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Golem 100

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  325 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Regina and her bee-ladies, bored members of the elite, while away the idle hours by playing at conjuring the Devil - a game which leads to horrifying consequences. Alfred Bester's other novels include "Tiger, Tiger", "Extro" and "The Demolished Man".
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 7th 1989 by Mandarin (first published 1980)
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In praise of the one star rating.

Good reads should have five stars and then a DNF – did not finish. Because just as love is not the opposite of hate, indifference is the opposite of love, the one star is that rarest of accolades, the book so bad you want to finish.

Many people have a favorite book or a list of the best novels they've ever read. This book falls on the opposite side of the spectrum - the worst book. I trudged through and finished this out of morbid curiosity.

So, what is this about?
John Tye
Despite his prominent status in the science fiction world, Bester produced a relatively small volume of work in the genre. That makes it a treat to find something of his you've not previously read. Unless, of course, it turns out to be this book.

The novel's concept is not completely without merit, with an interesting combination of characters. Unfortunately, the writing does not rise to a particularly high standard, and what is obviously meant to pass for cleverness feels forced and contrived. T
Extremely odd. I've some of Bester's other works and really enjoyed it, but this was just too disjointed and strange for me to get in into. I forced myself to finish, hoping that something coherent would emerge, but unfortunately it never did.

Skip it.
Isabel (kittiwake)
"We can't all be monsters," Shima protested.
"Deep down inside, in our Underworld, we are. Up here, at the top of the iceberg, we censor and control it; but what happens when that brute beast in us escapes control, breaks out of the cage, and runs wild? Then you have Golem 100."
"How does it break out of the cage?"
"Sharpen a wit, baby. the bee-ladies get together in Regina's hive. They play witchcraft games. Of course they never succeed in raising the Devil because he doesn't exist. That's just fo
Despite my love of all things weird in modern majickal horror/sci-fi, there seems to be a limit of crazy hodge-podge ideas that one can cram into approximately 400 pages. I suspect that the limit is learned from my prior exposure to authors such as Neil Gaiman, Tim Powers, Raymond Feist and Roger Zelazny.

I am certain that I heard all of them indicate that Alfred Bester was amongst the best in this style of writing... but Golem 100 reaches my tolerance of scientific/majickal riffing craziness abo
Crap. I only read about 120 pages and then skipped around to see if it ever started making any sense, but, no. It's just crap. Poorly written, uninteresting crap with terrible dialogue and ridiculous characters and a stoooopid premise. Hard to believe the same guy that wrote THE DEMOLISHED MAN and THE STARS MY DESTINATION and all those dozens of great short stories could spread his legs and drop a load like this one. Ah well.
Christopher Wang
the beginning was good

the trips with the images was very novel and bester is probably on par with PKD at times

the middle bit dragged on a little long

the very ending was absolutely amazing

the book has grown on me exponentially since I finished it a few hours ago
Crazy and horrifying. His prose and use of illustration make it a frantic mess, but by the end, it congeals into a haunting, thought-provoking conclusion. Bester has always speculated about how the human race will take its next evolutionary step and has never been afraid to explore bizarre possibilities. The 23rd century New York is a dystopia swallowed by the hip, tragic, and goofy drug/refugee culture; The Golem100 is a pretty far-fetched, almost absurd, monster; the characters who rise agains ...more
An interesting read, as always, from Alfred Bester, however, not as good as his other books. I loved the ideas about the id and it is an interesting version of a future world. Although Alfred Bester is one of my favorite authors I could have skipped this book and been fine. Unless you absolutely love his books, skip it.
I didn't particularly love this book, but it was the first "orthographically experimental" work I encountered. For several chapters, Bester attempts expressionism in typography and imagery, eventually abandoning written language for several pages.
Splash Champion
Shamlessly reading for the cover. :)
UPDATE: certainly one of the oddest novels I come across. The narrative was far too in-cohesive to be read as anything other than as an experiment in altered perceptions.
Matt Sears
Fifty pages of decent action driven sci fi/horror, and then 330 pages of diluted psychobabble and condensed dick jokes. There are some moments, but would you sift through shit for a few quarters?
Bester wrote some of the best stories in the genre, but this, more experimental, book just doesn't do it for me. To list it as OK falls so far beneath the usual standard I would apply to his work.
Nicholas Mantzaris
Very interesting conceptually and - mostly - stylistically, but other than that it contained a lot of "pseudo-science" and logical leaps that seemed almost childish at some points.
A different yet satisfying Bester effort. Doesn't live up to the standards set by The Demolished Man and The Stars, My Destination. Still a great read with a scene of displaced comic gore.
Despite all the sex and the violence and general pulpiness, this book definitely contains some of the sweet social commentary that I love from Bester's more highly-regarded books.
Matt Piechocinski
I think what Bester was trying to pull off was pretty cool, but some parts really fail in execution to the extent that I lost track of what the hell was going on.
Was with this book up until the last 20 pages or so. Too much anarchy in the end. Though I think that was part of the point of the book, so...
One of the worst science fiction books ever... by a man who also wrote one of the best.
Philip Wickstrand
This book can best be described as 392 pages of "What the hell was that?!?"
I was not expecting this.
But I read it anyway.
Old school science fiction at its best.
Too weird for words. Actually, he seemed to be going for weirdness. Not very good.
Daniel Miltz
Daniel Miltz marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Ike Sharpless
Ike Sharpless marked it as to-read
Oct 01, 2015
Stochastique marked it as to-read
Sep 30, 2015
Christoaugust marked it as to-read
Sep 30, 2015
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Alfred Bester (1913–1987) was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books.

Though successful in all these fields, he is best remembered for his science fiction, including The Demolished Man, winner of the inaugural Hugo Award in 1953, a story about murder in a future society where the police are telepathic, and The St
More about Alfred Bester...
The Stars My Destination The Demolished Man Virtual Unrealities: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester The Computer Connection Psychoshop

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