my poor review looks like now that the pre tag is broken So too what telepath do a you are think fun Oh of kind the It s Demolished Man and here s the source Come on Goodreads, fix this bug You ve been sitting on it for months This is what my poor review looks like now that the pre tag is broken So too what telepath do a you are think fun Oh of kind the It s Demolished Man and here s the source Come on Goodreads, fix this bug You ve been sitting on it for months


  2. Apatt Apatt says:

    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 bethan 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 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 bethan 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 The Stars My Destination 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 1953 coverIn The Stars My Destination 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 that 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 at his disposal The climax of the book is wonderfully surreal and reminds me of Ursula K Le Guin s The Lathe of Heaven and PKD s Flow My Tears the Policeman Said A friend recently told me that I sometimes inadvertently put spoilers in my reviews so I d better not elaborate anyon this point.The awesome edition I had lost it now Bester s writing style reminds me of noir detective fiction by the likes of Raymond Chandler, 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


  3. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    If you won t let it be merger, then I ll make it murder American author Alfred Bester s 1953 zooming supersonic science fiction crime thriller The Demolished Man features power hungry Ben Reich, corporate tycoon a la Jonas Cord from The Carpetbaggers, moving and shaking and shooting he way through 24th Century New York City and beyond Action andaction enough unexpected zigzags to keep any reader guessing A batch of highlights from this future world Brain Peepers Many thousands of If you won t let it be merger, then I ll make it murder American author Alfred Bester s 1953 zooming supersonic science fiction crime thriller The Demolished Man features power hungry Ben Reich, corporate tycoon a la Jonas Cord from The Carpetbaggers, moving and shaking and shooting he way through 24th Century New York City and beyond Action andaction enough unexpected zigzags to keep any reader guessing A batch of highlights from this future world Brain Peepers Many thousands of men and women known are Espers and that s Esper for Extra Sensory Perception, have the unique power of reading minds These Telepaths take up many roles in society, such as physician and police commissioner The Espers influence is pervasive on nearly every page of the novel, these peepers are peeping into the minds of normal people author s language here or conversing amongst themselves, mind to mind, without the need for speech To add complexity to this brain peeping, the Espers are categorized by the level they can penetrate 3rd Class Espers can peep the conscious mind to discover what the person is thinking at the moment, 2nd Class Espers can peep below the conscious level to the preconscious and 1st Class Espers can peep all the way down to the unconscious, the deepest levels of the mind Incidentally, in this 24th century world such Extra Sensory Perception isn t the consequence of specially endowed individuals or futuristic chemical or electrical brain zapping rather, all women and men have the potential to become Espers but only a sliver of the population receives exotic ESP training from childhood If all this peeping sounds like an invasion of privacy, you are spot on it most certainly is an invasion of privacy However, counted among the social benefits is the fact that there hasn t been a premeditated murder in many, many years since peepers can peep the intent to murder in members of society and thus prevent the murder from happening in the first place Deep Psychology Coupled with brain peeping, the characters in the novel pepper their conversation with Freudian terms like id, ego, superego Sigmund Freud was a huge influence back in the 1950s and Alfred Bester picks up on the prevailing psychological theory in a major way The Big Shot and His Specter Ben Reich as in Third Reich, perhaps has a recurrent nightmare where The Man With No Face constantly appears The further the story progresses, thethis sinister apparition is connected with Freudian theory Also connected ah, Freud is Ben s drive to control the financial business commercial world, not only in his capacity as head of his Monarch organization but by murdering his main competitor, old man D Courtney But, again, with all the peepers peeping into people s minds, premeditated murder is nearly impossible nowadays Ben Reich needs help from powerful 1st class Espers to cancel out those other damn Espers working for the police To this end Ben strong arms Augustus Tate, one of the world s most powerful Espers, to run interference for him.Since Tate can only exert his Esper powers when in the same room with Ben, our passionate tycoon with the killer instinct requires an additional shield for his murderous mind an especially potent advertising jingle he can repeat over and over when in the presence of an invasive peeper Thus he seeks out one of the key creators of such jingles, Duffy Wygabout the crazy spelling below By the way, back in the 1950s companies hired psychologies and put heaps of energy into making certain their advertising jingles would be unforgettable, especially when broadcast on that new piece of mind controlling technology, the television Lincoln Powell, Ph.D Police Perfect and upper grade Esper author s term Powell is one smart cookie who isn t about to let Ben Reich get away with murder Following the evil deed, here s an exchange between Powell and Reich that kicks off their cat and mouse game Powell shrugged angrily They both arose Instinctively, their hands met in the four way clasp of final farewell I lost a great partner in you, Reich said You lost a great man in yourself, Ben Enemies Enemies It was the beginning of Demolition Super Judge One piece of science fiction technology injected into the mix is the police force s Mosaic Multiplex Prosecution Computer, termed Old Man Mose, a 24th century stationary robot that calculates a perpetrator s three key elements motive, method, opportunity to determine the percentage for a successful conviction Back in the 1950s the computer was in its infancy but forward thinkers envisioned infinite possibilities for the new calculating tool The Unexpected One of the many unanticipated events in the story is a case of female hysteria And those 24th century futuristic psychologists give a new twist in their treatment to what was known in the 19th century as d j prouv Certainly one of thefascinating bits of Bester s tale Nabokov Allusion I would be remiss if I didn t note how Alfred Bester gives a nod to VN when he characterizes down on his luck former Esper Jerry Church The bend sinister of ostracism was the source of his hunger Innovative Language With his sentences in non liner curlicues and names with both letters and signs % it is as if Alfred Bester wanted to underscore his speaking to a new readership rebelling again old pre 1950s mindsets Disgusting Cultural Assumptions Unfortunately, Bester falls into the trap, so pervasive at the time, in his treatment of women and minorities Growing up in the 1950s myself, I had firsthand experience of such appalling attitudes Innovative Novel The Demolished Man has inspired many sf writers in both New Wave and Cyberpunk Robert Silverberg judges Bester s novel as among the ten greatest sf novels ever written I m relatively new to sf but I can see this is a novel not to be missed by fans of the genre Also, in its portrayal of 1950s America, not to be overlooked bygeneral readers Two outstanding book covers Alfred Bester, 1913 1987


  4. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here In a world dominated by telepaths known as Espers or Peepers crime is very difficult to get away with When thoughts and memories are up for grabs a man like Ben Reich, who is premeditating a murder, must employ unorthodox methods to protect his inner most thoughts He decides to go to a jingle songwriter for protection He asks for the most mundane song to be played, a song that simple will not escape your brain, the type of jingles from commercials usually beer my brother and I used to sing In a world dominated by telepaths known as Espers or Peepers crime is very difficult to get away with When thoughts and memories are up for grabs a man like Ben Reich, who is premeditating a murder, must employ unorthodox methods to protect his inner most thoughts He decides to go to a jingle songwriter for protection He asks for the most mundane song to be played, a song that simple will not escape your brain, the type of jingles from commercials usually beer my brother and I used to sing in the car to drive my parents crazy Eight, sir seven, sir Six, sir five, sir Four, sir three, sir two, sir one Tenser, said the Tensor Tenser, said the Tensor Tension, apprehension,And dissension have begun The best protection, Ben Reich believes, against at least lower level peepers is a song that creates interference in his thoughts concealing his true intentions and his memories He is in an epic corporate struggle with his main rival D Courtney and the old man running the company is his target for MURDER He hatches an elaborate plan involving a book of games, an antique pistol, and a flash grenade that skews a person s sense of time by wiping out the victim s rhodopsin otherwise known as visual purple Even the best laid plans encounter problems and just as Reich is preparing to destroy his nemesis D Courtney s daughter runs into the room and becomes a witness to the death of her father She, as they say, becomes the fly in the ointment Lincoln Powell, a level one peeper and a man with a bright future in the police department is called in to investigate It doesn t take him long to discover that Reich is his man He is conflicted because he likes Reich and ponders at one point about the fact that Reich is really two men, a man with charm and grace and also a man who could very well bring civilization to her knees with his evil intentions A battle begins between peepers as Reich hires his own to combat the invasive mind probes of the police detectives Witnesses vanish There are crosses and double crosses as the chess match between Powell and Reich becomesandserious Powell tries to protect Miss D Courtney and heal her shattered mind as Reich searches desperately for the one witness that can send him to DEMOLISHION This is Alfred Bester s first novel and from what I ve read about the book it had a real impact on the genre when it was released in 1953 and in some cases is considered the grandfather to the cyberpunk generation I thoroughly enjoyed this book I liked the cat and mouse between Powell and Reich As the hunt continues Reich s brain becomesandunstable The degradation of his reasoning eventually gives Powell enough of a wedge to bring about his downfall Reich is sent to be demolished In this society they don t have capital punishment, no one is wasted They simply recycle them The process in itself is brutal and all memory of what you once were is eliminated When a man is demolished at Kingston Hospital, his entire psyche is destroyed The series of osmotic injections begins with the topmost strata of cortical synapses and slowly works down, switching off every circuit, extinguishing every memory, destroying every particle of the pattern that has been built up since birth And as the pattern is erased, each particle discharges its portion of energy, turning the entire body into a shuddering maelstrom of dissociation But this is not the pain this is not the dread of Demolition The horror lies in the fact that the consciousness is never lost that as the psyche is wiped out, the mind is aware of its slow, backward death until at last it too disappears and awaits the rebirth The mind bids an eternity of farewells it mourns at an endless funeral In this society the government does steal your body when you are convicted and sent for demolishion They wipe your mind of any memories of who you were and then implant a new personality They may think of that ashumane, but really the result is the same I can t think of anythingterrifying than watching the doors of my mind ripped off their hinges and my memories and reasoning slowly stolen from me This book is a gem of science fiction history


  5. Mario the lone bookwolf Mario the lone bookwolf says:

    One of the first Sci Fi crime novel hybrids with an epic scramble between a Psi investigator and an ingenious, but normal human This opens the questions of how each side can use its special abilities to fool the opponent and what potentials of Psi may be relevant in the future.Around this, a quite fitting description of today s circumstances draws a picture of a disparate society.Next to the fantasy Psi that is simply there, pharmacological and technical possibilities may be on a table in a far One of the first Sci Fi crime novel hybrids with an epic scramble between a Psi investigator and an ingenious, but normal human This opens the questions of how each side can use its special abilities to fool the opponent and what potentials of Psi may be relevant in the future.Around this, a quite fitting description of today s circumstances draws a picture of a disparate society.Next to the fantasy Psi that is simply there, pharmacological and technical possibilities may be on a table in a farther future Not to forget the usage of the potential meditation and mindfulness bring with them Like a monk that has the technical tools or implants to use the immense force of his will outside his body, expanding it, invading other minds Probably connected to all the other million monks, uniting to an evil, absorbing, soul eating literally super hive mind


  6. Algernon (Darth Anyan) Algernon (Darth Anyan) says:

    Winner of the very first Hugo Award in 1953, The Demolished Man is a classic by any metric you might measure it with Some fans and critics consider it a watershed moment, the transition from planetary romance, with its laser guns, barely dressed ladies and bug eyed monsters to serious considerations of the impact of technology on society and on individual lives Under the pen of Alfred Bester a futuristic murder investigation becomes the eternal struggle for the soul of Man, as it is played Winner of the very first Hugo Award in 1953, The Demolished Man is a classic by any metric you might measure it with Some fans and critics consider it a watershed moment, the transition from planetary romance, with its laser guns, barely dressed ladies and bug eyed monsters to serious considerations of the impact of technology on society and on individual lives Under the pen of Alfred Bester a futuristic murder investigation becomes the eternal struggle for the soul of Man, as it is played through the centuries between the angels of our better nature and the demons of our base emotions The essence of murder never changes In every era it remains the conflict of the killer against society with the victim as the prize And the ABC of conflict with society remains constant Be audacious, be brave, be confident and you will not fail Against these assets society can have no defense We know who the killer is Ben Reich, one of the richest men in Bester s future Earth, the CEO of the biggest corporation in the Solar System Reich is a predator, and when financial double dealings, takeovers and forced bankruptcies are no longer enough to maintain his elevated position, he is ready to murder his main rival Reich s spanner in the works is the fact that this Tomorrow s World has managed to discover, train and deploy telepaths capable of reading minds at all levels of the social scale Nobody can hide from the radar of these peepers , especially from theproficient lever 3 master Espers Corporations use them to screen job applicants and protect technological secrets Doctors peep their patients to identify psychological problems, police use them to search for criminal intentions and to interrogate witnesses Ben Reich must find a way to bypass these telepaths if he wants to escape punishment, or Demolition.The first part of the novel describes in detail the careful planning and the murder This is not a conventional whodunit Bester uses the premise for developing his future world, most of the new techologies being related to telepathic powers in part of the population He also puts the spotlight on Ben Reich s personality, emphatically not a hero but a scoundrel, looking at his motivations, his recurrent nightmares and his forceful bully business and social interactions Pfutz Reich said emphatically We don t play girl s rules We play for keeps, both of us It s the cowards and weaklings and sore losers who hide behind rules and fair play What about honor and ethics We ve got honor in us, but it s our own code not the make believe rules some frightened little man wrote for the rest of the frightened little men Every man s got his own honor and ethics, and so long as he sticks to em, who s anybody else to point the finger You may not like his ethics, but you ve no right to call him unethical Do I detect here a reaction to Ayn Rand s novel The Fountainhead published only a couple of years earlier An extrapolation of her objectivist and libertarian principles Since I never read any of Rand s books and I am only familiar with them through second hand commentaries, I probably should simply note that the future imagined by Bester, the world ruled by the likes of Ben Reich, looksDystopian than Utopian We may have unlocked the hidden powers of our brains, but the animal hiding in the subconscious still lurks, ready to pouncePowell repressed the wave of exasperation that rose up in him It was anger for the relentless force of evolution that insisted on endowing man with increased powers without removing the vestigial vices that prevented him from using them Lincoln Powell is the opponent of Ben Reich, a top peeper that works as the chief of New York s Police Department He is a member of the elite guild of Espers as in Extrasensory Perception , the organization that trains new telepaths with native, untapped talents, and guards against abuses by the Espers against the normals Because with great power comes great responsibility, and some Espers are not above temptation Here is an example of mind reading by Powell, watching over a batch of new trainees, each dreaming of what he or she will do with the superpower Read minds and make a killing on the market Read minds and know the answers to al exam questions Read minds and know what people really think of me Read minds and know which girls are willing Read minds and be like a King What makes Espers like Powell better than corporate fat cats like Reich The line of demarcation is so thin it is almost invisible, and in the end the reader will probably have to decide for himself where he stands on the issues It is tempting to read the novel at the superficial level of a high octane cat and mouse game between Reich and Powell, one using his money and his connections to hide his crime, the other using mind games to trip the criminal into confession Bester knows one of the most basic rules of the art of the novel is first of all, tell a story After you captured his attention, you can then guide your reader to the larger implications and underlining philosophy that made you attack the subject in the first place Look at Reich s position in time and space Will not his beliefs become the world s belief Will not his reality become the world s reality Is he not, in his critical position of power, energy, and intellect, a sure road to utter destruction Are we there yet Look at the oligarchy that is writing national and international laws in the third millenium, controlled by a small corporate and banking elite While the earth is getting hotter each year, the oceans get poisoned, forests are clear cut, the workers unions gets outlawed and any protest is crushed by a subservient military and police force For a novel written almost seven decades ago, The Demolished Man seems painfully modern One quote taken from Reich s power book should suffice think of student loans Keep a man in debt and he s afraid to ask for a raise The commercial ditty that Reich uses as a shield for hiding his thoughts becomes the leitmotif of an unavoidable doomTenser, said the Tensor.Tenser, said the Tensor.Tension, apprehension,And dissention have begun I believe that if the novel was written today, Reich will win the game of power, and the Esper Guild would become an accessory of a mega rich transnational corporation In the 1950 s though, there was still a romantic aura that surrounded scientific breakthroughs, and the future still held a Utopian promise After spectacular chases and reversals of fortune, the ending pages of the novel are both cautionary and hopeful, same as in the other Alfred Bester masterpiece, The Stars My Destination The judge and the jury are all inside our heads, the world is what we make of it, neither good or bad by itself, but transformed by our expectations, by our actions or inactions The mind is the reality You are what you think The last aphorism is also an example of an ambivalence in my reactions mostly admiration for the elegance of the parable, but also a slight disappointment at the obvious andthan a little outdated Freudian interpretation of Reich s personality First comes the pro argument, as in the choice is ours, but so are the consequences of our actions It s a Cosmic Game, and the stakes are the survival of the species, not simply the fate of Ben ReichThe maze the labyrinth all the universe, created as a puzzle for us to solve The galaxies, the stars, the sun, the planets the world as we knew it We were the only reality All the rest was make believe dolls, puppets, stage setting pretended passions It was a make believe reality for us to solve I conquered it I owned it And you failed to solve it We ll never know what the solution is, but it s not theft, terror, hatred, lust, murder, rapine You failed, and it s all been abolished, disbanded But what s to become of us We are abolished too I tried to warn you I tried to stop you But we failed the test But why Why Who are we What are we Who knows Did the seed know who or what it was when it failed to find fertile soil Does it matter who or what we are We have failed Our test is ended We are ended When we get demolished, maybe another intelligent species, with a better instinct for self preservation will take over Maybe Science can show us the way, but it cannot teach how to be human Telepathy sounds great on paper, but what about privacy, what about diversity and challenging the status quoThat s where we live All of us In the psychiatric ward Without escape without refuge Be grateful you re not a peeper, sir Be grateful that you only see the outward man Be grateful that you never see the passions, the hatreds, the jealousies, the malice, the sicknesses Be grateful you rarely see the frightening truth in people The world will be a wonderful place when everyone s a peeper and everyone s adjusted But until then, be grateful you re blind Which brings me to the real scoop of the story, so important that I will put in spoilers view spoiler Can we live without rebels and outcasts Doesn t the eternal sunshine of the well adjusted mind sound just a little bit scary Ben Reich needs to be stopped from killing and from making over the world in his own image, but a world without people like him may be even worse If a man s got the talent and guts to buck society, he s obviously above average You want to hold on to him You straighten him out and you turn him into a plus value Why throw him away Do that enough and all you ve got left are the sheep hide spoiler A little sidenote before the end of my review instead of going into details about what bothered me about Oedypian complexes and the rational mind being dominated by the subconscious, I would rather quote a quaint and mostly funny detail about how the future has surpassed some of Bester s visions already In the novel, the ruling judge in the criminal case is a computer nicknamed Old Man Mose, big as a house, with led lights on his front panel, a feed slot that receives punch cards and an output on scrolling telex tape I remember using punch cards back in the 1980 s for a school assignment, and I wonder what would Bester s reaction be at seeing all the kids on the block chasing Pokemons on their smartphonesthey fed in the last of the punched data, warmed the computer up from Idle to Run , and kicked him into it Moses eyes blinked in hard meditation his stomach rumbled softly his memories began to hiss and stutter Powell and the others waited with mounting suspense Abruptly, Mose hiccupped A soft bell began to Ping Ping Ping Ping Ping Ping and Mose s type began to flail the virgin tape under it In conclusion, I liked The Stars My Destination a little better than this one, but I can still recognize greatness in the vision Bester paints for our future His final plea is as passionate and fierce as the final message of Gully Foyle don t give in to despair, work together and hope because the future is waiting for us to raise up to its challenges Listen, he cried in exaltation Listen, normals You must learn what it is You must learn how it is You must tear the barriers down You must tear the veils away We see the truth you cannot see That there is nothing in man but love and faith, courage and kindness, generosity and sacrifice All else is only the barrier of your blindness One day we ll all be mind to mind and heart to heart There has been joy There will be joy again p.s While finishing my review about the first Hugo winner, I saw the Hugo results for 2016 For once, my personal favorite won The Broken Earth by N K Jemisin was everything I love about speculative fiction last year, and I can hardly wait to dig into the sequel, due this month


  7. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    The Demolished Man 1953 , first winner of the Hugo Award, is an ingenious amalgam of noir policier and dystopian science fiction of the mega corporate telepathic surveillance variety It poses the question what if you are a very rich man who wishes to kill another rich man, but you live in a society in which mutant telepaths called Espers or peepers guard every big corporation and work for the metropolitan police Is the perfect crime still possible And how would you go about committing The Demolished Man 1953 , first winner of the Hugo Award, is an ingenious amalgam of noir policier and dystopian science fiction of the mega corporate telepathic surveillance variety It poses the question what if you are a very rich man who wishes to kill another rich man, but you live in a society in which mutant telepaths called Espers or peepers guard every big corporation and work for the metropolitan police Is the perfect crime still possible And how would you go about committing it This begins as a Columbo style tale, in which we first watch Ben Reich as he plots and executes the murder of Craye D Courtney, and then observe Police Prefect Lincoln Powell an Esper himself as he investigates the crime, interrogating Reich periodically as he gets closer to the truth Both Reich and Powell have their stratagems and their peeper allies, and their dance of pursuit and flight is intricate and entertaining Oh, and there is a love interest too, between the Prefect and the murdered man s daughter, the traumatized and of course beautiful Barbara D Courtney.The best part of the book, however, is the conclusion where we learn what demolition the penalty of a serious crime really means It is a tour de force as good as anything Bester ever wrote, including The Stars My Destination, my favorite science fiction novel of all time.Unfortunately, I can t bring myself to rate Demolished quite as highly as Stars Some of the plot twists are too intricate, some for the dialog too hardboiled, some of the Freudian psychology outdated Still, it is a wild ride, always entertaining, and the conclusion does not disappoint.Here s how the conclusion the Demolition beginsThe stars Reich cried Look up at the sky The stars are gone The constellations are gone The Great Bear The Little Bear Cassiopeia Draco Pegasus They re all gone There s nothing but the moon Look It s the way it always is, Duffy said It is not Where are the stars What stars I don t know their names Polaris and Veg and How the hell should I know their names I m not an astronomer What s happened to us What s happened to the stars What are stars Duffy asked.Reich seized her savagely Suns Boiling and blazing with light Thousands of them Billions of them shining through the night What the hell s the matter with you Don t you understand There s been a catastrophe in space, the stars are gone Duffy shook her head Her face was terrified I don t know what you re talking about, Ben I don t knowwhat you re talking about Wait here for me, he growled I m going to find out Find out about what About the stars he yelled The Christ almighty missing stars


  8. Richard Richard says:

    I probably never would have gotten to this classic if a reading group hadn t chosen it and I really wouldn t have missed it.My response was kinda meh , and I ve been thinking about why I believe at least two problems can interfere with my appreciation of any old book, and science fiction often has further liabilities.The first general problem is that these works, when new, were sometimes exploring ideas that were fresh and invigorating The passage of years and the spread of mass media means I probably never would have gotten to this classic if a reading group hadn t chosen it and I really wouldn t have missed it.My response was kinda meh , and I ve been thinking about why I believe at least two problems can interfere with my appreciation of any old book, and science fiction often has further liabilities.The first general problem is that these works, when new, were sometimes exploring ideas that were fresh and invigorating The passage of years and the spread of mass media means what was once new is now hackneyed This can apply to the religious revelations of Fyodor Dostoevsky as well as to the scifi innovations of Alfred Bester.The other broad problem is a change in style In Dostoevsky s time the reading population was probably biased heavily towards elites with a liberal arts education that we can only dream of today, and since reading was the dominant entertainment pastime the readers attention span was probably also beyond ours Cultural changes have rendered Dostoevsky inaccessible and dull In contrast, Alfred Bester was writing when popular culture was exploding, and the genre of science fiction was bursting with excitement and creativity We ve gotten muchserious since then, and some of the flash of those years seems garish and amateurish now.For Bester s The Demolished Man these problems of content and style have both hurt His use of interplanetary travel, for example, or extra planetary habitats, seem poorly thought out The Guild of Espers is simplistic, with no depth of subtext to flesh it out In terms of style, his exuberance as a writer can get it the way Harry Harrison notes in the introduction to the 1996 reissue that Bester had cut his teeth in comics , and perhaps people with a visual sensibility will find his styleappealing.Science and technology have changed so much in the six decades since this book was written, and that can always hurt a science fiction writer who chooses to write with such particular technology in mind Freely intermixed are technologies that have long since been rendered obsolete especially the Mose computer , and others that are still futuristic most transportation and weapons, and the out of phase safe or represent a road not taken his recording crystals.But these will be problems for any old technology laden book Other changes hurt Bester , such as his chauvinism The New York of three hundred years from now is remarkably similar to that portrayed in the television series Mad Men , with the emphasis on pneumatic women well, since I don t actually watch television, I m extrapolating a bit here The virgin seductress is described as being Reich s idea of the epitome of the modern career girl Bester was doing a very good job of projecting the cultural development of the fifties and sixties, since Playboy wasn t first published for twoyears.His reliance on an outmoded Freudian model of the psyche leads to some rather awkward plot developments What was it with that era of scifi writers and peculiar sexual developments For a moment I felt like he might drift into the creepy Heinlein territory, but thankfully he never went that far.It also didn t help that he contradicts himself A fundamental premise for the conflict is that telepaths make premeditated murder essentially impossible Bester establishes early in the story that anyone contemplating murder is as likely to go unnoticed by the telepaths as a man with three heads And yet twopremeditated murders take place, neither of which seem to trouble the police as particularly improbable.On a lesser note, Reich s safe is carefully described as one that can only be opened by his index finger, and remains out of phase with the rest of reality otherwise Yet later he is spooked by the idea that a telepath might have peeped the combination out of his brain, even though the earlier security aspect should render a combination superfluous.This was probably a fun and invigorating book way back when and still might be to a subset of today s readers but it doesn t have that timeless appeal


  9. Charity Charity says:

    So, I finished this book yesterday The first lady that you meet in this book spends two pages begging the hero character to marry and have children with her, even though she knows he doesn t love her The second lady that you meet in this novel is a shop girl that spends her whole scene trying to get the protagonist to kiss her like he means it pout The third lady that you meet in this novel is a ditsy esper 3, only invited to the party because of her looks She makes a fool of herself and So, I finished this book yesterday The first lady that you meet in this book spends two pages begging the hero character to marry and have children with her, even though she knows he doesn t love her The second lady that you meet in this novel is a shop girl that spends her whole scene trying to get the protagonist to kiss her like he means it pout The third lady that you meet in this novel is a ditsy esper 3, only invited to the party because of her looks She makes a fool of herself and everyone has a good laugh The fourth lady you meet in this book is an oversexed society lady who has an obscene body sculpted by pneumatic surgery This lady is the convenient host of the sex party where the murder takes place She spends all of her scenes trying to get whoever she s talking to to stick it in her Enter the Heroine, who witnesses the cold blooded murder of her father, becomes so traumatized that she runs outside naked and disappears Did we mention she s naked, and also super hot By the way, this girl is super super hot and naked Eventually the heroine is found in the care of the sixth female character in this novel, who is a con artist using the traumatized heroine to run a shady fortune telling operation The heroine is rescued from this situation and taken to the hospital where it is determined she is SO traumatized from witnessing the murder of her father, that she has to undergo some bizarre science fiction regression therapy so she can grow back up into accepting the truth of what happened So she get s this therapy, which regresses her back to the mentality of a baby And get this gets taken home by the hero, to be re raised over the course of three months by the hero and lady number one, the swarthy unloved live in girlfriend Who knows by now that the hero is totes in love with baby baba All the murder bs gets resolved and the book is wrapped up by hero and baba sharing a couple of cute little jokes about how just a couple weeks ago he was changing her diaper now they re gonna be doin it tee hee great effin book, thanks for the legacy of your gross ass gender politics 1950 s


  10. Stuart Stuart says:

    The Demolished Man A SF classic about murder in a telepathic society Posted at Fantasy Literature If I had read this book back in 1952 when it was first published, I would have given it 5 stars, no question But in 2014, with 60 years of refinements in the genre, it suffers from some very dated dialogue and characterization, and some really condescending portrayals of women, so I m afraid the present value of the book is 4 stars Having said that, The Demolished Man remains an impressively imag The Demolished Man A SF classic about murder in a telepathic society Posted at Fantasy Literature If I had read this book back in 1952 when it was first published, I would have given it 5 stars, no question But in 2014, with 60 years of refinements in the genre, it suffers from some very dated dialogue and characterization, and some really condescending portrayals of women, so I m afraid the present value of the book is 4 stars Having said that, The Demolished Man remains an impressively imagined story of future society shared by telepaths and normals, and the attempt by a wealthy megalomaniac industrialist Ben Reich to stage and get away with murder in a society where the police and many others can read thoughts and memories It s an exciting and pulpy adventure, and presages the cyberpunk genre by over 30 years Neuromancer, Altered Carbon, Minority Report in particular they all contain remnants of Bester s DNA So it was well deserving of the inaugural Hugo Award, especially when you see the low quality of some of the other nominees and winners back in the early days, most of which have faded from popular memory without a murmur of protest has anyone read the next year s winner They d Rather Be Right Didn t think so.It s not fair to ridicule how badly aged the future visions of venerable SF authors from the Golden Age can become Instead, we should consider how much they inspired future generations of genre practitioners, who updated and improved on the early ideas and imbued them withtelling details that resonated with each successive generation Just like a piece of classical music, it s value lies not only in the music itself but its legacy for the musical compositions that follow


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *