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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(3 star). See all 62 reviews
on September 3, 2002
Written fifty years ago, Bester's story gives us another tactic for polishing man's morality-human Espers or peepers who can read the minds of would be liars, cheats and murderers. However there is always a method for circumventing the truth. In this case it was the constant recitation of a musical jingle (a similar device was used in Helperin's TRUTH MACHINE). The peepers are presented as the keepers or priests of man's morality in spite of fact that several of them broke their vows in search of money or power. It is strongly suggested that in the evolution of man, development of esp powers will become essential for peace.
Although there were satellite villages, space travel, high tech weaponry and artificial intelligence framing the story, I kept realizing that I was only reading a psychological, murder mystery. The futuristic setting wasn't really essential. The title may easily have been THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE, the murderer's recurring dream and hallucination. The ending flows into the realm of Freudian theory and repressed guilt. The title, THE DEMOLISHED MAN, refers to a total reprogramming of a man's brain, whereby criminal traits can be erased as the subject receives a second chance at life. The most I can muster is three stars.
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on August 20, 2000
I am not surprised to find many readers grant 5 stars to this book, because this book really gets some interesting ideas even it is written many years ago. However, I think the main background of this book is pretty native or superficial. This book described a future society where many people with certain super ability can make that society nearly perfect. I surely suspect that point. There is no technique can be used only for good or for bad. There is no reason to believe that bad guys like Church and Tate are so rare among the group of Esper. Also, the world is tender to balance. Whenever there is something new, should have something against it. Like new locks will inspire thieves to invent new break in techniques. The research of blocking peeping should be a very important topic if in a world with so many peepers. Therefore, the plan of Reich looks too simple and unbelievable.
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on August 20, 2000
I am not surprised to find many readers grant 5 stars to this book, because this book really gets some interesting ideas even it is written many years ago. However, I think the main background of this book is pretty native or superficial. This book described a future society where many people with certain super ability can make that society nearly perfect. I surely suspect that point. There is no technique can be used only for good or for bad. There is no reason to believe that bad guys like Church and Tate are so rare among the group of Esper. Also, the world is tender to balance. Whenever there is something new, should have something against it. Like new locks will inspire thieves to invent new break in techniques. The research of blocking peeping should be a very important topic if in a world with so many peepers. Therefore, the plan of Reich looks too simple and unbelievable.
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on December 26, 2001
Not Bester's Best. Written in 1951, The Demolished Man is actually a murder, suspense novel set in the distant future. The fairly weak plot has the main character, (an industrialist) murder his corporate opponent, even though no one has gotten away with a murder in 70 years. The reason is simple, the police prefect and a small but important segment of the population have ESP. The police prefect "cheats" and reads our killer's mind, thus confirming he is guilty, but then must spend 75% of the story coming up with non-ESP proof, because apparently ESP is not admissible in court. Anyway, the whole story was rather preposterous with a number of flaws. I daresay Demolished would not even still be in print if not for Bester's other work The Stars My Destination which is nearly perfect.
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on July 27, 1998
After reading Bester's other book (The Starts My Destination) I quickly snatched this one up, only to be disappointed. The shift in focus that occurs about one-third of the way through the book was not smooth, and there was way too much Fruedian psychobabble in the book, Granted, this book was written during the time when that was chic, but it really doesn't carry over well at all to our time. The ending started to pick up the book a bit, but then the last chapter, like so many others, was quite disappointing.
Read it if you are in the mood for a mediorce classic, but if you are trying to catch up on the true classics, skip it.
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on February 2, 2004
Well, to start a review of a first Hugo winner, one would need to compose ones mind, to agree with himslef what he has to say to other readers...I did that, and I still do not have a clue whaat to say to you. If you watched Minority Report you know the general outline of a world...It is the world where any crime is not possible, becouse one can not hide his raw instincts in a world of telepath... But Ben Reich did that, he murdered, with passion, in with that act he started his fight with society...Of course, one can not succesfully fight society which is the moral note of every anti-utopian book...
This is not the story of the world, world is presented in scratches, in the bits of information that we need to now to build a case for our character, this is the story about the desperate act in a world where desperate acts are not permitted...
where does, if it does, it fail? Plotline, development, dialogues are something that you will find in every pulp novel out there, book is interesting and you will not be able to stop reading it, but one can see too much influence of the SF writting stile of '50s...
Average book that you should read to build your common knowledge (or culture, as some would call it)...
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