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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive collection of Alfred Bester's short fiction
This book includes pretty much all of Bester's great works, plus a few lesser ones. Bester had a career of two halves. There was the pre-sixties era in which he produced the definitive version of many sub-categories of the genre, despite writing only a dozen or so short stories and two masterpiece novels.

Then there was the second era, in which he published...
Published on 20 July 2009 by Blackhorse47

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Much of his short fiction is disappointingly pedestrian.
There are some gems here, notably "Fondly Farenheit" and the previously unpublished "The Devil Without Glasses", but most of the short stories are decidedly second-rate. "Galatea Galante" is a clumsy Heinlein pastiche. "They Don't Make Life Like They Used To" is the sort of leaden "whimsy" which has plagued Fantasy...
Published on 8 Nov. 1998


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive collection of Alfred Bester's short fiction, 20 July 2009
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
This book includes pretty much all of Bester's great works, plus a few lesser ones. Bester had a career of two halves. There was the pre-sixties era in which he produced the definitive version of many sub-categories of the genre, despite writing only a dozen or so short stories and two masterpiece novels.

Then there was the second era, in which he published another dozen or so short tales and more novels, all of which were dim reflections of his previous high points. This collection contains many shorter works from both of these periods and so they are uneven. Despite, or perhaps because, of this unevenness the tales are riveting. Second-rate Bester is better than anything most current sf authors are able to produce in the short form.

There is a sort of knowing naivety about his work. Some of the tales are corny, but all are done with panache. Bester can set up situations and explain his characters' motivations in a few high energy sentences. The result is that you are always carried along in an efficient and entertaining manner.

I think the reason modern sf short stories tend to be so dull is that authors have this need to say something profound about the human condition. This gets in the way of just telling a story. There's nothing profound here, nothing that you haven't come across hundreds of times elsewhere, but they are told well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This will blow you away, and your preconceptions as well., 25 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
This is a collection of some of the most unorthodox short stories even by the standards of science fiction. One can never tell where these will take us, and even then we are surprised at the results. Reading this will change everything, because afterwards very few things will seem weird. Many of these are tour de force of writting to show of the fact that the author could get away with something, that would be considered bad in writting of lesser carliber, but Bester's power-writting simply cuts through the rules, and gives us some truly out-of-this-world stories, which overpower the reader. In some it is the idea that is the main thing, and elsewhere it is the presentation, which is allpowerful, but each and every time we are left surprised, amazed by the end result. Some of these could be called parodies of classical sciece fiction cliches. (Besides Bester invented some things, that has become cliches since, and yet in his prose they are still powerful, and not cliched at all.) Some are funny, and some are sad, and most are weird, but they are all memorable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars As Good Today As They Were Tomorrow, 13 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
Alfred Bester's work is truly timeless. If not for some of the references to atomic power and space travel the reader would never know that these stories were written more than 30 years ago. Of course everyone will compare this to his masterpieces, The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man, and it will fall short. But on its own this is a very good short story collection. Today's Science Fiction writers could learn a lot from Alfred Bester, a true classic science fiction author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Almost everything by Bester is worth reading, 8 Jan. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
This is good stuff, I'm glad I read it. It is perhaps a misfortune that I started out with Bester by reading The Stars My Destination, which remains one of the all time great things I have ever read -- nothing else is ever quite as good.
Nonetheless, I much enjoyed this collection, and the stories have the unmistakeable Bester touch. Definitely recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bester Bester Bester, 2 Dec. 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
Basically, this is what one needs to know: Damn good stories. Bester has this... knack. There is no bull in these stories. It's emotion and a sense of urgency all around. You can *feel* the heat of the furnaces. You can *see* the ashen beaches. This collection needs no serious review. It's simply good. The end. Find it and read it for yourself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and delightfully written, 2 Nov. 2001
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
This was the first book by Alfred Bester that I have read, based upon this it will not be the last. The style of writting is delightful in itself thre themes explored left with me thinking on them for long after I had finished this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy Salad, 26 Aug. 2010
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Mr. Benjamin J. Whittingham "pablo-d-s" (one nation under a bun) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
Some of the most amazing short fiction i have ever read. Such ground breaking science fiction that in my opinion has yet to be matched. On par with (if not better than) Philip K Dick. A must read for YOU
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT!, 17 Mar. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
This is one of very few books i can ead again and again, and every time is like the first time. Absolutely stunning! Just buy it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Much of his short fiction is disappointingly pedestrian., 8 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
There are some gems here, notably "Fondly Farenheit" and the previously unpublished "The Devil Without Glasses", but most of the short stories are decidedly second-rate. "Galatea Galante" is a clumsy Heinlein pastiche. "They Don't Make Life Like They Used To" is the sort of leaden "whimsy" which has plagued Fantasy & Science Fiction for the last half century. And several of the stories from the early 50's are thinly veiled diatribes against the paucity of original thought in "classic" science fiction. (Bester makes the wholly convincing argument that most of genre is little more than adolescent power fantasies, but fails to provide stories that provide a meaningful counterpoint.)
Stick to the novels - THE STARS MY DESTINATION and THE DEMOLISHED MAN, Bester's best work.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best but better than other's best., 23 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction (Paperback)
I am currently finishing up Virtual Unrealities and this is the first time I've read Bester's work. I am astonished about his current readability, it's like it was written tomorrow. His preoccupation with nuclear holocaust aside, the works are fresh, not to politically correct so as to be consciously annoying. I love short fiction but sadly most of the new stuff out there leaves me bored, disappointed or I just don't finish it. Honestly NOT his best but still way ahead of a lot of other people out there. SF readers forget that there is a strong heritage for this genre.It's a shame it's goes to waste. Like an author? Find out who influenced them and you will be in for a treat. That's how I found out about Bester, through J Micahel Strazynski (sp?)honoring him on B5 with a character name. I'm eternally glad he did. Maybe in 30-50 years someone will refer to the current author your reading like that and they will be enlightened.
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Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction
Virtual Unrealities: Short Fiction by Alfred Bester (Paperback - 1 Mar. 1998)
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