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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. In a world in which the police have telepathic powers, how do you get away with murder? Ben Reichs heads a huge 24th 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. Get A Copy. Paperback , SF Masterworks 14 , pages. Published July 8th by Millennium first published March More Details Original Title.
Ben Reich , Lincoln Powell. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Demolished Man , please sign up.
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Demolished Man. Mar 05, Manny rated it really liked it Shelves: too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts , parody-homage , science-fiction , the-goodreads-experience. This is what my poor review looks like now that the 'pre' tag is broken: So too?
You've been sitting on it for months. View all 56 comments. Oct 02, Apatt rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , pres-sf , sci-fi. I have a bee in my bonnet that I would like to deal with first. Anybody who want to get into reading sci-fi but steadfastly refuse to read the classics from the 50s, 60s etc.
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. In The Demolished Man not everybody is a telepath but they are quite commonplace and can be found in all kinds of profession. 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. The awesome edition I had lost it now! 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. View all 36 comments. Oct 19, Glenn Russell added it. Action and more action - 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. 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 s and Alfred Bester picks up on the prevailing psychological theory in a major way.
The further the story progresses, the more this sinister apparition is connected with Freudian theory. Also connected ah, Freud! 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. By the way, back in the s 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. 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 s 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. Certainly one of the more fascinating 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.
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 s myself, I had firsthand experience of such appalling attitudes. 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 s America, not to be overlooked by more general readers. Two outstanding book covers: Alfred Bester, - View all 5 comments. Feb 03, Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it. 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.
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! 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.
The Demolished Man
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester. Essay by Ted Gioia Imagine a world without murder. Then use it as the setting for a murder mystery. That's the challenge Alfred Bester sets himself in his unconventional cult classic The Demolished Man , the novel that was the first winner of Hugo Award. The book is an oddity—half science fiction and half detective story, mixing in generous doses of the police procedural genre while antici- pating elements that would come to the fore in later cyberpunk lit. With its fast pace and campy atmospherics, the book also reminds us that Bester made his living writing for comic books, radio and television. The Demolished Man is set in the world of the year , when police have an easy time of it.
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