Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2
Book reviews for "Bester,_Alfred" sorted by average review score:

Alfred Bester's the Stars My Destination. Vol 1: The Graphic Story Adaptation. Authorized Adaptation of Novel Orig Pub by Putnam/Berkley Books
Published in Hardcover by Baronet Pub Co (July, 1979)
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $15.95
Used price: $19.99
Average review score:

gully foyle
Iread the novel first and then the graphic novel, in the early 70's. The graphic novel was written and drawn by the Pitt brothers ( from Australia , I believe) . The Pitt brothers had a Russ Manning visual style. The story itself is timeless , Edmond Dantes in outer space. I don't understand why this graphic novel got out of print. copyright,ownership squabbles. The modern day equivalent of Gully Foyle is John Riddick, in the film Pitch Black.

Absolutely the best of Bester
I first found the graphic adaptation of Alfred Bester's "The Stars, My Destination" in the late seventies in a second-hand bookstore in Naples, Florida... I sat on the floor and read it from cover to cover, paid .50 for it and started my quest to find Vol 2... only to find it had never been printed... This was one of the first (maybe THE first) graphic novels, a cross between comic a book and a novel, with brightly colored panels but complex plot lines and dialog... and no one has come close to its achievement... Gully's single minded drive towards his fate, coupled with his total confusion about who and what he was, along with his complete ignorance of his potential inspired me to strive beyond my imagined limitations... I identified with his suprise at accomplishing acts others said were impossible... and his ability to immediately take advantage of these discoveries... his escape from the frypan to the fire... a hero for all time, Gully is "The Man"... when the movie is made, I will watch it with my son, as he is another Gully, and maybe he will find the same desire to reach beyond this to what is unimagined but more than possible... ps. I forgave my ex for cheating on me, for wrecking the cars, for getting rid of my dog, but she can burn in hell for tearing up the only copy of this book I have ever seen.

the stars my destination
To anyone who has ever read a truely fascinating work of fiction, and still can recall all the emotions which that novel stirred deep within their soul, thenthey are the lucky few who know how much I enjoyed this book. I could literally not put it down and I was completely enveloped in every aspect of the novel. It fascinated me how compelled Gully was to fulfill his destiny, no matter what the odds. I would reccomend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in science-fiction. For those of you who are not sci-fi fans, this book could change your mind in an instant. I can honestly say that this book is one of the best books I've ever read in all my life, and I am an avid reader. Believe me, if you read only one book ever again, make it this one. You will realize things about yourself that you never even considered, and also walk away being able to say that you read one of the greatest sci-fi books of all time.

Starlight: The Great Short Fiction of Alfred Bester
Published in Hardcover by Buccaneer Books (December, 1993)
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $13.27
List price: $18.95 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $2.00
Collectible price: $6.95
Average review score:

Bester's Best
Most of the short stories in thi s volume are also reprinted in "Virtual Unrealities" but, if you can find this volume, it is much better because of the introductions and essays that Bester wrote. They help to create the feeling that you actually know the man. The stories themselves are among ht ebest science fiction short stories that I have ever read.

An excellent collection of science fiction stories
I really can't believe there are no reviews for this book. I would have to say it is one of the best I've ever read. I really enjoyed Alfred Bestler's writing in this book, and found the stories highly entertaining. I highly suggest it (although this says it's out of print :).

Tender Loving Rage
Published in Hardcover by Tafford Pub (February, 1992)
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $19.95
Used price: $15.00
Collectible price: $19.06
Average review score:

Alfred Bester's Last Book!
Having just finished reading Alfred Bester's "Tender Loving Rage" I am left with a sense of "unfinished harmony," which seems a greater achievement, in retrospect, than a narrative whose form reaches some kind of completion.

Somehow, a book that manages to tie up its loose ends or come full circle seems contrived when compared to this book. I rather like the idea of a narrative whose body contains multiple episodes that sketch out the characters' realities, developing them with a keen sense of characterization, but whose "narrative bulk" may end up unresolved in some way or at least requires the reader to come to his/her own decision, rather like life. This is what makes Alfred Bester's "Tender Loving Rage" such a compelling read. There is nothing trite about it: it simply sets the scene between the sexes circa '50s New York, and lets the reader come to his or her own conclusions about the nature of Love.

Readers who are hoping for/expecting another of his famous pyroteknic science-fiction masterpieces may very well be disappointed; however, any reader open to a refreshing, incisive perspective on New York in the '50s will relish this novel, especially if they're not familiar with the author. I had to think about whether or not to give this book a '10' for a long time; perhaps I should have.

In any case, I give it an excellent rating, and am glad I aged it 5 years, for it went down like the finest wine.

(Alfred Bester is a writer I am going to miss for the rest of my life.)

~Shaun Lawton

The Computer Connection
Published in Digital by iBooks ()
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $9.99
Average review score:

Psychedelic Screwball Comedy
Though the always over-the-top Harlan Ellison does a fantastic job in the introduction of convincing you that this boook is the equal of Bester's greats, 'The Demolished Man' and 'The Stars My Destination', it isn't quite in that class.

Don't let that put you off, however. The Computer Connection packs in more wacky offbeat ideas in a single book than most writers have in a lifetime, and it is all done at a breakneck velocity fast enough to pass the likes of Michael Marshall Smith in the slow lane (and that's no insult to Smith).

The plot revolves around a small and select group of people made immortal through a particularly traumatic death - the narrator was roasted in a volcano, for example. The immortals take identities based on historical figures, which reflect their abilities and interests - there is a Christ, an Indian rajah and so on. Bester's depiction of immortals has only been bettered by Michael Moorcock in 'Dancers at the End of Time'. In seeking to expand their number, they accidently enable a powerful computer, Extro, to take over the candidate, the brilliant Cherokee physicist, Sequoya Guess. Extro then proceeds to use Guess to carry out its plans to rid the world of humans. Not only that, but there appear to be a traitor amongst the immortals themselves.

This review can hardly do any sort of justice to the utterly bizarre world that Bester has created, a world where giant pogo-sticks appear to be a major form of transport. As Ellison says, it's like a classic Hollywood screwball commedy (only forced through a giant psychedelic sieve). The only problem with this kind of commedy is that it is difficult to sustain over novel length, and Bester doesn't quite manage it; the book runs out of steam some time before the end. Still a must-read for any fan of New Wave (or any other) SF.

Pure SF, Pure Action, Pure Fun!
It's a wonder nobody ever thought of filming Bester's books, for they have an effect much similar to that of a good movie - they rock you in your chair. Decades before anyone thought of the term "Cyberpunk", Bester already had his own view of the future, which happens to be very similar to the present - our present, the future present, even Bester's present. That is, of course, no accident, for Bester never forgets he's dealing with people, not machines - a fact which doesn't prevent the book from being filled with action, fun, (weird) technology, immortal people (among them an original neanderthal), an eccentric alien, and even some more conventional SF elements, such as The Mad Professor and a Time Machine.
Brilliant dialogues, thrilling action, unforgettable characters... In short - don't forget to get your hands on that one as soon as possible. I'm sure you won't forget to thank me for that advice...

Fun, Fast and Far Ahead of Its Time
This is a great piece of SF adventure. It presages cyberpunk and does a better job of creating an underground society of eccentric immortals that The Highlander ever hoped to.

The novel is fast-paced, full of satirical gems, and funny as all get-out. But at the same time, it manages to support themes about technology, human evolution, and love and loyalty that are handled with as much thought and heft as any "serious" work.

The only gripe I've ever had with this book is that it ends way too soon, and in fact is screaming out for sequels that have never come. Not that the plot isn't fully wrapped up-- it's just that you hate to leave the company of these people who are so funny, profound, and warmly human.

This is a must-have book for any SF reader.

The Star's My Destination
Published in School & Library Binding by Franklin Watts, Incorporated (April, 1987)
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $15.95
Used price: $9.90
Collectible price: $26.47
Average review score:

Start here.
When I (a not-too-informed-SF-reader) said I wanted to read a good science-fiction novel that does not require being familiar with dozens of other SF-works for reference, a friend of mine recommended "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester and he was right. I have read a number of SF-novels since, and now I can see how basic and important this one is. Here is why.

With very imaginative descriptions of possible future technology, Alfred Bester has set standards for some later developments in cyber-punk and likes. Some of the most fascinating among these are drugs that he describes and that put humans into state of very primitive animals (python, for example), and, of course, jaunting technique and PyrE, the omnidestructive matter.

In these two futuristic concepts lies the real greatness of Bester's idea while writing this book. Although heavily supplied with all sorts of "advanced technologies", he makes a point of making them essentially connected with humans and power of their mind (jaunting being possible only with the power of thinking; PyrE activated only by the wish). With these ideas, Bester is trying to tell us that there is no force bigger than human mind, instinct and emotion.

The idea is personified in Gulliver Foyle, madly driven character who has been left in destroyed spaceship in outer space, to float for years before he was spotted by another vessel, and even then not rescued from his "floating coffin". Managing to find his rescue on a nearby planet (society of which has left an unerasable mark on his face, brought out every time he loses his balance), he finds his way back to Terra (Earth) and pledges revenge on "Vorga", the spaceship that failed to rescue him. Foyle is unstoppable, and he does not choose the means to his end. Eventually, that brings him to be the person upon whom the future of the all humanity lies.

Foyle's character is very well described, in depth and range equally. He is violent, immoral and uncontrollable, like everyone's unconsciousness. However, his unrelentlessness proves to be the driving force of the plot, and a convincing one too.

One star less goes to the superficial treatment of some other, possibly interesting characters (Dagenham, Olivia Presteign), and a bit rushed ending.

Still, it is one of the best SF novels I have ever read, and one of the better novels in general. If you are looking for a start in reading science-fiction, start here.

a great novel with many twists and satires on society
I just finished this book today. I feel it is one of the greatest books I've ever read. It has everything: intense plotting with many twists, a hero who is really more of an anti-hero in that he is willing to sacrifice anything--or anyone--in his mad quest for vengeance, a love story that avoids cliche, high adventure, shifting capacity of several central characters, and a host of villains who are only slightly less monstrous than the hero. Although this book didn't win any awards, it should have, given that Bester incorporates a good deal of realistic plotting into a story that most definitely goes against many of the conventions of modern-day writing. If Hollywood wouldn't be inclined to murder Bester's dystopian (or for sci-fi more or less utopian) view of the 25th century, I'd say it should be optioned for a movie. Rather, I think it should remain as it is: a scathing remark on society told in possibly the seminal sf book in the world.

Bester's Best
The prologue of this book paints a whole world and time, into which is placed a truly unlikely, but unforgettable, main character, Gully Foyle. Who is introduced with: "He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead." Possibly the best opening line in all of SF. I still remember it 10 years after my last reading. Only the opening line in "Ringworld" comes close. Literally the textbook example of the "narrative hook."

The story, as such, is "The Count of Monte Cristo in the 25th Century" -- and Bester never claimed otherwise. But it's the fabric of the world he creates to set it in, the sheer mastery of prose, and audacity of his ambition, that sets this book apart from most. It's such a grand ride, like a roller coaster that keeps on going every time you thought there wasn't any more it could do.

A grand display of a first-rate writer at the peak of his form.

Is Demolished Man a better book? I don't think so, but, heck, read them both and decide for yourself.

The Demolished Man
Published in Hardcover by Lightyear Pr (June, 1993)
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $13.27
List price: $18.95 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $1.95
Collectible price: $2.00
Average review score:

A true sci-fi classic!
Bester's "The Demolished Man" is a true classic of the sci-fi genre, and perhaps the first cyberpunk novel. Though it does appear dated at times, Bester's work remains as fun and powerful as when it was written fifty years ago. Threads of Bester's comic book roots can be seen woven throughout the story, which moves along at a brisk, almost frantic, pace.

A near future world where a small minority has developed their latent ESP, Bester's world is a compelling mix of utopia and dystopia. The mind police have virtually eliminated crime, either by rooting it out beforehand, or by always catching their man after-the-fact. But this safety comes at a dear price, where the unenforcable promise of the ESPers is only guarantee of privacy that most have.

However, Ben Reich, as head of a major corporate powerhouse, feels that he can outsmart the ESPers. Haunted in his dreams by a mysterious man, and driven by uncontrolled passions, Reich decides to eliminate his chief rival, D'Courtney. The murder sets off a brilliant battle of wits between Reich and the head investigator, Powell, which can only end in the "demolition" of Reich, or the total embarrassment of Powell.

Who gets demolished? What IS "demolition"? Why would Reich risk so much to kill D'Courtney? With so many pressing questions, it was amazing to see Bester wrap this book up in such a fulfilling way. A great mystery with a clever ending, set in a compelling near future world - despite its age, "The Demolished Man" remains a standard-bearer of its field.

Before Cyberpunk came The Demolished Man
I could not understand why _The Demolished Man_, a classic in the science fiction field, has been out of print for so long. So when Vintage Books finally reissued it in July of this year, it signalled the end of a ten year search for a copy of the book, and it did not disappoint. The concept is intriguing. Ben Reich is the head of one of the largest corporations in the future, but one man, his rival D'Courtney, stands in his way, and so he must die. The catch: society is policed by Espers, people with telepathic powers, who make it virtually impossible for anyone to successfully commit murder and get away with it. Can Reich get away with murder? How he does it and how he tries to get away with it are just some of the questions that will be answered when you pick up the book. But be prepared. Fasten your seatbelts. The action is so fast paced that transitions virtually disappear. In a style that foreshadows William Gibson and the cyberpunks, Bester masterfully creates a decaying world whose ultimate survival depends on the capture of Ben Reich. And he keeps us guessing until the very end

Hugo series start with a bang
The Demolished Man was the first novel to win the Hugo award. The book has everything: plot, strong characters. In the future, to committ a crime is an impossible task, due to all those telepaths running around. In case somebody do committ a crime, there is no prison ,what they do is just swipe your mind clean. However, Ben Reich decided that he will committ a crime anyway, He is even hired a telepath to help him to block his thougths. This is actually more the detective novel developing in Futuristic scenario. The Demolished Man is a novel of the future, where along with all new ways of life and powerful technology, only one thing remains unsolved: the mystery of human soul.

P.S. Also if you like this novel read The Stars, My Destination. I think, this is the best novel Alfred Bester written.

Virtual Unrealities: The Short Fiction of Alfred Bester
Published in Paperback by Vintage Books (November, 1997)
Authors: Alfred Bester, Robert Silverberg, Byron Preiss, and Keith R. A. Decandido
Amazon base price: $11.20
List price: $14.00 (that's 20% off!)
Used price: $3.50
Collectible price: $5.29
Buy one from zShops for: $8.00
Average review score:

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 & 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.

40 years of good science fiction from an originator
Alfred Bester's science fiction spans 40 years, and is always a treat. In this collection, we are treated to some of his early work "Adam and No Eve" (1941), to some of his last "Galatea Galante" (1979), as well as a previously unpublished complete story and an incomplete fragment (with the note :Its much easier to begin a thing than to finish it) found in his papers after his death.

The common thread in these stories is Bester's flabbergasting imagination. His stories are often ironic, taking a wry observation about current society, and projecting it to its logical conclusion into an absurd future, from the quest for poets in an efficient future of "Disappearing act", to the drop of acid that makes a test tube woman intriguing in "Galatea Galante".

As one of the inventors of science fiction, Bester not only lays the ground work for the popular themes of science fiction such as the last couple on earth, time travel, androids and their programming, but adds his own twists: a man needing an agent to sell his soul to the Devil (of the company Beelzebub, Belial, Devil, and Orgy), collectors in the future recreating a 1950's style room, and a chaos compensator.

This will blow you away, and your preconceptions as well.
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.

Published in Paperback by Vintage Books (July, 1998)
Authors: Alfred Bester and Roger Zelazny
Amazon base price: $9.60
List price: $12.00 (that's 20% off!)
Used price: $3.83
Buy one from zShops for: $5.50
Average review score:

Pure insanity, but would have been better if finished by A.B
This book is like almost any work of Phillip K. Dick...incredibly insane, but as hard to stop reading as it is to stop smoking... The problem is that I just keep getting this nagging feeling that the book would have been better if Alfred's insanity would've finished it...instead, you can clearly tell Zelazny's parts because they're just too sane--I'd have liked for Alfred's insanity to culminate in the incredible ending that it already has.

There's an explenation...
The book deserves ofcourse 5 stars ,but since each of the giants wrote better on his own - let there be four.

It's almost blesphemy ,but I think the book would have come out better if Bester would be alive to finish it on his own. Not that the late Zelazny ruined it or something ,it's just that opposite to a few other reviewers ,I could tell when Bester stops and Zelazny takes over. It's not a bad change ,bad there's a change. of pace .of style. of plot direction.

As it came out at last ,it's a wonderfully written ,humoristic (not really FUNNY but light-hearted) ,with that Bester quality of PKD chaos ,but not as gloomy ,and zelazny's action ,and a number of sub-plots converging at the last possible point. Overall one of the best half-light reads i've had.(half-light 'cause Bester's style is more heavy ,but not domminant).

Very recommended.

A very nice blend
This book blended the two author's styles nicely. It was a lot of fun on the second read, trying to pick which part was written by whom. The fight scenes were pure Zelazny. Wonderfully crafted by a skilled fencer & Aikidoist.

Golem One Hundred
Published in Paperback by Pocket Books (March, 1981)
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $2.95
Used price: $0.29
Collectible price: $0.50
Average review score:

Dark, twisted foray into the world of the subconcious
This book represents all of Bester's trademarks - psychology. twisted humor, fast action, eccentric characters - taken to the extreme. The book is about a group of bored rich houswifes who dabble in magic to avert tedium and manage, without their knowing, to actually summon a demon. A small group of misfits - BLaise Shima, a scent expert, Gretchen Nunn, a detective, and Inspector Ind'dni, hunt for the source of the Demon who terrorizes the city.
The Science in this science fiction book is psychology, mainly Jungian psychoanalysis. In this book the world of the collective subconcious comes to life.
The world in Golem^100 is the sort of demented corporate-run future described in Bester's earlier work, The Computer Connection. Here it's described in even darker tones.
There's a lot of dark humor in Golem^100, and some of it may not be to everyone's liking - if you're offended by necrophilia jokes don't read this book. If you can stomach some VERY graphic violence (with innards all over the place), twisted humor and a plot that involves mutants, demons and radioactive drugs, read this book. While not a masterwork, it's a very original, inventive, thrilling read.

The Deceivers
Published in Paperback by Pocket Books (October, 1999)
Author: Alfred Bester
Amazon base price: $11.20
List price: $14.00 (that's 20% off!)
Used price: $0.98
Collectible price: $4.89
Buy one from zShops for: $5.98
Average review score:

Over-written and self-indulgent
I've previously read a few of Bester's stories. THE STARS MY DESTINATION, THE DEMOLISHED MAN, and some of the shorter pieces...I thoroughly enjoyed them all, with STARS probably being my overall favorite.

THE DECEIVERS was written later in his career, and it's my belief that THE DECEIVERS is one long in-joke, filled with cryptic goodies and extremes which probably only Bester and his closest supporters took any real enjoyment in. My feeling is THE DECEIVERS was much less written for the audience at large, and much more written for an aged author who was trying to keep himself entertained.

On one level, the text seems to be written with great ease and intricacy, but at what expense? It's a campy, oblique love story set in an elaborately expanded solar system, with tricky gibberish and painful future slang tossed in. I feel like Bester must've had an absolute blast writing this book. And in the process, I think he alienated the more casual reader.

I read it. I finished it. I can't say that I enjoyed it. In fact, there were a few moments where I asked myself, "Why am I reading this?" Libraries were invented for books like this one.

THE DECEIVERS is a very deliberate work of fiction, but more valuable as a performed effort of an accomplished afficianado than as accessible entertainment for the masses.

Nothing new, but the old is damn good
I don't have too much to say about this book, except that it is deffinately worth reading. I've seen most of the concepts preseted in this book (chemically altered super genius, shapeshifting aliens, human/alien marriages, etc.) but everything a new twist, a special touch that makes this a fun and interesting read. It only took me a day to read, so one doesn't have to commit much time or effort to this book. For that reason, I'd recommend this book to anyone, not just fans of Bester or sci-fi in general.

beautifully designed reissue of a good Bester novel
although not bester's best work, this novel of adventure and intrigue does justice to the author's memory--and features a lovely tribute to Bester from his long-time agent. To my mind, a better book that was originally credited when it first appeared.

Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2

Reviews are from readers at To add a review, follow the Amazon buy link above.