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The Computer Connection

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  1,049 ratings  ·  73 reviews
A band of immortals--as charming a bunch of eccentrics as you'll ever come across--recruit a new member, the brilliant Cherokee physicist Sequoya Guess. Dr. Guess, with the group's help, gains control of Extro, the computer that controls all mechanical activity on Earth.

The plan is to rid Earth of political repression and to further Guess's researches--which may lead to a
Published June 1st 1975 by New York: Berkley/Putnam (first published January 1975)
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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Megan Baxter
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange little book, and far from Bester's best. But it was nominated for a Hugo, and so I read it, and it's weird. With some redeeming moments. And a lot of vaguely uncomfortable but yet vaguely progressive gender and racial politics. I don't quite know how to wrap my head around it. I guess that's what this review is here to do.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the
Alfred Bester wrote The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man, two must-reads for any serious fan of science fiction literature. They are classics worthy of study, as well as just good books.
Then, he stopped writing novels for many years. Sadly, he returned to writing in order to write this book.
Having loved Bester's classic works, I was surprised to stumble across this book in a book sale. I didn't recognize the title or remember the premise, so I figured, "How bad could it be? It's
Dec 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2013
Stopped around page 120.
Officially the first book in my life that I have stopped reading because of its sheer awfulness. What the hell were you thinking, Alfred? This is bad and you should feel bad.

Sep 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, b-c
Alfred Bester was a very creative writer. In the 1950's, he wrote two classic SF novel: "The Demolished Man" (which won a Hugo) and "Tiger Tiger" aka "The Stars are my Destination" which is considered one of - if not the - best SF novel of the 1950's. He also wrote several excellent short stories throughout his life-time.

One can tell a Bester work just from looking at the text. It is common practice these days, but back then (in the fifties), he liked doing odd graphic things with
the letters
Apr 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alfred Bester was one of the grandmaster class of science fiction writers. The Demolished Man and Stars my Destination are widely considered among the best of the genre. In the first one it was peepers and murder in a crimeless society; in the second it was the new human technology of jaunting and a rollicking revenge plot based on the Count of Monte Cristo. In the Computer Connection, Bester tackles a Group of immortals, or molecule men. We meet Guest, a.k.a. the Chief, a.k.a. Sequoia, a native ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
D.N.F. If cryology recycles ontogeny, then freeze this piece of crap for 100 days in space and maybe it will do us all a favor and reverse its own existence.

Reads like an old-fashioned douche is trying to be hip with the kids by doing EDGY stuff, but all he can do is stir up a lot of anti-PC nonplots because that's so EDGY and funny and not just a big, steaming pile of stale and unoriginal gags that don't even make sense to sane people. BORING AND DUMB. I should have known when I saw (and
Apr 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This book got better as it went on. The first few pages were almost incomprehensible in it's amount of slang that is unexplained.

E.g., the first sentence:

I tore down the Continental Shelf off the Bogue Bank while the pogo made periscope hops trying to track me.


But as I read through the book it actually began to make more and more sense, and by the middle I was actually invested in the characters and story.

Something about this book made me want to read it at break-neck speed, I don't have
Walter Underwood
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a strain of exuberant writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s and this is solidly in that vein. It ranged from Hunter S. Thompson to Richard Brautigan and beyond. This is solidly in that micro-tradition.

Let go and join the flow. Don't try to figure out the science or the slang or any of those things you are used to digging into in an SF novel. This is a wild ride with fireworks at every turn.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: y2017
It's weird, and a little wacko, but actually not that hard to follow. I'm not sure it wasn't excellent, but I'm not sure it was, either. So I'll split the difference.

If you like Zelazney, Dick and other surreal authors, try this. It's not like Bester's other works at all, and very out there.
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although somewhat dated now, this is still a very good Alfred Bester novel, which means it is a very good story.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, that is one serious pile of New Wave, thick with the style of the time and almost dizzying to hack through.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and incredibly complicated
Jason Bergman
Alfred Bester is unquestionably one of the greatest sci-fi writers of all time. The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man are absolute classics.

This book is not of the same caliber.

It's not entirely without merit - Bester does do some interesting things with language, similar to his other works. And it has some genuinely funny slapstick moments.

But for the most part it's just not very good. It moves too quickly, the gags (linguistic or otherwise) don't always work, and it all falls flat.
David Mann
Crazy stuff

I loved Demolished Man and Stars My Destination. This book though is just plain nuts. A demented combination of late Heinlein, Phil Farmer, and William S Burroughs, the story is a little difficult to follow. It involves some immortals, an evil computer, and the end of the world, but that doesn't really do it justice. The language, known as XX (for 20th century), takes a while to get used to. Some political incorrectiveness (including every slang term for Native American) as well as
Oct 10, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
i just re-read this. disclaimer: bester is one of my favorite authors of all time--i think his writing style is just incredible. but this book starts strong and then gets less and less interesting as it continues. the style is almost as neat as in 'the stars my destination' and 'demolished man', but then the plot loses its oOmph and the story doesn't seem very tight and the characters aren't as witty as you want them to be and... blah. suddenly it's over and you're left feeling that something ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
if i could give in 0/5 i would, this was terrible and i finally gave up on page 163 from 216.

Its seems to be a story of some kind where and indian man dies and comes back to life merged, in mind only, with the super computer Extro with a massive amount of nonsense filling the rest of the book.

i couldnt read anymore and had to give up. Complete rubbish, do not read.
Victor Chernov
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
It was like a very ugly person - you can't take you eye off him/her, because of the ugliness.

The ideas, by themselves, are nice, but the story is weird and quite badly written and executed. But hey, I didn't drop it in the middle.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A couple interesting concepts, but on the whole not an engaging novel. Maybe don't mention this one when recommending people Bester.
David Allen
Bester's comeback novel after a 19-year layoff was packed with ideas, slang and sly jokes. Perhaps too packed, though.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm hard pressed to say if my uncertainties about this book relate to the age of it, or simply to the general style. With 'The Stars My Destination' I didn't have any sense of age, but then that was perhaps a more typical sci-fi story, whereas 'The Computer Connection' is more grounded in modern day Earth, which naturally leads to more things feeling off given the age of the book.

But I think the comedic nature of the story might be the bigger issue, and this was something I only really picked
Nicholas Whyte
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Very much in the shadow of Bester's better-known The Demolished Man (winner of the first Hugo for Best Novel) and The Stars My Destination, this was his first novel for almost 20 years when it came out in 1974. Critical reaction then was disappointed; Bester had perhaps laid the path for the New Wave writers of the intervening period but was now behind the curve. Forty years on, I must say I enjoyed it a lot; the plot concerns a group of immortals in
Chris Harris
Jan 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this as a teenager (when it was published in the UK with the title "Extro") because (a) it was Bester and (b) it had been nominated for the Nebula and Hugo awards. I remember being hugely disappointed back then; returning to it after forty years I was hoping for a better experience the second time around. I didn't get it.

Oh dear. I get that, given the protagonist's nickname, the style is intended to be a gory, violent puppet show. But even puppet shows can have nuanced plots; this
Stephanie Ricker
Reading this feels like hallucinating wildly while someone beats you with a 2x4. By the time you finish this frenetic madness, you'll feel like you've been bludgeoned by far, far too much plot and not nearly enough sense. I had quite enjoyed Bester's The Stars My Destination, but I can't say I enjoyed anything about this, other than the limited excitement of wondering what rabbit trail of insanity the story would run down next. Two stars rather than one because Bester's spendthrift, nutty ...more
Steve Coughlan
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I recognize that writing style from my youth. I never really enjoyed it... it gets in the way of the story, IMHO. And now, lo these many many years since it was contemporary, the veiled references, assumed common "hip" knowledge and context are lost to me, and are never even known to the potential younger reader. So it's hard wrrk to read, between not knowing what Bester knew then, and knowing what we know now. Which is not to downplay the good bits... an interesting world to live in!
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An eclectic group of eccentric immortals with serious memory issues faces an amazing adventure.

It's a roller coaster ride, full ofl deux ex machina artifacts that make perfect sense in the context of the story, but makes it kind of hard to read.

It took me a lot of time to go through this book, and I put it down and picked it again, sometimes reading it again from the beginning. It's not an easy book. But it's so wonderful it's worth it.
This is a wild trippy weird little sci-fi book that will lead you down an interesting, occasionally confusing but thoughtful path. Some of the books quirks are annoying at times but over all I still liked it. It is very unique in concept and implementation. Not a bad little beach read.
Tony Fecteau
The story itself was quite short. I did not like the interface to his computer diary as well. That was probably due to the year the book was published. The story was very stilted.
Brent Blood
This book shows its age but was still entertaining.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rob Markowitz
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
It seems like Bester was really trying to write a Heinlein novel here and didn't do it very well.
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Alfred Bester 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 Stars My
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