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Alfred Bester's picture

Alfred Bester

USA (1913 - 1987)

With two novels and a handful of short stories, most of them written in a short burst in the 1950s, Alfred Bester opened out the possibilities of the sf field both as vehicle for story-telling and as a way of looking darkly at the world and human psychology. The Demolished Man is a psychological thriller in which a tycoon decides to kill a rival and get away with it in an era in which telepathic cops catch every serious criminal; both in its sparkling portrayal of multi-person mind-to-mind dialogue, and in its narrative trickery, the story of Ben Reich and his nemesis Lincoln Powell is one of sf's most effective contributions to the noir thriller. The other is Tiger,Tiger (aka The Stars My Destination); if The Demolished Man is Crime and Punishment with telepaths, Tiger,Tiger is The Count of Monte Cristo with teleportation and interplanetary war. Left to die in a shattered spaceship, illiterate spacehand Gully Foyle swears vengeance and remakes himself as master criminal and dilettante socialite, and changes the worlds around him in the process. Tiger, Tiger is also an inventive working through of a conceit from bastardized Freudianism--Foyle is at one level a symbol for the unbridled id. Bester's later novels are considerably less important--with these two books, he helped shape both the New Wave and cyberpunk.
Non fiction
The Life and Death of A SatelliteExperiment Perilous: Three Essays on Science Fiction
Anthologies containing stories by Alfred Bester
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 4th SeriesBest SF 2A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume 2A Decade of Fantasy and Science Fiction
Spectrum 3The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 13th SeriesRobert Silverberg's Worlds of Wonder: Exploring the Craft of Science FictionAstounding
The Golden RoadThe Best Science Fiction of the Year 3Modern Science FictionThe Best Science Fiction Stories
100 Great Science Fiction Short Short StoriesThe Best of AnalogThe End of Summer: Science Fiction of the FiftiesScience Fiction of the Fifties
The Great SF Stories 3: 1941The Great SF Stories 4: 1942The Best Science Fiction of the Year 9Magic for Sale
Machines That KillGreat Science Fiction of the 20th CenturyThe Ascent of WonderThe SFWA Grand Masters, Volume 2
Short stories
The Die-Hard
The Four Hour Fugue
Hell Is Forever
Ms. Found In A Champagne Bottle
Oddie And Id
Out Of This World
The Roller Coaster
The Starcomber
Travel Diary
Adam and No Eve (1941)
The Push of a Finger (1942)
Of Time and Third Avenue (1951)
Hobson's Choice (1952)
Disappearing Act (1953)
Star Light, Star Bright [short story] (1953)
Time Is the Traitor (1953)
5,271,009 (1954)
Fondly Fahrenheit (1954)
The Stars My Destination (1956)
The Men Who Murdered Mohammed (1958)Hugo (nominee)
The Pi Man (1959)Hugo (nominee)
Will You Wait? (1959)
They Don't Make Life Like They Used To (1963)
The Flowered Thundermug [short story] (1964)
Something Up There Likes Me (1973)
The Four-Hour Fugue (1974)Hugo (nominee)
Galatea Galante (1979)
3 1/2 to Go (1997)
The Devil Without Glasses (1997)

Hugo Best Novel winner (1953) : The Demolished Man
Hugo Best Short story nominee (1959) : The Men Who Murdered Mohammed
Hugo Best Short story nominee (1960) : The Pi Man
Hugo Best Short story nominee (1975) : The Four-Hour Fugue
Hugo Best Novel nominee (1976) : The Computer Connection
Nebula Best Novel nominee (1976) : The Computer Connection

Alfred Bester recommends
A for Anything
A for Anything (1959)
Damon Knight
"A brilliant craftsman who can handle any story form with crisp finesse."

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