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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Demolished Man and The Stars, My Destination = Buy
It’s genuinely hard to believe that this book was written in 1951 because it reads like a cyberpunk novel written yesterday. It’s breathtakingly fast yet still manages to flesh out two of the most interesting characters in SF.
The Demolished Man builds a world of hugely powerful corporations and guilds where murder has been eliminated through the use of...
Published on 13 Jan 2006 by A. Morley

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Influential, But Flawed
Winner of the inaugural Hugo Award in 1953, this sci-fi/murder mystery is currently in development in Hollywood under the auspices of Australian director Andrew Dominik. A groundbreaking and hugely influential book in many ways, it's aged quite well, with only a few hints here and there showing its age. That said, the story's got enough flaws to make it disappointing to...
Published on 31 Aug 2004 by A. Ross

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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling, 12 May 2008
L. Dowling (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Demolished Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Okay, this was the first time I'd heard of the book or, indeed, the author and I read it along with three other "famous" sci-fi books that I had promised myself I should read. It was the most disappointing of all the books I read.

I have to say that this book was truly terrible. The plotlines were seriously flawed (telepaths are so "reliable" at reading people's minds that they are on the police force but humming a jingle in your head blocks them from being able to read anything from your mind - apparently nobody else had worked this out for all the years they worked there). The characters were unloveable and swayed between characteristics. The book was, in places, extremely difficult to read and follow, especially when the telepath's conversations continued in their heads with little or no indication of who was speaking or whether they were in fact speaking or communicating telepathically.

The technology predictions were, admittedly, surprisingly good given the time this book was written in but the social predictions were horribly, horribly wrong. In the timeline of the story nobody has heard of, seen, remembers, recognises or suspects the use of a gun in a murder case where there is a bullet hole. But the main character buys one in an average antique shop to commit a murder and this keeps the police force guessing for over half the book as to what the cause could be.

The characters over-used "futuristic" turns of phrase which sounded more like a childs "secret handshake". The judgement of all criminal cases is overseen by a computer which, although it is supposedly capable of interpreting and delivering legal judgement over (I assume) all cases in the world, it does not give its judgement clearly or any explanation thereof and leaves massive holes in its judgements which later are turned into plot elements.

I tired of the book by about the third chapter. I fought on until the very end out of sheer determination because it was supposed to be so fabulous and was sadly disappointed. I could not care for the characters, I could find no clever psychology to appreciate, I constantly fought to keep track of characters, locations, abilities and relationships and I found nothing within the book to stand out from an ill-thought-out sci-fi flick.

Although the reader is supposed to know exactly how a murder was committed and wait for the inevitably insightful policeman to get enough evidence to convict, they are more likely to wish the policeman was incarcerated for sheer ineptitude. By the end of the book, you really are wishing that everybody just cut the case from any further investigation and go back to their deliberately blinkered existence.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dated and overrated, 9 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Demolished Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This book is dated in terms of its vision of the future (which is quite quaint), its view of women (who are mostly sexually available, beautiful and subject to violence) and it's use of 50s pyschology. The book's core plot is dependent on the reader believing in crude Freudian motivations which did not convince me.
Add to this the fact the book has plot holes (who is held to justice for the second murder?), co-incidences and a dissapointing ending and you have a pretty second rate read. It annoyed me that I read this book to the end.
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5 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheap psychoanalysis and meaningless plot, 25 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Demolished Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This is my first serious dissapointment in the otherwise excelent SF Masterworks. Highly recomended as a 50's classic, The demolished Man is a uninteresting tale of mighty telepaths, huge card-feeded computers and ridiculous psychobabble. All this justification about the conflicts inside the poor Ben Reich's mind are only interesting to see how unscientific and dogmatic was the Freudian psycology of the age. The main characters are plain, particularly the untolerable Abraham Powell, which makes this one of the worst SF novels ever written. What about including some Robert Heinlein novels as a better example of SF in the 50's ?
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The Demolished Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Demolished Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Alfred Bester (Paperback - 8 July 1999)
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