The Demolished Man

The Demolished Man

by Alfred Bester


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Winner of the First Hugo Award.

#14 in the Millennium SF Masterworks series, a library of the finest science fiction ever written.

""Bester's two superb books have stood the test of time. For nearly sixty years they've held their place on everybody's list of the ten greatest sf novels"" -Robert Silverberg

""One of the all-time classics of science fiction.""-Isaac Asimov

""Alfred Bester wrote with the pedal to the floor and the headlights on full beam. His work combined erudition with an unparalleled imaginative inventiveness. Bester was writing cyberpunk while William Gibson was still running around zapping the other kids at school with a toy raygun.""-James Lovegrove

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596879881
Publisher: ibooks, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/17/2014
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 162,068
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Alfred Bester's passionate novels of worldly adventure, high intellect, and tremendous verve, The Stars My Destination and the Hugo Award-winning The Demolished Man, established Bester as a science fiction grandmaster, a reputation that was ratified by the Science Fiction Writers of America. He died in 1987.

Gerard Doyle records everything from adult, young adult, and children's books to literary fiction, mysteries, humor, adventure, and fantasy. He has won countless AudioFile Earphones Awards and was named a Best Voice in Young Adult Fiction in 2008.

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The Demolished Man 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book several years ago, but I still know what it was about, not as the review say's business man uses future tech, for his own needs. It is sometime in the future, and telepaths (and all other tele's) are an officially recognised group. They have their own ethics council and code of conduct. Breaking any of the rules (laws) will bannish you to 'coventry' (no-one will talk to you telepathically, left out in the cold(. The story is about a telepath, a.k.a. peepers, who is a cop. Due to the emergence of telepaths, crime is at an all time low and there hasn't been a murder in over 70 years. However this soon is no longer true. I can't remember the hero's name, but he is called in to investigate the murder of a old and very rich business man. Police telepaths have to ask permission before reading someone's mind, making the job of catching the criminal harder. The hero's life is complicated by the fact that he is nearing his 40th birthday and has to, according to the rules set by the telepath council, get married, to a telepath or some else with psi, and have children. While on the case he meets a variety of people, normal and tele's who push him down a certain road to the killer. He is convinced he knows who the killer is, he does know, but in order to be able to charge the killer the police must have motive, opportunity and method. One or two out of three is not good enough. To help the police, they have either a semi- or full AI computer to help them get all three aspects of the case together. The computer cannot however be asked directly for answers. It gives a percentage rating as to how well or not the case is standing up.
brodiew2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an intense book. Every word seemed charged with rage and hostility; especially from the main villain. There were even moments when the cop (hero) was questionable. The most compelling thing about this novel was the authors basics for telepaths. Bester's concepts for telepaths given high homage in 'Babylon 5'. This novel is a well written murder mystery with a fascinating finale. You will truly understand what it means to be 'demolished'.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book; it is amazing that Bester wrote it over 50 years ago. The future world he envisions is clever, fascinating and compelling. It feels far less dated than you would expect for a book written so long ago. The writing is fast paced and proficient. At times (especially when groups of espers are conversing) even dazzling. The two main characters of the book are Ben Reich, the wealthy tycoon who resolves to commit a murder in a crime free world, and Lincoln Powell, the esper cop who is determined to catch him. These are intriguing complicated characters, drawn with psychological insight. My disappointments with the book were (1) the romance angle between Powell and the daughter of the murder victim felt unconvincing and was not really needed, and (2) I wanted Jerry Church, the disgraced telepath who had been disbarred for getting involved in a past Reich scheme, to play a greater role in the story. Don¿t look for any strong female characters. Still, highly recommended.
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is classic sci-fi, winner of the very first Hugo Award in 1953, but you know, I just didn't like it. This was a mystery about a man who tries to get away with murder in a future where mindreading makes such a thing pretty much impossible. Maybe when this was first written it was fresh and thrilling, but fifty-five years later it just seems flat and uninteresting to me. The mindreading "peepers" are boring with their guild and their strict code of ethics that nobody really follows, the science is outdated with computers that take up entire rooms and run on punch cards, and character names like @kins, Wig& and ¼main just seem like text-messaging, not futuristic at all. The story was a bit confusing and the big twist at the end, was more of a little tweak than anything.
yosarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Demolished man won the first Hugo Award in 1953 and after reading the book I cannot imagine another book beating it. Seen by many as a precursor of the 'cyberpunk' sci-fi novels that followed later in the '80's it certainly has the same style of 'high tech and low life' with large megacorporations running a future society and telepaths (called Espers) are an everyday occurence in all walks of life from business and therapy to the police force. This is essentially a detective story where one of the owners of a multi-national corporation, Ben Reich, facing bankruptcy attempts to commit the perfect murder of his main rival Craye d'Courtney despite the seemingly insurmountable problem of doing so with Espers and modern police procedure having all but wiped out crime. To help him try to confuse their telepathic abilities he recites over and over a rhyme; "Tenser said the tensor; tension, apprehension and dissension have begun" which is so persistent it prevents the espers 'peeping' into his mind. And from this we follow a wonderful chase across space as the policeman in charge of the investigation, Lincoln Powell, attempts to prove his suspicions.It is a wonderfully fast paced book full of noir-ish characters in a seedy futuristic underworld but it is the language Alfred Bester uses that really makes this book stand out and the pictures of words he creates on the page when the espers are communicating with sentences seemingly running up, down and diagonally at the same time. It is often criticised for appearing dated but do not let this put you off, this is a wonderful moment from the golden age of sci-fi.
storyjunkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Story elements are dated now, particularly the psychology. The craft with which this book is written, however, is stunning.
Radaghast on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I expected a lot out of the Demolished Man, perhaps a little too much. Given that the novel was retroactively given a Hugo Award, I expected there must have been a compelling reason to do this. So I came into this novel with a lot of, perhaps unfair, preconceptions that left me disappointed. The Demolished Man is by no means an unreadable novel. It is a detective story at heart. It is the tale of a future in which a significant portion of the population has developed ESP, to varying degrees. In this future almost utopia, premeditated murder has been rendered impossible. One man, however, thinks he has a perfect plan to beat the "esper" detectives. He ends up pitted against the most powerful esper in the world as he struggles to get away with murder.It's a compelling plot. Unfortunately, the novel never rises above a decent detective story. The main characters are developed excellently though the side characters sometimes feel a little bland. Some of the psychology and technology in the book is dated, but that's to be expected. The ending is horrifying, but there are parts that drag in the middle. Every positive point about the novel is balanced by a contrasting weakness. In short, the Demolished Man was an averaging reading experience.
conformer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An absolutely insane steamroller ride thru the dystopian future, as seen from the 1950s. When crime is quashed by telepaths, a psychotic corporate head conspires to rub out his business rival, and naturally gets more than he bargained for when things get complicated. Overtly sexual and typically chauvinistic for the time, it often reads like a Chuck Jones-era Warner Bros. cartoon; all crashy-smashy violence and great-googly-moogly dialogue(much of it shouted, of course). The resolution gets a tad highbrow, almost Heinleinesque, but the run-up to it is exquisitely flash. Not much of a light touch, and little more than a cop show set in the future, still, timing and delivery are spot-on.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can see why this one the first Hugo - Its a murder mystery set in a future where nothing can be secret anymore. Its a well written book, crafty, intelligent, and easy to read.It also doesn't feel like it was written in 1951 - Oh, its missing things like smart phones, women are almost always secretaries, and there's a bit of a the world is perfect attitude going on, but as a reader, I didn't notice it. This to me a sign of a well written book- it is timeless.My only complaint - the ending. It felt a bit rushed, and in true 1950's ending, everyone comes out for the best at the end.
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really glad it wasn't all just a hallucination or that D'courtney and Reich weren't the same person. Great pace, awesome orignal ideas, has aged prefectly. Great writing style.
Caragen87 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A little dated-- but a Classic. Enough said
Ed_Gosney on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the premise of this book. What I had a tough time with was in trying to relate to the characters. But the storyline was interesting enough to get me through it. I give it a high rating, but the potential was there to score five stars. Then again, Alfred Bester is Alfred Bester, and I'm an unpublished wannabe.
timspalding on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An all-time favorite, probably better than Tiger Tiger!. There's a cover floating out there indicating it's "soon to be a motion picture." The cover is maybe 30 years old. Too bad that never came to be...
catburglar More than 1 year ago
An outstanding novel; a rather unusual concept for a science fiction/fantasy novel; would make a great motion picture.
kamas716 More than 1 year ago
Another outstanding offering by Bester. Together with The Stars My Destination it really shows why Bester is among the best there has ever been in SF. It's about murder, in a world where telepaths have prevented murder for decades.
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