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The Demolished Man

1951

Book: The Demolished Man

Author: Alfred Bester

Recollections...

Literary space opera-mindblowing!arrow icon

At age 9, then 12, then regularly ever since. I'd read that he was the best writer in Science Fiction. I found out they were right!
more from mwhatfield

In Depth

The Demolished Man

Psychedelic whodunnit set in a future where mind-reading makes murder impossible.

The Demolished Man is at heart a police procedural in a bizarre yet extremely well-realised setting, where telepathy is commonplace and guns are museum pieces. Ben Reich is a power-crazed business magnate who, when a vital deal goes wrong, plans to murder his rival. But his plan can't be hidden from the psychic police – and so, armed with a mental jingle to mask his thoughts, he takes on the world.

This novel is a whirlwind of ideas and incident without a shred of padding. One of its wildest and most famous conceits is the interwoven text of telepathic conversations, which must have been a headache for proof-readers.

Together with Gully Foyle in The Stars My Destination, Ben Reich is one of two great science fiction anti-heroes created by Bester. Amoral and ruthless, they’re the absolute opposite of the usual square-jawed pulp science fiction hero.

The Demolished Man was the first ever winner of the Hugo Award for best novel.

Work nominated by mwhatfield.

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