Posted in Book Reviews

Lazy Saturday Review: The Demolished Man

lazy saturday review

From Lipsyy : I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

the-demolished-man
Title: The Demolished Man
Author: Alfred Bester
Publisher: Millenium SF Masterworks
First date of publication: March 1953
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought by myself
Number of pages: 250
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In a world in which the police have telepathic powers, how do you get away with murder?

Ben Reichs heads a huge 24th century business empire, spanning the solar system. He is also an obsessed, driven man determined to murder a rival.
To avoid capture, in a society where murderers can be detected even before they commit their crime, is the greatest challenge of his life.

the-review

How do you review a science fiction book? Even if I am used to reading great material over at scifiandscary.com, I feel a little nervous about sharing my thoughts on a story belonging to a genre I cannot fathom the frontiers of. I wish I could go on and on about this book because after all, I am giving it 4 stars, but you’ll have to make do with a lazy review and give the story a try!

The Demolished Man walked over my ideas of what I was expecting and what I would find in this kind of books. Please, don’t judge this story by its cover, I know it is ugly, I am still wondering what went through the publishing company’s mind to pick something so … wrong, cliché and purely awful. Go over and beyond and prepare for a gripping ride.

Ben Reichs is at the head of a gigantic empire somewhere in the 24th century. Yep, 24th. We’ll all be dead by them and I think I don’t really mind. You see, the idea of people entering my brain and thoughts through telepathic powers is not very appealing. I like my conversations with myself to stay private, thank you. The good thing behind this is that it’s almost impossible to commit a crime because ethers are trained to scan you and detect any form of crime.

Not so long ago I would have called this nonsense and thrown the book away. Those ideas would have been enough to give me a headache. But I was held captive in this century, unable to take my eyes off the pages, holding my breath and biting my nails. 

It was anger for the relentless force of evolution that insisted on endowing man with increased powers without removing the vestigial vices that prevented him from using them.

The first reason was the writing style. Clear, unobtrusive, straight to the point. The author makes the 24th and its individuals so familiar faster than the TARDIS translates alien languages, yet you’ll feel like a foreigner, staring at everything and wondering how the hell this world functions. The perfect balance to keep you interested without losing you along the way.

You’ll find all regular sci-fi elements including space travel as easy as if you were popping to Walmart for some milk. But I did not care. I actually enjoyed the world building, everything that was new to me was an experience to learn from. Where do authors get those ideas? Well; most aren’t new but to make them work and be realistic to a down-to-Earth lady like me takes a massive amount of work and talent. There were enough elements to keep me curious but I was never overwhelmed by too much information.

Now off to the grandkids of our grandkids of… You get the gist: the 24th century people. Some you wouldn’t want to meet, others you’d enjoy the company. But no matter what date it is, a man is a man and what drives him doesn’t change throughout time and space.

Ben Reichs is a scary and tortured man. It was pure delight to watch him fight his demons and carry on his plans. I cannot pinpoint what drew me to him and I cannot even say I like him, but he is a fascinating character.

The plot itself could have been set in our century. A man wants something. A man plans to murder someone. Things are in the way. But instead of the focus merely being on the crime itself, what makes The Demolished Man a real treat is that we get the before, the after, and the consequences, all served with a superb and cunning writing and a frightening look at human beings.

“It’s lucky for the world I’m willing to stop at one murder. Together we could rape the universe.”

We get to see a man’s tailspin into hell through his own actions, under the threat of The Demolition. It never gets boring, it never gets dull, it keeps on delivering. I thought several times that there could not be any new twists coming, any interesting stuff around the corner, but I was wrong. The Demolished Man is a story that keeps its promises until the very end.

I’d recommend it to anyone as long as you’re ready for a nice take on human behavior presented with a spark of sci-fi.

31 thoughts on “Lazy Saturday Review: The Demolished Man

  1. I haven’t read this, or any Alfred Bester, but I have his The Stars My Destination on my Classics Club list. So I’m glad you were impressed by this one. I love classic sci-fi much more than the modern stuff in general. They concentrate less on explaining the technology and science, and more on using the different worlds and times as a different way to explore humanity – much more fun! Great review! 🙂

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    1. Thank you 😀 I was so nervous about this review, haha! I feel out of my comfort zone!! But this book was really cool and had me so hooked. Never thought a scifi story would have this effect on me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As always your review is awesome Donna! That cover though is truly horrible…makes me wonder if they wanted to actually sell copies:) I’m glad you made it past the cover and enjoyed this one

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    1. Yep, once you forget about the WRONG cover (I thought I should hide it or buy a jacket before putting the book on my shelf, hahaha), the book is really good. It was disturbing to see 24th century people being… just like us!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review for this book Donna, and I think even though you’re not used to writing many sci-fi reviews you did a great job with this one! 😀 Also this is definitely a perfect example of never judge a book by it’s cover as well, what was it that made you pick this one up by the way, I’m terrible when it comes to judging books by their covers so I’m genuinely curious what drew you to this book in the first place.

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    1. Thanks so much! I dreaded writing it because I always feel I don’t know enough about the genre to truly explore the plot and development. I tried to treat this review as one of my usual ones and crossed my fingers, haha!
      OMG that cover is just terrible. I would never have had picked it up from a shelf! This was a book I chose from the list of my sci-fi challenge 🙂 I thought the blurb was good so I forgot the ugly look and I’m so happy I did! This story provided me with an amazing gateway for a few hours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. Normally when I write reviews for different genres I treat them the same as the genres I do know well and it seems to work out fine. Yours did as well so does this mean there’ll be more sci-fi reviews on your blog?
        Well it’s good the blurb caught your attention then, kind of makes me wonder though if they did a cover redesign how many more readers could they get of this book. It’s clearly good based on your review, but I think some people may be put off by the cover.

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        1. There will definitely be more sci-fi reviews around here 🙂 Not in March I’m afraid, but April will get at least three! And from then onward a couple a month until the end of the year 🙂
          It’s a shame when a story doesn’t get a chance because of its cover. I couldn’t believe just how good this one was!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. So never judge a book by its cover :-). So happy to see you liked it this much. Since it’s not entirely your preferred genre, what made it this good was also that it still has enough elements of this day and age inserted in it too, making it still very relatable? We’ll have to see when your next read is all otherworldly ;-).

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    1. This book is the perfect example of that! The cover is.. I have no words.
      Exactly, I was not lost into a world I did not understand with weird stuff and complicated science, it was smooth, relatable enough and the writing just different but so good! I’m so gutted I won’t have time for the scifi challenges in March so I’ll make it up in April!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ooh this one sounds so good!! Have to say I like to keep my private head conversations to myself too 😉 And I love that the style is unobtrusive- that’s the most important thing to me in sci fi books a lot of the time. I reckon this one’ll be fun!! Awesome review!

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    1. Thanks! It was a real fun story! Well, fun to read, the events weren’t that fun in themselves but watching the whole thing unfold was gripping and I loved that I never felt lost in this 24th century!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is quite the proper review for a “lazy” one my dear friend. I cannot believe I have never read this! I am not sure why. I certainly go through periods of sci-fi binging. I love that this was not overly complex. Too often, I find science fiction writers will add many unnecessary and unrelated details in attempt to make the book more “scientific” but the end result is a muddled mess. It is nice to just be immersed in a world with futuristic elements and a good plot. Awesome review ❤

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    1. Haha, my lazy reviews doesn’t look like lazy ones but I swear I just type away and schedule!
      Yes! That’s what I’m always afraid of with sci-fi books, overly intricate plots and explanations that take the fun out of everything. Thanks my lovely ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That cover would totally have discouraged me from reading this book. I am glad that you gave it a chance though and that it ended up being a good read.

    ps:your lazy review looks like my usual review haha. Its really good and detailed. Great review!

    Like

    1. It makes me so sad that so many readers (me included) would miss out on such great stories because of terrible cover choices.
      Hahaha, thanks, I swear this is lazy me, though! Written in thirty minutes and scheduled right away!

      Like

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