Monday, February 06, 2012

The Demolished Man

The Demolished Man. Alfred Bester. 1951. Random House. 245 pages.

Explosion! Concussion! The vault doors burst open. And deep inside, the money is racked ready for pillage, rapine, loot. Who's that? Who's inside the vault? Oh God! The Man With No Face! Looking. Looming. Silent. Horrible. Run....Run...

The Demolished Man is the winner of the first Hugo Award. I am not sure it's an absolute must-read. But. If you're a fan of science fiction, I think you should definitely consider reading this one! Depending on your expectations, of course, you might just find yourself surprised at how clever and literary well written it is.

The mystery elements of The Demolished Man made it a great read for me. The novel stars two characters. One, Ben Reich, who is determined to murder his business rival, Craye D'Courtney. With (future) society being what it is, murder is unheard of because telepaths (espers) always, always are able to read the minds of the would-be murderers and stop them before the crime is committed. But Reich plans to bribe a few high(er) level telepaths to help him cover his tracks, AND he plans on using a catchy song to distract other mind-readers in the area, to keep them from peeping his intentions.

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 second main character is Lincoln Powell, the detective on the case. (The murder is successful.) Both characters narrate this one. So readers get the view points of both the detective and the criminal. I wasn't sure how I felt about this--at first. But I think it works well, for the most part!

Have you read this one? What did you think? What did you think of the ending? Of what happens to criminals... And what did you think of the "romance"?!

This one surprised me. It did. I really liked it so much more than I thought I would. In fact, I think I may even love it. I couldn't help thinking of this Alfred Bester when I read it.

Read The Demolished Man
  • If you're a fan of classic science fiction
  • If you want to read the FIRST Hugo Winner
  • If you're interested in reading science fiction with a focus on telepaths
  • If you're a fan of mysteries and detective fiction

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Susan said...

Oh, I am looking for a copy of this desperately! I want to read it for the Grandmaster Challenge. I'm delighted that you enjoyed it so much! I was able to read your review and no spoilers, so thank so much for that too, Becky.