The Demolished Man [Alfred Bester] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of the First Hugo Award. #14 in the Millennium SF. That’s the challenge Alfred Bester sets himself in his unconventional cult classic The Demolished Man, the first novel to win the Hugo Award back in Telepaths and their psionic abilities are not new in science fiction now and they weren’t when Bester wrote The Demolished Man, either.

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Eight, sir; seven, sir; Six, sir; five, sir; Four, sir; three, sir; Two, sir; one!

Tenser, said the Tensor. Tension, apprehension, And dissension have begun. Inthe first ever Hugo award for Best Novel was awarded.

How does a captain of industry manage to survive and thrive in a future world of punchcard computers and powerful, omnipresent Espers — telepaths? What happens when that captain of industry schemes to cheat and get ahead in this sort of world?

Mining the Genre Asteroid: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

And what happens when someone, perhaps that very captain of industry, commits a locked-room mystery of a murder? And with trying to seemingly commit the perfect crime, how do you prove the murder? The novel starts us off with the story of Ben Reich. The aforementioned captain of industry, seemingly on top of the world.

A New Yorker in New York, the mah of this world. We have scenes outside of the city, even in space, but they all feel secondary and not important, like that famous New Yorker magazine cover. Trouble is approaching, his position and power under threat. But what to do? And how to do it? The unthinkable must be considered, tje complicated methods to assure that he can get away with that crime? How does one outwit Justice computers and ever-present telepaths?


The pace is whip fast by modern standards although a reader of, say, Van Vogt, might consider the pacing sedatebringing us toward the fulcrum of the novel before a reader knows it.

The cat and mouse game switches in terms of the crime itself, watching Powell try and tease out the puzzle. The mystery genre works extremely well with science fiction, and it may surprise readers to know that The Demolished Man is actually one of the early examples of that union of genres. But in that breathless rapid-fire plotting, we get so much more, compactly written. We really get a sense of the telepaths and what they are about — a teh of people with honor and responsibilities, whose exiled members feel cut off from that former union.

And yet, a society where they are very willing to try and breed themselves ever more powerful and numerous telepaths, in a goal of making society entirely composed of them one day.

One interesting aspect of the novel commends it to reading, instead of, or in addition to, listening it in an audiobook, and in fact commends it to a paper read instead of a ebook read, and that is typography. A defrocked telepath has their title and rank listed as Esper 2. A denial of wanting snow in a mental conversation between telepaths is rendered as s n o w.

The Demolished Man

He does do this in more conventional ways, of course, and the novel is replete with these variances in thought. However, it is in the typography that he most directly does this. The science fiction series Babylon 5 has telepaths as part of the future setting.


One of the recurring minor characters in the series is an enforcement demolishef of the telepaths, a Psi Cop, played by Walter Koenig. He is powerful, intelligent, ruthless and devoted to telepaths and their goals.

The name of that Psi cop character? It is a deliberate and fine tribute to the author, and to this book. The Demolished Man is the demolishwd novel to alfrred the Dmeolished Award, and one of the finest novels to do so. It is as relevant and interesting to readers and writers today as it was in the s. And as far as mentioning The Stars my Destination above as the other novel that Bester is known for?

That, gentle reader, is another story…. Paul Weimer is a SF writer, gamer, reviewer, and podcaster and an avid amateur photographer.

The Demolished Man : Alfred Bester :

His reviews and columns can also be found at Tor. He is best seen on twitter as princejvstin and his website.

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