Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Demolished Man” as Want to Read:
The Demolished Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Demolished Man

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  22,703 Ratings  ·  984 Reviews
In 2301 A.D., guns are only museum pieces and benign telepaths sweep the minds of the populace to detect crimes before they happen. In 2301 A.D., homicide is virtually impossible - but one man is about to change that.

In this classic science fiction novel, the first to win the prestigious Hugo Award, a psychopathic business magnate devises the ultimate scheme to eliminate c
...more
Paperback, 175 pages
Published March 1st 1977 by New American Library (first published March 1953)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Demolished Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Demolished Man

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Manny
This is what my poor review looks like now that the 'pre' tag is broken:

So too?
what telepath
do a
you
are think fun
Oh of
kind the
It's Demolished
Man?
... and here's the source:

PreTag

Come on Goodreads, fix this bug! You've been sitting on it for months.
Apatt
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a bee in my bonnet that I would like to deal with first. I tend to feel annoyed (even though I shouldn’t) when people ask for sci-fi recommendations with the caveat that the book being recommended must not be more than 10 years old. The reason given for this clause is usually because the science is “wrong”, there is no internet or history did not turn out the way the author depicted in the book. WUT? I would like to reiterate that it is not a sci-fi author’s job to predict the future, the ...more
Algernon
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

Winner of the very first Hugo Award in 1953, "The Demolished Man" is a classic by any metric you might measure it with. Some fans and critics consider it a watershed moment, the transition from planetary romance, with its laser guns, barely dressed ladies and bug-eyed monsters to 'serious' considerations of the impact of technology on society and on individual lives. Under the pen of Alfred Bester a futuristic murder investigation becomes the eternal struggle for the soul of Man, as it is played
...more
Richard
Sep 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Borderlands-Books.com
I probably never would have gotten to this classic if a reading group hadn’t chosen it… and I really wouldn’t have missed it.

My response was kinda “meh”, and I’ve been thinking about why. I believe at least two problems can interfere with my appreciation of any old book, and science fiction often has further liabilities.

The first general problem is that these works, when new, were sometimes exploring ideas that were fresh and invigorating. The passage of years and the spread of mass media means
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stuart
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-sf
The Demolished Man: A SF classic about murder in a telepathic society
(Posted at Fantasy Literature)
If I had read this book back in 1952 when it was first published, I would have given it 5 stars, no question. But in 2014, with 60 years of refinements in the genre, it suffers from some very dated dialogue and characterization, and some really condescending portrayals of women, so I'm afraid the present value of the book is 4 stars.

Having said that, The Demolished Man remains an impressively-imag
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The very first Hugo winner of all time, The Demolished Man is more like a crime novel that happens to be in a science fiction universe, an earth where nobody has committed a murder in 70 years because so many people are trained to be telepathic.

The people who have telepathy are referred to as Espers, and go through training, and fall into three categories depending on their abilities.

This is a good read because of the action (fast-paced) but also because I love all the little details of the wo
...more
Jareed
Apr 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jareed by: Hugo Awards List
“But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” (Hemingway, 1952)


The human spirit cannot be defeated, but it can be destroyed, in this case, the complete eradication of what you once were, the complete destruction of the psyche, the birth of The Demolished Man.

Awarded the first ever Hugo Awards in 1953,The Demolished Man is considered to have had an extensive impact to the genre that rippled through the ages especially in the cyberpunk generation. But 62
...more
Vit Babenco
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man will find a way to cheat even in the most utopian society – the nature of human being is incorrigible…
The Demolished Man is a unique and very idiosyncratic dystopian mystery and an early harbinger of cyberpunk.
The tale is taking place in the distant future where psychiatric science is in prime and psychic phenomena factually rule society. Psychology is used to detect criminals and even to escape reality utilizing catatonia.
“A great new treatment… Patient goes into catatonia. It's an escape.
...more
Hazal Çamur
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yıkıma Giden Adam pek çok katmandan oluşan bir keşmekeş ve ben bunu iyi anlamda söylüyorum. New York'lu Bester'ın büyük şehir insanının içine doğduğu, büyüdüğü ve öldüğü kaosu anlatımına taşıdığı; sürekli bir yerlere yetişme, bir şeyleri kaçırmamak için acele etme ve bu sırada önüne geleni ezip geçme dürtülerini diline aktardığı bir eser. Bester'ın bu büyük şehir dili bana inanılmaz tanıdık geldi. Eh, bir İstanbullu olarak ben ve bu şehrin diğer insanları da büyük bir kaosun parçasıyız.

İşte tüm
...more
Shayan Foroozesh
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: FeReShte
Recommended to Shayan by: Ali Nazifpour
3.5*

Alfred Bester, one of the icons of science fiction (though I didn’t know him until a month ago [yep you got me I’m not much a sci-fi guy]), challenges himself by writing an inter-genre novel, The Demolished Man , which is the Hugo Award winner dated in 1953. The novel is certainly one of his best novels but a way behind to best his best Bester novel: The Stars My Destination . Yet it was a pretty entertaining novel with some good old ancient obsolete science. Oh I’m exaggerating; you can
...more
Lit Bug
3.5 Stars

This book manages to both impress and fail to impress, on account of its strong plot and weak narration.

The conception is realistic, exciting, and has enough elements of SF - that of a world teeming with graded Espers or mind-readers who police the world that has now expanded to settle on various planets, and catch the criminal before he can even properly lay on the plan.

In 2301, Ben Reich, owner of Monarch corporation, decides, in murderous passion, to murder (of, course) his rival - k
...more
Terry
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
An enjoyable story that combines a murder mystery with SF. I liked it, but was a bit let down after the awesomeness that was _The Stars My Destination_. Once again Bester introduces an sfnal change to the world and logically posits some of the possible changes that would result in society: in this case it is psychic ability.

The most obvious impact that Bester examines is the way in which crime and policing will be affected by the fact that a fairly large segment of the population can at least se
...more
Stephen
4.5 stars. One the first (if not the first) true SF psychological thrillers. A superb read that ranks up there with another classic Bester novel, The Stars My Destination. A true science fiction classic that lives up to the name. Highly recommended.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1953)
Jan-Maat
I read this as a little lad.

Fun, its notions of telepaths, on reflection, may well have gone on to influence Philip K Dick.

It's central idea that criminals should be rehabilitated and returned to function in society remains science-fiction however, indeed one has to wonder where writers get these crazy ideas from.
Rob
Executive Summary: Part sci-fi, part detective novel, part thriller. I was a bit surprised I enjoyed this one so much.

Full Review
When this book was announced as the September Sword & Laser pick, my initial reaction was: "never heard of it".

The premise sounded interesting, and all of my friends who read it prior had given it a 5. Good sign. But it's 60 years old. It was in fact the first book to win the Hugo 60 years ago this year.

I don't read a lot of classics. I've found most of the ones
...more
Charity
May 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So, I finished this book yesterday. The first lady that you meet in this book spends two pages begging the hero character to marry and have children with her, even though she knows he doesn't love her. The second lady that you meet in this novel is a shop girl that spends her whole scene trying to get the protagonist to "kiss her like he means it" "pout" The third lady that you meet in this novel is a ditsy esper 3, only invited to the party because of her looks. She makes a fool of herself and ...more
Yaprak
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yıkıma Giden Adam bize 24. yüzyılda zihin okuyucuların da olduğu bir dünyayı tasvir ediyor. Esper adı verilen bu zihin okuyucu kişilerin varlığı ve bu bağlamda kullanımları suç oranlarını düşürmüş, hatta cinayeti tamamen ortadan kaldırmış durumda çünkü insanlar cinayet planladıkları anda Esperler bunu fark edip gerekli yerlere bildirmekle görevliler. Ben Reich yaratılan bu güneş sisteminin bir çoğunu içine alan dünyanın en güçlü adamlarından biri ve rakibi olduğu şirketin sahibini başka türlü ye ...more
Lizzie
This is a 2.5 for me and I'm hovering on which way to round it. What will I decide??

See, this book has rubbed off on me! At many turns, this book sounds overwhelmingly cheesy. I can see why these roots of sci-fi are so interesting to people, because they're such a product of their period as well as reaching for something forward -- thus, it's weirdly bold and corny at the same time. This book is focused on its characters, which is a very good way to write. (This was a present from Evan, who poin
...more
Sarah
I decided that the book that won the first Hugo would be the perfect place to start the Worlds Without End Grandmaster Challenge, which invites participants to read twelve books this year by recipients of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

The Demolished Man is a strange combination: outwardly pulp, but with a thoughtful exploration at its core. It is science fiction, insofar as it takes place in a potential future, and is full of the standard trappings of pulp SF: flying cars and rou
...more
Nate D
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: billionaire murderers to-be
Recommended to Nate D by: $2 vintage sci-fi
Shelves: sci-fi, read-in-2012
What was up with the 50s? Not only are nearly all the female characters lovely, inneffectual young ladies being cast aside by by powerful older men but the ont exception is a powerful older man falling in love with a literally infantalized expression of various Freud-based concepts. Which leads me to Jake's comment on the general embarrassing proliferation of particularly dated Freudisms. And then, it seems for a while that our protagonist is, seriously, a dashing billionaire with the sheer rebe ...more
Nick Imrie
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF completionists
The Demolished Man is sometimes called the first cyberpunk novel, and it took me ages to figure out why. There's one computer in this story and it doesn't even have a screen. The characters feed data in using punchcards.
But that's not where the cyberpunk comes from. The Demolished Man features a society of telepaths, known as Espers, and Bester has clearly given a lot of thought to how telepathic communication might work – and pretty much predicted how conversation works on the internet! People
...more
Kayıp Rıhtım
Ben Reich, döneminin en zengin iki iş adamından biridir ve haklı olarak kapitalist bir düzene hizmet etmektedir. Şan, şöhret ve paranın tesir ettiği her insan gibi Reich de oldukça kıskanç, kibirli ve hırslıdır. Hırsı onun başına büyük belalar açacaktır zira Reich, rüyalarında sıkça karşılaştığı “Yüzü Olmayan Adam”ı bulmaya ve intikam almaya ant içecektir. Bu düşünce onu kusursuz bir cinayet planı düşünmeye itecektir, lakin hesaba katması gereken çok önemli bir şey daha vardır: 21. yüzyıldan ber ...more
Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann

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.
Gürkan Akkaya
Sevmedim, bana göre değildi.

Ne diline, ne dünyasına, ne karakterlerine hiçbirine ısınamadım. Elimde süründü zaten. :P
Claudia
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A blend of a murder case, an anti-hero character and his antonym, a battle of consciences, which led in the end to the ultimate belief in the goodness of humankind: "Listen, normals! You must learn what it is. You must learn how it is. You must tear the barriers down. You must tear the veils away. We see the truth you cannot see... That there is nothing in man but love and faith, courage and kindness, generosity and sacrifice. All else is only the barrier of your blindness. One day we'll all be ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
3.5 stars, rounding up since I was fascinated by the plot and writing. Can definitely see the influence this might have had on Delany.

Any gripes I have are predictably about how women are treated (you know, naked or infantile, or both).

But otherwise, wow!
Kevin
Winner of the first Hugo award, I liked it but didn't love it. My first objection, is that when I'm reading a mystery I don't like the perpetrator revealed until the end, I like to try to solve the mystery not solve how the cop will solve the crime. The only time I've liked a mystery set up that way is the old TV show Colombo. I like reading non-fiction about psychology, but I'm not crazy about "psychological" novels, and eper novels read like psychological novels to me. My final objection was t ...more
Ema
2013 will be a science-fiction year for me, that's for sure! I have no idea why I gave up reading SF, but I am rediscovering the pleasure for this genre. Oh, my, I have a lot to catch up with the classics!

The Demolished Man is one of these SF classics and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It is like a detective novel, only that the events take place in the future, when mankind is divided in Normal people and Telepaths. The latter are capable of reading minds and they have various degrees of skillfulness
...more
Simon
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-masterworks, sf, crime
Wow, this felt so fresh and exciting like it could have been written recently only they don't write SF this good any more. Not bad for a novel written some sixty years ago. That's when you know that a book truly deserves to be in the SF Masterworks series.

So, reading through other people's reviews of the book I was surprised to see some people criticise this for being dated. Okay, if one wants to be critical, there were definitely some aspects that were undeniably dated (such as the treatment of
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sperm treatment in Delhi 1 4 May 24, 2017 10:37PM  
Dystopian Society: the Demolished Man 1 6 May 01, 2017 02:44PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Error in book title 3 18 Aug 31, 2015 08:43AM  
Science Fiction A...: * July 2014 Themed Read - The Demolished Man 24 58 Aug 25, 2014 11:12PM  
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • They'd Rather Be Right
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • The Wanderer
  • The Space Merchants (The Space Merchants, #1)
  • Way Station
  • Emphyrio
  • Stand on Zanzibar
  • More Than Human
  • Non-Stop
  • Dying Inside
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • Dark Benediction
  • The Complete Roderick
  • Nova
  • Time Out of Joint
  • Last and First Men
  • The Humanoids (Humanoids #1)
10992
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
More about Alfred Bester...

Share This Book

“Be grateful that you only see the outward man. Be grateful that you never see the passions, the hatreds, the jealousies, the malice, the sicknesses... Be grateful you rarely see the frightening truth in people.” 64 likes
“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.”
22 likes
More quotes…