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The Demolished Man
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2013 Reads > TDM: September Book: The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

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message 1: by Tom, Supreme Laser (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Merritt (tommerritt) | 1151 comments Mod
September's pick will be The Demolished Man

It was the first Hugo award winner for best novel and this is the 60th anniversary of its winning (and the Hugos) which will be given out at LoneStarCon right at the beginning of September.

It is NOT available on audio sadly (yet) but there are many used new and ebook copies. Actually technically there would be infinite ebook copies potentially.


terpkristin | 4142 comments Wow. Never heard of this, I'm looking forward to giving it a go even though I'm much more of a sword. :)

By the way, when you say "yet" on the audio, is there word that it will be coming in the forseeable future?


message 3: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe Osborne | 94 comments Excellent. This was one of the first SF books I ever read back in high school, in the 70's. One of the reasons I got hooked on SF. I've long complained to Audible and others about the lack of a recorded audio book. I'm guessing there is a "rights management" issue because I think the pent up demand is there.


message 4: by Rob, Roberator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rob (robzak) | 6782 comments Mod
Thanks for letting us know. I have no idea what this one is either. Everyone of my GR friends that have read it have given it 5 stars though, so that's promising!


Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments All right! Three seashells! Awesome.

No, wait, that's something different.


message 6: by Ty (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ty Wilson (ShatterStar66) | 165 comments Take this job and shovel it!


Ouranosaurus | 3 comments Been a long time since I read this one. Does anyone know if the ebook editions do a good job of preserving the weird type formatting that Bester used to show telepathic conversations?


message 8: by Tamahome (last edited Aug 23, 2013 08:39AM) (new)

Tamahome | 6252 comments Sean wrote: "All right! Three seashells! Awesome.

No, wait, that's something different."


Three seashells from the Demolished Man movie illustrated. NSFW?

(view spoiler)


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Enjoy--I generally don't re-read but I'll follow the conversation.


message 10: by Paul (new) - rated it 2 stars

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Ok I've never read Bester before but planned on getting to it so I'm on board...Pretty short book it seems. Not a judgement just sayin'.

I got a copy somewhere...from a weekly trip to one of our used book/thrift store runs.


message 11: by Sean (new)

Sean Lockley | 1 comments Interesting. I thought The Stars my Destination was one of the most overhyped books I've ever read. Not sure I'm over my bitterness enough to tackle another Bester novel. The concept of Demolished Man is intriguing, though...


message 12: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Goodman (trgoodman) | 39 comments Sean wrote: "All right! Three seashells! Awesome.

No, wait, that's something different."


*laugh* He doesn't know how to use the seashells.
*ahem* I can see how that could be confusing.


message 13: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2693 comments Never heard of this book before but sounds interesting.


message 14: by Mpauli (new)

Mpauli Dara wrote: "Never heard of this book before but sounds interesting."

Yep, same here. I normally shy away from old classics, but I'll give it a try.


Hanna (oakfairy) | 14 comments Potentially infinite ebook copies notwithstanding, seems like there is no ebook purchase allowed from (at least) Sweden. Bah humbug.


message 16: by Dara (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2693 comments Mpauli wrote: "Dara wrote: "Never heard of this book before but sounds interesting."

Yep, same here. I normally shy away from old classics, but I'll give it a try."


Same for me. It's been too long since I actually read a S&L pick with the group...


message 17: by Sean (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sean O'Hara (seanohara) | 2365 comments I can't believe how many people have never heard of this. It was such a huge influence on Babylon 5 that they named the head of the Psy-Cops Bester.


message 18: by Tamahome (last edited Aug 23, 2013 10:57AM) (new)

Tamahome | 6252 comments Also "Fondly Fahrenheit" is a classic Bester short story about a murderous robot. It's been adapted to tv a long time ago.

I have a copy of his later novel Golem 100 somewhere. I hear it's not that good.

Also, Stars My Destination has been adapted for a BBC Radio drama, if you know where to look. I read the book in one sitting as a kid.


message 19: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments I'm with Sean in my bitterness about The Stars My Destination. I'll be sitting this one out.


message 20: by Serendi (new)

Serendi | 832 comments Bounced hard off of The Stars My Destination but I read shorter stuff of Bester's many years ago that I thought was hilarious (need to see if I can find it). Spider Robinson did a gonzo Callahan's short story that was a tribute to Bester (goes to bookcase...) "Have You Heard the One . . ?" in Time Travelers Strictly Cash. Have heard at least some people say they liked The Demolished Man who didn't like Stars. So, fingers crossed.


Jason Bergman (loonyboi) | 166 comments Great choice! Absolutely love this book.


Matthew (matthewdl) | 341 comments I'm so pumped for this! I've been meaning to get to The Demolished Man for a while as part of my goal to slowly make my way through all the Hugo winners.

New copies seem hard to come by. Guess I'll have to go wandering through some used book stores. Fantastic.


Andreas Matthew wrote: "New copies seem hard to come by. Guess I'll have to go wandering through some used book stores."
The SF Masterworks edition (ISBN 1857988221) should be available very easily!


Lit Bug | 287 comments Sheesh, I'm terrible new to SF and under-read - am going to enjoy reading in this group!


message 25: by MarkB (new)

MarkB (Mark-B) | 69 comments Good choice.

As I recall, Bester actually plays with text in rather interesting ways once or twice in the novel, which would be rather challenging to adapt to an audiobook medium.


message 26: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2479 comments I read The Stars My Destination back in 1989 when it had the title of Tiger, Tiger! Even back then I made a note calling it juvenile beach read. Not sure how this one will hold up.


Belle (grimmira) I've never heard of this one. I found a free copy online & downloaded it to my Nook last night. I'm looking forward to reading it.


message 28: by Will (new) - rated it 4 stars

Will (longklaw) | 261 comments I've never heard of this book or the author even though I'm a big B5 fan. Seems like a great choice!


Paul  Perry (pezski) | 490 comments Although I've been a sci-fi phile for 30 years, I only came to Bester fairly recently. This and and The Stars My Destination (or, to give it the author's preferred title, Tiger, Tiger) are quite stunningly good books, and I am looking forward to the re-read.


David(LA,CA) (davidscharf) | 327 comments Brandi wrote: "I've never heard of this one. I found a free copy online & downloaded it to my Nook last night. I'm looking forward to reading it."

Care to share with the rest of the class?


Belle (grimmira) David(LA,CA) wrote: "Brandi wrote: "I've never heard of this one. I found a free copy online & downloaded it to my Nook last night. I'm looking forward to reading it."

Care to share with the rest of the class?"


Sure. I found it (as well as some of his other works) at http://arthursbookshelf.com/sci-fi/be...


terpkristin | 4142 comments I also found it free online, google'd "demolished man ebook." I had to convert from ePub to Kindle using Calibre. The version I grabbed looks alright so far.


message 33: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2479 comments terpkristin wrote: "I also found it free online, google'd "demolished man ebook." I had to convert from ePub to Kindle using Calibre. The version I grabbed looks alright so far."

If found several references to free copies. Anybody know if this is out of copyright and hence legal?


Casey | 654 comments I've wanted to read this for a while. Started it yesterday and can't put it down. It's not exactly fast paced, but I think it's quite engaging.


message 35: by Alan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alan | 534 comments AndrewP wrote: "If found several references to free copies. Anybody know if this is out of copyright and hence legal? "

It's not in Gutenberg which is a good sign that it's still under copyright. I just checked the Amazon copy and there is a 1953 copyright notice on their edition.

I don't know what "Arthur's Bookshelf" is but I wouldn't be too sure that it's copyright compliant.


message 36: by Mike (new)

Mike I am always baffled when publishers have an ebook (specifically Kindle books) available in the US but not in Canada. Especially books that are this old. It's not even like they need to translate it.

I am even having trouble finding a paper copy, and my library doesn't have it. Boo for that.


message 37: by Will (new) - rated it 4 stars

Will (longklaw) | 261 comments After reading it for an hour, I'm hooked. Great choice


Belle (grimmira) Alan wrote: "AndrewP wrote: "If found several references to free copies. Anybody know if this is out of copyright and hence legal? "

It's not in Gutenberg which is a good sign that it's still under copyright. ..."


Hadn't actually thought to check copyright, thanks for pointing that out.


message 39: by Joe (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joe Osborne | 94 comments I remember reading a news story a few years ago that Alfred Bester gave away some control of his copyrights to his bartender to settle some debts before he died. I don't know what is really true but there sure seems to be some legal problems with republishing his works. There appears to be plenty of demand. Maybe someone knows why none of his classic works have gotten decent treatment I'm guessing the problem is legal.


Sean Lookielook Sandulak (seansandulak) | 431 comments There has been a rash of "free" book sites popping up in the last few years, from legitimate lending libraries to outright scammers. Copyright, especially in the US, is a hedge maze of bureaucracy, sometimes requiring notice and renewal depending on the date the work was first published. Thus some copyrights have lapsed, while others are simply being ripped off, and it can be hard to tell which is which. If there is no author, estate, or publishing house actively pursuing fraudulent copies, these sites usually go unchallenged. Add to this the still undecided status of electronic resales and sharing.

The best advice is to use these sites only as a last resort once you have exhausted all legitimate sources. This may just be my inner pirate talking, but if a rights holder can't make a work available through at least one of the many outlets available, then they would not have not have made a profit off of you in any case. In a world where you can buy books with a click of a mouse or even have them printed on demand, there is no excuse not to make your book easily available. While that may not be the best argument from a legal standpoint, it is just the reality of the world we live in.

That being said, this book is copyrighted (1953), and is available through Amazon (and presumably other sources) as a paperback for under US$6. Any free download of this title is probably unauthorized.


Lit Bug | 287 comments I'm reading it right now, and though it's moving too fast right now to be convincing, I find the premise exciting enough... Hope it is good - I gave up Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed in favor of this!


message 42: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2479 comments Surprisingly I could not find this in any second hand store:) The LA library system has two copies, one is checked out and the other is listed as 'under repair'?
Have one more place to check on the weekend, otherwise this will be a pass.


Casey | 654 comments This was a fun read. I didn't mean to finish it so quickly, but once I started I couldn't stop. It was like sliding down hill.


David Merrill | 38 comments Bester is one of my favorite authors. I think his books have mostly aged well. He tends to have pretty strong female characters, which is unusual for Science Fiction of this era. He was a major influence on Cyberpunk. I may join in on this one because it's been a long time since I re-read The Demolished Man.


message 45: by Otto (new)

Otto (andrewlinke) | 110 comments I read about half way through it last year.... might take this aas chance to re-read and finish...


Firstname Lastname | 488 comments Awww, tender Babylon5 moment, as Commander Chekhov from Star Trek plays the evil Bester.


message 47: by Rejo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rejo Reta (rejo_reta) | 19 comments I...I think I've read this. Maybe even still have it somewhere, but I'm dreading digging through all my paperbacks to confirm that.


Lit Bug | 287 comments David wrote: "Bester is one of my favorite authors. I think his books have mostly aged well. He tends to have pretty strong female characters, which is unusual for Science Fiction of this era. He was a major inf..."

I was just thinking it is a bit cyberpunk-ish, though not proper cyberpunk...


Andreas Wow! 50 messages and September hasn't even started yet!

25 years ago, I've read a couple of books from Bester and I have fond memories of those. Let's see if it stands the test of times :)


Lit Bug | 287 comments I just finished reading it, and was, well, sorely disappointed. The imagination was the best part - the execution was too flawed, plus some loopholes, some questions left unexplained, and way too many "convenient" falling together of pieces.

And heck, the stereotyped women!


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