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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By age 16 I had devoured hundreds of science fiction books and had decided who my favorite authors were: Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Heinlein, van Vogt, and not much else. But at that time a new star appeared on my science fiction firmament: Alfred Bester with his “The Demolished Man”.
Although I cannot find the book on my bookshelf – I probably recommended and lent it to some friend over forty years ago – I still carry a jingle from the story in my head.
Mining the Genre Asteroid: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
It goes like this:. Tenser said the tensor. Tension, apprehension and dissension have begun. The story is set a few centuries in the future, when telepathic lafred monitor the thoughts of would-be criminals and thwart their plans before they can be implemented.
The Demolished Man : Alfred Bester :
The principal character, a rich businessman, decides to kill a competitor. To avoid detection by the telepathic inspectors, he deliberately repeats a jingle over and over to himself until it is so stuck in his mind that it is constantly humming in the aflred, serving as a mental screen to prying mind readers.
I do not remember much else from the story, but I liked its originality and inventiveness. Now, surprisingly, when I google the Net for the phrase “tenser said the tensor”I get hits! But when I add the term “-blog”the count drops to about It seems that there are a lot of bloggers out there, members of an Alfred Bester cult, perhaps. The following year I read a second Alfred Bester novel: Again, the story takes us a few centuries into the future.
An otherwise unremarkable character is left to die in a spaceship wreck in interplanetary space. This makes him very angry and unlocks hidden mental resources, so that he discovers how to teleport himself from one place to another through sheer willpower. He sets out to get his revenge.
Near the end his senses get mixed up, aofred is illustrated in a funny way using the limited possibilities of graphics before desk-top-publishing.
The Demolished Man
This playful exploration of new means of expression may recall the famous “LSD trip” in the movie “”:. He was active in the media world, writing comics, wlfred, TV and film scripts. He became a literary editor at Holiday magazine.
Alfred Bester also wrote several collections of short stories. He returned to writing novels in the s and s, but with less success.
By that time, my interest in science fiction had dropped considerably, but back in I had named my motor scooter “Alfred” to express my admiration for his works and those of Alfred Korzybski. In the course of surfing the web to find out what happened to Bester, I found some interesting links. Here is a programmer who obviously used the jingle for inspiration. And here is an amusing Bester blog. It also points out some interesting differences between various editions of his stories.
See also this Wikipedia biography. The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester. Blurb on the back of “Starburst”.
Last edited or checked June 20, Things that surprise me.