The Demolished Man (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 8 Jul 1999
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Alfred Bester's early, pyrotechnic novels gave us two of SF's greatest antiheroes: Gully Foyle in The Stars My Destination (1956) and Ben Reich in The Demolished Man (1953)--which deservedly won the first-ever Hugo Award for Best Novel. Reich is an obsessed monster, haunted by nightmares of a Man With No Face, driven and compelled to murder a rival magnate in a future where crime can't be hidden from police telepaths. The penalty is Demolition: erasure of the criminal's mind. Armed with an ugly weapon holding very special ammo, an insane jingle to mask his thoughts, and the resources of his interplanetary business empire, Reich takes on the world--but, as hinted by clues in chapter 1, he still doesn't understand his own buried motives. It's an impossible problem for police chief Lincoln Powell, one of the hated mind-reading elite--who knows very well whodunnit but can't go to court on telepathic evidence alone. Bester's dazzling 24th century is full of brilliant and dotty conceits, most famously the woven typographic patterns of telepaths' group 'conversations'. A gripping, headlong storyline hurtles from Earth's decadent high society to its lowest dives, with an interlude of mayhem at the Spaceland asteroid resort. The final confrontations are apocalyptic and unforgettable, with major psychological shockers and a moving aftermath. A genuine SF classic. --David Langford
In the year 2301, guns are only museum pieces and benign telepaths sweep the minds of the populace to detect crimes before they happen. In 2301 murder is virtually impossible, but one man is about to change that...Ben Reich, a psychopathic business magnate, has devised the ultimate scheme to eliminate the competition and destroy the order of his society. The Demolished Man is a masterpiece of imaginative suspense, set in a superbly imagined world in which everything has changed except the ancient instinct for murder.See all Product description
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Written in the 50s I think and comes across as a little dated but nevertheless written around an interesting premise - how do you get away with murder when the police are telepathic?
Written in 1953 this is an astonishingly modern novel, it reads very quick and has some great ideas, only a few things link it to the 20th C, like using photographs and printed tape but other than that a great slice of sci-fi. My first from the Gollancz SF Masterworks imprint but not my last.