Aug 09, 08
Read in August, 2008
Really mediocre. The cover promised that some people consider it the single best science fiction novel of all time. I don't know who those people are, but they're wrong. The book has positive attributes, in particular Bester's depiction of the social and economic chaos caused by an advance in human understanding resulting the ability of nearly everyone to teleport.
But as for the story, and the protagonist? The lead character is simply unbelievable. I don't buy him in the slightest. And the story is not terribly compelling. I've learned that good stories and characters have arcs. Note the word: it implies a certain smoothness, a continuity. No such thing exists here: the protagonist is a binary creature -- he begins the novel at point A and at some point he turns into point B, but we never see the change, we just see A and B. And the plot sort of proceeds the same way, in fits and starts, like a step function rather than a nice smooth continuous one.