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on 31 December 2003
I enjoyed this one. It has a cracking pace to it, it reads more like pulp fiction than a serious novel. Not that that is a bad thing, it makes the book highly enjoyable. The hero has to be one of the most memorable in SF, with tons of ideas, most of which have been ripped off by other authors / films. It also reminds me of Hammet's Sam Spade novels (detective stuff from the '50's). How? Well it's the pace and the style it is written in. The nature of the hero is more of an anti-hero as well.
One of the most influential SF books I have read.
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on 8 November 2001
This novel is about a man who obliterates the boundaries of what most of us perceive as the limits of human potential. It is shocking, chilling,touching and ultimately.. awe-inspiring.
Bester is a genius.. he will take you on a journey through the mindgalaxies of your imagination and leave you speechless. This novel has the best ending of any ( SF, crime, thriller, mystery) novel I have ever read.
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on 27 September 2015
Best SF story ever IMO.
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on 13 March 2001
I read this wonderfully shambling, rabelaisian joy of a book as a ten year old nearly forty years ago, exactly one year after I'd read the "Demolished Man." This work spread a movie-like panorama before my eyes as I read it then and I still think of it in those terms (now I can see Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and Lynn Whitefield as director, and the latter two in you know which roles). I've had occasion to experience more than my share of fine and classic SF novels during SF's "golden age", but I'd have to say that when one focuses on the era, only Bernard Wolfe's "Limbo" and, perhaps, Edgar Pangborn's "Davey" come close to the pure, energetic elan that Bester has wrought here.
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on 28 August 2012
I read this book on the recommendation of reviews I had read online and for once they did not lie. What a fantastic novel this is and to think it was written in the 1950's is amazing. It is still relevant and does not suffer from age like most science fiction novels. It has a fast pace story which flows beautifully and a morality that is very poignant still today. The characters are believable and well thought out from the cool lady thief to the spoiled rich mans daughter. Do yourself a favour and buy this book you wont regret it.
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on 19 March 2001
The word 'classic' is bandied around all too frequently these days, but this novel - along with Haldeman's 'The Forever War', Matheson's 'I Am Legend' and Dick's 'Do Androids...' - is one of the jewels in the crown of the SF Masterworks series. While anti-hero Gully Foyle's epic journey into light will stay with you long after the final page, disciples of Gibson, Neil Stephenson and, notably, 'The Matrix' (hello 'bullet time') could certainly do worse than acquaint themselves with Bester's searing proto-cyberpunk vision.
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on 1 June 2009
Simply one of the most imaginative, timeless and addictive sci-fi reads ever. There is nothing that places this book as having been written in 1956, it is almost flawlessly timeless and still an exciting and thought provoking book 50+ years on. It is the only book i've ever read that i'm actually jealous of the author for having written it: i wished i'd had the imagination and ability to put this to paper.
Truly great read, in my opinion.
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on 9 October 1999
An amoral Forrest Gump (Gully Foyle) is ignited into an space-operatic spree of violent revenge that leads to his rude self-awakening and that of of a vividly-described future society.
This 50's sci-fi masterpiece could have been written yesterday or tomorrow. It contains dozens of witty and a few profound sci-fi ideas that I had mistakenly attributed to more recent novels. Exciting and superb.
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on 2 September 2011
Great science fiction can still be relevant and revealing even when the 'future' has passed us by. I won't add much to the reviews out there besides my support for those who urge you to read it, and the thought that this book becomes almost prescient when you replace the fantastic central premise with the mechanism by which you are researching the book right now--the internet. Blew my mind.
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VINE VOICEon 24 July 2010
This novel has a heck of a reputation, and arrives with quotes from various sci-fi authors on the back saying how brilliant it is, so it is hard to read it without high expectations. Expectations that, for me, it doesn't quite live up to.

It is a remarkable book, particularly considering it was written in the 50s, and Gully Foyle the central protagonist is a memorable, brutal yet sympathetic anti-hero.
The book cracks along at a great pace, a bit like an action movie script. Though with sections of exposition between the big set pieces. But it's all just a little to fantastical, and Gullys ability to escape from pretty much every threat starts to wear after a while. Also while the core characters are intriguing the world in which the live is bare sketched in.

But having set that is is a very good and memorable read, well worth it place on the list of great sc-fi novels. But for me nor quite as great as the plaudits suggest.
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